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Showing posts from March, 2020

Keeping Our Focus On Christ

1 Corinthians 1:1-2:5 Paul preached the Gospel, ‘not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power’ (17; 2:4). He preached 'Christ crucified' with a determination ‘to know nothing except Jesus Christ crucified’(23; 2:2). This is the message of our salvation - ‘Christ crucified... Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God’ (23-24). All the glory belongs to God. We have no right to steal away any of the glory for ourselves: ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord’ (26-31). Our faith is ‘not based on human wisdom but on God’s power’ (2:5). ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace’ ( Mission Praise , 712). Christ is our full salvation. ‘Let us rejoice and be glad ’ in Him ’ (30; Psalm 118:24 ).

What A Great Saviour Jesus Is!

1 Corinth ians 9:1- 27 ‘If I preach the Gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting’ (16). Paul preached the Gospel. His whole desire was to bring men and women to the Saviour (22). He did not want to draw attention to himself. He didn’t preach so that his hearers would say, ‘What a good preacher Paul is!’ He wanted his hearers to say, 'What a great Saviour Jesus is!' He did not want to be ‘an obstacle in the way of the Gospel of Christ’ (12). Paul was not a ‘performer’, trying to increase his own popularity. Paul described his ministry like this: ‘I do it all for the sake of the Gospel’ (23). Keep your eyes on Jesus. This is very important. Don’t get so preoccupied with ‘a good preacher’ that you lose sight of the great Saviour! There is no room for ‘superstars’: ‘Humble yourselves before the Lord’ - ‘The Name of Jesus is the Name above every name’ (James 4:10; Philippians 2:9-10).

Preaching God's Word: 1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 15:1-11 There is hope. This is a message which is very relevant in today's world. We hear of death and destruction. We ask the question, "Is there hope?" This question impresses itself upon us as we take seriously the events of our day. "Is there hope?" As we consider this question, we may find that we have more questions than answers. It is so important that we ask our questions in the right way. Many people ask questions, but they never expect an answer. We must ask the right Person, the Person who has the Answer. We must bring our questions to God. Many people do not bring their questions to God, because they do not believe that there is a God. They think that it is clever to disregard God. God's Word tells us that it is foolish to say that there is no God: "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" (Psalm 14:1). Many people believe that there is no hope, because they believe that there is no God. There are o

Learning from the Apostle Paul

Romans 1:16 ; 1 Corinthians 2:2 ; 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 ; Galatians 6:14 Paul was no silent disciple, no half-hearted follower of Jesus. He was not ashamed of his Lord. He was glad to say, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith" ( Romans 1:16 ). Why was Paul bold to say, "God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" ( Galatians 6:14 )? Why was Paul so emphatic in saying, "I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" ( 1 Corinthians 2:2 )? The answer is very simple and straightforward. He was a man who had been grasped by the power of the Gospel. Through the power of Christ, Paul was no longer his own. He belonged to Christ. This was why he was able to write to the Corinthian Christians, "You are not your own; you have been bought with a price" ( 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ). He was a man filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let Christ's Love Flow Among Us.

1 Corinthians 12:1-31 Paul speaks about ‘gifts of the Spirit.’ They are ‘given for the common good’ (4-7). We’re not ‘to show off’: ‘Look at me. The Church can’t do without me.’ When we draw attention to ourselves rather than Christ, we are not living ‘by the Spirit of God.’ He moves us to say, with our whole heart, ‘Jesus is Lord’ (3). We live in fellowship with one another: ‘the body does not consist of one member but of many’ (14). ‘I’m happy - as long as I’m getting my own way’: We can do without this kind of attitude! What about ‘the common good’? Sometimes, things don’t go according to my plan. Perhaps, my plan needs revising - to take account of ‘the common good.’ When self raises its ugly head - ‘It’s my way or no way at all’ - let’s not forget the ‘still more excellent way’ (3). It is the way of love - Christ’s love!

