Showing posts from March, 2015

The Spirit of God’s Son Lives In Us. We Are God’s Children And He Is Our Father.

Genesis 29:31-30:24
Leah progressed beyond her own concerns (32-34) to the most important thing: ‘This time I will praise the Lord’(35). Of the many children, the most significant, in terms of God’s purpose of redemption, was Joseph (22-24). An answer to prayer, it was the work of divine grace (22). ‘Rachel was barren’(31) yet the Lord gave her this testimony: ‘God has taken away my disgrace’(23). We move from one Joseph to another - the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus. We see an even greater work of grace: the birth of our Saviour. Rachel was to have a second son, Benjamin (24). Through Christ, God has many sons and daughters (Galatians 4:4-5). Rachel rejoiced in the gift of a son, her son. We rejoice in the gift of the Son, God’s Son. Through the Spirit of God’s Son living in our hearts, we are God’s children and He is our Father (Galatians 4:6).

Going God’s Way Is Better Than Getting Your Own Way.

Genesis 29:1-30
The tables are turned on Jacob. The trickster is tricked! The ‘trick’ was according to the ‘custom’ that the elder daughter should be given in marriage before the younger one (23,25-26). Seven years became fourteen years (18-20,27,30). Jacob did receive his heart’s desire, but there was a lesson to be learned: Going God’s way is better than getting your own way. ‘All things work together for good to those who love God’(Romans 8:28) - this doesn’t mean that we always get what we want. We must learn to ‘let go and let God have His wonderful way’, and to say, ‘This God - His way is perfect’(Psalm 18:30). Out of love for Rachel (18,20), Jacob served Laban for an extra seven years. We would serve Christ better if we loved Him more. Jesus still asks the question, ‘Do you love Me?’(John 21:15-17).

‘I Will Not Leave You Until I Have Done What I Have Promised You.’

Genesis 28:10-22
Just another night (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’(15). At Bethel (‘the house of God’), powerfully transformed by the presence of God - ‘Surely the Lord is in this place’(16) - , Jacob consecrated himself to the Lord. ‘If’(20) means ‘Since’. See Romans 8:31 - ‘If (Since) God is for us, who can be against us?’. Giving the tenth (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!

God's Purpose of Salvation

Genesis 27:41-28:9
What a tangled web! Jacob has cheated Esau. Now, Esau is saying, ‘I will kill my brother Jacob’(41). What are we to make of all this? We must look beyond the human scene. Behind it all, there is ‘God Almighty’(3). God will fulfil His promises. Nothing will distract Him from His ultimate purpose of salvation. We look at the complex series of events involving Rebekah, Isaac, Jacob and Esau. God looks beyond all of that to Jesus Christ. He looks beyond the nation of Israel. His purpose concerns ‘the ends of the earth’(Acts 1:8). ‘The blessing of Abraham’ refers not only to the ‘land’(4). There is also ‘the promise of the Spirit’(Galatians 3:14). We are to live ‘by the power of the Spirit’, and not ‘according to the flesh’ as Esau did when ‘he went to Ishmael (the child of Abraham's unbelief...)’(9; Galatians 4:29).

God Will Complete His Good Work In Us.

Genesis 27:1-40
The deception of Isaac by Jacob (prompted by Rebekah) is a sad episode, yet God - in grace - really bestows His blessing on Jacob. Beneath Jacob’s deceit, there was a real desire to be blessed by God. To Esau (the late arrival), Isaac says, ‘I have blessed him - yes, and he shall be blessed. I blessed him, and blessed he will remain’(33). Once the blessing had been given, it could not be recalled. The blessing could not be undone. Power bestowed by God could not be removed. This had nothing to do with ‘Jacob’s righteousness’. It had everything to do with God’s faithfulness. The good work begun by God, will be completed by Him (Philippians 1:6). This was true for Jacob (28:15). It is true for us - ‘All the promises of God find their Yes in Christ’. To this, we say ‘Amen’ and ‘To God be the Glory’(2 Corinthians 1:20)!

Forgiveness and Victory

Genesis 26:1-35
‘History repeats itself’. Sin has a ‘like father, like son’ quality about it - Isaac is like Abraham (7; 12:13, 20:2, 12-13), Jacob is like Isaac (7; 25:31,27:19). Grace repeats itself. God is faithful. He gives forgiveness and victory over temptation (1 John 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13). He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). Deceived by ‘the father of lies’(the devil), ‘man’ denies the truth (John 8:44). ‘Let God be true, and every man a liar’(Romans 3:4). In verses 19-22, there’s ‘the story of the three wells’- ‘Dispute’, ‘Opposition’, ‘Room’. Things went from bad to worse, then there was progress. There is room for both, when there is no more quarrelling. Isaac worshipped God, and was recognized as God’s man (25,28). We are to be recognized as God’s people, but remember - verse 34 - even the Lord’s people can make mistakes!

The ‘Amazing Grace’ Of God: ‘Wonderful Grace Of Jesus, Greater Than All My Sin!’

Genesis 25:1-18
What will we leave behind us? What will we pass on to the next generation? In this passage of many names, there is a challenging contrast between the influence of Abraham and Ishmael on the next generation. In verse 11, we read, ‘After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac’. In verse 18, we find that ‘Ishmael’s descendants lived in hostility toward all their brothers’. In Isaiah 52:13-53:12, there is a great prophecy concerning the death of Christ. We read of His suffering, as He becomes ‘an offering for sin’. We learn also of His glorious future - ‘He will see His offspring and prolong His days’(53:10). Unlike Abraham (175 years) and Ishmael (137 years), Jesus did not live a long life on earth (33 years), yet ‘He shall see the fruit of the travail of His soul and be satisfied’- ‘many’will be ‘accounted righteous’(11).

Genesis 25:19-34
Esau was a fool. He chose his own way rather than the Lord’s way. Jacob was a ‘heel’! ‘Born with his hand holding on to…

Thank God For This And That And ... Jesus!

Genesis 21:1-21
We have here the contrast between Isaac, the child of promise, and Ishmael, the fruit of unbelief. Ishmael was born as a result of impatience, the failure to wait upon the Lord. In the birth of Isaac, the initiative belonged with God, and the glory belonged to Him. In Christ, we are the children of promise - ‘children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God’(John 1:13). God did not forget Ishmael. There were blessings for him (17-21). The difference between Ishmael and Isaac is the difference between common grace and saving grace. Many people know much of the grace of God in ‘the common things of life’(Church Hymnary, 457). There are so many blessings for them to count. Still they fail to appreciate God’s greatest gift - His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Thank God for this and that and... Jesus!

