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Showing posts from January, 2016

More Than A Prophet!

“The Lord your God  will raise up for you a Prophet … to Him you shall listen” (Deuteronomy 18:15). We read these words, and we think of the words spoken by God on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:5). There is a difference. Jesus is more than a Prophet. He’s God’s Son. He’s greater than Moses. He’s greater than Elijah. They were God’s servants. He’s God’s Son. When we realize that we have a Saviour – more than a prophet!, we will listen to Him, we will give ourselves to Him, and we will thank Him for giving Himself for us.
Why do we listen to Jesus? It’s because He speaks the Word of the Lord – “I … will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak to them all that I shall command Him” (Deuteronomy 18:18).  It’s more than that! He is the Word of the Lord (John 1:1,14). We give ourselves to Him because He has given Himself to us. We do not think much of our great devotion to him. We think much of His great love for us.  As I was reading about “the Prophet”, I found my …

Spiritual Principles - For Today

Deuteronomy 22:1-23:25 We read the detailed instructions regarding morality. We feel that we are in another world, the world of ancient Israel. Nevertheless, we get hints, here and there, of the timeless, spiritual principles, which are still applicable to us today. Deuteronomy 23:5 – “The Lord your God loves you.” Deuteronomy 23:14 – “”The Lord your God moves around in your camp to protect you and hand your enemies over to you.” God gives us His guidelines for life because He loves us and wants to protect us from everything that would endanger our enjoyment of His blessing.

"Preaching and Teaching" by James Philip

Inspiration, authority, infallibility and inerrancy are the necessary prerequisites for preaching and teaching. If a true ministry is to be exercised, these theological foundations are indispensable. This is implied by Paul’s employment of the word ‘ambassador’ to describe the work of the ministry. The word ‘ambassador’ is used twice in the New Testament by Paul. In 2 Corinthians 5:19, he says, ‘Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God”. His second comment is found in Ephesians 6:20 - ‘That I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak..” The Greek word for ‘ambassador’ is presbutes. This word is derived from the verb presbeuo. The literal meaning of this verb is ‘to be older or oldest’, ‘to take precedence by right of seniority’. This idea of seniority; which includes authority a…

From the land of bondage - to the land of salvation

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

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

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

Be Real!

“The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau” (Genesis 27:22). Be real! What we are and what we appear to be can be two very different things. God is calling us out of hypocrisy and into holiness. There can be no real holiness if we’re only trying to keep up appearances. God is looking for holiness of heart. This is so different from the “holiness” of the Pharisees. That wasn’t holiness. It was hypocrisy. Lord, deliver us from hypocrisy, and lead us into holiness.

Salvation and Victory (Part One) - Psalm 20:9

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

How are we to experience an ever-increasing measure of God’s blessing?

Deuteronomy 9:1-10:22 The Lord’s people were on a ‘journey’ (Deuteronomy 10:11). They were journeying with Him. He was leading them in the way of His blessing. In our journey through life, how are we to experience an ever-increasing measure of God’s blessing? – “Fear the Lord your God, follow all His directions, love Him, and worship Him (Deuteronomy 10:12). This is the way of blessing. It is “for your own good” (Deuteronomy 10:13).

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

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

The Glory of the Lord in His Creation (Psalm 8)

This Psalm is a hymn of praise. It proclaims the glory of the Lord in His creation. The focus is not so much on the glories of nature. The great theme is the glory of Him who created nature. The Psalm begins and ends with the praise of God – “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens” (v. 1); “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!” (v. 9). The whole Psalm is filled with the fear of God and joy in God. The words of verse 2 – “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger” – are quoted in the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem – “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ” ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?” (Matthew 21:16). The reference to “children and infants” refers also to those who are without spiritual learnin…

Personal Salvation (Psalm 7)

The Psalmist was being pursued by enemies who were intent on his full and final destruction. He puts his trust in the Lord. He looks to the Lord for salvation – “O Lord my God, I take refuge in You; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me” (vs. 1-2). Following his opening words, we read about human sin – “O Lord my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands – if I have done evil to him who is at peace with me or without cause have robbed my foe -then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust” (vs. 3-5) – and divine judgment – “Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around You. Rule over them from on high; let the Lord judge the peoples. Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most Hi…

At the heart of worship, there is to be the Word of God.

Deuteronomy 11:1-13:18 God had blessed His people greatly. They were to live in obedience to Him. This is the way of further blessing (chapter 11). At the heart of our obedience to God, there is worship, true worship, worship which glorifies the Lord (chapter 12). At the heart of worship, there is to be the Word of God. Without the Word of God, we will be easily led astray (Deuteronomy 13:1-2). The central message to us here is summed up in Deuteronomy 13:4 – “Worship the Lord your God, fear Him, obey His commands, listen to what He says, serve Him and be loyal to Him.”

