Showing posts from February, 2016

Praying Through God's Word: Micah

Micah 1:1-2:13 We thank You, Lord, that Micah was a fearless preacher of Your Word. His message was not popular: ‘Let the Lord God be a witness against you.’ He was a forthright preacher of Your Word. He knew that the people wouldn’t want to hear what he had to say to them. He demanded that they listen to him. This wasn’t only Micah’s word. It was Your word, Lord. That’s why Micah said, ‘Hear, O peoples, all of you. Listen, O earth and all who are in it’ (Micah 2:2). Teach us, Lord, that we cannot afford to ignore Your Word. Help us to listen to Your Word. You speak Your Word against us. You say to us, ‘You cannot save yourselves’ (Micah 2:3). You speak Your Word against us so that we might learn to rejoice in Your Word of salvation: ‘I will bring you together like sheep returning to the fold’ (Micah 2:12).
Micah 3:1-5:1
We thank You, Lord, for the words that Micah speaks to those ‘who hate good and love evil’ (Micah 3:2). He calls upon them to change their way of living.…

We thank You, Lord, for Your great salvation.

Numbers 21:1-35  We thank You, Lord, for Your great salvation. Nothing comes from ourselves: nothing but our sin - our need of Your salvation. Everything comes from Jesus, our wonderful Saviour. Salvation is never our achievement. It's always Your gift. Help us, Lord, to say with all our heart, "To God be the glory!" Help us to thank You for Jesus, our Saviour - He "opened the life-gate that all may go in." Help us to say, "Praise the Lord."

“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). 
Is this no longer true just because a lot of people have lost interest in singing the song of salvation? No! This was Good News in Paul’s day. It’s still Good News for today. It will always be the Good News of God’s love. It will always be the great reminder of God’s “for ever” love (Psalm 136).

The Kingdom Of God: The Prison Letters - Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon

Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon - These letters are known, collectively, as the prison letters. They were written by Paul during his time of imprisonment in Rome.
In Philippians, we see God's kingdom as a kingdom as a kingdom of joy: "Rejoice in the Lord always, and, again, I say, rejoice" (Philippians 4:4). When the Lord reigns as king in our  lives, he gives us his joy. this joy doesn't depend on our circumstances. It comes to us from the Lord.
In Philemon, we see the kingdom of God as the kingdom of fellowship: "that you might have him back for ever, no longer as a slave, but as a beloved brother" (15-16).
In Colossians 1:13-14, we have a marvellous statement of what God has done for us in Christ: "He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Through Christ's redemption, we are     now in the  kingdom of God's…

"I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God" (Romans 15:17).

Where has the blessing come from? Does it say something about how worthy we are? No! It's not about us. We haven't done anything to deserve God's blessing. The blessing comes from the Lord. To Him be all the glory!

Strong words ...

“… watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned … By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people” (Romans 16:17-18).
These are very strong words. They are words which have a great deal to say to the Church at a time when it seems that the voice of permissive society is threatening to drown out completely the voice of Holy Scripture. When Paul addresses the problem of divisions among God’s people, He calls us to be faithful “to the teaching you have learned.” Behind Paul’s words concerning “the teaching you have learned”, there is something else: “according to the Scriptures.” We see this in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Paul begins by speaking about “the gospel which I preached to you” (1 Corinthians 15:1). As we look on to 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, it becomes clear that he is not concerned with drawing attention to himself. What he is concerned about is this: “according to the Scriptures…

God's Glorious Future

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
How does the Lord keep us walking in His way? – He keeps on bringing to our attention the glorious future which He is preparing for us. He keeps on reminding us that we are being prepared for His eternal glory. How is He preparing us for ”praise,  glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed”? – He is teaching us to “love Him. ” The more we are learning to love Him, the more we will look forward, “with an inexpressible and glorious joy” to  ”the end result of our faith, the salvation of our souls” (1 Peter 1:7-9).