Genesis 21:22-22:14
Here, we see Abraham in his relationship with the world (22-34) and his relationship with the …

Devotion To The Lord Needs To Be Renewed Day-By-Day.

Genesis 19:1-29
In Genesis 3, we read of humanity’s fall into sin. Here, we see the awfulness of human sin and the awesomeness of divine judgment. We must take God with the utmost seriousness. If we refuse to take Him seriously, He will continue to take us seriously - in His judgment! Sin leads to judgment - that’s the lesson of Sodom and Gomorrah. There is sadness in the story of Lot. A compromised believer for whom the world had no respect, he chose Sodom. This choice brought him nothing but sin and shame - ‘and now he wants to play the judge!’(9). The amazing thing is that God did not give up on this ‘backslider’- ‘the Lord was merciful to them... He brought Lot out of the catastrophe’(16,29). What a great thing it is to have God’s salvation: ‘everything we need for life and godliness’ to ‘escape the corruption in the world’(2 Peter 1:3-5).

Genesis 19:30-20:18
These are stories of deception and deceit. Lot is deceived by his daughters (30-38). Abraham deceives Abimelech …

The Word Of God Does Not Benefit Us When We Do Not Receive It With Faith.

Genesis 18:1-15
Is anything too hard for the Lord? (14). We need to hear these words as God’s call to greater faith. Sarah, like Abraham, had heard God’s promises, yet ‘she laughed to herself’(12). We can hear God’s Word, and still remain, in our hearts, men and women of unbelief. The Word of God does not benefit us when we do not receive it with faith (Hebrews 4:2). God knows what is in our hearts, just as He knew what was in Sarah’s heart (13-15). He knows the human heart, ‘deceitful above all things’(Jeremiah 17:9), yet He continues to love us. He does not give up on us. He perseveres with us. He could have given up on Sarah as a hopeless waste of His time, but He did not. ‘The evil heart of unbelief’ is always with us, but God is constantly at work to create in us ‘a clean heart’( Hebrews 3:12: Psalm 51:10). 'Soften my heart, Lord’(Mission Praise, 606).

Genesis 18:16-33
In the face of the threatened judgment of God upon Sodom and Gomorrah, we find Abraham engaging …

Trusting In Christ, We Receive A Sure Salvation.

Genesis 14:1-24
Following an account of military conflict, we come to a passage that is full of Christ (18-20). In Melchisedek, we see Jesus. In Hebrews 7:3, we learn that Melchisedek resembles the Son of God. We read on, in verse 4, ‘See how great he is’, and, in our hearts we say, ‘How great is our Lord Jesus Christ’. Melchisedek is ‘the King of Salem (peace)’(18), pointing to Christ through whom we have ‘peace with God’(Romans 5:1). Melchisedek brings ‘bread and wine’(18), pointing to Christ whose body was broken for us and whose blood was shed for us (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Melchisedek spoke of the divine deliverance from enemies (20), pointing to Christ's victory over Satan (Colossians 2:15). In this episode we see the origins of tithing. It is not a legalistic practice. God had been good to Abraham. In grateful worship, Abraham responded, giving the tenth to Him (20).

Genesis 15:1-21
God is greater than our circumstances. God had given great promises to Abrah…

Seek God’s Glory And Find His Blessing.

Genesis 12:1-20
This is a divine Story, carried forward by God’s grace and power. God’s very great promises (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 (4) and disobedience (11-13). We are conscious of our human failure, yet we rejoice in the divine faithfulness. We read of Abraham’s sin (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 (17:5). Like Abraham, we are to worship God (7-8). We are to say, ‘Heis exalted’. We are to say, ‘Christ must increase, and I must decrease’(John 3:30).

Genesis 13:1-18
Life is full of choices. Lot made a selfish choice (10-12). He allied himself with ‘the men of…

Everyone Is Important: "God So Loved The World" - Not Only The ‘Important’ People But All People!

Genesis 10:1-32
What a lot of names! Why is all this included in God’s Word? It may describe the historical context of God’s unfolding purpose of providing salvation for sinners, but what does it say to us? The inclusion of so many obscure names emphasizes that everyone - however obscure - is important. ‘God so loved the world’(John 3:16) - not only the ‘important’ people but all people. Names are important to God. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, calls His sheep ‘by name’(John 10:3). Among the many names there is an interesting reference to ‘Nimrod, the first mighty warrior on the earth...a mighty hunter whom the Lord blessed’(8-9). First among ‘the cities of his kingdom’ was ‘Babylon’(10). Alarm bells ring! - Babylon's rebellion! The privilege of God’s blessing brings the responsibility of maintaining His blessing. We must be ‘mighty warriors’ for God (2 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 6:10-20).

Genesis 11:1-9
Human pride sets itself up against the authority of God. This is th…

"When You See A Rainbow, Remember God Is Love."

Genesis 9:1-19
'‘When you see a rainbow, remember God is love’. The rainbow reminds us of the gracious promise of God (13-15). If the love of God is revealed in the rainbow, it is more fully revealed in the Cross: ‘We sing the praise of Him who died, of Him who died upon the Cross... upon the Cross we see in shining letters. ‘God is love’, He bears our sins upon the tree. He brings us mercy from above’. When we read the Old Testament stories, we must learn to see their place within the fuller Story, the Story of God’s salvation: ‘I will sing the wondrous Story of the Christ who died for me’. This is the greatest Story of all - ‘the Story of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love,... the Story of wonderful redemption, God’s remedy for sin’. ‘This is our Story. This is our Song, praising our Saviour all the day long’. This is ‘the Story to tell to the nations’(Church Hymnary, 258,381,132; Mission Praise, 59,744).

Genesis 9:20-29
What a sad episode this is! It teache…

Jesus - The Name That Is Above Every Name, The Name Of Our Salvation

Genesis 7:1-24
Here, we pick up on the words of verse 16 - ‘the Lord closed the door behind them’. What was going on outside of the ark is contrasted with the haven of salvation inside the ark. What was it that made the ark a place of salvation? - The Lord. What is it that makes Jesus Christ the Source of our salvation? - God has given Him the Name that is above every name, the Name of our salvation (Philippians 2:9-11; Acts 4:12). From the ark, we learn of (a) the one way of salvation - The ark had only one door. Jesus is ‘the Door’ which leads to salvation (John 10:9); (b) the eternal security of salvation - All were safe inside the ark. In Christ there is eternal security (John 10:28); (c) the absolute necessity of salvation - Outside of the ark, there was certain death. Refusal to come to Christ for salvation leads to judgment: ‘How shall we escape...?’(Hebrews 2:3).

