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Showing posts from July, 2015

We thank You, Lord, that Your Son, Jesus, died - so that we might live.

Leviticus 17:1-18:23 We thank You, Lord, that Your Son, Jesus, died - so that we might live. He was forsaken by You - so that we might live with You. We think of Jesus, suffering for us - "In my place, condemned, He stood." We think of the blessing that He brings to us: "Sealed my pardon with His blood." Here-and-now, there's a song of praise, arising in our hearts - but there's more than that: We look forward to the full glory of Your heavenly and eternal glory: "When He comes, our glorious King, all His ransomed home to bring, then anew this song we'll sing: Alleluia! What a Saviour!"

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

Leviticus 18:24-19:37 Lord, You are the God of perfect holiness. You are the God of perfect love. You call us to a life of holiness. You call us to a life of love. How are to live this life of holiness and love? We need the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of love. Without Him, we cannot even begin to live this new life - the life of holiness and love. We thank You, Lord, that You have not left us to live this life in our own strength - "the Holy Spirit ... lives in us" (2 Timothy 1:14).

God's Giving To Us, Our Giving To Him

“You shall give to the Lord your God, as the Lord your God has blessed you” (Deuteronomy 16:10).
Our giving to the Lord can never be any more than a response to His giving to us. His giving to us is always greater than our giving to Him. There can be no comparison between His giving to us and our giving to Him. When we focus our attention on His giving to us, our giving to him will be transformed. It will not be legalism. It will be thanksgiving. No longer grudge-giving – “I have to”, or duty-giving – “I ought to”, it will be thanksgiving – “I want to.

Physical Blindness - And Spiritual Blindness

“Many warned him to be quiet, but he cried out all the more … ” (Mark 10:48).
There were many people who tried to silence blind Bartimaeus. Here was the voice of prayer – and they were saying, “Shut up’! Thank God – he didn’t shut up. He shouted out. They more they said, “Shut up”, the more he shouted out. Because our praise is loud, that doesn’t mean that it’s real – but what kind of worship if we can hardly burst a paper bag! Let’s lift up our voices to the Lord. Why? Because we want to be loud? – No! There’s something much more important than how loud we’re singing. It’s this – how much we are lifiting up our hearts to the Lord. We read the story of blind Bartimaeus, and we ask the question: Who was really blind – Bartimaeus or the people who were trying to shut him up? They could see Bartimaeus, but they couldn’t see that he was doing the one thing that really mattered. He was calling upon the Lord. They were busy criticizing him. He kept on calling on the Lord. They w…

Setting God’s Servants On A Pedestal Is A Dangerous Thing.

2 Samuel 19:1-39
‘My lord the king is like an angel of God in discerning good and evil’(27;14:17). Setting God’s servants on a pedestal is a dangerous thing. Don’t imagine that they will always get it right. They won’t. They have their faults and failings as well as everyone else. They need forgiveness just as much as anyone else. They look great - from a distance. The closer you get to them, the more you see that they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. From a distance, they seem like spiritual giants. Close up, they’re not so impressive. Build up God’s servants with unrealistically high expectations, and you’re setting them up for a very great fall. The closer you get to them, the smaller they become. There’s one Man who’s different: our Lord Jesus Christ - The closer you get to Him, the bigger He becomes!

‘Paul Planted, Apollos Watered, But God Gave The Growth.’

2 Samuel 19:40-20:26
‘The words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel’(43). At the heart of all this conflict was Sheba. He was a real trouble-maker. ‘A worthless fellow’, he was up to no good. A complainer, he wreaked havoc among God’s people. He was out to make an impression - and he succeeded. Sadly, it was all negative. He did a great deal of ‘harm’(1-2,6). How sad it is when there is strife among God’s people! God’s Word speaks out strongly against this kind of thing: ‘While there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh…?’. Strife can arise when we attach too much importance to certain individuals and pay too little attention to the Lord: ‘“I belong to Paul”… “I belong to Apollos”’. Remember - ‘Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth’(1 Corinthians 3:3-7).

