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Showing posts from October, 2017

Lord, You have done so much for us.

Exodus 19:1-25 Lord, You have done so much for us. What are we doing for You? You tell us about Your redemption. You call for our response. Our response is inspired by Your redemption. Thank You for the grace of Your redemption - "By grace you have been saved." Give us the grace to make our response - "Saved through faith for good works" (Ephesians 2:8-10). Lord, help us to have less self-confidence and more confidence in You. Self-confidence is all about us. It has nothing to do with You. Confidence in You is so different. It comes from faith - not from pride. Help us to find our true strength. It's not our strength. It's Your strength.

Lord, show us our pride - and teach us to humble ourselves before You.

Exodus 7:25-8:32 Lord, show us our pride - and teach us to humble ourselves before You. Show us Your power and teach us to trust You to do great things in and through us.

Lord, we thank You that You want to bless us ...

Genesis 27:1-40
Lord, we thank You that You want to bless us - more than we want to be blessed by You. We don't deserve to be blessed - but You keep on blessing us. Help us never to forget to say, "Thank You, Lord." Help us always to treasure Your blessing - and to keep on praying that it will grow and grow and ...

Teach us, Lord, to count our blessings.

Genesis 24:50-67
Teach us, Lord, to count our blessings.
We try to think of all the good things You have done for us, all the great gifts You have given to us.
We cannot keep up with You, Lord. There is so much to count, so much for which we can only say, ‘Thank You, Lord.’

Lord, You are with us – even when we feel that You are far away from us.

Genesis 21:22-22:14 Lord, You are with us – even when we feel that You are far away from us. We think about what’s going on in our life – and we get it all wrong! We look at what’s happening – and we think that You’ve gone away and left us. When will we learn? – It’s us who’ve gone away and left you! We start thinking, ‘You need to come back to me, Lord.’ You’re saying to us, ‘No! You’ve got it all wrong. It’s you that needs to come back to Me.’ Even in our darkest days, You’ve never gone away and left us. You’ve always been there – all the time. You’ve always been there – for us. Thank You, Lord.

Lord, living for You isn’t easy ...

Genesis 16:1-16 Lord, living for You isn’t easy – Satan makes sure of that! We try to escape his evil clutches – but he’s always there, and he’s up to no good! Satan is such a determined enemy. Help us to remind him that he’s a defeated enemy. We’re often tempted – and we feel so weak. Help us to tell Satan that Jesus is Lord – and we belong to Jesus! Satan wins some battles with us. He gives us a hard time. Often, he gets the better of us. Help us to remind him that the final triumph belongs to Jesus. Beyond our present conflict, there is His final triumph; “This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song” (from “Stand up, stand up for Jesus”).

Faithful And Fearless Preaching

God’s Word speaks against us so that we might learn not to speak against God’s Word. God calls us to holiness – “Run away from Babylon! Run for your lives!” (Jeremiah 51:6). The final outcome is described in Jeremiah 51:8 – “Babylon will suddenly fall and be shattered.” God is warning us. It is folly to live the world’s way rather than the Lord’s way. In the light of the Lord’s Word, preached so faithfully by Jeremiah, we must learn to pray, “Your will be done, Lord.”

Lord, the world seems so strong – but You are stronger!

Genesis 19:1-29 Lord, the world seems so strong – but You are stronger! “The world is ever near … my foes are ever near me … but, Jesus, draw still nearer, and shield my soul from sin” (CH4, 644). Sometimes, the battle seems to be too much for us. Sometimes, we feel like giving up. Come to us, Lord. Show us Your love. Without Your love, we are helpless. Our situation is hopeless. Your love brings us help. Your love gives us hope. It’s Your love that makes us “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37).

To You, Lord, be all the glory ...

Genesis 18:16-33 To You, Lord, be all the glory – You have done so many great things for us. So many blessings – and they all come from You, Lord. Our sins have been forgiven. You’ve come to live in us. Such great blessing – but this is just the beginning! You’re leading us on to eternal life. Lord, when our heads go down, help us to lift up our eyes. Help us to “come and see the shining hope.” Help us to look through heaven’s “open door.” Help us to catch a glimpse of “the mighty multitudes of heaven … singing, ‘Alleluia!’ … Love has the victory for ever!” (Mission Praise, 86).

Lord, Your love is greater than our sin.