Genesis 8:1-22
Following the flood, we have this simple yet striking declaration: ‘the ground was dry’…

‘Amazing Grace ... I Once Was Lost But Now Am Found.’

Genesis 6:1-8
The story of Noah is the story of God’s grace - ‘Noah found grace’(8). Noah lived in very difficult times (5-7), yet ‘Grace found Noah’. His testimony could be summed up: ‘Amazing grace...I once was lost but now am found’(Mission Praise, 31). Expanding on the thought of 5:29 - ‘this one (Noah) shall bring relief from our work and from the toil of our hands’- we may allow our thoughts to turn to Christ and say to Him: ‘Not the labour of my hands can fulfil Thy law's demands...All for sin could not atone, Thou must save, and Thou alone. Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy Cross I cling' (Church Hymnary, 83). In these two statements - ‘Noah found grace’ and ‘this one will bring...’, we see both salvation and service. We are saved to serve. Once we ourselves have been found by grace, we are to seek to bring others to Christ that they also may be saved by Him and become His servants.

Genesis 6:9-22
To view the flood exclusively in terms of judgment i…

Let's Walk With God And Enjoy His Blessing.

Genesis 5:1-17
From the story of Cain - taking God for granted (the opposite of grace), approaching God proudly (the opposite of faith), rebelling against God (the opposite of obedience) - , we come to a list of names and numbers. In this first part of the chapter, there is nothing of any note. Perhaps, this is the significant feature of this long list of names. There is nothing considered to be worthy of special note, except the length of their lives. What a sad reflection on the value of a life when all that can be said is this: He lived, and he died! What we must remember is this: the quantity of our years is less important than the quality of our living. How long we live is less important than how well we live. We have been ‘ the likeness of God’(1), yet so often we miss out on this spiritual dimension. We have been ‘blessed’ by God (2) - ‘Count your blessings’.

Genesis 5:18-32
In this second part of the list, two names get a special mention - Enoch and No…

Lord, we feel like we're making a right mess of things.

Lord, we feel like we're making a right mess of things. Everything's going wrong. This is the story of today's world. It's not just everybody else's story. It's our story. None of us can escape the truth - we're sinners.
Thank You, Lord - That's only part of the truth concerning us. We are loved by You. We hear this, Lord - but still we wonder, "Can You do anything with us?" Has this world reached the end of the road? Is our situation hopeless? Is there any hope for any of us? We feel ourselves being dragged into a black hole - then we hear Your Word speaking to us: ‘the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 6:23). Gift? - It's not earned by us. It's given to us. Hope? Where does it come from? - From Jesus Christ our Lord!

Lord, we have failed You ...

Lord, we have failed You over and over again. It never seems to stop – failure, failure, failure ..! This is the story of our life - from beginning to end. Can we escape from this – failure, failure, failure …? This is nothing new – It goes back to the Garden of Eden. It started off so well – but it turned out so badly. Is there a way out of this – failure, failure, failure …? Lord, we thank You that there is! Jesus has succeeded – where everyone else failed. “There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin, He only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in.”

There Is No Way To Heaven Which Begins With The Word ‘I’. We Must Begin With God - ‘God So Loved The World...’

Genesis 3:10-15
Having chosen the way of sin, we are ‘naked’ and ashamed (10). The Gospel teaches us that ‘there’s a way back to God from the dark paths of sin’. We can be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. We can bring the ‘filthy rags’ of ‘our righteous acts’ (Isaiah 64:6) to God, and we can exchange them for the perfect righteousness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Putting our trust in Christ, we need not be ashamed in God’s presence (Romans 10:11). There must be no ‘passing the buck’ - the man blaming the woman, the woman blaming the serpent (12-13). We are to confess our sins and receive God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9). This forgiveness comes to us through the Cross where the suffering Saviour becomes the victorious Victor and the subtle serpent became the defeated devil. This is the message of verse 15: through the Cross, God has provided for us a full salvation!

Genesis 3:16-25
Sin has consequences. Human life could never be the same once sin had entered it.…

Lord, we have wandered far from You.

Lord, we have wandered far from You. There seems to be no way back. We feel like we’re ready to give up in despair. Is this all that there is – wandering around in the wilderness of life, always travelling but never arriving at our destination? We’re groping around in the darkness – then something happens, something wonderful. Lord, You come to us. You come to us in our darkness. You come to us with Your light. It’s the light of Christ. It’s the light of love. It’s the light of salvation. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).

Lord, we are often tempted ...

Lord, we are often tempted - tempted to forget all about You. The pull towards self-centred living is so strong.We think that we can go it alone. We think that we don’t need You. We think that we can manage all right without You. Where does this kind of thinking come from? Does it come from You? – To ask the question is to give the answer. You would never make us think like that! This kind of thinking must come from somewhere else – from someone else. It can only come from Satan – the devil. He’s the one who wants us to forget all about You. Lord, You are “our Father” (Matthew 6:9). Satan is very different. He’s “the father of lies” (John 8:44). Lord, help us to stop listening to Satan – and to start listening to You.

‘Where Are You?’ - God Is Looking For Us To Bring Us Back To Himself.

Genesis 3:1-5
We have read about the beginning of creation (1:1). Now we come to the beginning of sin. In these verses, we have temptation. Note that temptation is not sin. It only becomes sin when we do what the tempter suggests (6). Temptation comes from ‘that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan’ (Revelation 12:9). Satan reverses the priorities of God, God’s Word and God’s Spirit. God is ‘our Father’ (Matthew 6:9). Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). Satan quotes and questions God’s Word (1). He not only questions God’s Word . He contradicts it (4). Satan is spiritual, an evil spirit. We must be aware of his schemes, and , in Christ, we must take our stand against his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11). When Satan says, ‘Did God really say?’ (1), we must wage war for God, filled with His Word and Spirit (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Genesis 3:6-9
Once we were innocent. Now we are guilty. The story of Adam and Eve is repeated over and over again. This i…

Lord, we thank You that You have a place in Your heart for us.

Lord, we thank You that You have a place in Your heart for us. Why? What have we done that You should keep on loving us? Is there something good about us – something that makes us worthy of Your love? Whatever way we look at it – the answer’s always “No.” No! No! No!

There’s no way back to You, Lord, that begins with ourselves. We cannot begin with ourselves – but “Is there another starting-point?”

Lord, there is only one place. We begin with Your love – “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son … “ (John 3:16). We hear these words, and we ask, “Why, Lord, have You loved us like this?”

From our side, there’s no answer to this question. We can only say, “We’re sinners.” There’s nothing else we can say about ourselves.

What do You, Lord, say to sinners? “God shows His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Lord, You are our God ...

