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Showing posts from May, 2015

Restore us, O God ...

Psalm 80:1-19 “Restore us, O God, make Your face shine upon us, that we may be saved” (Psalm 80:3). When, Lord, we come to You with the question of salvation – “What must I do to be saved?”, You come to us with Your answer – “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31). In Christ, You have “blessed us with every spiritual blessing” (Ephesians 1:3). Thank You, Lord.

The Tower of Babel

Genesis 10-11
Following on from the reference to Babylon in 10:10, we have, in chapter 11, the story of "the Tower of Babel". "This is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible to them" (11:6). What can we say about the world today, as men 'play God', taking the issues of life and death into their own hands? We need to remember that God is the Creator and we are His creatures. We dare not assume an authority which does not belong to us. God is left out by man who sees himself as the be-all and end-all, man who does things his way, man who seeks his own glory rather than God's glory. We must ask, "Does this glorify God or man? Does this show the love of God or the 'couldn't care less' attitude of godless man?" We must ask concerning ourselves: "Am I getting caught up in a secular, materialistic, godless way of thinking? Am I seeking to bring Christian value…

The Gospel Of God's Amazing Grace

Genesis 6
As we read the story of Noah, we learn of the place of Noah within the divine revelation of the Gospel of grace. "Noah found grace" might be turned around to read "Grace found Noah." "Amazing grace ... I once was lost but now am found." The significance of Noah, highlighted in 5:29 - "this one (Noah) shall bring relief from our work and from the toil of our hands" - is expressed in the words, "Not the labour of my hands can fulfil Thy law's demands. All for sin could not atone. Thou must save, and Thou alone. Nothing in my hand I bring. Simply to Thy Cross I cling." To see the flood exclusively in terms of judgment is to see only one side of what God was doing. As well as judging He was also saving: "In this ship a few people - eight in all - were saved by water" (1 Peter 3:20). The ark points forward to Christ "who came back from death to life", Christ who "saves" us (1 Peter 3:21)…

Real worship, joyful worship, heartfetlt worship

Psalm 84:1-12 ‘How I love Your Temple, Almighty Lord! How I want to be there! I long to be in the Lord’s Temple. With my whole being I sing for joy to the living God’(Psalm 84:1-2). Lord, we read this words, and we know that this is much more than paying lip-service to You. This is real. ‘I long for You, O God. I thirst for You, the living God; when can I go and worship in Your presence’(Psalm 42:1-2).  ‘Let Your light and Your truth guide me… to the place where You dwell. Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight…’(Psalm 43:4). Here, Lord, we meet a man who found great joy in worshipping You.‘O God, You are my God, and I long for You. My whole being desires You… my soul is thirsty for You’(Psalm 63:1). Here, Lord, we meet a man who worshipped You with his whole heart. This is real worship, joyful worship, heartfetlt worship. Lord, help us to worship You like that!

God Is Still At Work, Calling Sinners To Worship Him.

Genesis 4
This chapter tells the story of the progression of mankind, the increase of sin and - in its final sentence - the development of worship. There are interesting snippets of cultural information (vs. 20-22). There may be progress in the horizontal dimension - agriculture, music, industry, but history reveals again and again that all is not well in our relationship with God. Sin was on the increase (vs. 1-16). Things were getting out of control. Could they be turned around again? A strongly positive answer is not spelled out in detail in this chapter. There is, however, a hint of God at the end of the chapter. He is still at work, calling sinners to worship Him. People are beginning to respond. This is the note on which the chapter ends. "At that time, people began to worship the Lord" (v. 26). This is the ray of hope. This is the word of inspiration at the end of a chapter which is, at best informative - the progression of culture, and, at worst, depres…

God Is At Work In You.

Philippians 2:12-3:11
God’s command- ‘Work out your own salvation’- must never be separated from His promise - ‘God is at work in you’(12-13). We do not save ourselves - We ‘put no confidence in the flesh’. We are saved by the Lord - We ‘glory in Christ Jesus’(3). We are to ‘shine as lights in the world’, directing attention away from ourselves to Him who is ‘the Light of the world’- our Lord Jesus Christ (15; John 8:12). We have this testimony: “I have ‘no righteousness of my own’. ‘Through faith in Christ’, I have received ‘this rtighteousness from God’”(9). We are living in difficult times. This is ‘a crooked and perverse generation’(15). We are called to ‘hold fast the Word of life’(16). It will not be easy. We will face many difficulties. We must take encouragement from this: ‘God is at work in you’(13).

