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Showing posts from 2015

Burdensome Religion And Joyous Faith (Psalm 1:1-2)

Burdensome religion and joyous faith are worlds apart. They are exact opposites. “I have to” – How shallow and superficial is “I have to” religion. The man or woman who thinks like this hasn’t even begun to appreciate the great love of Jesus Christ.What a far cry this is from a truly heartfelt and joyful Christian faith!
When someone is really interested in something, it’s never a matter of “I have to.”
- Does a young man, desperately in love, “have to” meet his sweetheart?
- Does a football fanatic “have to” travel miles to watch his team?
- Does a music lover “have to” buy the CDs and go the concerts of his favourite band?
- Does a keen golfer “have to” play golf?
Do you get the point?
The real question is not “Do I have to?” It’s “Do I want to?”
It’s much better to do something good because you want to – not just because you have to!
Have you begun to appreciate something of the great love of God, which is revealed in His Son, our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ? If you have, …

The Great King

Jesus Christ – the great King (Psalm 24:8–10 )

“Who is this great King?” (Psalm 24:8, 10) The Psalmist tells us – “He is the Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, victorious in battle … The triumphant Lord – He is the great King!” (vs. 8, 10). When we turn to the New Testament, we learn that Jesus is the great King. Jesus is the Lord. Jesus is strong and mighty. Jesus is victorious in battle. Jesus is the triumphant Lord. Jesus Christ is the Name which jumps out at us from the first chapter of Ephesians. Everything is centred upon Christ.

A Word That Reaches The Heart

“O Lord … Say to my soul, I am your Saviour”  (Psalm 35:1,3). Assurance of our salvation comes to us from the Lord Himself. He speaks to us. His Word is a deep Word. It reaches the heart.

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.

The God Of Power, The God Of Love

“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace” (Psalm 29:10-11). The Lord is “enthroned” – This is the God of power. The Lord “gives”, the Lord “blesses” – This is the God of love. When we think of the God of power, we must always remember that He is also the God of love. When we think of the God of love, we must never forget that He is also the God of power. The Lord is the King of love.

Opening Up God's Word: Deuteronomy 7:7-8 and 8:17-19

Deuteronomy emphasizes the importance of responding to the Lord right now.  - We are reminded of the past, but we must not live in the past.  - We are pointed to the future, but we must not daydream about the future.   (1) One of Deuteronomy's main themes is the love of God. God's love points us back to the past, to the death of Christ for our sins (Romans 5:8). It also points us forward, to the heavenly place that the Lord is preparing for His people (John 14:1-3). God's love is not, however, something that belongs to the past - and it is not something that is kept for the future. God loves us now. He loved us in the past - and He loves us now. God has not forgotten us - and He will not forget us.  We can face the future with the assurance that God loves us. He loves us with a love that will not let us go. He loves us with a love that will not let us down. He loves us with a purpose. He plans to bless us. His purpose of blessing is a purpose of love. He says to us, "…

Show Us Your Way ... Show Us Jesus.

“Show me your ways, Lord; Teach me Your paths … Guide me in your truth … for you are God my Saviour … ” (Psalm 25:4-5).
When we pray, “Show me your ways, Lord”, we must always remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). God says to us, “Let the wicked forsake his way.” There is a better way – “Let him return to the Lord.” When we return to the Lord, we are led into His better way – “He will have mercy on him … our God … will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).
“The one who has clean hands and a pure heart … the King of glory” (Psalm 24:4,7-10).
We look at Jesus’ life on earth. What do we see? We see the Man “who has clean hands and a pure heart” – “There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin.” We look at Jesus, in heaven. What do we see? We see “the King of glory.” We see Him, in heaven, and we rejoice in this: “He only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in.”

