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Showing posts from April, 2016

Listen to What God Is Saying.

In Job 32 - 37, we have a long speech from Elihu. He thinks that he can improve on the speeches, given by Job’s other ‘comforters’: “None of you refuted Job. None of you has an answer to what he says” (Job 32:12). He maintains that his speech is better than anything Job has already heard. That’s why he says.”Pay attention, Job! Listen to me! Keep quiet, and let me speak ... Keep quiet, and I’ll teach you wisdom” (Job 33:31-33). Elihu isn’t interested in what Job has to say. Elihu is saying, ‘Let me do the speaking. You, Job, must do the listening and learning. I have the wisdom. I’ll pass it on to you. You’ve got it wrong.Let me put you right.’ Job 34 ends with a ‘prayer’, in which Elihu shows how far his view differs from the view presented by God in Job 1. He prays, “Oh that Job might be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man!” (Job 34:36). Job was being thoroughly tested. God was allowing this to happen to Job. Elihu was misrepresenting the true nature …

On To Maturity

Numbers 25:1-26:65
God’s people are being called on to maturity. This is the significance of the phrase, “at least twenty years old” (Numbers 26:2,4). There are, however, many dangers. We are easily sidetracked – putting other “gods” before the Lord our God (Numbers 25:3). This turning away from the Lord is a serious matter, leading to the withdrawal of God’s blessing. We can, however, continue to enjoy the Lord’s blessing if, like Caleb and Joshua, we are men and women of faith (Numbers 26:64-65).

Many Obstacles - And Much Praise

The people of God faced many obstacles, but the Lord gave them His victory and they praised Him - “All day long we praise our God. We give thanks to You forever” (Psalm 44:8). The words of Psalm 45 point forward to Jesus Christ, who is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16). Concerning Him, the Word of God says to us, “He is your Lord. Worship Him” (Psalm 45:11). Let our response be, “I will cause Your Name to be remembered throughout every generation. That is why the nations will give thanks to You forever” (Psalm 45:17).

“Be glad and find joy in the Lord."

“Be glad and find joy in the Lord, you righteous people” (Psalm 32:11). “Joyfully sing to the Lord, you righteous people” (Psalm 33:1). Our joy is in the Lord. It is from Him that our “joyous songs of salvation” come (Psalm 32:7). It is “in Him” that “our hearts find joy” (Psalm 33:21). We “look to Him”, and we are “radiant” (Psalm 34:5). Even thought there are many obstacles to our spiritual growth, we are able to face all who oppose us in our walk with God. We are able to say, with confidence in the God who helps us to be strong in Him and victorious through His power, “My soul will find joy in the Lord and be joyful about His salvation” (Psalm 35:9).

From Victory To Victory

Numbers 21:1-35
The Israelites are journeying with the Lord. He is leading them from victory to victory. Salvation for Israel, salvation from the God of Israel, the true and living God, meant “destruction” (Numbers 21:3) for those who opposed God and His people – “How horrible it is for you, Moab! You are destroyed, you people of the god Chemosh” (Numbers 21:29). If there is to be real blessing among God’s people, we must face conflict and overcome opposition from God’s enemies.

We Will Do As The Lord Has Said.

Numbers 30:1-32:42
In the various areas of life – -personal faithfulness (chapter 30), our relationship with the world (chapter 31), our relationship with the Lord’s people (chapter 32), there is one thing which is of the utmost importance: “we will do as the Lord has said” (Numbers 32:31). This is the most important thing: obedience to God.

A river that never runs dry

In Isaiah 46 - 48, we read about Israel's conflict with Babylon and God's verdict on Babylon. We also have the precious promise which God gave to His people: "Our Defender is the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 47:4). Along with the divine promise, there is also the divine call to obedience. God sees that His redeemed people are not living in obedience to Him. He calls them back to a life of honesty and sincerity. He is calling them to walk in His perfect way: I am the Lord your God. I teach you what is best for you. I lead you where you should go" (Isaiah 48:17). He promises to bless them, if they will follow His leading: "If only you had listened to My commands! Your peace would be like a river that never runs dry. Your righteousness would be like waves on the sea" (Isaiah 48:18).

There's only one Saviour.

