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Showing posts from March, 2017

Fifth Sunday in Lent: Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:6-11; John 11:1-45

We need to be changed by the Lord. It was ‘a valley of dry bones’ (Ezekiel 37:1-2). Then, the Lord changed everything - ‘I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live’ (Ezekiel 37:5). What a difference the Lord makes! ‘Breathe on me, Breath of God. Fill me with life anew’ (Church Hymnary, 103). What happens when the Spirit of the Lord breathes new life into the Church of God? - ‘The Church that seemed in slumber has now risen from its knees and dry bones are responding with the fruits of new birth’. ‘Holy Spirit, we welcome You. Let the breeze of Your presence flow that Your children here might truly know how to move in the Spirit’s flow... Holy Spirit, we welcome You. Please accomplish in us today some new work of loving grace, we pray. Unreservedly, have Your way. Holy Spirit, we welcome You’ (Mission Praise, 274,241).
The Lord changes us when He forgives our sin. We are not to pray to God with superficial words that don’t mean very much to us. Our prayer is to be a…

Fourth Sunday in Lent: 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41

Don’t settle for “second-best”. ‘Samuel did what the Lord commanded’ (1 Samuel 16:4). Real obedience comes from ‘the heart’. It is more than just ‘keeping up appearances’ (1 Samuel 16:7). ‘The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart’- This is something we must never forget!’ ‘It’s the presence of Your Spirit, Lord, we need’ (Songs of Fellowship, 256) - This is the lesson we must learn from the stories of Saul and David. The great difference between the two men is summed up in 1 Samuel 16:13-14: ‘the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David... the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul’. David exerted a good influence upon Saul (1 Samuel 16:23). Sadly, however, Saul’s best days were behind him. He was only a shadow of what he could have become if he had chosen to become ‘a man after God’s own heart’ (1 Samuel 16:13-14). Don’t settle for second best when you can have God’s very best!
Jesus Christ is God’s very best. Jesus Christ has ‘tasted death for everyone’ (Hebre…

Third Sunday in Lent: Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95; Romans 5:1-11; John 4:5-42

Called to serve the Lord, we begin with worship, praying and listening to His Word. Worldly people create problems (Exodus 17:3). Moses asks, ‘What shall I do...?’ (Exodus 17:4). Indecision asks, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’ (Exodus 17:7). He gives victory (Exodus 17:8-9, 13). Joshua is being equipped for special service - ‘in the ears of Joshua’ (Exodus 17:14). God’s great concern is that His people move forward together. The work is not to be left to the few (18:18). God is looking to faithful servants who will ‘bear the burden’ together (18:21-22). There is much to be done, but we must never forget this: ‘prayer and the ministry of the Word’ (Acts 6:1-4). You may not be a Moses or a Joshua, but you can play your part. We rejoice in who God is and what He has done for us. Assured of His presence with us, let us worship Him: ‘Blessed be the Lord...’ (18:10-11).
We are to worship the Lord with joyful thanksgiving. ‘Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord... Let us come bef…

Second Sunday in Lent: Genesis 12:1-4a; Psalm 121; Romans 4:1-5, 13-17; John 3:1-17

Human failure and divine faithfulness This is a divine Story, carried forward by God’s grace and power. God’s very great promises (Genesis 12:1-3) find their ultimate fulfilment in the coming of God’s eternal Kingdom (Revelation 21:10). We have not reached our heavenly destination. We are still caught in the tension between obedience (Genesis 12:4) and disobedience (Genesis 12:11-13). We are conscious of our human failure, yet we rejoice in the divine faithfulness. We read of Abraham’s sin (Genesis 12:10-20), yet we look beyond this to God's salvation. This is not simply the story of Abraham. It is the Story of Abraham's God. This becomes clear in the change of name. Abram (‘exalted father’) draws attention to the man. Abraham (‘Father of Many’) points to God’s purpose (Genesis 17:5). Like Abraham, we are to worship God (Genesis 12:7-8). We are to say, ‘He is exalted’. We are to say, ‘Christ must increase, and I must decrease’ (John 3:30).
Our help comes from the Lo…