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Here are some great words from Jim Elliot, an American missionary who died at the hands of Auca Indians in Ecuador in the 1950s – “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
 * "To gain what he cannot lose" - Eternal life has lasting value.  * "what he cannot keep" - The things of this world don’t have lasting value. After Jim Elliot and four other American missionaries were killed, there was great blessing among the Aucas.
 * Think of these faithful martyrs. Think of the blessing which followed.  In 2 Corinthians 4:15, we have a great comment on the wonderful blessing which followed the killing of the American missionaries by the Aucas - “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” The American missionaries laid down their lives. The Aucas found eternal life. It was for their benefit. Grace reached more and more people. There was an …

“Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).

Do we stop believing this just because it comes to us from a long time ago? No! We keep on saying, “Praise the Lord! It’s true!” We keep on singing the song of our Saviour.

Encourage One Another ...

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good works,not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24-25).
It's great that we are able to encourage one another in the Lord. Hebrews 10:25 speaks about "the assembling of ourselves together" and "exhorting one another." Each of us has a particular ministry of encouragement to those with whom we are gathered together to worship the Lord. It is a privilege to be able to share something of this ministry of encouragement with other people. We encourage one another in the Lord when we gather together for worship (Hebrews 10:25). The preaching of Christ strengthens our faith (Romans 10:17). What a great encouragement it is to know that "God is pleased through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21). What happens in the …

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

We look back to the past. We say, “That was then. That’s old.” We live in the present. We say, “This is now. This is new.” We shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss the past. Jesus Christ belongs to the past. He also speaks to us in the present. He is preparing us for God’s eternal future. We read the Story of Jesus. We rejoice in His love. We say, “The old, old story – It is ever new. The old, old story – Praise the Lord! It’s true!” It’s true! That’s why it’s still God’s “new song.” There will always be people who refuse to trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour. Will they silence us? Will we fail our Lord because we’re afraid of what people will say about us? Let’s be like Paul. Let’s defy our critics. Let’s keep on saying, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).  Jesus is calling us on to His future. He's not merely a figure from the past. He is “Jesus Christ, risen from the dead” (Hebrews 13:8).…

Leading sinners to the Saviour of sinners

"My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20).

It is a great thing to rejoice in God's salvation. We give thanks for the truth upon which our salvation rests. As well as rejoicing in God's salvation and standing upon His truth, we must also speak directly to those who have wandered from the truth, calling upon them to turn from the error of their ways. Turning "a sinner from the error of his way" - we don't hear much of this kind of talk nowadays. People like to hear the Good News of salvation. They like to be assured of the truth of God's Word. If, however, our teaching regarding the Good News of salvation and the truth of God's Word are to have real depth, we must speak forthrightly about turning "a sinner from the error of his way."
 * …

Why has God made us His ‘own people’?

In Christ, we are ‘a holy nation’. Why has God made us His ‘own people’? - ‘that you may declare the wonderful deeds of Him... ’ (1 Peter 2:9).‘The nations are waiting for us, waiting for the gospel we will bring’ (Songs of Fellowship, 539).

Lord, help us to get our priorities right.

Genesis 1:1-3
Lord, help us to get our priorities right - Your priorities. May our lives be more centred on You - less centred on ourselves. Help us to listen for Your Word - not to jump straight in with our own words. Help us to open our hearts to Your Holy Spirit. May He move among us - in power, in love, in holiness, in victory. Transform our life, O Lord - May we live as a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). May we know the great blessing of knowing that Jesus, our Saviour, is always "God with us" (Matthew 1:23).

Lord, You have made us - to praise You.

Genesis 1:14-25 Lord, You have made us - to praise You. You call us to live for Your glory. Praise to God, glory to God - Where does this come from? We look into our hearts - and it is not there. We look at our lives - and we say, "Where is this praise to God?, Where is this glory to God?" Lord, we can only praise You when You give to us the song of praise. You alone can fill our hearts with praise to You. You alone can fill our lives with Your glory. Without You, Lord, our life is a spiritual wasteland. Come, O Lord, to this spiritual wasteland. Come - and make our life a song of praise to You. Come - and make our life a hymn that says, "Glory to God."

Lord, we thank You for Jesus – He is the Rock of our salvation.