Lord, You are God. Who are we to tell You what to do? Who are we to say, “We’ll do what we like” – when You’re saying to us, “I know what’s best for you.” Help us to choose Your way – and stop insisting on getting our own way. How are we to do this? Jesus tells us, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). How, we wonder, does Jesus make us free?

He shows us “the truth” – the truth about ourselves, the truth about Jesus.

We are sinners. Jesus is our Saviour. This is the truth. It’s “the truth that sets us free” (John 8:32). We are sinners. Jesus is our Saviour. This is the truth that brings us out of the prison cell of our own making. This, Lord, is the truth which brings us on to the pathway of Your blessing, the pathway of true and lasting joy, the pathway to Your eternal glory.

In Christ, We Are Set Free To Obey God.

Genesis 2:15-17
We noted, in 1:1-3, the importance of getting our priorities right - God, God’s Word, God’s Spirit. Here, we emphasize the importance of these priorities. We are under God. We must remember that He is God (15). We are to obey God’s Word (16-17). Here, we learn that the act of obedience is an act of freedom. In Christ, we are set free to obey God. God says, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden’. He does not then say, ‘You are free to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’. He says, ‘You must not’. The act of disobedience is not an act of freedom. By choosing the way of sin, we show that we are in bondage. We are not free. We are the captives of sin, and we need to be set free - by Christ (John 8:32,36). We come to know God, choosing good rather than evil, as we follow the way of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:16; Hebrews 5:14).

Genesis 2:18-25
We come here to the creation of woman. Her creation is bound up with the creation of man. Sh…

Lord, we look at ourselves ...

Lord, we look at ourselves, and we say, “This is my life. This is the way I’ve always been. I’ll never change. I’ll never be any different.” Is this all that we can say about ourselves? Is this what You’re saying about us? We’re always thinking about what we are. You’re always saying to us, “This is what you can become. This is what I am going to make you.” Help us to listen to what You’re saying to us. Help us to make a new “beginning” with You – as we believe and receive “the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1).

Lord, You are our Creator ...

Lord, You are our Creator. We have been created by You. We have been created for You. What have we done with this great blessing? We have turned away from You. We have gone our own way. We have done our own thing. Have You lost patience with us? Have You given up on us? We often feel like we are a waste of Your time – then we remember Jesus. That’s when everything changes – We remember Jesus. He came from where You are. He came to where we are. From where we are to where You are – This is what Jesus does for us.

Creation Has Been Completed. Salvation Will Be Completed.

Genesis 1:26-2:3
We now come to the creation of humanity, male and female. Our creation is described in a distinctive way - created in the image of God (26-27). We are different from the rest of creation. We have been given dominion over ‘all the earth’ and ‘every living creature’ (26,28). We are different from God. He is the Creator. We are His creation. Created in God’s image, we have been created by Him and for Him. Though we have sinned (Genesis 3, Romans 3:23), now - in Jesus Christ - we have begun to live as a new creation (Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9-10). The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ is God (John 1:1) and that ‘all things were created by Him and for Him’ (Colossians 1:16). This is the Saviour who is at work in us, enabling us to live as a new creation! Creation has been ‘completed’ (2:1). Salvation will be completed (Philippians 1:6)!

Genesis 2:4-14
We read of ‘the breath of life’, producing ‘a living being’ (7). Separated from God through our sin,…

Putting God First And Listening To His Word, We Are To Pray For The Moving Of God’s Spirit.

Genesis 1:1-3
'‘Genesis’ means ‘beginning’. These opening verses challenge us to get our priorities right - (a) The priority of God (1). God comes first. Before anyone else is mentioned, He is there. (b) The priority of God’s Word (3). God is the first to speak. Before any human word is spoken, there is the Word of the Lord. (c) The priority of God’s Spirit (2). All was ‘empty’, all was ‘darkness’, yet the ‘Spirit of God’ was at work, and transformation was set in motion. Here, we have God’s priorities, set out in the Bible’s first three verses - Putting God first and listening to His Word, we are to pray for the moving of God’s Spirit, ‘hovering over’ our lives to transform them. For those who make God’s priorities their own, there is a promise of great blessing (Psalm 1:1-2). It is the great blessing of knowing Jesus Christ, our Saviour, as ‘God with us’ (Matthew 1:23).

Genesis 1:4-13
God speaks, and it is done (3,6-7,11). God is pleased with what He has done (4,1…

Read About Ruth. Learn About Christ.

Ruth 1:1-2:23
Ruth meets Boaz. It seemed like a ‘chance’ meeting - ‘she happened to come... ‘ (2:3). It was more than that. God was at work. Ruth had committed herself to the Lord (1:16-17). She was being guided by the Lord (Psalm 37:3-5; Proverbs 3:5-6). Ruth was unassuming and grateful, hard-working and responsible (2:10,13,7,18). She is a fine example of the ‘good wife’, described in Proverbs 31:10-31. In Boaz, she found a good man - godly, generous and sensitive (2:12,14,16). We read about Ruth. We learn about Jesus Christ. When you come to Him, He says, ‘Do not go to glean in another field... ‘ - ‘There is salvation in no one else’ (2:8; Acts 4:12). In Him, there is amazing grace. He loves us. He looks upon us favourably. He takes notice of us. He died for us (2:10; Romans 5:8). Let us follow Him (1:16-17; John 6:67-69).
Ruth 3:1-4:22

Ruth was covered by the ‘garment’ of Boaz, her ‘kinsman-redeemer’ (3:9). Jesus is our Kinsman-Redeemer. He has become one of us. He shares…

God Remembers Us ‘According To The Greatness Of His Steadfast Love.’

Nehemiah 10:1-39
God is calling us to commit our lives to Him. At the heart of our commitment to the Lord, there must be worship: ‘We will not neglect the House of our God’(39). ‘Worship God’(Revelation 19:10). This is our reason for coming to the Lord’s House. We come to worship Him. Our worship is to be more than mere words. We worship God when we bring our offerings to Him. God’s people brought ‘the tithe’(tenth) to Him (37). We meet with the Lord when we worship in His House: ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the House of God, and this is the gate of heaven’. Through our giving - ‘Of all that You give me I will give You the tenth’- , let us express our commitment to the Lord - ‘the Lord will be my God’(Genesis 28:17,21-22).

Nehemiah 11:1-12:30
Like the walls of Jerusalem, our lives lay in ruins until Christ puts us together again. In Christ, our lives have been rebuilt. Now, we can ‘celebrate’. We can worship the Lord ‘with gladness’(12:27). We are to …

Our Sins Are Great. The Love Of God Is Even Greater.

