Showing posts from March, 2015

Lord, we’re not to pray to You with superficial words that don’t mean very much to us.

Psalms 130:1-131:3 Lord, we’re not to pray to You with superficial words that don’t mean very much to us. Our prayer is to be a real cry from the heart: ‘Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord’ (Psalm 130:1). We are to ‘cry for mercy’ with a deep awareness of how sinful we really are: ‘If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?’ (Psalm 130:3). Help us to come to You with deep humility – ‘My heart is not proud, O Lord’ (Psalm 131:1). When we truly confess our sin, we receive Your ‘unfailing love’ and ‘forgiveness’ Psalm 130:(4). ‘In You, Lord’ we have ‘full redemption’ (Psalm 130:7). It is for ‘now’ – ‘The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives’. It is ‘for evermore’ – ‘But purer and higher and greater will be our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see!’. ‘Praise the Lord!… Give Him the glory!’ (Psalm 131:3). 

You, Lord, are drawing us to Yourself. You're bringing us into fellowship with Your people.

Psalm 147:1-20 ‘The Lord builds up Jerusalem. He gathers the exiles of Israel. he heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds’ (Psalm 147:2-3). Help us, Lord, to look beyond the building of the city of Jerusalem with bricks and mortar. May we see clearly that this is You blessing Your people as they gather together to worship You. In Christ, we are ‘being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit’ (Ephesians 2:22). You, Lord, are drawing us to Yourself. You're  bringing us into fellowship with Your people. You're calling us to worship You: ‘Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving’. You ‘bless’ us through ‘Your Word’. You ‘bless’ us in ‘the Spirit’: ‘You  send Your Word... and the waters flow’ (Psalm 147:7,12-13,18; John 7:37-39).

Psalm 11: God's way of salvation

This Psalm begins with a tremendous statement of faith - “In the Lord I take refuge.” The whole Psalm should be understood in the light of this tremendous statement of faith. From the vantage-point of faith, the Psalmist is able to overcome the temptation to doubt God (vs. 1-3). His enemies say to him, “”Flee like a bird to your mountain.” The Psalmist replies, “In the Lord I take refuge.” The “wicked” are out to get him. The Psalmist looks at them, and says, “In the Lord do I take refuge.” It seems that “the foundations are being destroyed.” The Psalmist looks to the Lord, and says, “In the Lord I take refuge.” From the vantage-point of faith, the Psalmist views the whole of life in the light of God. “In the Lord I take refuge.” There is only one refuge. The Lord is our refuge. He is our salvation. There is only one place of safety – “in Christ." “It is by grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). By grace, we are in Christ. Through faith, we are in Chris…

A Faithful Love, An Everlasting Love

Psalm 115:1-18 ‘Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to Your Name be the glory because of Your love and faithfulness’(Psalm 115:1). We thank You, Lord, that You love us. You love us with a faithful love, ‘an everlasting love’, a ‘love that will not let us go’. Your love ‘never comes to an end’. Nothing can separate us from Your love (Jeremiah 31:3; Lamentations 3:22-23; Romans 8:38-39). What have we done to deserve such love? Absolutely nothing! We are ‘sinners’. We do not deserve to be loved by You. We have done nothing to earn Your love. Love begins with You, Lord. It comes from You. How do we know that You love us? Have we proved ourselves worthy of Your love? No! - ‘God shows His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’(Romans 5:8). ‘To God be the glory!’

Lord, help us to take our stand against Satan. Help us to stand in Your strength.

Proverbs 1:8-19 Lord, when Satan comes, we are very weak. We need a strength which is not our own. We need Your strength. Your strength – this is the strength against which Satan cannot stand. Lord, help us to take our stand against Satan. Help us to stand in Your strength.

Whatever Happens - Don't Stop Praying.

Psalm 88:1-18 Lord, we see the Psalmist ‘down in the dumps.’ He feels like he is ‘in the depths of the Pit.” He feels like he is ‘in the darkest depths’(Psalm 88:6). This is the way he feels, but he has not stopped praying – ‘O Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before You… I call to You, O Lord, every day… I cry to You for help, O Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before You’(Psalm 88:1,9,13). Lord, we read his prayer – and it doesn’t make pleasant reading: ‘My soul is full of trouble… I am like a man without strength… Your wrath lies heavily upon me… the darkness is my closest friend’(Psalm 88:3-4,7,18). How can we be helped when we feel like this? We thank You, Lord, that we can be helped by Jesus. He knows what it feels like. For us, He has entered the ‘darkness’- ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?’. For us, He has triumphed – ‘risen from the dead’(Matthew 27:45-46; 28:5-7). Thank You, Lord, for Jesus, our great Saviour.