God's Way To Revival

2 Samuel 15:1-37
There is a great difference between human popularity and divine approval. Here, we have human popularity - ‘The conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Absalom kept increasing’(12). In Acts 5:14, we have divine approval - ‘More than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women’. Conspiracy involves man seeking to get his own way. Revival comes when we ‘let go and let God have His wonderful way’. ‘Carry the ark of God back into the city’(25). In the ark of God, we have the Word of God among the people of God. If the people of God are to enjoy the blessing of God, they must live according to the Word of God. We organize things to suit ourselves. This is conspiracy. God is not in it. Look to God. Listen for His Word. Live in the light of His Word. This is God’s way to revival.

God Is Calling Us To Be Faithful To Him.

Nahum 1:1-2:9
‘Fulfil your vows’ (1:15). God is calling us to be faithful to Him. We are to be faithful in worship. We are to be faithful in reading His Word. We are to be faithful in prayer. We are to be faithful in giving. We are to be faithful in witness. Our faith is to be real. Our faith is to make a difference. It’s to change the way we live. It’s not to be a case of ‘faith without works’. That kind of ‘faith’ is ‘dead’ (James 2:17). Our whole life is to be a life of faith. It is to be a life of ‘love’. We are to live ‘for the glory of God’ (Romans 14:23; 1 Corinthians 16:14; 10:31). ‘Fill Thou our life, O Lord our God, in every part with praise... Not for the lip of praise alone, nor even the praising heart we ask, but for a life made up of praise in every part’ (Church Hymnary, 457).
Nahum 2:10-3:19
To those who refuse to live in obedience to Him, God speaks His Word of judgment: ‘I am against you’ (2:13; 3:5). Those who refuse to listen to God’s Word of salvation - ‘…

There Is Only One Kingdom Which Stands Forever - The Kingdom Of God.

Daniel 1:1-2:16
‘Daniel resolved not to defile himself’(8). Daniel was devoted to the Lord. It was not easy to live as the Lord’s faithful servant. His dedication to the Lord was put to the test - ‘Test your servants’(12). Our faith is put to the test. We ‘suffer many trials’. Why does God allow our faith to be tested by ‘all kinds of trials? - ‘The testing of your faith produces steadfastness’. ‘These have come so that your faith, which is much more precious than gold, may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed’(1 Peter 1:6-7; James 1:2-3). Knowing that ‘every trial falls from above, traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love’, may we learn to ‘trust God fully’ and ‘find Him wholly true’(Mission Praise, 421).

Daniel 2:17-49
‘In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom that will never be destroyed’(44). There is only one Kingdom which stands forever - the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom is eternal. Throu…

‘Christ Died For Sins, Once For All, The Righteous For The Unrighteous, To Bring You To God.’

2 Samuel 18:1-33
Some die young. Others live to a ripe old age. None of us can predict what lies ahead of us. There are some things that are beyond our control. We look at what is happening and we say, ‘I wish things could be different’. Absalom had been killed. David wished he could have died instead of him. It was not to be. Each of us must die our own death: ‘No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him - the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough - that he should live on for ever and not see decay’(Psalm 49:7-9). There is, however, a ‘Man’ who has died for us - Jesus Christ, ‘our Lord and our God’. He ‘gave Himself as a ransom for all’. ‘Christ died for sins, once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God’(John 20 28; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 1 Peter 3:18).

Less About The Preacher And More About The Lord!

1 Corinthians 14:13-40
‘Be eager to prophesy’ (39).
Preaching God’s Word to the people is important. It is not everything. It is to be accompanied by prayer and praise.
Many come to hear ‘the preacher.’ Few gather to pray that the whole service of worship will be filled with the presence of the Lord.
Some come to hear a ‘sermon.’ They show little real enthusiasm for worshipping the Lord. They want ‘the Word.’ There is no real heart for worship, witness, and work.
The preacher’s public performance becomes more important than the prayerful praise of God’s people.
‘All things’ are ‘done decently and in order’ yet the atmosphere is forbidding. The Spirit of God is not moving freely among the people of God (39-40).
Let there be less talking about the preacher and more concern with giving all the praise and glory to the Lord.

So many people are turning away from You, Lord.