"I alone am the Lord, and there is no Saviour except Me" (Isaiah 43:11). "I alone am the One who is going to wipe away your rebellious actions for My own sake, I will not remember your sins any more" (Isaiah 43:25)."Come back to Me, because I have reclaimed you. Sing with joy... Rejoice..." (Isaiah 44:22-23). "I am the Lord, and there is no other, I haven't spoken privately or in some dark corner of the world, I didn't say to Jacob's descendants, 'Search for Me in vain.' I, the Lord, speak what is fair and say what is right" (Isaiah 45:19). "There is no other God except Me. There is no other righteous God and Saviour besides Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all who live at the ends of the earth, because I am God, and there is no other" (Isaiah 45:21-22). In these verses, we learn of the unique, incomparable greatness of God in His gracious and mighty work of salvation.

My Redeemer Lives!

In Job 18, Bildad, the Shuhite, shows his lack of spiritual stature. In his description of “the wicked” (Job 18:5), he implies that all that he says applies to Job. His speech ends with the summarizing words: “This is what happens to the homes of wicked people and to those who do not know God” (Job 18:21). The opening words of the book of Job - “He was a man of integrity ... He feared God” (Job 1:1) - make it clear that Bildad’s words do not apply to Job. For most of his speech, in Job 19, Job is in the depths of despair, then, towards the end of his speech, there is a breakthrough- “I know that my defender (or Redeemer) lives, and, afterwards, he will stand on the earth. Even after my skin has been stripped off my body, I will see God in my own flesh. I will see Him with my own eyes” (Job 19:25). There is, in Job’s heart, a great conflict. Immediately after speaking these great words of triumphant faith and glorious hope, he speaks, again, with deep agony - “My heart f…

Find joy in the Lord and take refuge in Him.

"Righteous people will find joy in the Lord and take refuge in Him" (Psalm 64:10). "You are the One who hears prayers ... You are the One who forgives our rebellious acts ... You answer us with awe-inspiring acts done in righteousness" (Psalm 65:2-3,5). In the Lord, there is true happiness. This blessing comes to us as we bring our sins to Him and receive His forgiveness. The blessing of forgiveness is a wonderful work of divine grace for which we give thanks to God - "All of them shout triumphantly. Indeed they sing" (Psalm 65:13).

Lord, we can, so often, get preoccupied with the things that matter most to us ...

Genesis 29:31-30:24
Lord, we can, so often, get preoccupied with the things that matter most to us - and we forget about the things that matter most to You. We start to get comfortable, sorting things out to suit ourselves - and then You come to us with a very challenging question, "What matters most to you?" Help us, Lord, to see that pleasing You is more important than pleasing ourselves.

Lord, we thank You that the blood of Your Son, Jesus, cleanses us from all sin.

Leviticus 12:1-13:46 Lord, we thank You that the blood of Your Son, Jesus, cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). We come to the Cross of Christ in our failure. At the Cross of Christ, we receive Your forgiveness. We bring our sin to the Saviour. He gives to us His salvation. Bring us, Lord, out of the darkness of our sin and into the light of Your salvation.

Restoring the foundations of past generations

“Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the foundations of past generations. You will be called the Rebuilder of Broken Walls and the Restorer of Streets where people live” (Isaiah 58:12). How important it is that we build on a solid foundation, and not shifting sand. We are to build on Christ, who is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). If the broken walls are to be rebuilt and the streets are to be restored, we need to recognize our great need of this work of rebuilding and restoration - “Truth has fallen in the street, and honest can’t come in” (Isaiah 59:14). We need to rediscover truth. We need more than a respect for human honesty. We need faith in, appreciation of and love for divine truth - Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). When there is rebuilding and restoration, based on the truth of God, it will be said of God’s people: “You will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise.”It will be …

Lord, what are we to do about our sin?

Leviticus 14:33-15:33 Lord, what are we to do about our sin? What can we do about it? It keeps on spreading. We can't do anything about this. It just gets worse and worse. What can be done about this? We can do nothing - but Jesus can do something about it. He's our Saviour. He comes to us in love. He comes to us in power. He forgives our sin. He gives us a new beginning. The past is put behind us. Jesus leads us on to Your eternal glory. Hallelujah! - "This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23).

Providence And Redemption

God is the God of providence. He is the God of redemption. He provides food - “All of them look to You to give them their food at the right time” (Psalm 104:27). He has provided salvation for His people - “... He brought His people out with joy...” (Psalm 105:42-45). We think of all that the Lord has done for us, and we say, from the heart, “Thanks be to the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, Amen. Hallelujah!” (Psalm 106:48).

Lord, we sing of Jesus, Your Son.

