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Showing posts from January, 2015

Lord, You gave Your Son, Jesus - to be our Saviour.

Numbers 7:1-47 Lord, You gave Your Son, Jesus - to be our Saviour. Help us to give ourselves to You - to be Your servants. Jesus died for us. Help us to live for Him. Help us never to forget His sacrifice - "Love so amazing, so divine." May we be challenged by His sacrifice - "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all." Help us to respond to His sacrifice - "Love so amazing, so divine, shall have my soul, my life, my all."

Living for You, Lord, is not easy.

Numbers 1:1-54 Living for You, Lord, is not easy. We face determined opposition from Satan. He keeps coming back at us, again and again. We thank You, Lord, that we do not stand against him in our own strength. We stand in Your strength, in the victory of our risen Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Lord, You call us to "worship You in spirit and in truth."

Leviticus 22:17-23:44 Lord, You call us to "worship You in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). Where does true worship come from? - It comes from You. It comes from Your Spirit. It comes from Your Truth. We read the Holy Scriptures - and we begin to worship You. We open our hearts to the Holy Spirit - and the spirit of praise grows stronger in us. We listen to the voice of our Holy Saviour - and He leads in the pathway of true worship. True worship comes from You: "Fill Thou our life, O Lord our God, in every part with praise."

We thank You, Lord, that "the vilest offender, who truly believes, that moment, from Jesus, a pardon receives."

Leviticus 13:47-14:32 We thank You, Lord, that "the vilest offender , who truly believes, that moment, from Jesus, a pardon receives." By faith, we receive Your forgiveness - but we never earn Your forgiveness. Forgiveness is always Your gift. It's never a reward. By faith, we look away from ourselves. We look to Jesus, our Saviour. We do not say, "How great is my faith." We say, "How great is my Saviour."

Lord, You are holy. We are sinners.You see our sin - and You keep on loving us.

Leviticus 9:1-10:20 Lord, You are holy. We are sinners. You see our sin - and You keep on loving us. We see Jesus - and we know that You will never stop loving us. Help us, Lord, to confess our sin and to receive Your forgiveness. Lead us out of our sin and into Your holiness - and help us to give all the glory to You.

We thank You, Lord, that Your Son, Jesus, is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."

Leviticus 1:1-2:16 We thank You, Lord, that Your Son, Jesus, is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). In His death for us, we see Your love for us. Help us to come to the Cross of Christ. Help us to worship You in the beauty of holiness. Help us to celebrate Your love in the spirit of thanksgiving.

Lord, help us to listen to Your Word ...

Exodus 40:1-38 Lord, help us to listen to Your Word, walk in Your way and "worship You in Spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). These are the things that matter most. Are they our priorities? We know, Lord, that they should be our priorities - but we are often distracted. We lose our focus. Other things become more important to us. "Restore our souls and lead us in the paths of righteousness for Your Name's sake" (Psalm 23:3).

Help us, Lord, never to think that we have nothing to offer to You.

Exodus 35:1-36:7 Help us, Lord, never to think that we have nothing to offer to You. We can never save ourselves. That is something that You must do for us. We have been saved by Your grace. Now, we must serve You in Your strength. You gave Your Son for us. Help us to give ourselves to You. May we never be half-hearted in our devotion to You. Help us to be whole-hearted in all that we do for You.

Lord, You are the God of holiness. You are the God of love.

Exodus 32:15-33:23 Lord, You are the God of holiness. You are the God of love. Your holiness is loving holiness. Your love is holy love. Help us to see that Your holiness and Your love belong together. It's not one without the other. It's not holiness without love. It's not love without holiness. We need both - Your holiness and Your love. Your holiness shows us our sin. Your love forgives our sin. You love us. Help us to love You - and be changed by Your holy love.

Lord, You call us to speak Your Word - but, first, You call us to listen to Your Word.

Exodus 24:1-18 Lord, You call us to speak Your Word - but, first, You call us to listen to Your Word. How can we speak for You if we're not listening to You? Help us to come to the Cross of Christ. Help us to hear the voice of Your love. Send us from the that holy place - the place of His crucifixion, the place of our salvation - back into the world. May we return to the world as people who've been changed - changed by the love of Christ.

Less of our sin, more of Your love - Lord, this is our prayer.