The Lord’s work is moving on.

Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12 The Lord’s work is moving on. the Lord’s servant – Moses – is looking towards the future. He is pronouncing God’s blessing on the people of Israel. He pays special attention to each tribe. There is a Word from the Lord for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. The people of Israel had been “blessed” – “a nation saved by the Lord” (Deuteronomy 33:29). The future lay with the whole people of God, as they moved forward together. There was, however, to be one man who was called to special leadership among the people – Joshua. For this work, Joshua was “filled with the Spirit” (Deuteronomy 34:9). The people of God were moving forward, but they would not forget where they had come from – how the Lord had led them. They remembered Moses (Deuteronomy 34:10-12) – and they gave thanks to God.

Living In The Light Of God's Unfailing Love

“I see Your mercy in front of me. I walk in the light of Your truth” (Psalm 26:3).
In Your mercy, Lord, open up for us a new way of living – a way of living that is shaped by Your truth, a way of living that is filled with Your light.
“I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness” (Psalm 26:3).
Have we always been mindful of God’s unfailing love? Have we always trusted in His faithfulness? We know the answer as soon as we ask the question. Often, we have failed the Lord – but He has never failed us. Many times, we have let Him down – but He has never let us down. It’s His love for us that’s unfailing – not our love for Him.

When Christ Returns, There Will Be Salvation - And Judgment.

Each of the tribes had their part in the promised land. Each of Jesus' disciples, whom He called to Himself at the outset of His ministry, had his part in the work of the Lord. What God did with Israel and with Jesus' first disciples will be surpassed when Christ comes in glory: "You shall see greater things ... You shall see the heavens open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man" (John 1:50-51). On that Day, there will be both salvation and judgment: "The righteous man is rescued from trouble, and it comes on the wicked instead" (Proverbs 11:8).

Do You Love God?

Jesus was speaking to men who practised a a very high-brow kind of religion. As far as they were concerned, they did all the right things. They regarded themselves as the people of God. From this high vantage-point of religious observance, these men became proud and arrogant. They looked down on others. Rather than looking deeply into their own sinful hearts and confessing their own sin to God, these men were preoccupied with outward appearances and insisted on passing judgment on the lives of others. Although these men had plenty of religion, Jesus hit the nail on the head when He said to them: "But I know that you have not the love of God within you" (John 5:42). Jesus' words, in John 5:42, begin with the word, "But." Jesus is saying to these proud, religious men, "I know all about your religion, all about your religious traditions, all about the power and the glory of your religion, all about your knowledge of the Scriptures, but there is something else …

Lord, we thank You that Your call to holiness begins with Your call to salvation.

Leviticus 11:1-47 Lord, we thank You that Your call to holiness begins with Your call to salvation. We're not left to go it alone. You come to us. You come as our Saviour. You take us as we are - but You don't leave us the way You found us. You start changing us. You have great plans for us. You're making us more like Your Son, Jesus. We trust Jesus. We receive His salvation. Help us to follow Him, to be changed by Him, to become more like Him.

Lord, You have done great things for us. You are still doing great things for us.

Joshua 23:1-16 Lord, You have done great things for us. You are still doing great things for us. You will continue to do great things for us. When we say, "Thank You, Lord, for Your many blessings", help us never to take Your blessing for granted. Help us to keep on living in obedience to Your Word. Help us to see, more clearly, the vital connection between obedience and blessing: Keep the obedience going, and the blessing will keep on coming.

Jesus the Saviour is greater than John the Baptist.

Jesus the Saviour is greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12). Jesus does more than proving physical food. He is the Bread  of Life (Matthew 14:13-21). Jesus has power over nature (Matthew 14:22-36) - because He is "the Son of God, Look, the Lamb" (Matthew 14:33). We look beyond John to Jesus. John pointed away from himself to Jesus, "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).  Jesus is our Saviour. Let us praise Him for all that He is, all that He has done for us and all that He has given to us.

Thank You, Lord, that You do not keep Your distance from us.