Singing The Lord's Song

“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:1-4).
Here on earth, we are always “in a foreign land”. We haven’t yet arrived safely at our heavenly home. In this “foreign” land, we are called to keep on singing the songs of the Lord. We live in an atmosphere of rebellion. Let us keep on praying that God will send revival.
Can depressing situations be turned out? – Our hope is not in ourselves. It is in the Lord. He is “mighty to save” (Isaiah 63:2).

The Twenty-Third Psalm

Psalm 23 “The Lord is my Shepherd … “
The words are so familiar. When we start to think that we understand all that this great Psalm is saying to us, the Lord comes to with something new, something fresh, something that speaks to our hearts, something that brings blessing into our lives. What are to say about this? ~ From God to us, comes blessing, much blessing. How much blessing? Who can say? All we can say is this – It’s His blessing, and His blessing “overflows” (v. 5).   * Speaking about God – The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness      for His name’s sake.
  * Speaking to God - Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Sur…

In The House Of The Lord

“One thing have I asked of the Lord…that I may dwell in the House of the Lord…”(Psalm 27:4). Why do we come to the House of the Lord? – We come to offer to Him our heartfelt worship.

How Great Is Our God!

"Who can speak about all the mighty things the Lord has done? Who can announce all the things for which He is worthy of praise?" (Psalm 106:2).

There is always more to be said about the Lord than we can ever say. When we have said all that we can say, we have not said enough. The Lord is always greater than all our words about Him. How great is our God! How great is His mighty work of salvation! Praise be to His Name - the Name of our salvation.

Approaching the Lord’s Table: Forgiveness, Victory, Faith, God’s Word, God’s Love

As we approach the Lord’s Table, let’s think about two verses of Scripture. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). “Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler” (Psalm 91:3). The first of these verses speaks of the forgiveness of our sins. The second speaks of victory over Satan. Through the precious blood of Christ, we receive the forgiveness of our sins (1 Peter 1:18-19). Through the precious blood of Christ, we are victorious over Satan (Revelation 12:11). Let us rejoice in God’s gift of forgiveness. Let us also rejoice in His gift of victory. We do not earn God’s forgiveness. It is God’s gift. Victory is not earned. Like forgiveness, victory is God’s gift. How do we receive these great gifts of God? We come to the Cross of Christ. At the Cross, we learn that Christ to bring us forgiveness – and He died to give us victory. We receive these gifts by faith. Forgiveness and victory do not come to …

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. …

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, 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).

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.

A Problem - And A Response

"Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls ... Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words ... Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord" (Acts 15:24,32,35).
There was a problem. There needed to be a response. Whenever God's people are being "troubled" and "unsettled" by those who speak their own "words" rather than the Word of the Lord, what are we to do? We must pray that God will raise up "prophets" who will preach the Gospel and teach the Word of God, strengthening the faith of God's people and leading them into a closer walk with God.

The Holy City ...

"The Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God - It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel" (Revelation 21:10-11).
At the heart of "the Holy City", there is Jesus Christ. In Him, we see the bright shining light of God's love. He is the precious cornerstone upon which our eternal salvation is built (1 Peter 2:4-7). As we read about "the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God" (Revelation 21:10), our thoughts turn to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. It's only because of what He has done for us that we will be welcomed into the glory of God's saving and eternal presence of love. Jesus is "the cornerstone" of our faith (1 Peter 2:6). He is the foundation upon which our salvation is built. Without Him, there is no salvation. With Him, there is full salvation. What light there is shining into our hearts - from the wonderful love of our Saviour. It's …

Do what God tells us to do ...

Genesis 2:4-25 Do what God tells us to do. This leads to blessing. Do what God tells us not to do. This leads to trouble. It’s been trouble ever since.
Here, on earth, things can be turned around. We can be set in the right direction. We are not yet at our final destination, but we’re travelling towards it.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they “died” spiritually. Immediately, we see conflict. The devil has won a battle. He has won many more battles. He will win many more battles. He will not win the war.
In Genesis 3:15, we catch a glimpse of God’s eternal Kingdom, in which “there will no longer be any curse” (Revelation 22:3).