Psalm 79:1-13 So many people are turning away from You, Lord. They no longer worship You. We wonder, “Can things be turned around?” It would be so easy to give up and go the way of the world. “Help us, O God of our salvation” (Psalm 79:9) – to keep on praising You: “W, Your people, the flock which You shepherd, will give thanks to You forever. We will praise You throughout every generation” (Psalm 79:13).

I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me.

Philippians 3:12-4:23
‘Christ Jesus has made me His own’(3:12). In Paul`s words, we hear an echo of Jesus` words, ‘You did not choose Me... I chose you’(John 15:16). Christ has claimed us for Himself. He has laid claim to every part of our life. We are to ‘rejoice in the Lord always’(4). We are to bring ‘everything’ to Him in prayer (6). We are to be ‘content in all circumstances’(4:11-12). We are to face every challenge with confidence in His strength - ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’(4:13). We are to trust Him to ‘supply’ our ‘every need’(4:19). In every situation, we can come to the Lord, trusting in His promise: ‘the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’(7). Whatever is happening, take it to the Lord in prayer and let Him give you His peace.

Celebrating The Lord's Supper In Joyful Obedience

1 Corinthians 11:1-34
We celebrate the Lord’s Supper (23-26).
We take note of what Paul says about the way we are to come to the Lord’s Table (27-29).
What’s this all about? Is it about the whole thing looking good - impressive?
Paul gives us something to think about in verse 22 - ‘Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the Church of God and humiliate those who have nothing?’
In Paul’s questions, we hear an echo of the Old Testament prophets (Isaiah 1:12-20; Amos 5:21-24).
We rejoice in John 3:16 - ‘God so loved the world…’.
Let’s not forget 1 John 3:16-18 - ‘let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.’
Jesus says, ‘…first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift’ (Matthew 5:23-24).
Don’t just think about it. Act on it (James1:22-25; 2:14-17)!

Let's Live As Servants Of Christ.

1 Corinthians 7:25-8:13
We are to ‘use the things of the world’ without becoming ‘engrossed in them’ (31).
Becoming more worldly in our way of living is not a purely personal thing. We harm other people ‘for whom Christ died’. They look to us for a godly example and we let them down. We ‘sin against them’. We ‘sin against Christ’. Our choices affect other people. We choose a self-centred life. We cause them to ‘fall into sin.’ We live a life of ‘love’, and they are ‘built up’ in their faith (11-13,1; Matthew 18:5-7, 10).
How are we to live? Are we to become preoccupied with how our actions affect those who watch our every move? That could become very confusing and distracting. We must keep our eyes on Jesus. We must live ‘not ... as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart...’ (Ephesians 6:6-7).


What A Great Saviour Jesus Is!

1 Corinthians 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).

Beyond The ‘Pain’ Of ‘Discipline’, There Is ‘The Peaceful Fruit Of Righteousness.’

2 Samuel 7:1-29
David was king. God was looking ahead to the next king, Solomon. Knowing the kind of man Solomon would become, God speaks of chastening: ‘When he does wrong, I will chasten him’. This chastening is an expression of God’s ‘steadfast love’: ‘Those whom I love, I rebuke and chasten’. How do we respond to God’s chastening? Don’t be like ‘Saul’. He was ‘put away from’ being king because of his continual disobedience. ‘Be zealous and repent’. When you are being chastened, don’t forget the love of God: ‘The Lord disciplines him whom He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives’. Why does God chasten His children? - ‘He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness’. Beyond the ‘pain’ of ‘discipline’, there is ‘the peaceful fruit of righteousness’(14-15; Revelation 3:19; Hebrews 12:5-11).

2 Samuel 8:1-9:13
David was involved in many battles with his enemies. Their antagonism had been aroused by his strong stand for the Lord. David enjoyed many v…

Do You Feel Useless? You Can Become Useful.

Philemon 1-25
‘He was useless... now he has become useful’(11). This is the story of Onesimus (the name means ‘useful’). A runaway ‘slave’, he became ‘a beloved brother... in the Lord’(16). It appears that Onesimus had stolen from his master, Philemon (18-19). He landed up in prison - and there, he was converted! This is what Paul is telling us when he speaks of ‘Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment’(10). Why did God allow Paul, His faithful servant, to land up in prison - for the sake of the Gospel? Part of the reason was Onesimus. God wanted Paul to meet Onesimus. Paul was to lead Onesimus to Christ. Sometimes, our difficult circumstances may feel like a prison sentence. You want to get out, but you can’t - until God has fulfilled His purpose: the ‘useless’ becomes ‘useful’- in the service of God.