Proverbs 4:1-9 Thank You, Lord, that You do not keep Your distance from us. In Your Son, Jesus, our Saviour, You have come to us. This is more than “From a distance, God is watching us.” From a distance, You have come to us. Help us to come to You. Help us to know that you are near to us.

God Is Faithful. Let's Be Faithful To Him.

Deuteronomy 31:1-32:52 Moses’ time of leadership was coming to an end. Joshua would replace him as the leader of God’s people. With God’s command – “Be strong and courageous” – and promise – “you will bring the Israelites into the land that I swore to give them, and I will be with you” (Deuteronomy 31:23), Joshua set out into the work of the Lord. Moses still had a Word to bring to the people from the Lord – a Word which proclaimed the Lord as “a faithful God” (Deuteronomy 32:4) and called the people to be faithful to Him (Deuteronomy 32:5-6).

Victory in the wilderness

The book of Numbers tells us the story of Israel's journey through the wilderness. What can we learn from their journey? 
The people of Israel had been delivered from their bondage in Egypt. They were going to be brought to the Promised Land. For a long while, they were in the wilderness. For forty years, the wilderness was their “now moment”. We look back. We remember what the Lord has done for us. He died on the Cross for us. We look forward to His Return. What a great day that will be! In our many “now moments”, we are in the wilderness. It’s a place of danger. It’s a place of promise. We are involved in a constant battle for faith and obedience – “The sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want” (Galatians 5:17). Often, we fail our Lord. We need to hear the challenging words of Paul: “After beginning with the Spirit, are you now …

Often, we wish we could look into the future, and see what's going to happen to us.

2 Samuel 18:1-33 Often, we wish we could look into the future, and see what's going to happen to us. We can't. the future belongs to You, Lord - not to us. Help us to wait on You, Lord - to wait patiently for the time when Your future becomes our present. Our 'tomorrow' can never become our 'today' - until our 'today' becomes our 'yesterday.' Help us, Lord, to forget about gazing into some kind of 'crystal ball.' Give us the grace to walk with You in faith - one day at a time.

Speaking the Word of God in today's world

We have to speak to today's world - but we must make sure that it's God's Word that we speak. What are we to say to the world?  We must begin with another question: What is God saying to us? If we are to hear what God is saying to us, we must make time for studying His Word. We can only speak the Word of God to others if we have heard Him speaking to ourselves. If our words are to bring something real and relevant to today's word, they must be an echo of "the living and enduring word of God" (1 Peter 1:23).
In themselves, our words have no power to change the lives of those who hear them. There is, however, a greater Power at work when the Lord's servants proclaim His Word. In Ephesians 6:17, Paul describes "the Word of God" as "the sword of the Spirit." Whenever we are bringing the Word of God to men and women, we must pray for the presence and power of the Spirit . We must remember this: "The weapons we fight with a…

Sin Comes From Satan. Salvation Comes From God.

Sin, Judgment … And Salvation (Genesis 3:1-24)

Genesis 3:1   –  “The serpent” (Satan) raises doubts – “Has God said?

Genesis 3:2-3   –  The woman tells Satan what “God has said.”

Genesis 3:4   –  Satan contradicts God’s Word. Note the progression from questioning God’s Word to contradicting His Word.

Genesis 3:5   –  “Your eyes will be opened.” You will see everything in a different way. You will know “good” as something you’ve lost. All you’ll have left is “evil.” That’s not exactly how Satan said it would turn out. What can you expect from someone who contradicts God’s Word? – Nothing but lies!

Genesis 3:6   –  This is the beginning of sin. We listen to Satan. We do what he says – instead of listening to God and doing what He says.

Genesis 3:7   –  “Their eyes were opened.” They saw what they had become through their disobedience to God’s Word.

Genesis 3:8   –  Sin leads to hiding from God.

Genesis 3:9   –  “Where are you?” Why is God looking for them? Is this nothing more than the voi…

Help us, Lord, to mean what we say, and say what we mean.