Lord, have we pushed You out to the edges of our life? Help us to walk with You in the light of Your Word.

Psalm 119:121-144 ‘The entrance of Your words gives light’ (Psalm 119:130). Lord, Your Word brings light into our lives. Sadly, many people ‘love darkness rather than light’. They  refuse to ‘come to the light’. They prefer to remain in the darkness. They refuse to listen to what You are saying to them through Your Word. Then, when things are not going so well for them, they blame You. They say, ‘It’s all Your fault’! Things could have been so different. They could have learned to spend time with You. They could have learned the lessons of faith which are found in Your Word. They could have learned to cope with life’s difficulties. They could have been filled with Your strength. They would not be complaining against You. They would be rejoicing in You. What about us, Lord? How much are we moulded by the world’s way of thinking? Have we pushed You out to the edges of our life? Lord. Lord, You have “called us out of darkness into Your marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:10). Help …

Help us, Lord, to choose Your way, the way that leads to eternal life

Proverbs 16:18-33
Help us, Lord, to think about the way we’re living. Is it a self-centred life? – “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 16:25). Is it a God-centred life? – “He who gives heed to the Word will prosper, and happy is he who trusts in the Lord” (Proverbs 16:20). Help us, Lord, to turn from the world’s way of living – “the wages of sin is death.” Help us to choose Your way, the way that leads to eternal life – “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Promises Of Love - And Words Of Warning

Proverbs 2:16-34 Lord, we love to hear Your promises of love. Sometimes, we need to hear Your words of warning. In Your warnings, we hear the voice of Your love. In Your love, You’re calling us back from a way that will do us great harm. You call us into a better way – the way of Your great salvation. Lord, when we are being pulled away from You, bring us back to Yourself. Speak to us with Your Word of warning, the Word that calls us back so that we can move forward with You and for You. When we don’t want to hear it – That’s when we most need to hear it. Speak to us, O Lord, and help us to listen. “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3).

There are times, Lord, when it seems like the light has gone out ...

Proverbs 4:10-19 There are times, Lord, when it seems like the light has gone out, and we can see nothing – nothing but darkness. When this happens to us, help us to catch a glimpse of the brightest light of all – the light of Your love. This is the light which will never go out. It is not our faith that lifts us out of the darkness. It’s Your love – the love that we see in Jesus, in His dying for us, His rising for us and His returning for us.

"One thing I know ..." (John 9:25).

"One thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see" (John 9:25). Every believer can share his /her personal experience of Christ. Many people say, "I don't know very much." They use this as an excuse for their failure to speak a word for Jesus. The man, who received his sight, didn't use his lack of knowledge as an excuse for not speaking for Jesus. He said, "I don't know." Then, he said, "One thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see" (John 9:25). To help us learn the lesson that every believer can and should share his / her personal testimony, when the opportunity, let's look at the context in which these words were spoken. There are three factors which contribute significantly to this context: the relation between Jesus and the man;the relation between the man and his world;the man himself.(1) Jesus and the man There are two moments of contact between Jesus and the man: the healing (John 9:1-8);the profession of faith (John …

Three Very Important Questions

Three very important questions - questions that demand a personal answer: Who is Jesus? What can Jesus do for us? What will we do about Jesus? (1) Who is Jesus? Is he a mere man? or Is He somebody special? Every one of us must answer the question, "Who is Jesus?" - Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1). - Jesus is the Son of God (John 1:34). Jesus does not merely speak God's Word. He is the Word of God. Jesus is more than a servant of God. He's the Son of God. (2) What can Jesus do for us? Could He do something wonderful for me? Could He change my life? Could He turn boredom into satisfaction? Could he turn confusion into certainty? Could He turn aimlessness into purpose? Could He turn cynicism into testimony? Could He ... ? - Yes! He can. Jesus is able to do great things for us. He can give satisfaction to the bored.He can give certainty to the confused.He can give purpose to the aimless.He can give a testimony to the cynical. Jesus can do all these things for us. He …

Joining The Church Or Following The Lord?