Exodus 20:1-20 Less of our sin, more of Your love - Lord, this is our prayer. Our sin does us nothing but harm. Your love always does us good - nothing but good. We're sinners, Lord. Why do You keep on loving us? We don't know why - but we're glad that You do! We rejoice in this: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15).

Lord, You have done so much for us.

Exodus 19:1-25 Lord, You have done so much for us. What are we doing for You? You tell us about Your redemption. You call for our response. Our response is inspired by Your redemption. Thank You for the grace of Your redemption - "By grace you have been saved." Give us the grace to make our response - "Saved through faith for good works" (Ephesians 2:8-10). Lord, help us to have less self-confidence and more confidence in You. Self-confidence is all about us. It has nothing to do with You. Confidence in You is so different. It comes from faith - not from pride. Help us to find our true strength. It's not our strength. It's Your strength.

Lord, show us our pride - and teach us to humble ourselves before You.

Exodus 7:25-8:32 Lord, show us our pride - and teach us to humble ourselves before You. Show us Your power and teach us to trust You to do great things in and through us.

Often, Lord, we fail You - and we wonder why You bother with us.

Exodus 4:1-31 Often, Lord, we fail You - and we wonder why You bother with us. We thank You, Lord,that You never fail us. When we let You down, You lift us up. Help us, Lord, not to be shaped by our failure. Help us to be transformed by Your love and power. Help us to respond to Your call to "attempt great things for You and expect great things from You" (William Carey).

Lord, what are we to do when we're going through a hard time?

Exodus 1:1-2:10
Lord, what are we to do when we're going through a hard time? Hard times can be the breaking of us - or the making of us. We can blame You - or we can trust You. Help us to trust You - to know that You are near, even when it feels like You are far away.

So many things are changing, Lord.

Genesis 44:1-34 So many things are changing, Lord. How are we to live in a changing world? We trust in Your unchanging love. In our changing world, Your love remains the same - unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable.  You are also the changing God - the God who changes us. Your love is a changing love. Your love changes us. Help us, in our ever-changing world, to keep on praying for the best kind of change - being changed by You - changed by Your love. Help us to become less self-centred and more Christ-centred.

Lord, we thank You that Your love is "an everlasting love."

Genesis 43:1-34 Lord, we thank You that Your love is "an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3). Human love can be strong. It can be weak. Human love can come to an end. Your love is always strong. Your love never comes to an end. Your love is "everlasting love" - the only "everlasting love"!

Lord, we thank You that You are in control ...

Genesis 41:1-57 Lord, we thank You that You are in control of the things that are happening to us. We do not always understand what's going on - but you do!

Lord, help us to put You first in our lives.

Genesis 38:1-30
Lord, help us to put You first in our lives. No-one is more important than You. Why do we forget this - again and again. When we forget You, Lord, bring us back to the Cross of Christ. Show us - all over again - that You have not forgotten us, that You never will forget us.

Read - And Study.

We need to study Leviticus - not just read it. Leviticus follows on from Genesis and Exodus. In Genesis, we see man ruined. In Exodus, we see man redeemed. In Leviticus, we see man worshipping. This is a book of worship. It is a book for redeemed people. It shows them how to worship God. What is true worship? We do not begin with the worshipper. We begin with the God who is worshipped: ‘The Lord called Moses’ (1:1). Before worship, there is revelation.
God reveals Himself to us. (a) He shows us who He is. (b) He speaks His Word to us.
(a) He says to us, ‘I am the Lord’ (22:2-3, 8-9, 16, 30-33). He says to us, ‘I am your God’ (23:14, 22, 28, 40, 43). We say to Him, ‘You are our God’ (23:14).
(b) ‘The Lord spoke.’
‘The Lord said.’ ‘The Lord commanded.’
Leviticus contains many direct messages from the Lord.
In Leviticus – the book of holiness and atonement – , God reveals Himself as the God of holiness and love.
(i) Leviticus speaks much about God’s holiness. It also speaks of our call…

Lord, help us to stand upon Your Word.

Genesis 31:43-32:21
Lord, help us to stand upon Your Word. You have given us a firm foundation for our faith. You have given us Your salvation. When everything around is shaking, we can stand firm because we know that You are our God. You are the God who has saved us through the death of Your Son. You are the God who gives us new power for living - the power of the Holy Spirit. You are the God who will lead us into the glory of Your eternal Kingdom - Your Kingdom of everlasting love, everlasting life and everlasting light.