Help And Hope - From The Lord

God is calling us to live as "righteous people" (Psalm 58:10-11). When we face hostile persecution, our only hope is in the Lord: “God is my Stronghold, my merciful God” (Psalm 59:9,17). Looking to the Lord, we pray, “Give us help against the enemy because human assistance is worthless” (Psalm 60:11). Trusting in the Lord, we have this confidence: “With God, we will display great strength. He will trample our enemies” (Psalm 60:12). Knowing that god is with us as the God of our salvation, we can say, with glad assurance of faith, “I will triumph!” (Psalm 60:6). We are “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). Whatever Satan does, he will not succeed. We have the victory in Christ.

Good News - Reaching Out To Us And Reaching Out Through Us

“Good News” - “the forgiveness of sins” and “baptism with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:1,4,8). This Good News is centred on Jesus Christ, God’s beloved Son (Mark 1:11). Jesus was empowered by “the Spirit” (Mark 1:12). He comes to us with “the Good news of God” (Mark 1:(14). He calls for our response - “Change the way you think and act, and believe the Good News” (Mark 1:15). Where does this change come from? It comes from the Good News. This is what changes us. By becoming Christ-centred (following Jesus), we become less self-centred and more other-centred. Jesus teaches us “how to catch people instead of fish” (Mark 1:17).

“The Lord is my Shepherd” - and my Saviour!

“The Lord is my Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1). He is “my Saviour”(Psalm 25:5). He is also “the King of glory” (Psalm 24:8-10). He has promised to “lead us in the paths of righteousness for the sake of His Name” (Psalm 23:3). This promise is fulfilled, as we open our  hearts to Him - “Be lifted,you ancient doors, so that the King of glory may come in” (Psalm 24:9), when we pray for His leading in our lives: “Make Your ways known to me, O Lord, and teach me Your paths.Lead me in Your truth, and teach me because You are God, my Saviour” (Psalm 25:5). The Lord fulfils His promise to us: “The Lord advises those who fear Him. He reveals to them the intent of His promise” (Psalm 25:14).

My Heart Is Overflowing With Good News.

"My heart is overflowing with Good News ... Grace is poured on your lips ... O warrior, strap your sword to your side ... Ride on victoriously in your majesty for the cause of truth, humility, and righteousness" (Psalm 45:1-4).
As we read this Psalm, we catch a glimpse of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ - "You are the most handsome of Adam's descendants" (Psalm 45:2). The Good News comes to us from Jesus. Grace comes to us from Jesus. We hear the Gospel. we believe in Jesus. He forgives our sins. He leads us in the way of victory. He teaches us truth, humility and righteousness. His truth sets us free - to become less self-centred and more Christ-centred. He teaches us the truth about ourselves. This keeps us humble. We're never any more than sinners who've been saved by His grace. He teaches us the truth about Himself. He is our Saviour. He is our Lord. As we learn of Jesus, our Saviour and Lord, He creates in us a desire to become mor…

“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).

The Beginning Of Conflict And The Promise Of Victory

“Created in the image of God” (Genesis 1:26-27) - “God saw everything that He had created … it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). At the end of Genesis 1, things couldn’t get any better. It looked so promising. The future looked bright with hope. It was bright with the light of God’s love. Everything looked so good. Could things get any better than this? Sometimes when we feel like this, there can be trouble just around the next corner! That’s what we have in Genesis 3. It begins with the question, “Did God say?” (Genesis 3:1). This is asking for trouble – big trouble! Before long, questioning becomes contradiction – “the serpent said to the woman, ‘You shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). God says one thing. The serpent (Satan – see Revelation 12:9) says something else. He says the exact opposite! From that moment, there was conflict – but there was also the promise of victory. In Genesis 3:15, there’s a great prophecy. It points forward to the death of Jesus Christ, our Sav…

Save me, O God ...

"Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help;   my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God" (Psalm 69:1-3). Sometimes, we get ourselves into deep water. We're sinking. We're looking to You, Lord. The world is pulling us down, pulling us away from You. We're looking to You, Lord. It's not easy. Life is difficult. There are many problems. We're looking to You, Lord. Help us to keep on looking to You - when we feel like giving up and giving in. Help us to keep on believing that there is the light at the end of our tunnel. We're looking to You, Lord - and we will keep on looking to You, whatever happens."Let heaven and earth praise Him… For God will save" (Psalm 69:34-35). God does not save us because we praise Him. We praise God because He saves us.

Some things are worth repeating!

There are some things that are worth repeating! The story of God’s amazing grace is worth repeating over and over again – ‘Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress’(Psalm 107:6, 13, 19, 28). The call to praise the Lord is also something we need to hear again and again – ‘Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men’(Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31). Let us ‘consider the great love of the Lord.’ Let us ‘give thanks to the Lord’ (Psalm 107:43, 1). ‘The great love of God is revealed in the Son, who came to this earth to redeem every one. That love, like a stream flowing clear to the sea, makes clean every heart that from sin would be free… It’s yours, it is ours, O how lavishly given! The pearl of great price, and the treasure of heaven!’ (Daniel Thambyrajah Niles).

I Will Sing ...

“I will sing for the one I love” (Isaiah 5:1).
Isaiah speaks here of our love for God. When we speak of our love for God, we must always remember this: God’s love for us comes before our love for Him. We sing to the One who has loved us. The song we sing to Him is the song of love: “Loving Him who first loved me.” Lord, we sing a song of love. We sing about the best love of all – Your love for us. There is no love like Your love. It’s the greatest love of all. It’s Your love for us that inspires our love for You. Our love for You grows strong when we think less about our love for You – and more about Your love for us.

Great Sin And Even Greater Grace

"The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth" (Genesis 6: 5) - This is great sin. "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord" (Genesis 6:8) - This is even greater grace. God could have looked on the whole human race , and said, "Enough is enough. That's us finished." He didn't do this. He didn't give up on us. He kept on going - with His purpose of grace, His plan of salvation. Beyond the flood, there was the new beginning. God was doing a new thing. This was the work of His grace. It had nothing to do with human righteousness. It had everything to do with divine mercy - the saving grace of God. When you read about the flood, look beyond the destruction - and see the salvation of God.

More Than A Departure ...

Exodus 2:23-25
Exodus: It's more than a departure. It's a deliverance. It's more than a protest against Egypt. It's an answer to prayer. It's more than a social revolution. It's a spiritual revelation of God's love.

Light and salvation

Psalm 27:1-14
The Lord brings light and salvation to us. He is our light and our salvation (Psalm 27:1). When the Lord saves us, He gives us a great desire to worship Him (Psalm 27:4). We are on a journey - a lifelong journey, an eternal journey (Psalm 27:13-14) - “all the days of  my life, “forever” (Psalm 23:6). “Wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). We need to hear this for both our lifelong journey and our eternal journey.

Rivers Of Living Wather - Flowing Into Us And Flowing Out From Us

Ezekiel 47:1-12

“ankle-deep, knee-deep, up to the waist, deep enough to swim in, a river than could not be crossed on foot” (Ezekiel 47:3-5). Jerusalem - ankle-deep, all Judaea - knee deep, Samaria - up to the waist, the ends of the earth - deep enough to swim in (Acts 1:8) Before there can be witness, there needs to be worship: from a trickle to a river - John 7:37-39. The rivers of living water must flow into us before they can flow out from us. “There will be life everywhere the river goes” (Ezekiel 47:9).

Fire!