Open Doors And Closed Doors

“The Lord appeared to Isaac and said,’Do not go down to Egypt, settle in the land that I shall show you” (Genesis 26:2). Sometimes, God says, “No” – “This is not the way you are to go.” Sometimes, He says, “Yes” – “This is the way you are to go.” The Lord “opens and no one shuts.” He “shuts and no one opens.” At the crossroads of life, where we must make decisions concerning the direction our life is going to take, it is good to have the Lord’s promise: “I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut” (Revelation 3:7-8). “Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies and walk in it and find rest for your souls” Help us, Lord, not to be like those who looked at the good way, and said, “We will not walk in it” (Jeremiah 6:16). Help us to choose the good way – and not the bad way.

The Good News of salvation (Psalm 6)

(1) The Psalmist’s need of salvation. He comes to God in his need – “My soul is in anguish” (v. 3); “I am worn out from groaning” (v. 6); “My eyes grow weak with sorrow” (v.7). He looks to the future, and all that he sees is “the grave” (v. 5).
(2) The Psalmist’s prayer for salvation. He looks to the Lord for salvation – “Turn, O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love” (v. 4). He prays that God will not come under the judgment of God – O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath” (v. 1) He prays that God will have “mercy” on him – “Be merciful to me, Lord” (v.2) He trusts in God’s “unfailing love – “Turn, O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love” (v. 4).
(3) Repentance and Faith
In the Psalmist’s prayer, there is repentance - “Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping” (v. 8) – and faith – “The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer” (v. 9).
(4) Assuranc…

Thank God - for the Holy Spirit.

We thank You, our Father, that You have sent Your Holy Spirit to live in our hearts. We thank You that the new life in the Spirit is just the beginning. You are preparing us for the greater ‘glory that will be revealed in us’(Romans 8:18). We thank You that the Holy Spirit is ‘the guarantee of our inheritance’ - He is the starter which whets our appetite for the main course! With Him in our hearts, we long for more. We long for Your glorious future. We’re not staggering along on a dead-end street. We’re walking tall. We’re travelling with You, Lord. You’re leading us on to Your glory. May we always be led by Your Spirit. May we keep on growing in Your Spirit.

The Lord Bless You And Keep You ...

Numbers 6:22-27 There’s nothing better than God’s blessing. It’s nice to have friends. People like you. It feels good. God’s blessing – That’s so much better. Friends come and go. God’s blessing remains. You can be surrounded by friends – and still feel very lonely. Sometimes, they’re great friends. Sometimes, they disappoint us. When you’re surrounded by God’s blessing, everything’s very different. God will never disappoint us. He’s our “always and forever” Friend. His blessing is an “every day” blessing. It’s not just a “now and again” thing. It’s an “all the days of our life” thing. Everywhere we look, we see God. We look to the hills. We see our Creator. We look to the cross. We see our Saviour. We are blessed by our Creator. We are blessed by our Saviour.
How do we enjoy God’s blessing? Trust Him. Walk in His way. Wherever life’s journey takes us, He’s there. He’s our faithful Friend. He’s the Friend who’ll never let us down. In our happy times, He gives us His joy. …

Looking forward to the future

Isaiah 35:1-10

Isaiah looks forward to the future. He says that there will be blessing from the Lord. He looks forward to a time of "joy and singing." He says that it will be a night of "the glory of the Lord" (Isaiah 35:2). Isaiah brings Good News to the people - "He will save you" (Isaiah 35:4). This is the Good News: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"  (1 Timothy 1:15). Those who have been saved by the Lord are described by Isaiah as "the redeemed." Once we have been "redeemed" or saved by the Lord, we are called to "walk in the Holy Way" (Isaiah 35:8-9). Isaiah's prophecy speaks to us of being saved by the Lord. It speaks of walking with the Lord. It also speaks of being with the Lord forevermore. This is the great message of Isaiah 35:10. This is "unending joy." There will be no more "sorrow." This is the completion of our salvation.

Praying for preachers

Lord, we pray for those who have been called to bring Your Word to Your people. May their words help us to be “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10).May their words be a living echo of the words of Jesus our Saviour: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel” (Luke 4:18). May their words help us to “hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches” (Revelation 2:7). May their words help us to “worship You in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). May their words help us to “pray in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18). May their words help us to say, “The Lord has blessed us. Praise His holy Name.”

Notes on the Psalms

PSALMS

1:1-6  -  As well as journeying through the Old and New Testaments, we will read a Psalm at fairly regular intervals. The first Psalm contrasts two ways - the way of the Word and the way of the world, the way of blessing and the way of judgment. Encouraging us to build upon the solid foundation of God’s Word, the opening Psalm sets the tone for what is to follow. To whet your appetite for the Psalms, here are some early lessons: stability in the Lord (1:1-2); service for the Lord (2:11); salvation of the Lord  (3:8); sanctification from the Lord  (4:4-5); singing to the Lord  (8:4); strength in the Lord  (9:9). These are some of the blessings promised to those who ‘delight in the law of the Lord’ (1-2). With a God like this - full of so much blessing for us - what else can we do but rejoice in Him?
2:1-12  -  In this Psalm, we read of a conflict. On the one side, there is ‘the Lord and His Anointed’ (2). On the other there are those who ‘conspire and ...plot’ (1).…