More Of Christ And Less Of Self!

1 Corinthians 5:1-6:11
‘Your boasting is not good’ - May we never become so taken up with ourselves that we forget Jesus Christ and all that He has done for us: ‘Christ, ou r Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us’, ‘you were washed... sanctified... justified in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God’ (5:6-7; 6:11).
There were problems among God’s people - ‘sexual immorality’, ‘lawsuits’ (5:1; 6:7). In all of this, Christ was being forgotten.
* There are no depths to which we cannot sink when we take our eyes off Christ.
* There are no heights to which we will not be raised as we look away from ourselves to Him. Christ is able to lift from the guttermost and ‘save to the uttermost all those who come to God through Him’ (Hebrews 7:25).
Let it be more of Christ and less of self!

Lord, help us to win others for You.

Proverbs 1:20-33 Lord, help us to win others for You. You’ve called us to be Your witnesses. How can we be Your witnesses – when there is so much about us that is unworthy of You, so much that speaks so loudly of ourselves, so little that proclaims the amazing grace of Jesus? Lord, we thank You that, along with this high calling – “you shall be My witnesses”, you give to us Your wonderful promise: “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8).

Search The Scriptures: New Testament

This is an updated post. I've just added notes on Mark 7. ________________________
MATTHEW 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. The wise men did want to worship Jesus (Matthew 2:2). Herod said that he wanted to worship Jesus (Matthew 2:8). What a difference there is between saying that we want to worship Jesus and really wanting to worship Him. This highlights the conflict between false religion and true worship. Religion may say the right things, but, if we do…

Help us, Lord, to keep on praying that our love for You will grow.

Psalms 128:1-129:8 ‘Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways’ (Psalm 128:1). If, Lord, we are to enjoy Your blessing, we must fear You and walk in Your ways. Many people despise the place of worship. They ‘pass by’. They have no desire to know ‘the blessing of the Lord’. Lord, You’re warning us that we must not allow this attitude to grow in us: ‘May all who hate Zion be put to shame’. We must take care that our love for You doesn’t ‘wither’ away. Help us to keep on praying that our love for You will ‘grow’. If we place no value on Your blessing, our lives will be empty. May we come to You, our Lord, with this prayer: ‘The greatest thing in all my life is knowing You, loving You, serving You. I want to know You more, love You more, serve You more’.  He will ‘fill’ your life with His blessing (Psalm 129:5-8; Mission Praise, 646).

Help us, Lord, to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Psalms 120:1-121:8 ‘Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips’ (Psalm 120:2). Lord, You’re calling us to ‘believe the truth’, ‘love the truth’ and ‘follow the truth’. We are to be people who ‘do what is true’ (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11; 3 John 3-4; John 3:21). How can we be such people? Help us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. He is ‘the Truth’ (Hebrews 12:2; John 14:6). When we’re tempted to turn away from the pathway of truth, help us to remember this: ‘My help comes from the Lord’. Help us to remember Your promise: ‘The Lord is your Keeper…The Lord will keep you from all evil’. Your promise is not only for ‘this time’. It’s ‘for evermore’ (Psalm 121:2,5,7-8). Give to us the glorious hope that fills our hearts as we keep on looking to Christ,‘eagerly awaiting’ His Return ( Hebrews 9:28).

Jesus is able to deliver us from the evil one.

Psalm 91:1-16 ‘Surely He will save you from the traps of the hunter’(Psalm 91:3). Lord, You have given us Your warning. We must ‘be alert’- ‘Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’. You have also given us Your promise – ‘Resist the devil, and he will flee from you’. How are we to resist the devil? – We are to ‘resist him, standing firm in the faith’(1 Peter 5:8-9; James 4:7). Help us not to try to resist the devil in our own strength. We will be defeated. He is much more powerful than we are. Help us to resist him in the strength of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, we have the victory – ‘Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’(1 Corinthians 15:57). Help us never to forget that Satan is out to get us. He’s trying to trap us. Help us never to forget this: Jesus is able to ‘deliver us from the evil one’(Matthew 6:13).

May God's Blessing Surround You Each Day ...