Lord, we thank You that we're not left to go it alone.

Genesis 27:41-28:9
Lord, we thank You that we're not left to go it alone. You've given us Your Spirit - the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love, the Spirit of truth, the Spirit who leads us to Jesus, the Spirit who makes us more like Jesus. Thank You, Lord - with Your Spirit, we can go from strength to strength. Help us to walk in Your Spirit.

Lord, we thank You that You want to bless us ...

Genesis 27:1-40
Lord, we thank You that You want to bless us - more than we want to be blessed by You. We don't deserve to be blessed - but You keep on blessing us. Help us never to forget to say, "Thank You, Lord." Help us always to treasure Your blessing - and to keep on praying that it will grow and grow and ...

Lord, when our hold on You is weak ...

Genesis 26:1-35
Lord, when our hold on You is weak, help us to remember that Your hold on us is strong. Often, we get bogged down in our sin. Lift us up by Your grace. Give us strength to rise above our sin - strength to become all that You want us to be.

Lord, help us to prepare for the future – Your future.

Genesis 25:1-18 Lord, help us to prepare for the future – Your future. Life without a future is no life at all. Often, we feel like we are stuck in the prison of the present. You lift up our eyes. You show us Your future. You fill our pathway with Your light. It is Your light that makes our future very bright – brighter than we can put into words, brighter than we can even imagine. Lead us, Lord, into Your future. Help us to walk with You on Your pathway to glory – Your eternal glory.

Teach us, Lord, to count our blessings.

Genesis 24:50-67
Teach us, Lord, to count our blessings.
We try to think of all the good things You have done for us, all the great gifts You have given to us.
We cannot keep up with You, Lord. There is so much to count, so much for which we can only say, ‘Thank You, Lord.’

Lord, You are with us – even when we feel that You are far away from us.

Genesis 21:22-22:14 Lord, You are with us – even when we feel that You are far away from us. We think about what’s going on in our life – and we get it all wrong! We look at what’s happening – and we think that You’ve gone away and left us. When will we learn? – It’s us who’ve gone away and left you! We start thinking, ‘You need to come back to me, Lord.’ You’re saying to us, ‘No! You’ve got it all wrong. It’s you that needs to come back to Me.’ Even in our darkest days, You’ve never gone away and left us. You’ve always been there – all the time. You’ve always been there – for us. Thank You, Lord.

Lord, the world seems so strong – but You are stronger!

Genesis 19:1-29 Lord, the world seems so strong – but You are stronger! “The world is ever near … my foes are ever near me … but, Jesus, draw still nearer, and shield my soul from sin” (CH4, 644). Sometimes, the battle seems to be too much for us. Sometimes, we feel like giving up. Come to us, Lord. Show us Your love. Without Your love, we are helpless. Our situation is hopeless. Your love brings us help. Your love gives us hope. It’s Your love that makes us “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37).

To You, Lord, be all the glory ...

Genesis 18:16-33 To You, Lord, be all the glory – You have done so many great things for us. So many blessings – and they all come from You, Lord. Our sins have been forgiven. You’ve come to live in us. Such great blessing – but this is just the beginning! You’re leading us on to eternal life. Lord, when our heads go down, help us to lift up our eyes. Help us to “come and see the shining hope.” Help us to look through heaven’s “open door.” Help us to catch a glimpse of “the mighty multitudes of heaven … singing, ‘Alleluia!’ … Love has the victory for ever!” (Mission Praise, 86).

Lord, Your love is greater than our sin.

Genesis 18:1-15 Lord, Your love is greater than our sin. You have a great purpose for every one of us – but our sin gets in the way! You want to make us more like Jesus – but there’s so much of self in us! You want to lead us in the pathway of victory – but Satan’s always trying to trip us up! What are we to make of all this? Are we to give up in despair? No! We must not give up – because You, Lord, never give up on us. Your love is greater than our sin. You will fulfil Your great purpose in us. You will make us more like Jesus. You will lead us in the pathway of victory. Our sin shall not triumph over Your love. Satan will be defeated. Your “love has the victory for ever!” (Mission Praise, 86).

Lord, living for You isn’t easy ...