Praying Through God's Word: 1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 1:1-2:5 We thank You, Lord, that our faith is “not based on human wisdom.” Our faith comes from Your power at work in us (1 Corinthians 2:5). Our faith is nothing without Your power. Without Your wisdom, we are fools. How do we receive Your power and Your wisdom? – We receive Your power and Your wisdom when we receive Jesus Christ, the Saviour, who has been crucified for us. He is Your power and Your wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:23-24). 1 Corinthians 2:6-3:23 Help us, Lord, never to forget that the Saviour is always much more important than the servant. We serve You. You save us. Save and serve – what a difference there is between the two! Your salvation comes first. First, You save us. Then, we serve You. Help us never to forget this. When we start thinking, “You save us, because we serve You”, take us back to the Cross of Christ. Teach us that we serve  You because You have saved us. 1 Corinthians 4:1-21 Lord, You’ve called us to be “servants of Christ.”

The Saviour Is More Important Than The Preacher.

1 Corinthians 2:6-3:23 We come to know God when ‘the Spirit’ leads us to 'Jesus Christ' (2:10-13; 3:11; John 16:14 ). We must not attach too much importance to the preachers - ‘What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants ...’. When we make too much of the servant, we draw attention away from the Saviour. There is a very important lesson here - ‘Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth’ (3:5-7). We are not members of a ‘mutual appreciation society’ - ‘You pat my back, and I’ll pat yours’! We must learn to point to Jesus, saying, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’ ( John 3:30 ). Let ‘Jesus take the highest honour’. Let His Name be ‘the Name high over all’. ‘’Tis all my business ... to cry Behold the Lamb!’ ( Mission Praise , 378,385) - Let’s say it and mean it!

God's Temple ...

"Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple" (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). God has given us a great privilege - "you yourselves are God's temple... God's Spirit dwells in your midst."  He's given us a great responsibility - we must take care of "God's temple." When God's Spirit comes into our hearts, what does He do? Does He give us a feeling of superiority - we're better than they are? No! He calls upon us to search our hearts more deeply: " Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).

Help us, Lord, never to forget where the victory comes from.

2 Samuel 8:1-9:13 "The Lord gave victory to David wherever he went" (2 Samuel 8:6,14). Help us, Lord, never to forget where the victory comes from. It comes from You. It's Your victory - and You give it to us. You direct our attention away from ourselves. You direct our attention to Jesus. He says to us, "Without Me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5). This is a warning to us. We must not try to live in our own strength. Help us to look to Jesus - and to say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

Life isn't easy. Sometimes, it seems like there are nothing but hard times.

2 Samuel 7:1-29 Life isn't easy. Sometimes, it seems like there are nothing but hard times. There doesn't seem to be alight at the end of the tunnel. That's the way it feels - but it's not the way it is! Our feelings will lead us away from You - if we let them! Our feelings can run riot over us. They can wreck our lives. Help us, Lord, to look beyond the chaos. Help us to look to You. Sometimes, it feels like You're far away. That's the way it seems to us - but it's not the way it really is! You are with us - now and always (Matthew 1:23; Matthew 28:20).

So often, Lord, we start out well - and then something goes wrong.

2 Samuel 1:1-27 So often, Lord, we start out well - and then something goes wrong. Our heads go down. We lose our way. We fall away from You. Where does this spirit of defeat, this spirit of giving up, come from? - It comes from Satan. He sweeps in. He sweeps us off our feet. He sweeps us away from You. When Satan attacks us, help us, Lord, to remember Your promise: You are "able to keep us from falling" (Jude 24-25). Help us to hear Your Word: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

The Importance Of Prayer In The Advance Of The Gospel

Notice the importance of prayer in the advance of the Gospel. They were looking for a prayer meeting when Lydia was saved (Acts 16:13-14). They were going to a prayer meeting when the girl was saved (Acts 16:16-18). They were having a prayer meeting when the jailer was saved (Acts 16:25-34). They had gone to Philippi ‘to preach the Gospel to them’(Acts 16:10). Even when they were ‘in chains’, the Gospel proved itself to be ‘the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith’(Ephesians 6:20; Romans 1:16). ‘The Word of God is not bound’. It is ‘living and active’. ‘Sharper than any two-edged sword’, it is ‘the sword of the Spirit’(2 Timothy 2:9; Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17). Do you want people to ask the Salvation question and heed the Gospel answer (Acts 16:30-31)? ‘Pray at all times in the Spirit… with all perseverance’(Ephesians 6:18).