Leviticus 16:1-34 Lord, we sing of Jesus, Your Son. He is "the man of sorrows" (Isaiah 53:3) - but this does not make us sad. We look beyond His suffering. We see our salvation. We sing of Your salvation. With joy, we sing to You - "Hallelujah! What a Saviour!" We look at Jesus - and we ask the question, "Full atonement - can it be?" We rejoice in Your answer - "Full atonement - Yes it is!" What a a perfect Saviour we have! What a great salvation He has given to us! Help us, Lord, to say, in our hearts, "God forbid that I should ever boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Galatians 6:14).

"My Word... will accomplish whatever I want and achieve whatever I send it to do."

When God sends out His Word, He sends it with a promise; "My Word... will not come back to Me without results, but it will accomplish whatever I want and achieve whatever I send it to do" (Isaiah 55:11). The Lord is looking out. He's looking beyond those who are already worshipping Him. He says, "I will gather still others besides those I have already gathered” (Isaiah 56:8). When we find, in our hearts, a desire to praise God, where does this spirit of praise come from? God says this, “I’ll create praise on their lips” (Isaiah 57:19).

Lord, if we are to become holy, it must be Your doing - not our own achievement.

Leviticus 20:1-27 Lord, if we are to become holy, it must be Your doing - not our own achievement. We come to our Saviour with our sin. We receive from Him Your forgiveness - and the Spirit of holiness. Our past is put behind us. Our sins are forgiven - and forgotten. You call us on into Your future. We are being changed by Your love and Your holiness. We look back at all that You have done for us - and we say, "To God be the glory! Great things He has done." We look forward to all that You will do for us - and we say, 'To God be the glory! There is more to come  - "much more" (Romans 5:10). The best is yet to be! (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Teach us, Lord, that "every virtue we possess ... every victory won ... every thought of holiness are Yours alone."

Leviticus 21:1-22:16 Teach us, Lord, that "every virtue we possess ... every victory won ... every thought of holiness are Yours alone." Virtue, victory, holiness - Where do these things come from? They come from You, Lord. "In ourselves, there is no good thing" (Romans 7:18) - Our lives have been spoiled by our sin. We thank You, Lord, that You haven't given up on us. You haven't dismissed us as a lost cause. You keep on working in us, changing us, making us more like Jesus.

Comfort and compassion

What "joy" there is in the Lord's "comfort" and "compassion" (Isaiah 49:13). He reaches out to us in compassion. He reaches out to us with His comfort. We rejoice in Him - the God of compassion, the God of comfort. "The Almighty Lord helps me" (Isaiah 50:7,9). What help there is in the Lord! The Maker of heaven and earth is our Helper. "The people ransomed by the Lord will return. They will come to Zion, singing with joy" (Isaiah 51:11). How does the Lord help us? He has "ransomed" us. We have been "bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:20). We have been "redeemed with the precious blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Teach us, Lord, that what You have done for us is always so much greater than anything we could ever do for You.

Leviticus 25:25-55 Teach us, Lord, that what You have done for us is always so much greater than anything we could ever do for You. You gave Your Son, Jesus, to be our Saviour. Your Holy Spirit has come to live in our hearts. He's changing us. He's making us more like Jesus. You give us the privilege of serving You - sharing, with others, the wonderful love of Jesus. You've done so much for us. You've given so much to us. What have we done to deserve all of this? - Nothing! It's Your gift. We can only say, "Thank You, Lord."

We Want To See Jesus.

“We wish to see Jesus … The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified … I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself …  although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him … they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:21,23,32,37-43).
When we say, “We want to see Jesus”, we are led by the Holy Spirit to the Cross of Christ. In the Cross of Christ, we see love that appeals to all people, calling them to come to the Saviour and receive His salvation. Sadly, there are many who refuse to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. There are some who find themselves drawn to the Saviour. They “believe in Him” but  “they do not confess Him” because “they love the praise of men more than the praise of God.” What are we to say when the love that makes its appeal to all is rejected by many? – “Not everyone has faith, but the Lord is faithful” (2 Thessalonians 3:2-3). When we are surrounded by so much unbelief…

Life's Disasters And God's Love

“Maybe the nation of Judah will hear about all the disasters that I plan to bring on them, and they will turn from their wicked ways. Then I will forgive their wickedness and their sins” (Jeremiah 36:3). Even in all life’s disasters, we must never lose sight of God’s love. He sends disasters. This is not because He hates us. He loves us. Through these disasters, He’s calling us back to Himself. He’s calling us to receive His forgiveness.

What great love, Lord, You have for us.

Leviticus 27:1-34 What great love, Lord, You have for us. There is no love like Your love for us. It's the best love! What joy You give to us - the joy that comes from knowing that we are loved with "everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3). Help us, Lord, to rejoice in Your love, to be changed by Your love, to share Your love. Your love: It's the best thing we could ever receive from You - and it's the best thing we can pass on to other people!