Genesis 18:1-15 Lord, Your love is greater than our sin. You have a great purpose for every one of us – but our sin gets in the way! You want to make us more like Jesus – but there’s so much of self in us! You want to lead us in the pathway of victory – but Satan’s always trying to trip us up! What are we to make of all this? Are we to give up in despair? No! We must not give up – because You, Lord, never give up on us. Your love is greater than our sin. You will fulfil Your great purpose in us. You will make us more like Jesus. You will lead us in the pathway of victory. Our sin shall not triumph over Your love. Satan will be defeated. Your “love has the victory for ever!” (Mission Praise, 86).

The Lord saves me.

“I call on God, and the Lord saves me” (Psalm 55:16) - This is the Psalmist’s testimony. It is followed by his call to others to turn to the Lord and discover how good He is: “Turn your burdens over to the Lord and He will take care of you” (Psalm 55:22). “I praise the Word of God, I trust God, I am not afraid. What can mere flesh and blood (mortals) do to me?” (Psalm 56:4,10-11). “My heart is confident, O God, I want to sing and make music... I want to give thanks to You among the people, O Lord, I want to make music to praise You among the nations because Your mercy is as high as the heavens. Our truth reaches the skies. May You be honoured above the heavens, O God. Let Your glory extend over the whole earth” (Psalm 57:7,9-11). As we praise God, He leads us forward in His triumph.

Lord, we thank You that You are always with us ...

Genesis 15:1-21
Lord, we thank You that You are always with us – even when bad things are happening to us.

Lord, sometimes, we feel like we’re stuck in a rut.

Genesis 12:1-20 Lord, sometimes, we feel like we’re stuck in a rut. When we feel like this, help us to see that You’ve moved on ahead of us. You’re calling us on – into Your future! Do we need to see exactly where You’re leading us? – No! We don’t! We just need to keep on following You. The future may be unknown to us – but it’s never unknown to You! “Face the sun and the shadows will fall behind you. Look to the One who can put your past behind you. Be the one you were born to be – Don’t you want to be free? … There'll be brighter days ahead” (Garry Brotherston). Lord, let there be no more fear of an unknown future. Help us to look to the Son. Help us to know that, with Him, we can never be stuck in a rut! Help us to move forward with Him and for Him.

A Call For A Christ-Centred Life

The concluding message, preached by Joshua, is a call for the people to exalt the Lord. They make a definite and public commitment to the Lord. The Christ-centredness of real commitment to the Lord is summed up in the words of John the Baptist: "He must become greater; I must become less" (John 3:30). We must confess Christ and honour Him - "The One who comes from heaven is above all" (John 3:31). We must listen to what He says to us - "The One whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit" (John 3:34). It will not be easy to live a life of true commitment to Christ. Nevertheless, we have God's promise: "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you" (Psalm 55:22).

Overwhelmed By Problems?

In Psalms 41-43, we see the Psalmist encountering great difficulties. He is not, however, overwhelmed by his problems. Each of these Psalms ends on the triumphant note of praise: “Thank the Lord God of Israel through all eternity!” (Psalm 41:13); “Put your hope in God, because I will still praise Him. He is my Saviour and my God” (Psalm 42:11; Psalm 43:5).

Our Shepherd, Our Strength - The Lord Saves And Satisfies.

Blessed by the God of love, called to be “His people, the flock of His pasture”we “praise” Him and “give thanks” to Him (Psalm 79:13). He is our “Shepherd” (Psalm 80:1). He restores our soul. He leads us in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake (Psalm 23). He is “our Strength.” In Him, we rejoice with true happiness (Psalm 81:1). “All the nations” belong to the Lord (Psalm 82:8). He is “the Most High God of the whole earth” (Psalm 83:18). Those who know the Lord as their Shepherd and their Strength, the One who “saves” (Psalm 80:19) and “satisfies” (Psalm 81:16), are to pray and work, with the goal of bringing others to the knowledge of Him.