Jesus calls us to follow Him. Are you and I following Him? or Have we settled for something less? When we speak about church membership, we must ask ourselves, "Where does Jesus fit in? Is He at the centre of our life? or Has He been sidelined, while we settle for something less than following Him?" Let's think about church membership. What does it mean to us? (1) There is the church member who joined the church because thus is what other people were doing at the time. It was never really anything to do with following Jesus. It was more about following the crowd. When the crowd drifts away from the church, so does this kind of church member. How different is the true disciple who says, "If no one joins me, still I will follow.
(2) There is the church member who joined the church because he was interested in the activities associated with the church. This kind of church member is a great enthusiast for his own particular organization, but he shows no enthusiasm for fo…

So Little Feeds So Many.

Andrew looked at the bread and fishes, and asked, “how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:9). He did not understand how so little could find so many - but this didn’t stop him bringing the boy, with his bread and fishes, to Jesus. This was an act of faith. Andrew says to Jesus, “Here am I. Here is the boy. Here is the bread. Here are the fishes.” We look at the situation in today’s world. there is so much to be done – but we can do so little. what are we to do? We are to say, “Here I am, wholly available. as for me, I will serve the Lord … The fields are white unto harvest, But O, the labourers are so few, So, Lord, I give myself to help the reaping, To gather precious souls unto You” (Chris Bowater). If Andrew is to be viewed as a man of faith, what are we to say about the boy? He could have said to Andrew, “This is mine. You’re not having it.” He could have said that, but he didn’t. the boy was ready to be led to Jesus. He wanted to give his bread and fishes to Jesus. This is sti…

Jesus Is The Ice-Breaker.

“Anyone who comes to Me, I will never cast out” (John 6:37). Often, it seems like we’re living in an earthbound existence. We look out beyond ourselves, and we see nothing but an enormous iceberg that keeps us from getting through to the God who loves us with a warm-hearted love. Then, Jesus comes along. He’s the Ice-Breaker. He breaks the ice, which separates us from God. He enables us to see that God is much more than just, “There must be something somewhere.” He’s much more than “the unknown God.” He’s the God who loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins so that we, through faith in the Saviour, might come to know God as our Father. Jesus is the Ice-Breaker How does He break the ice? How does He melt away our coldness towards God? He does this in the same way that we break the ice with other people. He speaks to us. He speaks to us in ways that we can understand. He speaks to us His words of love. Here’s a great icebreaker that comes to us from Jesus, the Ice-Brea…

Grace, Gratitude, Glory

Grace, Gratitude, Glory – These three words summarize the meaning of the Lord’s Supper, the preaching of the Gospel, the message of the Bible. We live in an age where there is a great call for originality and novelty. Often, people lose their bearings. They don’t know what to believe. In such a time as this, we need teaching which is both simple and profound – simple enough to state clearly the message of the Lord’s Supper, the Gospel and the Bible; profound in a way that makes us conscious that, in the Lord’s Supper, the Gospel and the Bible, we are in contact with Someone greater than ourselves – the God of grace, the God of glory. As we consider this God – the God of grace, the God of glory, we must allow our hearts, and not only our minds, to be deeply affected, so that, from our hearts, there arises a song of thanksgiving. We have God’s call to thanksgiving.“Give thanks with a grateful heart, Give thanks to the Holy One, Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son” (Power …

Living Water (John 7:37-39)

John 7:37-38
 (1) We begin with the context of Jesus' great invitation -
   (a) the Feast of Tabernacles;
   (b) the teaching of the Old Testament Scriptures.
(a) The Feast of Tabernacles
  (i) Its historical significance
It reminded the people of Israel that they had been wanderers in the desert, dependent on the grace and mercy of God to provide for them in their need.
  (ii) Its agricultural significance
It was a Harvest Thanksgiving.
A priest took a golden pitcher, which held about two pints. He filled it with water from the Pool of Siloam. He carried it through the Water Gate, to the altar of the Temple, where it was poured out as an offering to God.
This was a vivid thanksgiving for God's good gift of rain.
It was an enacted prayer for rain.
It was a memorial of the water which sprang from the rock, while God's people were travelling through the wilderness.
It was in this context that Jesus spoke His tremendous words concerning Himself as the Giver of Living Water.

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.

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.”

Pain And Praise

The Psalmist is calling upon the Lord to be his “help and Saviour.” He is looking to the Lord for an immediate response - “Come quickly to rescue me, O God! Come quickly to help me, O Lord! ... O God, come quickly to me ... O Lord, do not delay” (Psalm 70:1,5). The Psalmist continues to pray for the Lord’s help: “”O God, do not be so distant from me, O my God, come quickly to me” (Psalm 71:12). In these prayers, we become aware of the Psalmist’s great pain. He speaks of “those who seek his life” and “want his downfall” (Psalm 70:2), his “enemies” who “talk about him” as “they watch him and plot to take his life” (Psalm 71:10). Through all his suffering, we see the light of faith shining brightly - “Because of Your faithfulness, O my God, even I will give thanks to You, as I play on a lyre. I will make music with a harp to praise You, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will sing with joy when I make music to praise You. My lips, which you have rescued, also will sing joyfully…

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).