A Godly, Christlike And Spirit-Filled Life

What kind of people are we to be? What kind of life are we to live? Lord, You're calling us to live a life of "love" (Proverbs 17:9). How, Lord, do we learn what love is? - We learn from You. You show us what love is - "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son ... " (John 3:16). In Jesus, we see perfect love - "The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). The Holy Spirit fills our lives with Your love - "The fruit of the Spirit is love" (Galatians 5:22). Help us, Lord, to live a Godly, Christlike, Spirit-filled life - a life of love.

The joy of God's salvation

In the Lord, we have joy - the joy of His salvation: “I will find joy in the Lord. I will delight in my God. He has dressed me in the clothes of salvation. He has wrapped me in the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10). This joy of salvation comes to us through our Saviour, Jesus Christ. God has fulfilled His gracious promise: “The Lord has announced to the ends of the earth: Tell My people Zion,Your Saviour is coming” (Isaiah 62:11). In the Lord, we have victory. We rejoice in Him. He gives us the victory. He announces His victory - “It is I, the Lord, I am coming to announce my victory. I am powerful enough to save you” (Isaiah 63:1).

Don't trust 'Egypt'. Trust the Lord.

Isaiah speaks of both God’s judgment (Isaiah 34:2) and His salvation (Isaiah 35:2). What a privilege it is to be called “the redeemed of the Lord” (Isaiah 35:9-10). We're not to "trust Egypt" (Isaiah 36:6) - That's what we've been delivered from. We're to "trust the Lord our God" (Isaiah 36:7) - It's the Lord who has delivered us from "Egypt." The redemption of God - This is the source of true happiness, real joy and lasting gladness.

Continue in the way of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 4:1-6:25 There is a real challenge here – Continue in the way of the Lord. Don’t turn back from following Him. This is important – not only for ourselves but for generations to come. The Word of the Lord must never be dismissed as something which is to be left in the past. Love for the Lord is not to be set aside as a thing of the past. We are to preserve the Word of the Lord for the next generation. The call to love God must be passed on those who come after us.

In the bad times as well as the good times

“Fulfil your works, your daily tasks, as when there was straw” (Exodus 5:14). When everything seems to be going from bad to worse, we must pray that God will give us the strength that we need to keep on loving Him, trusting Him and serving Him. Our circumstances may have changed. Nothing seems to be going right. We didn’t think it would turn out this way. Has our Saviour changed? Has He gone away and left us? No! He hasn’t. He’s still with us. Are we still with Him? or Do we opt out when the going gets tough? Lord, You are faithful to us. Keep us faithful to You.

Compassion And Worship

Exodus 21:1-23:33 Our obedience to God is to take shape within the varied circumstances of everyday life. At the heart of our obedience, there is to be compassion, an expression of God’s compassion (Exodus 22:21,28; Exodus 23:9). At the heart of our obedience, there is to be worship (Exodus 23:14). taking compassion and worship together, we come to the very heart of our obedience to God. It is not compassion without worship. It is not worship without compassion. The spiritual and the social belong together. We need spiritual foundations, leading to social changes. The social does not stand on its own. There needs to be spiritual depth. The ‘spiritual’ does not stand on its own. It is empty formality, if it does not lead to a change in our way of living from day-to-day.

Lord, teach us to take care how we speak. Help us to remember that we are Your witnesses.

Proverbs 12:15-28 What harm can be done by “reckless words” (Proverbs 12:18)! Lord, teach us to take care how we speak. Help us to remember that we are Your witnesses. We have a testimony to maintain. Teach us that there is a better way than the way of “lying lips” (Proverbs 12:22). Help us, Lord, to bring “glory” to You, as we keep on confessing our faith: “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:11).

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

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

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

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

Salvation, security, singing and sharing

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

We thank You, Lord, that You have opened up for us a great future.

Psalms 11:1-13:6 We thank You, Lord, that You have opened up for us a great future. What glory awaits us in Your eternal Kingdom. What encouragement this gives to us when we’re going through a hard time! Help us, Lord, to lift up our eyes, to catch a glimpse of Your glory, to be changed by Your glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). Help us to “turn our eyes upon Jesus”, to “look full in His wonderful face.” As we look upon Jesus, may “the things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

We are not alone in our battle against Satan. You, Lord, are with us – and You are stronger than Satan!