Divine Grace And Human Sin

Divine grace - “But He is compassionate. He forgave their sin. He did not destroy them. He restrained His anger many times. He did not display all of His fury” (Psalm 78:38) - and human sin - “How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness! How often they caused Him grief in the desert! Again and again, they tested God and they pushed the Holy One of Israel to the limit. They did not remember His power ... “ (Psalm 78:40-43): This is the story of human history. When God’s love is thrown back at Him by persistently rebellious sinners, there will be divine judgment - “They tested God Most High and rebelled against Him ... When God heard, He became furious ... “ (Psalm 78:56-64). Where God is angry, it can lead to restoration - “ ... He struck His enemies from behind He built His holy place to be like the high heavens ... He chose His servant David ... ” (Psalm 78:65-72).

Tell The Good News.

"Tell the good news! ... Here is your God" (Isaiah 40:9). "I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will support you with My victorious right hand"  (Isaiah 41:10)."I am the Lord, that is My Name. I will not give glory to anyone else or the praise I deserve to idols" (Isaiah 42:8). The preacher of the Good News is called to proclaim salvation, bringing glory to God alone - zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of sinners.

Our love for God - a response to His love for us

This book (Song of Solomon) can be read at two different levels. At the human level, it’s a celebration of the love between a man and a woman. At the spiritual level, it inspires us to appreciate, more truly and more fully, the great love which Christ has for us. As we grow in our awareness of Christ’s amazing love for us, we are called to love Him more. His love comes first. We must never forget this. His love is an everlasting love. Our love for Him can never be any more than a response to His love for us.

The Lord Is My Light ...

“The Lord is my light and my salvation” (Psalm 27:1). “They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light” (Revelation 22:5). No fear of a power cut! This is brighter than the Eurovision Song Contest!
“The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). The “light” that brightens up our life is the light of God’s “salvation.” It’s the Saviour who brings us out of darkness. He brings us into His light. This light gives us strength. God’s salvation is more than forgiveness for the past. It is strength for every day.

Real Listening ...

Real Listening, A Real Turning To The Lord And A Real Sense Of His Blessing (Psalm 85:8)
We are to pray for real listening - ‘I will listen to what God the Lord will say’- , a real turning to the Lord - ‘turning to Him in our hearts’- , and a real sense of His blessing - ‘He will speak peace to His people’(Psalm 85:8).

Take your problem to the Lord.

"O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake ... " (Daniel 9:19).
"O Lord" - This is prayer. We do not take our problem to everyone else but the Lord. We take our problem to the Lord. "Hear" and "listen" - There can be a very real difference between hearing and listening. Something is said in our hearing, but we're not listening. When something is important, we say, "Are you listening?" Why do we want to make sure that the hearer is paying attention to what we're saying? - Because it's important to us. When we say to the Lord, "Hear"  and "listen", we're saying, "Lord, this is important to me." "Forgive" and "act" - We want to break free from our past. We want to be set free for God's future. Don't let my past sins hinder my future blessing. Send Your blessing, Lord. That's what we're praying for when we sa…

Sing with joy ...

Jeremiah 31:7-14

“Sing with joy” (Jeremiah 31:7,12-13).
This is to be our response to the Gospel. It’s more than a singalong. It’s “praise.” This praise continues after we leave the place of worship.
“Shout” - “I am not ashamed” (Romans 1:16).
“Proclaim” - Make the message known: “for the Good News” (Romans 1:1,5-6).
This for everyone (Jeremiah 31:8,10).
We come as we are - “blind” and “lame” (Jeremiah 31:8). We come to our “Shepherd” (Jeremiah 31:10). He has “ransomed” us. He has “redeemed” us from the “power” of Satan, Our enemy is stronger than we are, but he is not stronger than Jesus - “the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:40.
With Christ in our life, everything changes - “new wine, fresh oil... Their life will be... They will be no longer...” (Jeremiah 31:12). It is “abundant” life, a “satisfied” life (Jeremiah 31:14). We have received new life in Christ - “This is the Lord’s declaration concerning us (Jeremiah 31:14).

Standing!

“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the House of the Lord.’ Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:2).
* Standing – in the House of the Lord! In life’s many trying times, we are put to the test – Will we stand? Will we fall? * Standing – in the house of the Lord! Let’s never imagine that we can stand in our own strength – “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12). * Standing – in the House of the Lord: We stand when we put our trust in the Lord. We stand when we build our life on Him.

Do not trust in deceptive words ...

"Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord,  the temple of the Lord!”... Has this house, which bears My Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord" (Jeremiah 7:4,11).
Jeremiah spoke to the people of his own day. He speaks to us as well. Don't let the place where you worship become more important than it really is. This is what he says to us. These are not only the words of Jeremiah. This is the Word of the Lord. What's happening in our hearts when we are gathered together in the House of the Lord? Are we thinking to ourselves, "I never miss a church service - not like those who've stopped coming to church"? What kind of "worship" is this? Lord, take us to the heart of worship. Give us a worshipping heart.

Everlasting Love

"I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3).
God loves us. This isn’t for some perfect people who’ve never fallen into sin. There’s nobody who’s like that. All of us have made a mess of things – but God still says to us, “I love you.” He says, “My Son, Jesus, died for you.” This is what gives us the strength to choose His way rather than our own way. This is what keeps us from sin. This is what convinces us that there’s a better way than the way of sin. There’s a way of blessing. It comes to us when we’re learning how much God loves us. He doesn’t give up on us when we let Him down. He keeps on loving us. He keeps on lifting us up. He sets us on our feet. He changes the direction of our life. It becomes less about ourselves, and more about Him (Galatians 2:20).
So often, we have been like ‘the prodigal son’(Luke 15:11-24). We have walked away from our Father’s House. We have wandered off into ‘the far country’. We feel that we are far from God, yet…

The Third Day!

Genesis 1:13 -“the third day”
We read these words, and our thoughts move forward to the mighty miracle of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead – “on the third day God raised Him from the dead.”

Being With Jesus And Learning From Him

Mark 3:1-19
Jesus' ministry of preaching, teaching and healing was a remarkable ministry - but He did not go it alone. He called disciples to be with Him and learn from Him. How much do we know about these men? We know quite a lot about some of them. There are others about whom we know nothing at all. Do we need to know a lot about all of the apostles? No! We need to know about Jesus. The Saviour is more important than the servants. The message is more important than the messengers. This is a very important lesson. This is a lesson that we all need to learn. This is a lesson that we must never forget. Before we can work for the Lord, we are to "be with Him." We are to speak for Him (Mark 3:14). We are to pray that people will be changed (Mark 3:15).

Blessing - From The Lord

Psalm 24:1-10
“The one who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:3) - That’s Jesus. “He will receive a blessing from the Lord” (Psalm 24:5).
How do we receive this blessing? We must receive it through Jesus. We must open our hearts to “the King of glory” (Psalm 24:7,9). He will lead us on to “the mountain of the Lord”, to “His holy place” (Psalm 24:3).

From Revelation To Revival

Ezekiel 37:1-14God calls us to speak His Word. First, we must receive His Gospel. We must see ourselves as sinners. We must see Jesus as our Saviour. The Word of the Lord is to be encouraging, challenging and life-changing. We will not always be on the mountain-top. Often, we will be down in the valley. We will need to be lifted up by the Lord.
As we move from the world of the Bible to the world of today, we must ask the question, “Can these bones live?” (Ezekiel 37:3), and we must listen to God’s answer to this question. Humanly speaking, the answer is “No.” God gives us a different answer. He says, “Yes.” God’s answer is given by grace. It is to be spoken in faith. It is the answer that comes to us when the Spirit of the Lord is at work in us (Ezekiel 37:1). It is the answer that comes from revelation. It is the answer that leads to revival.

A New Song - A Song Of Salvation

The world sings its songs. They do not sing the song of the Lord. There is a song which can only be sung by those who have been saved by the Lord. It is "a new song." It is the song of "salvation." Saved by the Lord, we sing to Him our song of "thanksgiving." We think of what the Lord has done for us and we say, "Praise the Lord!" (Psalm 149:1).

Serving the Lord arises out of worshipping Him.

Isaiah 6:1-13 
Serving the Lord arises out of worshipping Him.  * We proclaim His holiness: "Holy, holy, holy... " (Isaiah 6:3).    * We confess our sin: "Woe is me" (Isaiah 6:5) - a personal confession. Before we can speak the words, "Here am I. Send me" (Isaiah 6:8), we must hear the words, "Your sin has been forgiven" (Isaiah 6:7). We are to be faithful in speaking God's Word. This involves our lips (Isaiah 6:7). It also involves our lives. Serving the Lord means more than paying lip-service to Him. We are to serve Him with our lives. Is there any guarantee that we will bear much fruit? The parable of the sower says that our fruit may be 100, 60 or 30 times what was sown (Matthew 13:23). The parable of the talents says that one talent could become two; two could become four; five could become ten (Matthew 21:14-30). What does Isaiah 6 say to us about bearing fruit for the Lord? There is a word of realism. Many people will pay no at…