Nehemiah 8:1-9:5
What happens when God’s people ‘gather together’(8:1)? - (a) We hear the Word of the Lord (8:2-3,8). We come to the Lord’s House, seeking a fresh understanding of His Word. We look to the Lord, speaking through His Word, to fill us ‘with great joy’(8:12). (b) We thank God for His Son, our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ(8:13-18). In ‘the feast of the seventh month’, ‘the Lord’s Feast of Tabernacles’, God’s people remembered how much He had done for them (Leviticus 23:34,42). In the Lord’s Supper, we remember that Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). (c) We dedicate our lives to the Lord(9:2). ‘Do not be conformed to this world’. ‘Be transformed’ by God’s Word (Romans 12:2). (d) We worship the Lord(9:5). Let us ‘praise the Lord our God...’.

Nehemiah 9:6-38
At the heart of Ezra’s prayer, there is a tremendous description of God: ‘You are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love’(17). This is ‘ou…

"Take Me As I Am, Lord, And Make Me All Thine Own."

Nehemiah 5:1-6:19
What are we to do when we face those who are ‘scheming to harm’ the Lord’s servants and the Lord’s work? - We are to devote ourselves to the ‘work’ of the Lord. We are to ‘pray’ for His strength (6:2; 5:16; 6:9). Critics of the Lord’s work want to argue with us. Are we to ‘come down’ to their level, going round in circles with arguments that lead us nowhere? Nehemiah shows us a better way, God’s way - ‘I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?’(6:3). ‘Completing the work with the help of our God’(6:15-16) - This is the best ‘argument’ against the critics of Christ and His Gospel. Keep working for God and pray that’ many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord’(Psalm 40:3).

Nehemiah 7:1-73
What kind of people are we? Are we ‘faithful and God-fearing’ people’(2)? It is so easy to lose our way and become ‘unclean’(64)? What are we to do when we lose our way, when we forget the Lo…

When Your Problems Threaten To Overwhelm You, Remember This: God Has ‘Redeemed Us By His Great Power And His Mighty Hand.’

Nehemiah 1:1-2:18
‘You see the trouble we are in’- How do you react when the going gets tough? Do you collapse in despair and succeed only in making your troubles seem even bigger than they really are? There is a better way of dealing with our problems. Believing that ‘the hand of his God was upon him for good’, Nehemiah looks at the problem - ‘Jerusalem lies in ruins’- and sets about solving it - ‘Come. let us build the wall of Jerusalem’ (2:17-18). Our problems may be great. Our God is greater. When your problems threaten to overwhelm you, remember this: God has ‘redeemed us by His great power and His mighty hand’(1:3-6,10). There is no greater problem than our sin and God has dealt with that problem - Christ has ‘put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself’(Hebrews 9:26). ‘Pack up your troubles’ and take them to Jesus!

Nehemiah 2:19-4:23
Serving the Lord is not easy. There are always those who ‘mock and ridicule’ the Lord’s servants (2:19; 4:1-3). What are we to do when we …

There is more to life than life under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 8:1-9:10
‘Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might...’(9:10). ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart...’(Colossians 3:23-24). These two verses seem, at first, to be saying the same thing - until we read the rest of each verse! The first is describing life ‘under the sun’(9:9): ‘in the grave where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom’. The second describes life in the Son: ‘you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward’. There is more to life than life under the sun. There is life in the Son. In everything we do, we must remember this: ‘It is the Lord Jesus Christ you are serving’. We are ‘working for the Lord, not for men’. ‘Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord... your labour in the Lord is not in vain’(1 Corinthians 15:58).

Ecclesiastes 9:11-10:20
‘Wisdom is better than weapons of war’(9:18). We are to seek the better way, the way of wisdom, the way …

‘Here I Am, Wholly Available - As For Me, I Will Serve The Lord.’

Zechariah 5:1-6:15
‘Here is the Man whose Name is the Branch... It is He who will build the Temple of the Lord...’(12-13). These words point us to our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’(Matthew 16:18). How does Christ build His Church? He sends His blessing when His people are obedient to Him: ‘Those who are far away will come and help to build the Temple of the Lord... This will happen if you diligently obey the Lord your God’(15). Christ is ‘building a people of power’. He calls us to ‘move through this land by His Spirit and glorify His precious Name’. Let us pray, ‘Here I am, wholly available - as for me, I will serve the Lord’(Mission Praise, 151,229).

Zechariah 7:1-8:23
When people stop listening to God’s Word, their life becomes ‘a desolate wasteland’(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 …

Let Us Pray That God Will "Pour Out" His Spirit Upon Us.

Zechariah 1:1-2:13
God promises to bless His faithful people: ‘I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there My House will be rebuilt’(16). God looks upon His House, and He sees His glory - ‘I will be the glory within it’(2:5). He sees the glory of His presence - ‘I will live among you’(2:10). We read here about the Temple at Jerusalem. We read about its glory. God’s Word speaks about another ‘temple’ and another ‘glory’. Through ‘faith’ in ‘Christ’, we have become ‘a holy temple in the Lord’- ‘a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit’(Ephesians 2:21-22; 3:16-17). To every believer, God says, ‘Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you... Glorify God in your body’(1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Zechariah 3:1-4:14
“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit”, says the Lord Almighty’(4:6). There is only one Power by which the work of the Lord can be done. It is the power of the Holy Spirit. We must not try to do God’s work in our own strength. We must exchange …

Jesus Had To Go. Jesus Came Back Again!

In Jesus’ trial, we see unity in evil (Luke 23:12). Politically, Pilate and Herod were at odds with each other. Spiritually, they were united in their opposition to Christ. Jesus was found guilty by neither Pilate nor Herod (Luke 23:13-16). They were Very Important People. Jesus was a threat to them. They held positions of great power. They could not allow Jesus to ‘upset the apple cart’. Three times, Pilate declared Jesus’ innocence (Luke 23:4, 14, 22). ‘Public opinion’said, ‘Crucify Him!’(Luke 23:21). Pilate had a problem. He would be ‘crucifying’ himself - politically - if he ignored public opinion. Pilate made his choice. Jesus had to go. Jesus went - but He came back again! There is real human drama here, but there is much more than that: There is God! Crucified by men, Raised by God (Acts 2:23-24): This is divine drama, the drama of redemption!

A Whole-Hearted Commitment To Jesus Christ

Luke 12:8-34
(1) The call to make a commitment of ourselves to Christ: "Whoever acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God" (Luke 12:8). This means more than paying lip-service to Christ. Choosing Him means choosing to live a life which shares His priorities. It is to be a whole-hearted commitment. Jesus teaches us what we are to avoid and what we are to seek. (2) What we are to avoid - "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed" (Luke 12:15). (3) What we are to seek - "Seek His Kingdom" (Luke 12:31).
(4) The choice we make reveals what is really important to us: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Luke 12:34). A real confession of faith in Christ as your Saviour and Lord leads to a life lived in the light of eternity, a life which is shaped by the values of eternity, a life which the Bible calls "eternal life." This "eternal life&q…

"The Seed Is The Word Of God."