Daniel 3:1-30

Fire - danger, heat There is, in God’s Word, a word of warning and a word of promise. This is the way we are not to go. This is the way we are to go.  * “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).  * “The bush was not consumed” (Exodus 3:2).  * “Our God is an awesome God” (Rich Mullins) - we must never forget this. Fire is to be respected. Our God is a holy fire. He burns away our dross.  * “Refiner’s fire, my heart’s one desire is to be holy, set apart for You, Lord; I choose to be holy, set apart for You, my Master, ready to do Your will” (Brian Doerksen).  * “O God of burning, cleansing flame, send the fire! Your blood-bought gift today we claim: send the fire today!... We need another Pentecost! Send the fire today!” (William Booth). This is the inspiring and empowering fire: the Holy Spirit. “Give me oil in my lamp. Keep me burning” - burning for God.  * Isaiah 43:2 - “You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.…

Salvation In No One Else!

Peter preached Christ with great boldness: ‘There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’(Acts 4:12).
This boldness came from the Holy Spirit. Peter was ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’(Acts 4:8). Don’t say, ‘I‘m no Peter’. Peter failed his Lord and had to be restored (Matthew 26:69-75; John 21:15-17). Peter drew great strength from ‘the company of those who believed’. They ‘gathered together’ for prayer. They ‘were of one heart and soul’...’(Acts 4:31-33). Why did God deal so severely with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11)? This was the start of something great. God refused to let His work be spoiled! There is a warning for us: Don’t pretend to be more holy than you really are. God sees what you’re really like. ‘Search me, O God...’(Psalm 139:23-24). There was great blessing: ‘More than ever believers were added to the Lord’(Acts 5:14). There was persecution (Acts 5:17-18). This did not hinder the ad…

Eternal Blessings

* “The Lord gives victory to His anointed” (Psalm 20:6).
Jesus is the Christ (the anointed). Through His death and resurrection, Jesus has won the victory over Satan. He won the victory for us. He gives His victory to us.
  * “Surely You have granted him eternal blessings” (Psalm 21:6).  Through the mighty victory of Jesus Christ (God’s Anointed), there are “eternal blessings” – for us. 
  * “My God, God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Psalm 22:1). How do eternal blessings come to us through Christ? When we see Christ, suffering on the Cross, we must give thanks to God that His suffering was for us. For Him, there was suffering. For us, there is salvation. “‘Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies … Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God shouldst die for me! … No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!” * “Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and  I will dwell in the House of the Lord for ever” (Psalm 23:6). For us, God’s …

Great things can happen ...

Great things can happen when ‘earnest prayer’ is ‘made to God by the church’ - God ‘is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think’ (Acts 12:5-7; Ephesians 3:20). Give all the glory to God.
Herod ‘did not give God the glory’. He accepted the praise of the people - ‘This is the voice of a god, not of a man’. Herod’s sudden death - ‘an angel of the Lord struck him down’ - is a warning (Acts 12:22-23; Proverbs 29:1). ‘Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows that he will also reap’. ‘Walk humbly with your God’ (Galatians 6:7; Micah 6:8).

At The Lord's Table, We Remember Him - And We Respond To Him.

John 6:1-59
In the Lord’s Supper, Jesus stands before us as the One who calls for our decision. There is no automatic guarantee that all who hear the preaching of God’s Word do, in fact, receive the blessing of which God’s Word speaks. There is no automatic guarantee that all who receive the blessing to which these symbols point. Jesus stands before us, saying to us, “What is your response to Me?”

Atonement

Leviticus 15:1-16:34  Each of us is unclean before God. Each of us needs Christ, who has given Himself as “a sin offering” to “make atonement” for us (Leviticus 16:16). Christ is the perfect Saviour, who “bears all our iniquities” (Leviticus 16:22). Concerning His great sacrifice for us, the Word of God says, “On this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the Lord” (Leviticus 16:30).

Give careful attention to God's Word.

"The people of Berea were more open-minded than the people of Thessalonica. They were very willing to receive God’s message, and every day they carefully examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true" (Acts 17:11).

Give careful attention to God's Word. This is what we learn from the Bereans. May God help us to be more like them.