Conviction Of Sin, Conversion To The Saviour

Jeremiah was fearless in his preaching of God’s Word. He spoke the truth. He spoke the Word which had been given to him by the Lord. When God speaks the Word of His holiness, the Word which exposes sin for what it really is, there is no place to hide. When we read Jeremiah’s words about Israel’s enemies, we must recognize that the Word of God concerning sin must be spoken clearly. It is only when there is conviction of sin that there can be conversion to the Saviour.

Is there still hope of God's blessing?

Jeremiah speaks of God’s judgment - “I’m bringing disaster and widespread destruction ...” (Jeremiah 4:6). This message comes to us as a word of warning, a plea to the people to return to the Lord and find His mercy - “So put on sackcloth, mourn and cry because the Lord’s burning anger hasn’t turned away from us” (Jeremiah 4:8). This is the call to repentance. We read of God’s burning anger, and we wonder,”Is there still the hope of God’s blessing?” God is speaking of His judgment - “Nation of Israel, I’m going to bring a nation from far away to attack you,declares the Lord, I won’t destroy all of you” (Jeremiah 5:15,18). God’s Word  concerning the threat of judgment is a call to the people to honour Him as God: “Pay attention to My warning, Jerusalem, or I will turn away from you. I will make your land desolate ...” (Jeremiah 6:8). The ministry of Jeremiah differs from the ministry of the false prophets. They say, “Everything is alright!” He says, “It’s not alright! (J…

The “Rock of our salvation”

Isaiah speaks words of prophecy concerning Jesus Christ, the “Rock of our salvation”, the “precious Cornerstone”, the “solid Foundation” (Isaiah 28:16). Jesus Christ gives us the blessings of God’s salvation – “the deaf will hear the words, written in the book. The blind will see out of their gloom and darkness. Humble people again will find joy in the Lord” (Isaiah 29:18-19). With the Gospel proclamation – in Christ, there is full salvation – comes an appeal to come to Him and receive the blessings, promised to us by the God of love: “This is what the Almighty Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says, You can be saved by returning to Me. You can have rest. You can be strong by being quiet and by trusting Me” (Isaiah 30:15). The Lord is looking for our response. He longs to pour out His blessing on those who put their trust in Him: “The Lord is waiting to be kind to you. He rises to have compassion on you. The Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all those who wait for Him” …

The coming Saviour and the coming Kingdom

Isaiah 10 speaks of a divine judgment, in which the only “survivors” will be those who “depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 10:20). Isaiah 11 contains a Messianic prophecy. These are words, which point forward to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. They are words of the coming Kingdom (Isaiah 11:1-10). Isaiah 12 contains a hymn of praise to God: “I will praise You, O Lord” (Isaiah 12:1), which is followed by a call to praise God – “Praise the Lord …” (Isaiah 12:4-6). This is a short chapter. It only has six verses. Its words are very precious. We can come to these words, again and again, and experience the fulfilment of the Lord’s precious promise: “With joy you will draw water from the springs of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). This is the “living water”, which is Christ Himself.

Wisdom for living

Practical wisdom, wisdom for living  - this is what we have in Proverbs. The teaching of Proverbs is base on the principle: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 1:7). This does not mean that God is mentioned frequently. In Proverbs 25 - 27, there is only one mention of God (Proverbs 25:2). The concern is with life on earth, our relationships with our fellow human beings. These relationships are to be lived out from the godly perspective which comes from "the fear of the Lord."

Special Days – Dedication / Anniversary: Genesis 28:10-22; Psalm 48: (1-8), 9-14; 1 Corinthians 3:9-17; Matthew 12:1-8

A night to remember – blessing from the Lord, dedication to the Lord Just another night (Genesis 28:11)? No! This was a night to remember, a night Jacob would never forget. God came to him with His wonderful promise of love: ‘I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you’ (Genesis 28:15). At Bethel (‘the house of God’), powerfully transformed by the presence of God - ‘Surely the Lord is in this place’ (Genesis 28:16) - , Jacob consecrated himself to the Lord. ‘If’ (Genesis 28:20) means ‘Since’. See Romans 8:31 - ‘If (Since) God is for us, who can be against us?’ Giving the tenth (Genesis 28:22) - this is not legalism, a kind of repayment scheme. There can be no ‘salvation by works’. We are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our giving must always be a heartfelt expression of thanksgiving to the God of grace: ‘Loving Him who first loved me’. We are saved ‘to do good works’ (Ephesians 2:10) - not because we do good works!
Our worship does end in God’s House. …