Luke 8:1-15
"The seed is the Word of God" (Luke 8:11). This is what Jesus' parable of the sower is all about. It's about the Word of God. God's Word is sown in our hearts. God's Word bears fruit in our lives. The sowing of God's Word in our hearts requires patience. We don't reap the harvest right away. We must work patiently for the harvest which God will give to us in His time. Let us be faithful in sowing the seed of God's Word. Let's keep on praying that God will give to us the "hundredfold" harvest (Luke 8:8). May God help us to be faithful in sowing and fruitful in reaping. God's Word comes to us. It is given to us by the Lord. What are we doing with His Word? When God's Word is sown in our hearts, what kind of soil does it find there? Are we allowing it to grow in our hearts? Are we allowing God to produce His abundant harvest in our lives? God's Word emphasizes to us the direct connection between sowin…

Jesus' Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem

It is good for us to remember that, on that day of celebration, the day of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, there were those, among the crowd, who were, quite clearly, under the judgment of God. We read of "the great multitude of the disciples (who) began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice" (Luke 19:37). Sadly, however, we read of the Pharisees, who said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples" (Luke 19:39). The story of the first Palm Sunday is repeated in our world today. There are those who are learning to rejoice in the Lord.. They are learning to worship the God of their salvation. Unfortunately, there are also those, mingling with the Lord's people, who seek to dampen the spirit of praise. They themselves know nothing of the true spirit of worship, and they don't like to see others rejoicing in the Lord. From the story of the first Palm Sunday, the Lord is speaking to us concerning salvation and judgment. Are you a di…

Learning From John The Baptist (Luke 1:13-17; John 1:19-34)

The birth of John the Baptist was foretold in an angelic message (Luke 1:13-17) which speaks of prayer - “your prayer is heard” (v. 13), preparation - looking forward to a time of “joy and gladness” (v. 14), power - “filled with the Holy Spirit” ( v. 15) and purpose - “he will turn many of the people to the Lord their God … to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (vs. 16-17). John’s ministry is described in John 1:19-34. In his ministry, there is prayer -pointing to Christ, the One who is worthy to receive our prayers (v. 27), preparation- preparing people for Christ (v. 23), power - pointing people to the power of Christ which comes to us in the gift of the Holy Spirit, purpose -pointing people to the purpose of Christ’s coming (v. 29). Prepare for Christmas prayerfully, remembering that the power of the Christian message lies in the purpose of Christ’s coming.

Christ In All The Scriptures

Luke 24:13-53
‘In all the Scriptures’, Jesus teaches ‘the things concerning Himself’(27). Do ‘our hearts burn within us... while He opens to us the Scriptures?’(32). He calls us to be His ‘witnesses’, to preach His message of salvation ‘to all nations’(47-48). Before we can preach, we must listen to Him. Before we can proclaim His resurrection, we must consider His suffering for us: ‘See my hands and my feet’(39) - even after His resurrection, they still bear ‘the mark of the nails’(John 20:25). Listen to Christ. Consider His suffering for you. Be ‘clothed with power from on high. Let the Lord ‘bless’ you, strengthening your worship and filling you ‘with great joy’. With all this going on in your lives, we will consider it not only our responsibility but our joyful privilege to be His ‘witnesses’(48-53)!

Jesus Has Risen From The Dead.

Luke 23:26-24:12
‘God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong’(1 Corinthians 1:27). In his weakness, the thief on the cross trusted Christ for salvation (42-43). Pilate, a man of power, rejected Christ, sending Him off to be crucified (23:23-25). Jesus was ‘delivered into the hands of sinful men’. Jesus was ‘crucified’. This was not, for Him, the end. He rose from the dead (7). At the Cross, ‘the centurion’ described Jesus as ‘a righteous man’(47). In the resurrection, God declared Him to be much more than a righteous man - He is ‘the Son of God’(Romans 1:4). Don’t be like those who do ‘not believe’, those who consider Christ’s resurrection to be ‘an idle tale’(11). Something has ‘happened’, something very wonderful - Jesus has risen from the dead:... ‘believe... be saved’(12; Romans 10:9).

Keep Close To Jesus.

Luke 22:39-71
Jesus was ‘greatly distressed... troubled... very sorrowful... ’(Mark 14:33-34). ‘Nevertheless, in obedience to His Father’s will, He chose the way of the Cross (42; John 10:17-18). Satan - ‘the power of darkness’- would have his ‘hour’, but Jesus was to be ‘seated at the right hand of the power of God’(53,69). Jesus suffered much persecution (63-71). He endured it ‘for the joy that was set before Him’, the joy of ‘bringing many son to glory’(Hebrews 12:2; 2:10). The way of the Cross is never easy. It involves death to self (2 Corinthians 4:10-12). Do not ‘sleep’. Pray (45-46). Don’t ‘follow at a distance’ and deny your Lord (54, 57-58, 60). Keep close to Jesus. Let the ‘rivers of living water flow’(John 7:37-39; Acts 1:8). When you sin, let His ‘Word’ lead you to repentance (61-62; Psalm 119:11).

In Christ's Suffering Is Our Salvation.

Luke 22:1-38
Jesus’ enemies were ‘religious’ men but they were not God’s men (2). Behind the scenes, there was the activity of ‘Satan’(3). He ‘disguises himself as an angel of light’- Judas Iscariot was ‘one of the twelve’! (3; 2 Corinthians 11:14). In reality, Satan is ‘a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour’(1 Peter 5:8). Jesus was in complete control of the situation. He allowed Satan to carry out the plot which would lead to his own defeat - at the Cross. As the whole situation gets darker, never forget the purpose of Christ’s death (19-20). Jesus was suffering - the pain inflicted by His enemies (2) and the agony brought on by his ‘friends’(21,31-34). His suffering was for us: ‘Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed for us’(7; 1 Corinthians 5:7). In His suffering is our salvation.

Let Us Give Jesus Christ His Rightful Place In Our Lives.