God's Word is "a lamp to our feet and a light to our path." He has "wondrous things" to teach us as we pray "Open my eyes that I may see" (Psalm 119:105, 18, 11). "May God's blessing surround you each day, as you trust Him and walk in His way. May His presence within guard and keep you from sin, go in peace, go in joy, go in love." "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your Name give glory, because of Your mercy and Your truth" (Psalm 115:1).

The Great Love Of God

Psalms 113:1-114:8 ‘The Lord is high above all nations... Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high?... Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, who turns the hard rock into springs of water’(Psalm 113:4-5; Psalm 114:7-8). Lord, You are greater than we could ever imagine. There is no greatness like Your greatness. All human greatness cannot even begin to compare with Your greatness. Your greatness is not only the greatness of Your power. It is also the greatness of Your love. When we sing, ‘How great Thou art’, we sing not only of Your power - ‘Thy power throughout the universe displayed’. We sing also of Your love - ‘And when I think that God His Son not sparing, sent Him to die - I scarce can take it in, that on the Cross my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin...’

Holy Fear And Heartfelt Love

Psalms 98:1-100:5 ‘Exalt the Lord our God... Make a joyful noise to the Lord’(Psalm 99:5,9; Psalm 98:4,6; Psalm 100:1). Lord, You're calling us to worship You with joy. You're calling us to glorify You. You want us to enjoy You. In our worship, may we never forget Your holiness: ‘He is holy!... The Lord our God is holy!’(99:5,9). In our worship, may we rejoice in Your love: ‘His steadfast love endures for ever... He has done marvellous things!’(Psalm 100:5; Psalm 98:1). You are the God of ‘awesome purity’ - and You love us with the most perfect love of all: ‘No earthly father loves like Thee...’. Help us to worship You with holy fear and heartfelt love.

Are we to say, ‘God loves me. I can do what I like’?

Psalm 103:1-22 ‘Praise the Lord’(Psalm 103:1-2,20-22). Lord, You're calling us to praise You for His ‘steadfast love’. You are ‘abounding in steadfast love’(Psalm 103:8). How are we to respond to Your ‘steadfast love’? Are we to say, ‘God loves me. I can do what I like’? No! We must not think like this. We’re not to say, ‘I’ll keep on sinning. God will keep on forgiving’(Romans 6:1-2). Your Word tells us something very different. You love us. Teach us to love You. When Your ‘steadfast love’ has really touched our hearts, it changes our lives: ‘As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him... The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him’(Psalm 103:11,17). We thank You, Lord, for Your love. Help us to live to please You!

You keep on loving us, no matter what’s going on in our lives.

Psalm 119:73-96 Lord, we rejoice in Your ‘constant love’. This is our ‘comfort’ - You keep on loving us, no matter what’s going on in our lives. We may be going through really hard times - ‘Men persecute me with lies... They have almost succeeded in killing me’. There’s one thing that never changes - Your ‘constant love’. You love us in the hard times as well as in the happy times. Your love inspires us to keep on loving You when we feel like giving up in despair (Psalm 11976,86-88). We see many changes taking place in our world. Sometimes, we wonder, ‘Where are You, Lord, in all of this? Have You abandoned us? Can we keep on trusting You and rejoicing in Your Word?’. When our minds are full of negative thoughts, help us, Lord, to remember Your Word - ‘Your Word, O Lord, will last for ever... Your faithfulness endures through all the ages’ (Psalm 119:89-90).

Lord, You have so much to teach us – and we have so much to learn.

Psalm 119:97-120 Lord, You have so much to teach us – and we have so much to learn. How do we learn from You? – You open up Your Word to us. You speak to us words of life. You shine Your light upon us. You show us how much You love us. Every day You have something to say to us. Every day, You have something to share with us. Every day, You show us more of Your love for us. Help us, each and every day, to take time to learn from You. Throughout life, Lord, we have to make choices. Some choices are relatively straightforward. Others are very much more difficult. Some choices don’t affect the rest of our life very much. There are, however, choices which affect the whole of our life. Help us, Lord, to make the one choice which is more important than any other – Choosing the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour. Those who refuse to choose are ‘double-minded’(Psalm 119:113). They can’t make up their mind. They know that they should be following Christ – but they are still ‘in love…

Worshipping the Lord - not just on a Sunday, not only when I feel like it, not only ‘when there’s nothing better to do’!