Nehemiah 4:10-5:13 “Our God will fight for us” (Nehemiah 4:20). What tremendous encouragement there is in these wonderful words! We are not alone in our battle against Satan. You are with us – and You are stronger than Satan! When Satan attacks us, teach us, Lord, to take our stand on Your Word: “The Lord your God will go with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory” (Deuteronomy 20:4).

What, Lord, are we to do when we encounter opposition?

Nehemiah 2:19-4:9 What are we to do when we encounter opposition? We’re seeking to serve You – and the enemies of Christ and His Gospel are making life difficult for us. Help us, Lord, to look to You. May we know, in our hearts and lives, the truth of Your Word: “The people who know their God will be strong” (Daniel 11:32).

Baptism and the Lord's Supper

The sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper - What place do they have within the total context of the Christian life? What part do they play within the total purpose of God for our lives? The sacraments are signposts. They point us to the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour. When you see a signpost marked, "Edinburgh", you are pointed in the direction of Edinburgh. The sign says, "This is the way to Edinburgh." When you see a sign that says, "Come alive with Pepsi", your attention is directed to Pepsi-Cola. The sacraments point us to Jesus. The sacraments direct our attention to Jesus. The signpost says, "This is the way to Edinburgh." The sacraments point to Jesus. They say, "He is the Way to heaven." The Pepsi-Cola advert says, "Come alive with Pepsi." The sacraments invite us to "Come alive with Jesus." When you see the sign for Edinburgh, you are not already in Edinburgh. It is possible to see t

Lord, You're calling us to worship You - to bring to You true "spiritual worship" - the dedication of our lives to You.

1 Chronicles 15:16-16:6  Lord, You're calling us to worship You - to "raise sounds of joy," to praise You with "loud music," to worship You "continually (1 Chronicles 15:16; 1 Chronicles 16:6). May we bring to You true "spiritual worship" - the dedication of our lives to You (Romans 12:1).

Our whole life is to be a song of praise to You, Lord.

1 Chronicles 16:7-36  Our whole life is to be a song of praise to You, Lord - "O give thanks to the Lord ... Sing praises to Him ... Glory in His holy Name ... Seek His presence continually" (1 Chronicles 16:8-11). "Continually" - Lord, this is more than gathering together with others for worship. "Fill Thou our life, O Lord our God, in every part with praise ... "

Sometimes, Lord, Your "No" means "Not now - later."

1 Chronicles 16:37-17:27  Sometimes, Lord, Your "No" - "You shall not build Me a House to dwell in" (1 Chronicles 17:1-4) - means "Not now - later" - "one of your sons ... shall build a House for Me" (1 Chronicles 17:11-12). What are we to say about the 'delay'? We call it a delay. You, Lord, give us Your promise - "the Lord will build you a House" (1 Chronicles 17:10). You say to us, "Still the vision awaits its time ... If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay" (Habakkuk 2:3). 

A New Beginning - Based On What Had Gone Before

Mark 1:1-20 This was a new beginning (Mark 1:1), but it was based on what had gone before (Mark 1:2-3). Those who speak of Jesus Christ, their Saviour, are "voices crying in the wilderness", but their ministry is blessed by the Lord (Mark 1:3,5).   We must  never forget this, and we must pray that we will be like John - pointing away from ourselves to Jesus (Mark 1:7-8). Whatever the world may say, we need more of Jesus, not less of Him. If we're going to have more of Jesus, we need more of the Word of God. How can we get to know, love and serve Jesus better, if we're content with keeping everything shallow?  The Spirit of the Lord descends whenever our chief focus of attention is on God's "beloved Son" (Mark 1:9-11). It will not be easy to keep our attention on Jesus. It wasn't easy for Jesus. It won't be easy for us (Mark 1:12-13). John had been "arrested" (Mark 1:14). Would it be any easier for Jesus? Will it be a

A Call For Conversion, A Promise of Salvation (Zechariah 1:1-6)

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

From Disaster To Revival

 * "In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and You listened to my cry" (Jonah 2:2). What are we to do when the going gets tough? We've heard the saying, When the going gets tough, the tough get going. We wonder if this really helps. What if we find that we're not really so tough? What happens when we can't get going? There are times when we know that this is too much for us. We can't raise ourselves up. We need to be lifted. We need You, Lord. You are "the lifter of my head." (Psalm 3:3). It's Your love that lifts us: "Love lifted me. When no-one but Christ could help, love lifted me" (James Rowe).  * “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered You, Lord, and my prayer rose to You, to Your holy temple" (Jonah 2:7). Where does this remembering come from? It comes from the Lord. He puts the prayer into our hearts. Jonah was running away from Go