Special Days – St. Andrew’s Day: Zechariah 8:20-23; Psalm 87; Romans 10:8b-15; Matthew 4:12-20

Let us pray that the Spirit will be poured upon us from on high. When people stop listening to God’s Word, their life becomes ‘a desolate wasteland’ (Zechariah 7:11-14). What are we to do when we see this happening? - ‘Do not be afraid... Be strong’. We must keep on believing God’s promise: ‘I will save you, and you will be a blessing’. We must keep on praying that our faithful witness will bring others to the Lord: ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you’ (Zechariah 8:13, 23). We must pray that ‘the Spirit will be poured upon us from on high and the desert will become a fertile field.’ ‘Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father’ (Isaiah 32:15; Matthew 5:15-16).
Through the power of the Spirit, we are born again. ‘Glorious things are said of you, O city of God... The Lord will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion”. As they make music …

Special Days – Remembrance Day: Isaiah 25:1-9; Psalm 20; Revelation 22:1-5; Matthew 5:38-48

Looking back and looking forward ‘O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your Name... You have done marvellous things’ (Isaiah 25:1). We remember what God has done for us. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour. We rejoice in Jesus Christ who died for us. We rejoice in Jesus Christ who rose again for us. We look forward to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. We look forward to the Day when ‘He will swallow up death for ever.’ On that Day, ‘the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces’. On that Day, we will look back and say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us.’ On that Day, we will ‘rejoice and be glad in His salvation’ (Isaiah 25:8-9). Here and now, let us learn to ‘trust in the Lord’. We can trust in Him ‘for ever’. He is ‘the everlasting Rock’- ‘the Rock of our salvation’ (Isaiah 26:4; Psalm 95:1).
Jesus Christ is our Saviour. Let us bring our song of praise to Him.
‘We boast of the Name of the Lord our God...Throu…

Special Days – All Saints: Revelation 7:9-17 or Isaiah 51:1-6; Psalm 34:1-10, 22; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12

Looking at things with Christ’s eyes Christ invites us to ‘come’ (Revelation 6:1, 3, 5, 7) - and look at things through His eyes. With Him, we look at earth. With Him, we look at heaven. Troubled world, tremendous worship - These are the things we see when we look through the eyes of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our world is deeply troubled. Heaven’s worship is absolutely tremendous. Of all our many ‘troubles’, the greatest is this: We are sinners, and none of us ‘can stand’ before ‘the face of Him who sits on the throne’. Our earthly ‘troubles’ are nothing compared with this! There is hope. There is a way of ‘salvation’. We can be saved through ‘the blood of the Lamb’. If, however, we turn from Him - ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’- there will be no hope. We will face ‘the wrath of the Lamb’ (Revelation 4:16-17; 5:10, 14; John 1:29). Will you be saved - or lost?
Listening to God and speaking for God ‘The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taug…

Special Days – Michaelmas: 2 Kings 6:8-17; Psalm 103:19-22; Revelation 12:7-12a; Matthew 18:1-6, 10

Our love for God is grounded in His love for us. Elisha was ‘the man of God’ (2 Kings 6:6, 9, 15). This was the important thing about him. More than anything else, he was ‘the man of God’. We find the same phrase in 1 Timothy 6:11 - ‘But as for you, man of God,… aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness’. We are to be people who put first things first. There is nothing more important than this: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind’. Does this seem too heavenly-minded? Jesus also says, ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’ (Luke 10:27). We are not to be super-spiritual. We are to be spiritually natural and naturally spiritual. Let there be no conflict between loving God and loving our neighbour. Christ is our Lord. We serve others for His sake (2 Corinthians 4:5). ‘Praise the Lord’ (Psalm 103:1-2, 20-22). Let’s praise Him for His ‘steadfast love’. He is ‘abounding …

Special Days – Harvest Festival: Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Psalm 145:8-21; Revelation 14:14-18; Matthew 13:24-33