Psalm 104:1-35
‘I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live’(Psalm 104:33). Sometimes, Lord, we feel like giving up. Other things become more important to us. Worshipping You gets pushed out to the edge of your life. Wrong attitudes creep in. It starts with the idea, ‘Worship’s just an hour on a Sunday’. Then, it becomes, ‘I’ll worship the Lord when I feel like it’. It soon becomes, ‘I’ll worship the Lord when I’ve nothing better to do’. Before long, all desire for worshipping You Lord has gone! Little-by-little, we drift away from the Lord. It’s time, for us, to start thinking about what’s happening. It’s time for a new beginning. It’s time for an ‘all my life’ commitment to worshipping You, Lord - not just on a Sunday, not only when I feel like it, not only ‘when there’s nothing better to do’!

How, Lord, do we receive Your strength?

Psalm 105:1-22
‘Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. Remember the wonderful works that He has done...’(Psalm 105:4-5). Lord, You give strength to those who put their trust in You. Trusting in Christ, we have this great testimony: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’(Philippians 4:13). How, Lord, do we receive Your strength? We must '‘seek Your face always'. We must not think we can face difficult circumstances in our strength. Without Your strength, we will be defeated. You have helped us in the past. Help us never to forget this. Help us to give thanks to You for every victory won. As we face temptation, help us to remember Your promise of victory: ‘God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength. With the temptation, He will also provide the way of escape...’(1 Corinthians 10:13).

Some things are worth repeating!

Psalm 107:1-43 Lord, there are some things that are worth repeating! The story of Your amazing grace is worth repeating over and over again - ‘Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress’(Psalm 107:6,13,19,28). The call to praise You is also something we need to hear again and again - ‘Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men’(Psalm 107:8,15,21,31). Help us, Lord, 'consider Your great love.' Help us to ‘give thanks to You’(Psalm 107:43,1).

What, Lord, are we to do when the world, the flesh and the devil are threatening to overwhelm us?

Psalm 109:1-31 Lord, we come to You, recognizing that, without You, our situation is hopeless - ‘I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I fade away like an evening shadow’(Psalm 109:22). When our enemies are on the attack, we are no match for them. What are we to do when the world, the flesh and the devil are threatening to overwhelm us? We must come to You, Lord, praying for Your help, asking You to save us - ‘Help me, O Lord my God; save me in accordance with Your love’(Psalm 109:26). Help us, Lord, to look away from ourselves and our own weakness. Help us to put our trust in You and Your strength. You will not fail us. You ‘stand beside’ us in our time of testing. You ‘save’ us from our enemies. Help us to keep on praising You: ‘I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth. I will praise Him among many people...’(Psalm 109:30-31).

We come to You, Lord, in our weakness, and You ‘renew our strength.’

Psalm 110:1-7 ‘The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand...’(Psalm 110:1). Lord, we read these words, and we think of our Lord Jesus Christ: When ‘He was taken up into heaven, He sat at the right hand of God’(Mark 16:19). When Jesus ascended to Your Father’s right hand, the Holy Spirit was sent down from heaven to fill our lives with Your blessing (John 7:37-39). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, our lives are changed: ‘In the Day of Your power, Your people will come to You willingly...’. We come to You, Lord, in our weakness, and You ‘renew our strength’. We come to You in our weariness, and we are ‘refreshed’ by Your ‘streams of living water’(Psalm 110,7). ‘Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace. Streams of mercy never ceasing call for songs of loudest praise.’

The Lord Is Our Rock.

Psalm 144:1-15 ‘Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle’(Psalm 144:1). Lord, You are ‘the One who gives victory’ to Your people (Psalm 144:10). What a great God You are! You are ‘our loving God, our Fortress, our Stronghold, our Deliverer, our Shield’ (Psalm 144:2). What great blessing You send into our lives! You fight for us (Exodus 14:14; Deuteronomy 1:30; 3: 22; Nehemiah 4:20). You are ‘our Strength’ (Psalm 28:7-8; Psalm 59:17). ‘With God we shall gain the victory’ (Psalm 60:12). We pray You will pour out Your blessing upon us: ‘Part Your heavens, O Lord, and come down... Reach down Your hand from on high...’ (Psalm 144:5,7). Lord, we think of how much You have blessed us. Help us to sing our song of praise to You: ‘I will sing a new song to You, O God’ (Psalm 144:9).