A Vision - For Daniel

"I, Daniel, alone saw the vision ... the men who were with me did not see the vision" ( Daniel 10:7 ). Here, we have a vision that was intended for Daniel. The vision was not given to the men who were with him. While this was, for Daniel, a unique experience of divine revelation, it raises for us a more general question: Why is it that some people receive blessing from the Lord, while others miss out on the blessing? What are we to say about those who miss out on God's blessing? They may be present when the Lord's people are gathered together for worship - but they have no real sense of the Lord's presence. The power of the Lord is at work in the lives of others, but nothing happens to them. The Word goes on one ear and out the other. Others are being transformed. They remain unchanged. Are we simply to say, "Some are blessed by the Lord. They give thanks for His blessing. Sadly others miss out on His blessing - and we can say no more about

Salvation and Victory - Psalm 20:9

"O Lord, save the king! Give victory to the king. Answer us when we call" (Psalm 20:9)." Let us pray for one another. Let us pray for salvation and victory.  * Psalm 20:1-5 - Prayer for God's blessing  * Psalm 20:6-9 - Assurance that God will answer First, there is the prayer. Then, there is the assurance of God's answer. There can be no answer to prayer if there is no prayer. There can be no blessing if there is no prayer for blessing. Let us learn to be faithful in prayer so that we can be fruitful in blessing. What kind of Church will we be? Will we be a  praying Church, a Church that is being blessed by the Lord or a Church that doesn't pray and isn't being blessed by the Lord? Salvation and victory - The blessings are there for us. Salvation and victory - "Ask, and it shall be given to you" (Matthew 7:7).

Something For "A Cloudy And Dark Day"

" ... so will I seek out My sheep ... on a cloudy and dark day" ( Ezekiel 34:12 ). Our life on earth is " a cloudy and dark day." Left to ourselves, we always lose our way. We cannot find our way back on to the way of the Lord without the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus does not leave us to stumble around on a "cloudy and dark day." He has come "to seek and to save the lost" ( Luke 19:10 ). He is "the Light of the world" ( John 8:12 ). His Light is still shining brightly. The darkness can't put it out ( John 1:5 ). We look to Jesus, and we see beyond "the cloudy and dark day." We look to Him, and we say, "The Lord is my light and my salvation" ( Psalm 27:1 ).

The Lord saves and keeps.

" The fear of the Lord leads to life" (Proverbs 19: 23). God is holy. We come to Him, confessing our sins. He forgives our sins, and leads us into new life. "Wait for the Lord, and He will save you... The Lord is the One who directs a person’s steps” (Proverbs 20:22,24). The Lord saves and keeps: “The victory belongs to the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31). Saving and keeping us, as He leads along the pathway of discipleship, the Lord brings us to our final victory. This is the great triumph, described in the jubilant words of 1 Corinthians 15:58 - “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

"The Law of the Lord is perfect ... " (Psalm 19:7-11).

"By grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:8). Do this. Don't do that. Is this what the word, "law", says to you? Go back to the very beginning of "the Ten Commandments" (Exodus 20:1-17) What do you find there - in Exodus 20:1-2? Before there is law, there is grace. Before there is the call for obedience, there is the gift of salvation. " And God spoke all these words:  "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."  * This is what you are to do for Me - This is not God's first Word to us.  * This is what I have done for you - This is God's first Word to us. " The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of

From the land of bondage - to the land of salvation

Deuteronomy 16:1-17:20 “Honour the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 16:1) – We are to worship the Lord. Our worship is to be filled with thanksgiving, praising the Lord for His redemption – “The Lord your God brought you out of Egypt.” Moving from the land of bondage, we move, by faith, into the land of salvation: “You will enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you. You will take possession of it and live there” (Deuteronomy 17:14). As the Lord leads us on, our praise to Him increases. Let praise increase as grace increases.