Joshua 24:1-33 Help us, Lord, to mean what we say, and say what we mean. May our words of faith by backed up by a life of faith. In our life of faith, may we be unashamed to say, "I'm living this way because I love Jesus. It's not about me. It's about Jesus. He's changing me - "It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).

"Is there any word from the Lord?" (Jeremiah 37:17).

There are different ways of asking questions.
"Is there any word from the Lord?" This is a question which invites Jeremiah to speak the Word of the Lord.
In Genesis 3:1, we have a very different way of asking questions - "the serpent ... said to the woman, Did God really say ... ?"
The "ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan" (Revelation 12:9) is always trying to get us to stop believing the Word of God.
"Is there any Word from the Lord?" - Jeremiah's answer is "Yes" (Jeremiah 37:17).
What was the Word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah at that time? - "You will be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon" (Jeremiah 37:17).
What are we to do when God's Word doesn't say what we had been hoping to hear? - We must refuse to ask the Satanic question, "Did God really say?" We must learn to say, from the heart, "This is the Word of the Lord."
It's not our place to say what the Word of God s…

Jesus Is The Bread Of Life (John 6:35-40).

John 6:35 Have you ever been really hungry or thirsty? – Find food. Find drink. Eat it. Drink it. Are you spiritually hungry and thirsty? Find the Bread Of Life, come to Him and be fed. John 6:36 Some do not believe. They will not believe. They refuse to believe. John 6:37 What is God’s purpose for you? What does He want to do in your life? He wants to bring you, lovingly, to the position where you will come, in faith, to Jesus Christ, in the full assurance that you are accepted by God on the basis of Christ’s death for you. He does not call on you to wait until you’ve improved yourself. He calls you to come to Him now, as you are. John 6:38-40 God’s purpose for you is that, recognizing Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you should receive eternal life as a free gift, which, once received, can never be taken away from you.

We Are "In Christ". He Is The Source Of Our Salvation.

Genesis 8
At the end of the flood, God said to Noah, "Come out of the ship" (v. 15). We are "in Christ". He is the Source of our salvation. God has brought us into Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30). He does not bring us into Christ for our own benefit only. He sends us out into the world to bring others to Christ. Noah and the remnant of faith had been preserved so that they might be fruitful (v. 17). This is still God's way. In love, He lays claim to our lives so that we can be fruitful for Him (John 15:16). This fruit comes as we abide in Christ (John 15:4-5). Even when we are sent out into the world, we are not sent out alone. We are sent out as those who are in Christ. From a position of strength, we go forth, resting on our Shield and our Defender, to bring strength to others. Strengthened in "the ship", we step out with Christ and for Him. Following the flood, we have this simple yet striking declaration: 'the ground was dry' (1…

Jesus' Love For Us - And Our Love For Him

John 21:15-17 Jesus loves us so much more than we love Him. In love, He comes to us to draw out from us a greater love for Him. I find great encouragement in the story of the restoration of Peter in John 21. Peter had denied the Lord three times. For each denial, Jesus came to Peter with the question, “Peter, do you love Me?” Three times, Peter reaffirmed his love for Jesus. Following on from this, there is the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) when the Lord works through Peter in a very wonderful way. Three thousand people are brought to faith in Christ – for each denial, a thousand souls brought to faith! What a wonderful restoration! May we have much cause to say of the Lord, “He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3). May our ministry of His Word prosper – “those who turn many to righteousness shall shine like the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).

"Love the Lord your God.”

Deuteronomy 29:1-30:20 “Today I offer you life … Choose life” (Deuteronomy 30:15,19). The meaning of these words concerning life is expanded on in Deuteronomy 30:16,20 – “Love the Lord your God.” Loving God – This is what life is all about. This is life as He intended it to be. This is the meaning and purpose of life. This is to be the direction of our life.

Still the same choice today

Deuteronomy 27:1-28:68 Obedience and blessing or disobedience and curse – This was the choice which was set before the people of God. It is still the same choice today. What a difference there is between the two ways – the way of obedience and the way of disobedience, the way of blessing and the way of curse. So much has changed since these words were written – yet the spiritual principles remain the same.