Luke 21:1-38
The ‘poor widow’ gave her ‘all’ to the Lord (1-4). True giving is a response to ‘the grace of God’. Learning to appreciate ‘the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ’, we will learn to give with ‘abundance of joy’ and ‘wealth of liberality’(2 Corinthians 8:1-2, 9). Let us give ourselves to our Lord. True Christian living will not be easy (12; 2 Timothy 3:12). The Lord will be with us in all our difficulties (15, 18-19). Christ will return ‘with power and great glory’(27). For some this will be a time of ‘distress... perplexity... fear... foreboding’(25-26). For others, it will be the Day of ‘redemption’(28). To all, there is the warning: ‘Take heed to yourselves... watch at all times’(34-36). Let us restore Him to His rightful place in our lives - ‘...all the people came to Him...’(38).

Make Sure You Don’t Miss The Most Important Thing - ‘Jesus Christ Is In You.’

Luke 20:1-47
Think before you speak. Jesus’ critics had plenty to say for themselves. Jesus challenged them. They needed to say less and think more - about Jesus (8,17-18,41-44). Jesus’ words reduced them to silence (26,40). They didn’t know what to say next. Perhaps, some were beginning to ask the right questions and find the right answers (39). There were others who didn’t want to know. They weren’t interested in listening to Jesus. All that mattered to them was themselves: ‘Beware of the scribes...’(46-47). ‘The scribes’ were so taken up with themselves that they failed to take the slightest notice of what the Lord was saying to them. The way of ‘the scribes’ ended in ‘condemnation’. There is a warning for us here: Make sure you don’t miss the most important thing - ‘Jesus Christ is in you’(2 Corinthians 13:5).

Jesus Is Our Saviour. He Is Also Our Lord.

Luke 19:1-48 Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem (9:51; 13:22; 17:11), the place where He would be crucified for the world’s salvation. ‘Passing through’ Jericho, He brought ‘salvation’ to Zacchaeus (1, 9). ‘Near to Jerusalem’, He spoke about service (11-27). Jesus is our Saviour - He came ‘to save us’(10). He is also our Lord - He wants to ‘reign over’ us (27). ‘Salvation has come to us (9). As ‘good servants’, let us be ‘faithful’ to our Lord (17). Jesus was ‘going up to Jerusalem’(28). The Cross was the high point, the place of His triumph (Colossians 2:15). Seeing ‘the city’, Jesus ‘wept over it’(41). He taught the Word of God in the House of God. Some were ‘eager to hear Him’. Others were ‘seeking to destroy Him’(47-48). What about you? Does Jesus weep over you? He wants to rejoice over you (15:7,10).

Some Important Lessons About Faith

Luke 18:1-43
Here, we learn some important lessons about faith. (a) Our faith is precious. We must not lose it! The question is asked, ‘When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?’(8). ‘Don’t lose heart’(1). (b) We are to have a humble faith (14). Pray, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner’(13). ‘Receive the Kingdom of God like a child’(17). (c) We are to have a committed faith (22), always remembering that salvation comes from the Lord and not from ourselves (26-27). Our commitment can never be a way of earning God’s salvation. He always gives us so much more than we could ever give to Him (29-30). (d) We are to have a Christ-centred faith, centred on His death and resurrection (31-33). (e) Our faith is to be full of worship. Our eyes opened by Christ and to Him, we are to glorify God and give praise to Him (43).

Jesus Speaks About Temptation, Forgiveness, Faith And Service.

Luke 17:1-37
In verses 1-10, Jesus speaks about temptation, forgiveness, faith and service. (a) Temptation- ‘watch yourselves’, always remembering that we can only win victory through the strength of the Lord (3; 1 Corinthians 10:13). (b) Forgiveness- This is practical teaching. We not only receive forgiveness for ourselves. We are to forgive others (3-4; 1 John 1:9; Ephesians 4:32). (c) Faith- There will never come a time when we no longer need to pray, ‘Increase our faith’. What great things can be achieved for God, when our faith in Him is strong (5-6; 1 John 5:4-5, 14-15). (d) Service- We are always ‘unworthy servants’. We never outgrow our need of ‘God’s mercy’(10; Romans 12:1; 2 Corinthians 4:1). We need ‘the attitude of gratitude’(17-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:18). Jesus is coming again (24). Be ready for Him!

Don’t Let Money Squeeze Christ Out Of Your Life.

Luke 16:1-31
How do we use our money? This is an important question for all who want to live a practical Christian life. The worldly person is quick to see ways of making a profit. For the Christian, there is a higher priority. Beyond personal profit, there is eternal profit. Look for opportunities to support the work of the Gospel. By our giving, we help the Church to be Christ’s prophet in today’s world. ‘Make friends’: Win others for Christ so that, together with them, we may be welcomed to our eternal home (9). Jesus said, ‘You cannot serve God and money’. The ‘lovers of money’ did not like His teaching (13-14)! Don’t let money squeeze Christ out of your life. Life without Christ leads to eternity without Christ (19-31).

Through Christ, We Receive God’s Perfect Salvation.

Luke 15:1-32
People were coming to Christ (1). Still, the critics were murmuring among themselves (2). What did Jesus do ? - He kept on preaching the Gospel (3-32). The lost sheep (3-7) the lost coin (8-10), the lost son (11-32) - These are the parables of the Gospel. They teach us two lessons - By ourselves we are lost; In Christ, there is salvation. Read about the prodigal son, and think of the perfect Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. In Him, we see God’s perfect love. Through Him, we receive God’s perfect salvation - (a) ‘the best robe’- forgiveness (Revelation 7:13-14); (b) the ‘ring’- membership of God’s family (John 1:12); (c) the ‘shoes’- empowered to bring ‘the Gospel’ to others (Ephesians 6:15). ‘God... has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing’(Ephesians 1:3). Don’t be like the ‘elder son’(28-30)!

Let God’s Love Flow Freely In Your Own Heart And, From There, Into The Lives Of Others.

Luke 14:1-35
Let God’s love flow freely in your own heart. Let it flow, from there, into the lives of others. Receive Christ and share Him with others. When the Gospel says, ‘Come; for all is ready’, there must be no excuses (17-20). When you share Christ, let there be no barriers (1-6, 12-14, 21-24). Let God’s love flow freely - Make it your firm resolve to live as Christ’s ‘disciple’(27,33). Some will be critical of you - preoccupied with finding fault, they will miss the love of God(1-6). This is part of the ‘cost’ of being a disciple - the ‘cross’(27-28). Others will respond positively: Keep your ‘saltiness’- Be salty enough to make others thirsty, and be ready to lead them to Christ when they are thirsty ‘for the living God’(34-35; Psalm 42:2). Remember to give all the glory to God (11).

Make Sure That Your Trust Is In Christ. He Will Never Fail You.