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."
 * …

On To Victory

In Christ, we have the victory: “they have conquered Satan by the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:7-12).
God is calling us beyond the conflict. He is calling us on to victory.
We don’t live in a perfect world. We’re not perfect people. We wish things could be different – but they’re not! Not yet! We pray, “Your Kingdom come” – but we’re still waiting for God’s complete answer to this prayer. The Book of Revelation provides us with a vision of God’s coming Kingdom. As we await His Kingdom, the words of Habakkuk 2:3 are very helpful to us: “the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” * There is conflict with the world.
We commit ourselves to living for Jesus Christ. There are plenty of other people who don’t want to have anything to do with Him. This is something we must live with. “We do not lose heart” when we face opposition. We give thanks that “God’s merc…

"Look, I'm standing at the door ... " (Revelation 3:20).

Are you ‘looking for a better country - a heavenly one’ (Hebrews 11:16)? ‘God has put eternity into man’s mind’ (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In every human heart, there’s ‘a God-shaped blank’. Jesus came to give us ‘life’ - ‘abundant life’, ‘eternal life’ (John 10:10; John 17:3; 1 John 5:11). Without Jesus, our lives are empty. The ‘longing for a better country’ can only be satisfied by Him. He is God’s ‘foretaste of glory divine’ (Mission Praise, 59). Jesus stands at the door of every human heart. He knocks. He waits for our answer. He says, ‘Look, I’m standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to My voice and opens the door, I’ll come in...’ (Revelation 3:20). Don’t ‘shrink back’ (Hebrews 10:39). Invite Him into your heart now.

Let The Living Water Flow.

“And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away” (Genesis 21:25, King James Version). As I read this verse, I found myself thinking about God’s Word and God’s Spirit. Through God’s written Word, the Holy Spirit speaks to us His Word of “reproof” and “correction” (2 Timothy 3:16). In His ministry of reproof, He says to us, “This is not the way you are to go.” In His ministry of correction, He says to us, “This is the way you are to go.” Leading us out of the wrong way and into the right way – this is the Spirit’s ministry of reproof and correction. Jesus speaks of this ministry of the Spirit – He leads us out of “sin” and into “righteousness” (John 16:8). The Holy Spirit calls us to look at ourselves honestly. He shows us that we “have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters” (Jeremiah 2:13). Jesus calls us to “come to Him and drink.” He says to us that, when we believe in Him, “rivers of living wate…

God's Word Brings Blessing.

"… the seed shall sprout and grow, he himself does not know how …" (Mark 4:27).
God has given us a great promise – “my word that goes out from my mouth … will not return to me empty” (Isaiah 55:11). When we feel that God’s Word is returning to us empty, we have this Word of encouragement: God’s Word will not return to Him empty. God gives us His great promise “my word … will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” We do not see all that God’s Word is doing as the Spirit of God brings Christ to the people. God sees the full impact of His Word. That is why He says that His Word will not return to Him empty. When we have preached the Word, we must say, with the hymnwriter, “I know not how the Spirit moves, convincing men of sin; revealing Jesus through the word, creating faith in Him.” We don’t understand all that God is doing as His Word is preached. We do know that He is at work. How do we know this? – We know Him – “I know whom I have…

A call to pray, a call to seek God's glory

“You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:2) - This is a call to prayer. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3) - This is a call to seek God's glory.

Another "3:16" to set alongside John 3:16!

John 3:16, Rev 3:16–20 In John 3:16, we read these wonderful words concerning God's love: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Here's another "3:16" - "So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth" (Revelation 3:16). This "3:16" leads on to some other words about God's love: "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent" (Revelation 3:19). Called to repentance by the God of love, we hear the great promise given to us by our Saviour: "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20).

“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).…

"Always be joyful in the Lord ... I know how to live in poverty or prosperity" (Philippians 4:4,12).

In the Lord - This is the important thing. Poverty with the Lord is better than prosperity without Him.