Genesis 8:1-22 Lord, we thank You for Jesus – He is the Rock of our salvation. Often, in our journey through life, we’re walking on shifting sand. As we walk along, we discover that it’s more than shifting sand – It’s quicksand! It’s sucking us in – and it’s dragging us down. Is there any hope for us? Is there any solid ground? Yes! There is! Jesus is “the Solid Rock” (“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness … On Christ, the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”) Lord, we thank You that You’ve not left us to fall down in our own weakness. You’ve given us Jesus, our Saviour – We stand in His strength. When we feel like we’re sinking, help us, Lord, to look to You, to find new strength in You. When we’re almost overwhelmed by the flood of unbelief that seems to be coming at us all the time, help us to come to You and receive Your strength: “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6:10).

Lord, we need Your strength.

Genesis 9:20-29 Lord, we need Your strength. Without Your strength, we fall. Without Your strength, we fail. With Your strength, everything changes. You lead us from our defeat into Your victory. Help us, Lord, to trust You. In ourselves, we are weak. In You, we are strong. Where does this strength come from? – It comes from this: Jesus has risen – and He lives in us! “Resurrect in our lives faith, hope, and love, as surely as You raised Jesus Christ from the grave” (Common Order, Prayer for Easter).

Lord, Your love makes us feel very special.

Genesis 10:1-32 Lord, Your love makes us feel very special. There are plenty of times when we’re down in the dumps – and we need some encouragement from You. When we feel like this, help us to remember that Your love makes us very special: “I’m special because God loves me.” How do we know that You love us? – You gave Your Son, Jesus, to be our Saviour. What are we to say when we think of Jesus – crucified for us? “Thank You Jesus, thank You Lord, for loving me so much.” We look at ourselves – and we know that we’re nothing special. We look at Jesus. We think of His love for us – and something happens. We begin to feel that we are very special – to You! “Help me feel Your love right now, to know deep in my heart that I’m Your special friend” (Graham Kendrick).

Lord, help us not to get too big for our boots.

Genesis 11:1-9 Lord, help us not to get too big for our boots. Sometimes, we get down in the dumps. When this happens, we need to get lifted up - by You! Sometimes, we have a very different problem. We get too big for our boots – and we need to be brought back down to earth! Brought down with a bump: How often this has happened to us – and it was just what we needed! Bringing us down – We thank You, Lord, that this is only the beginning of Your work in us. You never bring us down – to leave us there. You bring us down to build us up again! Building us up – That’s what You do for us. We’re broken down – and You put us together again! Lord, this is so encouraging. When we forget You, You never forget us. When we feel like giving up, You say to us, “I haven’t finished with you yet. I’ll never be finished with You: What I have planned for you is nothing less than this - eternal life.”

Outstanding Love, Overwhelming Victory and Overflowing Peace

"… so outstanding is His love …”(Psalm 103:11) "… overwhelming victory is ours …” (Romans 8:37). “The peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). This is the overflowing peace of God – The peace of God in our hearts is an overflow from the God of peace, who, in Jesus Christ, has come to live in our hearts.  * The overflowing peace of God comes to us from the outstanding love of God.  * The overflowing peace of God comes to us from the overwhelming victory of God.  – Let us receive the outstanding love of God.  – Let us rejoice in the overwhelming victory of God.  – Let us rest in the overflowing peace of God.

The Christian In Complete Armour

"Be strong in the Lord ... " (Ephesians 6:10).

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). As we consider the war which is going on in our lives – between God and Satan, we will see that this is the greatest war of all. The most cruel war ever fought by men is child’s play compared with this spiritual war, in which we battle against Satan, the enemy of our souls. To win a battle – even one as bloody as the two World Wars of the twentieth century, and lose the war against Satan is to be  defeated. What about our world today? Are we a winning the battle, and losing the war? We dare not take pride in the fact that we have known more peace than in the years of the two World Wars. God is asking us, “Are you winning the real war, the most important war, the war against Satan?” We need not lose the war. We can be “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” – our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:37). Is this what you want? – “More than c…