From The Garden To The City

Genesis 2:8 “garden” To those who put their trust in Him, the Lord gives His very precious promises – “You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (Isaiah 58:11); “They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more” (Jeremiah 31:12). Looking to the Lord as we move towards the great future He has planned for us, we look beyond the Old Testament prophets. We look forward to the glorious fulfilment of God’s wonderful purpose of eternal salvation – “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city … I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God … God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourni

It's either one or the other - turning towards God or turning away from Him (Psalm 10).

"Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" (1). This question can be turned around. God puts the question to us, “Why, in your times of trouble, do you stand far off?” In this Psalm, God is inviting us to think about the kind of people we are becoming. Are we turning away from God? Or Are we turning towards Him? It’s either one or the other – turning towards God or turning away from Him. * We read about “the wicked man” who “hunts down the weak” (v. 2). He thinks only of himself – “He boasts of the cravings of his heart.” There is no place for the Lord in his life – “he reviles the Lord. In his pride the wicked does not seek Him: in all his thoughts there is no room for God”(vs. 3-4). Things are going well for him – “His ways are always prosperous.” He doesn’t give thanks to God – “he is haughty and Your laws are far from him.” He thinks that everything will keep on going his way – “He says to himself, ‘Nothing will shake

Pour Out Your Heart ...

Genesis 2:12 “aromatic resin and the shoham stone” “Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:3). This is not only the story of Mary’s costly devotion. It’s a call to us to be “the pleasing aroma of Christ. The Lord is calling us to “spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14-15). We will do this when we are trusting in Jesus Christ, the “chosen and precious cornerstone” upon which our faith is built (1 Peter 2:6). When we come in faith to Jesus Christ, our Saviour, God does a mighty work of grace in us: “As you come to Him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to Him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-5).

Can Things Be Turned Around?

In Ezekiel 26, we find an awesome Word of judgment, spoken against the city of Tyre. The Word, spoken by God through His prophet, is uncompromising - “Tyre, you famous city, you have been destroyed” (Ezekiel 26:17). The effect of Tyre’s fall is described: “Your defeat will make the people, who live by the coast, tremble. Your end will terrify the islands in the sea” (Ezekiel 26:18). This is the fear of the Lord. We become aware that it’s a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. The Gospel tells us about the hands that were nailed to the Cross for us, so that we might pass from judgment to salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ. This is a continuation of the Word of judgment, which began in Ezekiel 26. How final are the words at the end of Ezekiel 27: “You have come to a terrible end, and you will never exist again” (Ezekiel 27:36). This is the bad news concerning all of us. We are sinners. We are under God’s judgment. Our only hope is the God of gra

Eternal Blessings

 * “The Lord gives victory to His anointed” (Psalm 20:6). Jesus is the Christ (the anointed). Through His death and resurrection, Jesus has won the victory over Satan. He won the victory for us. He gives His victory to us.   * “Surely You have granted him eternal blessings” (Psalm 21:6).  Through the mighty victory of Jesus Christ (God’s Anointed), there are “eternal blessings” – for us.    * “My God, God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Psalm 22:1). How do eternal blessings come to us through Christ? When we see Christ, suffering on the Cross, we must give thanks to God that His suffering was for us. For Him, there was suffering. For us, there is salvation. “‘Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies … Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God shouldst die for me! … No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!” * “Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and  I will dwell in the House of the Lord for ever” (Psalm 23:6). For

Can We Learn From Life's Tragedies?

“If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13). God has spoken words of encouragement: “the Lord is with you, brave man” (Judges 6:12). Things were not going well. Gideon was having doubts about God: “now the Lord has abandoned us” (Judges 6:13). God was quick to reassure Gideon: “You will rescue Israel … I am sending you” (Judges 6:14). Gideon moved from the ‘why’ question to the ‘how’ question: “How can I rescue Israel?” (Judges 6:15). God’s answer is still the same: “I will be with you” (Judges 6:16).

After judgment - hope for the future

In Isaiah 22 – 23, we read about God’s judgment on Judah, Shebna and Tyre. We read of “a day of confusion and trampling” (Isaiah 22:5). We read the words of judgment on “Shebna, the man in charge of the palace” – “Look, mighty man! The Lord will throw you out” (Isaiah 22:15,17). There is judgment on Tyre “for seventy years” (Isaiah 23:14). There is also hope for the future – “At the end of seventy years, the Lord will come to help Tyre” (Isaiah 23:17). Sadly, His help was not appreciated – “Then she will go back to earning money as a prostitute for all the world’s kingdoms” (Isaiah 23:17). The message of God’s judgment continues in Isaiah 24. This is hard for us to hear. There is, however, something else that we must never overlook: “In all these things, it is said of the Lord, He will be glorious” (Isaiah 24:23).