The Power And The Glory

"Glory belongs to God, whose power is at work in us" (Ephesians 3:20).
The power comes from God. The glory goes to God.

"The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ" (Galatians 3:24).

The Law of God, the Spirit of God and the Son of God
Some schoolmasters may be viewed as disciplinarians. I think, however, we should see the work of the Holy Spirit here. He convicts us of sin and leads us to Christ. This is not the impersonal law. It's the personal approach of the Holy Spirit. In grace and mercy, He shows us how far we have fallen short of God's perfect standard so that He might gently lead us to the Cross of Christ, the place where we receive the forgiveness of all our sins.
In Galatians 4:6, we learn that ‘God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.’ The Spirit is not a reward which we earn by being good people. We are bad people who have broken God's law. The Spirit is God’s gift (Titus 3:5). The Spirit is not a reward which we earn because of our good works. Paul connects the gift of the Spirit with Christ’s death for us and our faith in Christ (Galatians 3:13-14).
When the Spirit brings us to Christ our Saviour, He takes us throu…

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…

The Holy Spirit Comes From God - And Changes Us.

(i) The Holy Spirit comes from God. - The new birth (John 3:3, 7). - “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:16).(ii) The Holy Spirit changes us.
– “Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-4).
– “When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you shall be My witnesses” (Acts 1:8).

"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!

Jesus Is Risen. Jesus Is Lord.

“God raised Jesus Christ from the dead” (Acts 2:24). Did this become true only because a lot of people said that it was true? Has it become false because many people refuse to believe that it’s true? No! It’s God’s great miracle. Death has been defeated. There is hope. Death will not triumph over us. Jesus Christ is Lord.

Great Boldness And Great Blessing - From Our Great Saviour

Peter preached Christ with great boldness: ‘There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’(Acts 4:12). This boldness came from the Holy Spirit. Peter was ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’(Acts 4:8). Don’t say, ‘I‘m no Peter’. Peter failed his Lord and had to be restored (Matthew 26:69-75; John 21:15-17). Peter drew great strength from ‘the company of those who believed’. They ‘gathered together’ for prayer. They ‘were of one heart and soul’…’(Acts 4:31-33). Why did God deal so severely with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11)? This was the start of something great. God refused to let His work be spoiled! There is a warning for us: Don’t pretend to be more holy than you really are. God sees what you’re really like. ‘Search me, O God…’(Psalm 139:23-24). There was great blessing: ‘More than ever believers were added to the Lord’(Acts 5:14). There was persecution (Acts 5:17-18). This did not hinder the advance…

“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).

Jesus' Love For Us - And Our Love For Him

John 21:15-17 Jesus loves us so much more than we love Him. In love, He comes to us to draw out from us a greater love for Him. I find great encouragement in the story of the restoration of Peter in John 21. Peter had denied the Lord three times. For each denial, Jesus came to Peter with the question, “Peter, do you love Me?” Three times, Peter reaffirmed his love for Jesus. Following on from this, there is the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) when the Lord works through Peter in a very wonderful way. Three thousand people are brought to faith in Christ – for each denial, a thousand souls brought to faith! What a wonderful restoration! May we have much cause to say of the Lord, “He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3). May our ministry of His Word prosper – “those who turn many to righteousness shall shine like the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).

Good News for sinners

God's way of righteousness begins with this - He is "just" - and leads to this - He "justifies those who have faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26)."For our salvation Christ came down from heaven" (Nicene Creed) - This is Good News for sinners.  As we rejoice in the "for our salvation" message of the Gospel, let us never forget the "for His glory" message!  "To God be the glory, great things He has done! So loved He the world that He gave us His Son, who yielded His life an atonement for sin, and opened the life-gate that all may go in. Praise the Lord! ... Give Him the glory!"