Genesis 16:1-16 Lord, living for You isn’t easy – Satan makes sure of that! We try to escape his evil clutches – but he’s always there, and he’s up to no good! Satan is such a determined enemy. Help us to remind him that he’s a defeated enemy. We’re often tempted – and we feel so weak. Help us to tell Satan that Jesus is Lord – and we belong to Jesus! Satan wins some battles with us. He gives us a hard time. Often, he gets the better of us. Help us to remind him that the final triumph belongs to Jesus. Beyond our present conflict, there is His final triumph; “This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song” (from “Stand up, stand up for Jesus”).

Lord, we thank You that You are always with us ...

Genesis 15:1-21
Lord, we thank You that You are always with us – even when bad things are happening to us.

Lord, sometimes, we feel like we’re stuck in a rut.

Genesis 12:1-20 Lord, sometimes, we feel like we’re stuck in a rut. When we feel like this, help us to see that You’ve moved on ahead of us. You’re calling us on – into Your future! Do we need to see exactly where You’re leading us? – No! We don’t! We just need to keep on following You. The future may be unknown to us – but it’s never unknown to You! “Face the sun and the shadows will fall behind you. Look to the One who can put your past behind you. Be the one you were born to be – Don’t you want to be free? … There'll be brighter days ahead” (Garry Brotherston). Lord, let there be no more fear of an unknown future. Help us to look to the Son. Help us to know that, with Him, we can never be stuck in a rut! Help us to move forward with Him and for Him.

A Call For A Christ-Centred Life

The concluding message, preached by Joshua, is a call for the people to exalt the Lord. They make a definite and public commitment to the Lord. The Christ-centredness of real commitment to the Lord is summed up in the words of John the Baptist: "He must become greater; I must become less" (John 3:30). We must confess Christ and honour Him - "The One who comes from heaven is above all" (John 3:31). We must listen to what He says to us - "The One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit" (John 3:34). It will not be easy to live a life of true commitment to Christ. Nevertheless, we have God's promise: "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you" (Psalm 55:22).

Preaching God's Word: Isaiah

If we are to come to a true understanding of the story of Jesus Christ, we must not begin by opening our Bibles at the beginning of the New Testament – Matthew 1:1. We must go back into the Old Testament. We must seek to understand what the prophets said, as they looked forward to the coming of Jesus Christ, the Saviour. A true understanding of the story of Jesus Christ will not leave us in the first two chapters of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. We need to move beyond the story of Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem, led on to a deeper understanding of all that Jesus came to do for us. From Bethlehem, then, we look back to learn from the prophets and we look forward to learn from the rest of the New Testament story. With great prophetic insight, Isaiah spoke of the coming Christ. He speaks of Christ’s birth, ministry, death and resurrection. From Isaiah, we learn of who Jesus was, what He did and what was done to Him. When we come to Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the birth of Christ (Isaiah 9:…

John Hick's Religious World

Introduction
John Hick is eminently readable. He is a theologian who wears his heart on his sleeve. He has no time for the kind of theology which uses traditional language without making clear whether such language is to be taken literally. Hick puts his cards on the table. There is no way he will entertain anything other than a thoroughly demythologized theology. Thus the pluralist theology of John Hick and the theology of conservative evangelicalism are poles apart. Nevertheless, the conservative evangelical may benefit from Hick’s frankness. We know exactly where we stand with Hick, who says what he means without worrying about whose sensitivities he is offending. The evangelical who is in dialogue with other less radical theologies than that of Hick has to spend time over questions of basic comprehension. With Hick, he can concentrate on responding to his theology without being sidetracked by the issue of correct interpretation. It is often said that in order to understand a theol…

Revised Common Lectionary - Year B

This post is not well formatted. I need to work on it. It will take time.  I have already improved the format of Year A, and have still to do this for Years B and C. I hope you can find what you're looking for without too much difficulty. -- YEAR B First Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37 Jesus Christ is God’s Answer to our prayer. We confess our sins to God - ‘We sinned... All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags’. We look to God for forgiveness - ‘Do not remember our sins for ever’ (Isaiah 64:5-6, 9). We know that God hears and answers our prayer. Jesus Christ is God’s Answer to our prayer. He has ‘come down’ from heaven to earth. ‘The Son of the Most High’ has been ‘born’ into our world. Jesus Christ is God’s way of saying ‘Here am I! Here am I!’ He is ‘God with us’ (Isaiah 64:1; 65:1; Luke 1:32, 35; Matthew 1:23). ‘The blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from all s…