“The days are coming.”

“The days are coming”: These words introduce a prophecy concerning the land (Jeremiah 30:3). The greatest blessing is not being in the land. It is belonging to the Lord. This is the blessing, spoken of by Jeremiah. When, speaking God’s Word, he writes, “You will be My people, and I will be your God” (Jeremiah 30:22).

We thank You, Lord, that Jesus, Your Son, has taken our sin upon Himself.

Numbers 5:1-31 We thank You, Lord, that Jesus, Your Son, has taken our sin upon Himself. We thank You that He brings Your salvation to us. With Jesus as our Saviour, we cannot remain the same as we were before we met Him. Jesus changes us. He makes us new. Help us, Lord, to live in the power of this new life which Jesus gives to us. Help us to live in His power - the power of His love.

Realism And Hope, Suffering And Glory

There’s realism in the ministry of Jeremiah. He prophesies the Babylonian captivity. There is also hope. He looks beyond the Babylonian captivity: “They will be taken to Babylon and stay there.I come for them, declares the Lord. I will take them from there and bring them back to this place” (Jeremiah 27:22). The way we are led may not be easy. The destination will be glorious. When things are going badly, we must never lose sight of the final goal of God’s working in us and through us. Beyond the suffering, there is the glory.

Lord, You call us to "be filled with Your Spirit."

Numbers 6:1-27 Lord, You call us to "be filled with Your Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18) - the Spirit of holiness, the Spirit of love. You are the holy God, the loving God - our holy Father, our loving Father. May there be, in us, the family likeness. Help us to become more like You - more holy, more loving.

God has much more blessing for us.

God is “our Father” (Isaiah 64:8). He says to us, “Here I am” (Isaiah 65:2). He waits, in love, for us to come to Him and receive the blessing He has promised: “Whoever asks for a blessing in the land will be blessed by the God of Truth” (Isaiah 65:16). He sets before us this glorious future: “I will create a new heaven and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17). The Lord’s blessing is like “an overflowing stream” (Isaiah 66:12). The more we experience His blessing, the more we come to realize that this is just the beginning. God has much more blessing for us. There is no end to His love. His love is eternal. This eternal love is the source of His blessing. This is the basis of our eternal hope - “The new heaven and earth that I am about to make will continue in My presence” (Isaiah 66:22).

Lord, You speak to us. Help us to speak to You.

Numbers 7:48-89 Lord, You speak to us. Help us to speak to You. You're speaking. Are we listening? You're listening to us. Are we speaking to You? Your Word to us is the call of love. You tell us that You love us. You're calling us to love You. May our words (and our life) be our response to Your love - "loving Him who first loved me." 

We thank You, Lord, for Your Word. It's " a lamp to our feet and a light to our path,"

Numbers 8:1-26 We thank You, Lord, for Your Word. It's " a lamp to our feet and a light to our path" (Psalm 119:105). As we read Your written Word, we hear the voice of Jesus, Your living Word. Jesus speaks to us. He calls us out of our darkness. He calls us into Your light. It's the light of Your salvation. It's the light that changes everything. It's the light of Your love.

We look back, Lord, to what You have done for us.

Numbers 9:1-23 We look back, Lord, to what You have done for us. We look forward to all that You will do for us. We remember our Saviour, crucified for us. We await our Saviour, coming for us. Fill our hearts, Lord, with thanksgiving for all that You have done for us. In Your great love for us, You have given to us Your great salvation. Fill our hearts with the faith that faces the future with the confidence that Your love will never fail us - You will lead us safely on to Your heavenly and eternal glory.

Beloved And Precious

“Keep me as the apple of the eye” (Psalm 17:8). Jesus is God’s “beloved Son” (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5). In Jesus, God’s “beloved” Son, we are “accepted” (Ephesians 1:6).  In the eyes of God the Father, Jesus is “precious” (1 Peter 2:4,6-7; 1 Peter 1:19) – and our faith is “precious” (1 Peter 1:7: 2 Peter 1:1).

Building On Christ - And Living For Him

“Whoever does these things will never be shaken” (Psalm 15:5). Jesus Christ is the Rock upon which our faith is built. Building on Christ means more than believing the right things about Him. It also means living for Him. This is the message taught by Jesus in his parable of the wise man and the foolish man – “everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock… But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand” (Matthew 7:24,26). What  are we to believe? – This is not the only question we must ask. If our faith is real, we must move on from there to another very important question: How are we to live?