Christ-centred Ministry

In his message to the elders at Ephesus, Paul describes his ministry in this way - "I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying to both Jews and to Greeks of repentance to God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:20-21). As he speaks of this Christ-centred ministry, Paul makes it clear that he does not carry out this ministry in his own strength. He speaks of the next step in his missionary journey - "now ... I am going to Jerusalem, bound in the Spirit" (Acts 20:22). We learn from Paul that the Holy Spirit is leading us on to greater things - in the service of Christ. Paul was not content with what he had achieved in the service of Christ. led by the Holy Spirit, Paul was moving on to greater things. This is the way the Holy Spirit is leading us today. We must not rest content. We must go on.

Strengthening the faith of all the disciples

"Paul ... strengthened  the faith of all the disciples" (Acts 18:23).
Strengthening the faith of all the disciples - This is such an important ministry. We are not to be content with the faith that we have. We are to press on to a stronger faith. What do we mean when we speak about a strong faith? What we mean is this: We're learning to trust in our strong God. Our God is always stronger than our faith. It's not so much our faith that's strong. It's our God who's strong. The strengthening of our faith - This is about a growing awareness of our strong God. He is our strength. Our faith is growing stronger when we're learning to look away from ourselves - we are always weak - to our God - He is always strong.

Cleansing

“Jesus answered, ‘Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.’” (John 13:10). * “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son cleanses us all from sin” (1 John 1:7).
When we come in faith to Jesus Christ, our Saviour, we receive complete cleansing – “The vilest offender who truly believes that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.” ”Every sin had to go ‘neath the cleansing flow.”  * “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, keeps on cleansing us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Coming to Christ and receiving the forgiveness of our sins is just the beginning of our walk in God.
Through faith in our Saviour, we become God’s children. Becoming God’s children through faith in Christ is the beginning of our new life in Christ. God is calling us to grow in Christ. He is calling us to become mature believers.
How are we to grow in Christ? How are to become mature believers? Often, sin will come between us and th…

The Suffering and Glory of Christ (Psalm 22)

* The suffering of Christ - "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Psalm 22:1). These words lie at the heart of Christ's suffering. He suffered for us. He died for our salvation. He is our Substitute and our Saviour: "He died that we might go to heaven, saved by His precious blood." He went in obedience to the Cross so that we might be called to obedience from the Cross. He was forsaken by God so that we might be forgiven by God.  * The glory of Christ - "I will declare Your name to My brothers; in the congregation I will praise You" (Psalm 21:22). Christ's prayer was answered. God raised Him from the dead. Apparent defeat was turned into glorious victory. The cloud of darkness was removed. The glorious light shone through. death is a defeated enemy. Resurrection to eternal life - this is our glorious hope. As we look at the death and resurrection of Christ, let us give all the glory to God for all that He has done for us.

Here, There And Everywhere

Colossians 1:1-6
"All over the world this Gospel is bearing fruit and growing" (Colossians 1:6). The work of the Gospel is always more than what's happening in the place where you live. Continue to pray for the work of the Lord in many places. Don't forget to pray for those who brought the Word of the Lord to you and are now serving the Lord in another place.

Worship The Lord ... (Psalm 18)

Psalm 18:1-24 The first three verses set the tone: Worship. What a great start to this Psalm. Our attention is directed away from ourselves to the Lord: ‘my strength...my rock, my fortress and my deliverer...my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold’ (1-2). The great testimony of verse 3 - ‘I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies’ - did not come easily (4-5). The enemies of the Lord will be brought to judgment (13-14). ‘The cord of death encompassed me...He delivered me from my strong enemy...’ (4-5,17-19) - Rejoice in the risen Christ through whom we have the ‘victory’ over ‘the last enemy...death’ (1 Corinthians 15:20,26,54). God is leading us into ‘a broad place’ (19). Step into the future with Him. Don’t hold back! ‘Let go and let God have His wonderful way’.
Psalm 18:25-50 ‘This God’ is ‘our God’. He is ‘the Rock’. He is ‘my Rock’. No one can compare with the Lord our God. He is the living God, the God of our sal…