Our Rebellion, God's Redemption

Speaking through the prophet, God uses very colourful sexual imagery to describe Israel’s relationship with Himself and her revolt against Him. The last word, in Ezekiel 16, is not, however, a word concerning the rebellion of Israel against the Lord. It is the message of redemption - the forgiveness of sins (Ezekiel 16:63). “I am the Lord ... I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it” (Ezekiel 17:24). In His Word, God tells us who He is and what He has done for us. He is the God who loves us. He has shown us His love in the death of His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. What a contrast there is between God’s salvation and man’s sin. God brought His people out of Egypt and into the promised land. They rebelled against Him and refused to listen to Him (Ezekiel 20:6-8). God had not given up on His people. He would draw them to Himself. He would make them His instrument of blessing to the nations (Ezekiel 20:40-44). In Ezekiel 21 - 22, words concerning God’s holy judgme

Promise and danger

In Proverbs 22 - 24, we learn about promise and danger. At every stage in our journey through life, there is both promise and danger - the promise of God’s blessing to those who keep Him at the centre of their life, the danger of coming under God’s judgment when we ignore His way and go the way of the world. This kind of instruction, combining both promise and warning, is important. It teaches us about both the way we are to take and the way we  are to avoid, what we are to be and what we are not to be, how we are to live and how we are not to live.

"The Lord’s Spirit came to me and told me to say ... Listen to the Word of the Lord.”

“The Lord’s glory rose from the angels” (Ezekiel 10:4); “The Spirit lifted me” (Ezekiel 11:1 - These prophecies of Ezekiel bring us into the presence of God. “the sound of the Almighty God when He speaks” (Ezekiel 10:5); “The Lord’s Spirit came to me and told me to say” (Ezekiel 11:5) - When we are in the Lord’s presence, He speaks His Word to us. He speaks to us, so that we might speak for Him. “The Spirit lifted me up” (Ezekiel 11:24); “The Lord spoke His Word to me” (Ezekiel 12:1) - The Word and the Spirit belong together. The Spirit inspires the Word. The Word expresses the mind of the Spirit. “This is the divine revelation” (Ezekiel 12:10); “This is what the Almighty Lord says, Everything that I say will no longer be delayed. Whatever I say will happen, declares the Almighty Lord” (Ezekiel 12:28). Through His Word and His Spirit, the Almighty Lord is leading us on to His future. He is lifting us up to glory - His heavenly and eternal glory. “Listen to the Word of t

Stuart Townend sings Psalm 23 at the Sing! Conference

Standing on the promises

What a friend we have in Jesus

'My Forever Friend' - Charlie Landsborough.

The Church’s One Foundation

Human Love And Divine Love

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

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

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

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

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

Help us, Lord, to pray for revival.

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

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

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

Sometimes, Lord, we have more questions than answers.

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

The Shepherd Of Love

"The Son of Man came to save the lost" (Matthew 18:11). In Matthew 18:12-1, Jesus speaks about sheep. He's really speaking about us. He is the Shepherd. We are His sheep. Sheep wander away from the shepherd. We wander away from the Lord. The shepherd looks for the lost sheep. Jesus has come to seek for us and find us. He brings  us home to God, our Father. Through His saving grace, we receive new life - a life  in which we rejoice in our great Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. He delivers us from the condemnation, which our sin has brought upon us. He brings us into the knowledge of His forgiveness. This Gospel of salvation changes us. It teaches us to live in the power of God's love.

When our faith is being sorely tested, help us, Lord, to turn to You.

Psalms 14:1-15:5 When our faith is being sorely tested, help us, Lord, to turn to You. Help us to know that, through it all, You are there with us – suffering with us, leading us into Your joy. Teach us, in our suffering, to wait for the day when You will “restore our fortunes”, when You will answer our prayer: “O that salvation … would come”, when we will, again, “rejoice” and be “glad” in You (Psalm 14:7).

Learning from children and caring for children

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

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

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

Steadfast Love And Abundant Mercy

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

What a great Saviour we have!

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