Great God, Great Love, Great Faithfulness

Psalm 145:1-21 ‘Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. His greatness is beyond understanding’. We worship You, Lord - our great God: ‘I will exalt You, my God the King. I will praise Your Name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise You and extol Your Name for ever and ever’ (Psalm 145:1-3). You, Lord, are the God whom we worship. You are so much greater than the worship we bring to You. Our worship is to be a ‘joyful celebration’. We celebrate Your great love: ‘The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love’. We rejoice in Your great faithfulness: ‘The Lord is faithful to all His promises’. Here on earth, we have only begun to worship You, our great God. Our worship will continue in Your ‘everlasting Kingdom’. There, we will ‘praise Your Name for ever and ever’ (Psalm 145:7-8,13,21).

Lord, help us to be doers of Your Word.

Proverbs 1:1-7
Lord, help us to be doers of Your Word. Hearing Your Word is easier than doing Your Word. We hear what You’re saying to us – but do we do what You’re telling us to do? This is the great question we must always ask ourselves. It’s the great question that You’re always putting to us. It’s a question that calls for an answer – ‘Not my will but Yours be done’ (Matthew 26:39).

Loved By The Lord - And Saved By Him

“Show Your marvellous lovingkindness …  O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 17:7; Psalm 19:14).
The lessons that we discover in the Word of God are lessons that are given to us by revelation. God shows us His “marvellous lovingkindness.” He shows us His salvation. Learning about God’s love and His salvation – There is nothing more wonderful than this. To know that we are loved by the Lord and have been saved by Him – This is what gives us strength to keep on loving and praising Him as we travel with Him towards His glorious Kingdom.

We stand in the strength of the Lord.

The Psalmist speaks of his enemies – “my foes” (Psalm 3:1). They are not only his enemies. They are the Lord’s enemies (Psalm 2:2).
What an encouragement it is to know that we do not stand against our enemies on our own. The Lord is standing with us. We do not stand in our own weakness. We stand in the strength of the Lord. He is with us. Many times, we will fail Him. He will never fail us. Often, we will let Him down. He will never let us down. What does God say to us, in our weakness? – He assures us that He holds on to us with a love which is much stronger than our weak love for Him – “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13). When, in our battle against strong a nd determined enemies, we like giving up, let’s remember this: God is faithful – and He is much stronger than Satan. “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

King Jesus

“For a full 180 days, King Xerxes displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendour and glory of his majesty” (Esther 1:4). As I was reading these words about King Xerxes, I thought about another king, a very different king, a much better king – King Jesus. What did Jesus say about His Kingdom?  This is what He said – “My Kingdom is not of this world… My Kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36). We read about Xerxes. We read about Jesus. We must make our choice. What is most important to us – this world or the world towards which God is calling us, the world of His glory?

The Mercy Of God And The Ministry Of His Word

In the work of ministry, we are often discouraged by the lack of response. May God help us to remember that “we have received this ministry by the mercy of God” (2 Corinthians 4:1). May He give us the wonderful privilege of seeing more people responding to the Word of God which, by the power of the Holy Spirit, “gives the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all’ (2 Corinthians 13:14).

We have often heard these words spoken. Here, we are reading them in the Word of God. How often do we think about these words? What do they mean? These are life-changing words. Through ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ’, we become ‘rich’ - ‘blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing’ (2 Corinthians 8:9, Ephesians 1:3). ‘In love God has destined us to be His sons through Jesus Christ’ (Ephesians 1:5). How do these blessings become ours? How do we become God’s children? We hear the Word of truth, the Gospel of our salvation. We believe in Christ. We are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). Such great blessing - ‘the Spirit is poured upon us from on high (Isaiah 32:15)!

"The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ" (Galatians 3:24).

The Law of God, the Spirit of God and the Son of God
Some schoolmasters may be viewed as disciplinarians. I think, however, we should see the work of the Holy Spirit here. He convicts us of sin and leads us to Christ. This is not the impersonal law. It's the personal approach of the Holy Spirit. In grace and mercy, He shows us how far we have fallen short of God's perfect standard so that He might gently lead us to the Cross of Christ, the place where we receive the forgiveness of all our sins.
In Galatians 4:6, we learn that ‘God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.’ The Spirit is not a reward which we earn by being good people. We are bad people who have broken God's law. The Spirit is God’s gift (Titus 3:5). The Spirit is not a reward which we earn because of our good works. Paul connects the gift of the Spirit with Christ’s death for us and our faith in Christ (Galatians 3:13-14).
When the Spirit brings us to Christ our Saviour, He takes us throu…