Luke 13:1-35
Jesus stresses the need for both repentance (1-5) and the fruits of repentance (6-9). God’s Word, planted in our hearts at conversion, is to bear fruit. This requires continual repentance and faith (Colossians 2:6; Galatians 3:1-5). Don’t put it off till tomorrow! Today is ‘the day of salvation’. Don’t ‘neglect’ God’s ‘great salvation’(15-16; 2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 2:3). Let there be spiritual growth, affecting the whole of your life (18-21). Jesus was ‘journeying toward Jerusalem’- to ‘finish His course’ at the Cross (22, 32-33). He came from the Lord (35). Through Him, we come to the Lord (24; John 10:9). There is no salvation in ourselves (25-27). Apart from Him, there is ‘no peace’(Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11). Jesus loves you (34). Make ‘sure’ that your trust is in Him. He will never fail you (2 Peter 1:10-11).

‘Believe In Your Heart That God Raised Jesus From The Dead And Confess With Your Lips That Jesus Is Lord.’

Luke 11:29-54
Christ is ‘greater than Jonah’(32). Jonah was preserved alive (Jonah 1:17-2:10). Christ ‘died... was buried’ and ‘was raised’(1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Through His resurrection, He has been ‘declared with power to be the Son of God’(Romans 1:4). We are not to be secret disciples (33): ‘Believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord’(Romans 10:9). Guard against ‘the lust of the eyes’(34; 1 John 2:16; Genesis 3:6; 13:10-11; 19:26; Joshua 7:20-21; 2 Samuel 11:2-5). The Pharisees were ‘fools’(40). Clean on the outside but not in their hearts, they ‘loved the best seat in the synagogues’ but they were spiritually dead - ‘like graves’(39,43-44). Their true nature is seen in their reaction to Christ (53-54): Don’t be a ‘fool’! Don’t be a ‘Pharisee’!

Pray That You Will Be ‘Filled With The Holy Spirit.’

Luke 10:38-11:28
Mary was ‘listening to the Lord’(39). Martha was ‘distracted’(40). ‘One thing is needful’(42): Don’t let anything distract you from this - Getting alone with God. More than anything else, Jesus wants to ‘teach us to pray’(1). The greatest gift that God gives - in answer to prayer - is the Holy Spirit (13). We are to ‘pray at all times in the Spirit’, relying completely on the Spirit to teach us to pray (Ephesians 6:18). Pray that you will be ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’(Acts 4:31). As you pray, let the Spirit be your Helper (Romans 8:26). ‘Some’ are so critical: Negative thinkers, they ‘point the finger’ at everything (15). ‘Others’ are never satisfied: They’ve made complaining a way of life (16). Let’s rise above all this: ‘Blessed... are those who hear the Word of God and keep it!’(28).

Jesus Loves You. Let Him Save You. Let His Love Change You.

Luke 10:1-37
Christ’s message - ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’(9) - calls for our response - hearing with faith or rejecting in unbelief (16). Where does this response of faith come from? - From God: He reveals Himself to us (21). Questions: Why do we ask them? - ‘to put Jesus to the test’(25), ‘to justify ourselves’(29)? You cannot come to Christ until you stop trying to justify yourself - Are you trying to test Him or learning to trust Him? (a) What shall I do to inherit eternal life?' (25): The law cannot save. It can only show us our need of the One who does save - Jesus (Romans 8:3-4). (b) ‘Who is my neighbour?’(29): ‘Passing by on the other side’(31-32) - This is not love. It’s nothing like the love of God for ‘sinners’(Romans 5:8). Jesus loves you. Let Him save you. Let His love change you.

Listen To God’s Beloved Son.

Luke 9:28-62
The ‘glory’ of Christ (32) - ‘Before the world was made’, He shared the Father’s glory. Through the Cross - ‘His departure...’(31) - , Christ, ‘the Lamb that was slain’ for sinners, has fulfilled God's eternal purpose of salvation (John 17:4-5; Revelation 13:8). We are to ‘look’ to the Lamb of God. We are to ‘listen’ to God’s beloved Son. If we do not look and listen, we will not learn. To those who refuse to look, listen and learn, God issues His Word of warning: ‘See that you do not refuse Him who is speaking’(Hebrews 12:25). We must confess our spiritual poverty, our lack of power (37-42), understanding (43-45), humility (46-48), unity (49-50) and love (51-56). Looking to Christ who ‘set His face to go to Jerusalem’ and refusing to ‘look back’, we must choose to be ‘good soldiers of Jesus Christ’(51,62: 2 Timothy 2:3-4).

Hearing The Gospel, Believing In Christ And Being Saved

Luke 9:1-27
It was a short mission (1-6) - short but important! They were being trained for future work. There and then, people were hearing the Gospel, believing in Christ and being saved. There was opposition (7-9): There’s always plenty of that - ‘We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us’(Romans 8:37). There is physical need. There is also spiritual need - ‘Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life’(10-17; John 6:27). In verses 18-27, we learn (a) Who Jesus is: ‘the Christ of God’(20). (b) What Jesus has done for us: His death and resurrection (22). (c) What Jesus calls us to be: His followers (23). May God give us grace to follow ‘the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us’(Galatians 2:20). We follow Christ, looking for ‘the Kingdom of God’(27).

Without Faith, There Is No Power!

Luke 8:22-56
‘Where is your faith?’(25). The Lord is not looking for lip-service. He is looking for real faith. Some beg Jesus ‘to depart from them’(37). They don't want to know! Others long to ‘be with Him’(38). They don’t want to go! Some have no interest in worship. They don’t really want to get to know Jesus. Others love to ‘worship’, but they are so slow to witness. They need to hear Jesus’ words - ‘Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you’(39). Real faith worships. Real faith witnesses. We need both - Worship and Witness. Some - ‘the multitudes’(45) - touch Jesus superficially. They are interested - when everything seems exciting! They touch Jesus religiously. They do not touch Him by faith. Where is the ‘power’, the resurrection power (46,54)? Without faith, there is no power!

Jesus Does Not Come To Us Because We Are Good. He Comes To Us Because He Forgives Sins.

Luke 7:36-8:21
Jesus does not come to us because we are good. He comes to us because He forgives sins. The woman came to Jesus and received forgiveness. The Pharisee, though steeped in religion, remained unforgiven (47-50). Don't be like the Pharisee. Don’t look down your nose at the ordinary people who mean so much to the Lord. ‘Some women...’: Much of God’s work is being upheld by faithful women who, by their praying, giving and working, are ‘ministering to Him’(1-3). We read Jesus’ parables (4-18), and we learn. Let us read ‘the book of everyday life’, and learn what the Lord is saying to us concerning Himself. Let us learn from everyday life, always with this goal: Hearing the Word of God and doing it (21).