Break the vicious circle and get on to God’s victorious circle. The people of Israel had a testimony. They had been redeemed by the God of love. Thankful for His love and salvation, they brought their offerings to the Lord (Deuteronomy 26:5-9). The call to obedience is grounded in the gift of salvation. Redeemed by the Lord, we are called to be ‘a people holy to the Lord our God’ (Deuteronomy 26:16-19). There is no privilege without responsibility. Israel was privileged: God was giving them ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’. Israel was responsible: God was saying to them, ‘Keep all the commandments which I command you this day’ (Deuteronomy 27:1-3). God blesses us. We obey Him. We enjoy more of His blessing. This leads us to obey Him more. Break the ‘vicious circle’. Get on to God’s ‘victorious circle’: He shows us His love. We love Him. He shows us more of His love. We love Him more... (John 14:21).
God is great. His love is great. His faithfulness is great. ‘Great is t…

Special Days – Springtime: Genesis 8:15-22; Psalm 65:9-13; Galatians 6:7-10; Matthew 6:24-30

Christ has taken away our sin. Let us rejoice in Him. Following the flood, we have this simple yet striking declaration: ‘the ground was dry’ (Genesis 8:13). Safe from judgment! This is the message which comes to us from the Cross: ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). The judgment has fallen upon Christ. We are no longer swept away in the judgment. We can stand on solid ground: ‘On Christ the solid Rock I stand’ (Church Hymnary, 411). He is our Support in ‘the whelming flood’. God said to Noah, ‘Come out of the ship’ (Genesis 8:15). 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 solely for our own benefit. We are sent out to be fruitful (Genesis 8:17; John 15:16). We are to ‘abide in Christ’. This is the way of fruitfulness (John 15:4-5). We are not sent out alone. Strengthened in ‘the ship’ (in Christ), we step out with Christ and for Him. ‘Le…

Special Days – Presentation of the Lord: Malachi 3:1-4; Psalm 24; Hebrews 2:14-18; Luke 2:22-40

The Lord calls us to return to Him. God calls us to be His faithful people. He says, ‘Return to Me.’ He promises to bless those who return to Him: ‘I will return to you’. God calls us to honour Him with our ‘tithes and offerings: ‘Bring the whole tithe (tenth) into the storehouse...’ When we honour the Lord, He has promised that He will honour us: ‘Those who honour Me, I will honour’. When we honour the Lord with our obedience, He promises that He will honour us with His blessing. He promises to ‘open the windows of heaven and pour down for us an overflowing blessing’. Satan - ‘the devourer’- will be defeated. We will ‘serve God’. He will take ‘delight’ in us. We will be His ‘treasured possession’ (Malachi 3:8-12, 17-19; 1 Samuel 2:30).
Open the door of your heart to Jesus. He will come in. For God’s people, there is a glorious eternal destiny: ‘I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever’ (Psalm 23:6). We ‘receive this blessing from the Lord, ... the God of our salvati…

Special Days – Christian Unity: Ezekiel 37:15-24; Psalm 122; 1 Corinthians 3:1-11; Matthew 28:16-20

As we we come to God’s House, let us pray, “Holy Spirit, we welcome You.” 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). ‘I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the House of the Lord”’ (Psalm 122:2). Why do we go to t…

Twenty-Seventh (or last) Sunday after Pentecost (Reign of Christ the King): Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24; Psalm 100 or Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-26; Psalm 95:1-7a; Ephesians 1:15-23; Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd and the Chief Shepherd. God speaks to us in love. He says, ‘I Myself will be the Shepherd of My sheep’ (Ezekiel 34:15). We rejoice in His love. We say, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ (Psalm 23:1). Jesus is our Shepherd. He is ‘the good Shepherd’. He laid down His life for us that we might receive the forgiveness of our sins. ‘Christ died for our sins’. He - ‘the Righteous’- died for us - ‘the unrighteous’- ‘to bring us to God’ (John 10:11; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 3:18). He is ‘the great Shepherd’. He was ‘raised’ from the dead’. Through His resurrection, we receive eternal life. He says to us, ‘Because I live you will live also’ (Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:4; John 14:19). He is ‘the chief Shepherd’. He will come again with ‘the unfading crown of glory’ for His ‘good and faithful servants’ (1 Peter 5:4; Matthew 25:21).
Let us worship the Lord with joy. ‘Exalt the Lord our God... Make a joyful noise to the Lord’ (Psa…

Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost: Judges 4:1-7; Psalm 123 or Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18; Psalm 90:1-8, (9-11), 12; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25:14-30

Our help comes from the Lord. The glory goes to the Lord. Barak is an example of ‘faith’ (Hebrews 11:32-34). Faith involves believing God’s promise - ‘I will give...’and obeying His command - ‘Go’ (Judges 4:6-7). God still says, ‘Go... I am with you always...’ (Matthew 28:19-20). Barak needed Deborah’s help (Judges 4:8-10). Both needed God’s help - ‘Our sufficiency comes from God’ (2 Corinthians 3:5-6). In Deborah’s song, we learn of the importance of giving all the glory to God: ‘Bless the Lord... To the Lord I will sing, I will make melody to the Lord... Bless the Lord’ (Judges 5:2-3, 9). We are to repeat the triumphs of the Lord’. This is our high calling as ‘the people of the Lord’ (Judges 5:11). ‘Awake, awake, Deborah … Arise, Barak …’ (5:12) – God is still calling His people to wake up, to rise up: ‘Rise up O Church of God, awake!’ (Church Hymnary, 477; Mission Praise, 178). ‘I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the House of the Lord”’ (Psalm 122:2). Why…

Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost: Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25; Psalm 78:1-7 or Amos 5:18-24; Psalm 70; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13

Let us serve the Lord all the days of our life. Close to the end of his life, Joshua commits himself and his family to the Lord (Joshua 24:15, 29). Moved by his example, the people commit themselves to the Lord (Joshua 24:16-18, 21, 24). For Israel, this was a momentous decision - a definite, public commitment to the Lord (Joshua 24:24-27). Note the pattern of Joshua’s preaching. What God has done for Israel (Joshua 24:2-13) is followed by ‘Therefore...’ (Joshua 24:14). When we are called to make a real commitment, we must ask the searching question, ‘Do I really mean it’ (Joshua 24:19-20). We must commit ourselves to the Lord: ‘Fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness’ (Joshua 24:14). Make your own commitment to the Lord. Give your testimony - ‘as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’. Pray that others will also say, ‘We will serve the Lord our God and obey Him (Joshua 24:15, 24). Let us ‘serve the Lord all the days’ of our life (Joshua 24:31)…

Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Joshua 3:7-17; Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37 or Micah 3:5-12; Psalm 43; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13; Matthew 23:1-12

Set apart for God, we rejoice in His great love. ‘Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you’ (Joshua 3:5). ‘Sanctify them in the truth; Thy Word is truth’ (John 17:17). Together with the command, there is the prayer. We are called to set ourselves apart for God. We can only do this when we look to the Lord for His strength. We receive His strength through His Word. We give ourselves to the Lord. He gives His promise to us: ‘the Lord will do wonders among you’. His promise of blessing is no guarantee of an easy time. In the promised land, there would be problems - and God: ‘as I was with Moses, so I will be with you’ (Joshua 3:7). There would be conflict - and victory: ‘the living God is among you... He will without fail drive out from before you...’ (Joshua 3:10). We look beyond Joshua to Jesus - ‘God with us’ (Matthew 1:23). In Him, we have the victory (1 Corinthians 15:57). There are some things that are worth repeating! The story of God’s ama…

Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost; Deuteronomy 34:1-12; Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17 or Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18; Psalm 1; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8; Matthew 22:34-46

“The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.” ‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’ (Deuteronomy 33:27): This is no guarantee of peaceful tranquillity. For Israel, there was conflict. ‘Saved by the Lord’, Israel had found true happiness. Still, there were ‘enemies’ to be ‘thrust out’and ‘trampled down’ (Deuteronomy 33:27, 29). Knowing the blessing of God’s salvation is no guarantee that life will be easy. When the enemies of the Gospel see a believer intent on glorifying the Lord, they do all they can to create problems. We have ‘enemies’ in ‘high places’ (Deuteronomy 33:29; Ephesians 6:12). Their argument is not with us. It is with God. If God’s work is to do well, there needs to be spiritual leadership. Moses had led God’s people in his day. Joshua was to take his place (Deuteronomy 34:9). Moses was important. Joshua was important. The Lord is more important - ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Rom…