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).

Thanks be to God!

“Our God is a God of victories. The Almighty Lord is our escape from death ... He gives strength and power to His people. Thanks be to God!” (Psalm 68:20,35). These words turn our thoughts to the great words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:57 - “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This victory is the triumph of Christ, risen from the dead. The risen Christ - our Saviour and Lord - gives us victory over our greatest enemy - “death” (1 Corinthians 15:26). It is Christ’s triumph over the devil - “Jesus took on flesh and blood. He did this so that, by dying, He would destroy the one who had power over death (that is, the devil)”; “The reason that the Son of God appeared was to destroy what the devil does” (Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8).

More Than A Human Story!

Queen Vashti is removed from her position. She is replaced by Esther. There is no direct mention of God in connection with these events. That fact that the book of Esther has been included in the Word of God indicates that these events were interpreted as evidence of God’s activity among His people. It is important that we read the book of Esther as part of Scripture, and not only in terms of what is written in the book itself. Reading Esther in this way, we see it as part of God’s Story, and not only as a human story. Although the Name of God does not appear in this book, we have here an inspiring story of the triumph of good over evil. This is a book about God and Satan. They are opposites. The victory belongs to God. He is Lord. Before the victory, there is the conflict. The people of God are in great jeopardy. Their life is in danger. The evil man, Haman, “planned to wipe out ... All the Jews in the entire kingdom of Xerxes” (Esther 3:6). Esther played a vital part …

Faithful To God ...

Near to the end of his life on earth, Elijah remained faithful to God. He stands up for God against “Baalzebub, the god of Ekron” (2 Kings 1:6,16). He spoke the Word that had been given to him by God (2 Kings 1:3-4). When Elijah was taken by God “to heaven in a windstorm” (2 Kings 2:11), the question was asked by Elisha, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” (2 Kings 2:14). The answer to this question is given in 2 Kings 2:15: “Elijah’s spirit rests on Elisha.” The names of the prophets change from generation to the next. The Name of the Lord remains constant. It is in the Name of the Lord that God’s servants speak and act. The power of God was upon Elisha. God was at work in mighty power. When we red about Elisha, we say, in our hearts, ‘This is not about Elisha. This is about God - - God working through Elisha.’ We must always remember to give all the glory to the Lord. The praise does not belong to the servant. It belongs to the Lord. He alone is worthy of praise. The m…

The Lord's Mercy Endures Forever ...

Following the return of the Jews to Jerusalem, after their captivity in Babylon and prior to the beginning of the rebuilding of the Temple, there was the resumption of worship at the Temple site (Ezra 3:1-6). Worship - This must always lie at the heart of the life of God’s people. Once the foundation had been laid at the Temple, there was joyful thanksgiving - “They prayed and gave thanks to the Lord ... He is good; His mercy toward Israel endures forever ... Praise the Lord” (Ezra 3:11). In Ezra 4, we read of opposition to God’s work. This opposition led to a temporary hold in God’s work (Ezra 4:24). Inspired by the ministry of Haggai and Zechariah, Zerubbabel resumed the rebuilding of God’s Temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 5:1-2). The work was completed (Ezra 6:15) and dedicated to the Lord (Ezra 6:16). At the heart of the dedication of the Temple, there was worship - joyful worship (Ezra 6:19-22). Ezra was a man of God. His life was grounded in the word of God. He brought t…

Give Me Wisdom ...

“Give me wisdom and knowledge so that I may lead these people ... This great people of Yours” (2 Chronicles 1:10). Wisdom is not given to us for our own benefit, It is given to us for the benefit of others - so that we might lead them to the Lord. We are to follow in the footsteps of our Lord. He “came not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45). “I want to build the Temple for the Lord my God. I want to dedicate it to Him” (2 Chronicles 2:4). Everything that we do is to be done for God. Everything that we do is to be dedicated to Him. This is the lesson that we learn from Solomon and the building of the Temple. We are to do all things for the glory of God. He alone is worthy of our praise. We are not only to worship Him in the place of worship and at the time set aside for worship. We are to worship Him all of the time, wherever we are. We are to praise Him in His House. We are to continue to praise Him, as we go out from His House to the world. The building of the Tem…