Friday, 25 September 2015

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. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23:1
* The Lord is my Shepherd;
* The Lord is my Shepherd;
* The Lord is my Shepherd;
* The Lord is my Shepherd.
  * “The Lord is my Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1).
In Luke 15:3-7, Jesus tells the story of the lost sheep and the loving Shepherd.
We read about a lost sheep. We know that we are lost sinners. We are lost because we are sinners. Lost sheep need a loving shepherd. Lost sinners need a loving Saviour. That’s what Jesus is. He’s our Saviour. His Name means “Saviour” –  “You are to give Him the Name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
Why did Jesus come to this world?
–  “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10).
–  “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).
Jesus came to find the lost. He came to save sinners.
God speaks to us in love. He says, ‘I Myself will be the Shepherd of My sheep… ’ (Ezekiel 34:15). We rejoice in His love. We say, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ (Psalm 23:1). Jesus is our Shepherd. He is ‘the good Shepherd’. He laid down His life for us that we might receive the forgiveness of our sins. ‘Christ died for our sins’. He – ‘the Righteous’ – died for us – ‘the unrighteous’ – ‘to bring us to God’ (John 10:11; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 3:18). He is ‘the great Shepherd’. He was ‘raised’ from the dead’. Through His resurrection, we receive eternal life. He says to us, ‘Because I live you will live also’ (Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:4; John 14:19). He is ‘the chief Shepherd’. He will come again with ‘the unfading crown of glory’ for His ‘good and faithful servants’ (1 Peter 5:4; Matthew 25:21).
“He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3b).
We enter the Kingdom of God through the new birth. Jesus Christ is “the Door” to God’s Kingdom (John 10:9). To those who have come, in faith, to Him, the Lord Jesus says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
* Where does the Good Shepherd lead those who follow Him?  – He leads us “in the paths of righteousness.”
* Why does the Good Shepherd lead His people in the paths of righteousness?  – It is “for His Name’s sake.”
The real goal of Christ-like living is not our pleasure. It is God’s glory. we find our true pleasure as we give glory to the Lord.
Are you following the Lord Jesus? He will lead you in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.
In ‘the Shepherd Psalm’ (Psalm 23), we read, in verse 5,: ‘You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows’. We are to feast on God’s Word. We are to be filled with God’s Spirit. The ‘table’ is the place of feasting. ‘Oil’ is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. As we feast on God’s Word, we will have good cause to say, again and again, ‘God is good’: ‘His goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life’ (6). The Lord never fails us. He always comes with His life-giving Word, the Word of life, through which our life on earth becomes the beginning of life eternal, the pathway to a life in which the fullness of God’s love will be revealed in a way that we can hardly begin to imagine: ‘I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever’(6). This is what Christ is preparing for us (John 14:2)!
We sing our song of praise and thanksgiving. Our enemies are never far away!
(Psalm 23:5).
 * “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” The presence of our enemies – this is never removed. It’s always there. There is, however, another Presence – the Presence of the Lord.
“Be still for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here” – This is what we must remember when the presence of our enemies threatens to overwhelm us.

God's Way Is The Best Way.

“As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30).
The Lord knows what He has planned for each one of us. There are no surprises for Him. The Lord doesn’t leave us to travel on our own. He’s with us every step of the way. When we wonder about what’s happening in our lives, He is there, teaching us to say from the heart, “As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30; 2 Samuel 22:31). He’s leading us to His Son, Jesus. He’s showing us our suffering Saviour. He’s showing us our risen Lord. He’s showing us that there is a way of peace, joy and love. It’s the way of Jesus. It’s the way of trusting Him. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He will lead you in His way. God’s blessing will surround you each day.

The Light Of God's Love, Truth And Holiness

“You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light” (Psalm 18:28).
Without You, Lord, we’re stumbling around in the dark. With You, we’re walking in the light – the light of Your love, the light of Your truth, the light of Your holiness.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

We stand in the strength of the Lord.

The Psalmist speaks of his enemies – “my foes” (Psalm 3:1). They are not only his enemies. They are the Lord’s enemies (Psalm 2:2).
What an encouragement it is to know that we do not stand against our enemies on our own. The Lord is standing with us. We do not stand in our own weakness. We stand in the strength of the Lord. He is with us. Many times, we will fail Him. He will never fail us. Often, we will let Him down. He will never let us down. What does God say to us, in our weakness? – He assures us that He holds on to us with a love which is much stronger than our weak love for Him – “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13). When, in our battle against strong a nd determined enemies, we like giving up, let’s remember this: God is faithful – and He is much stronger than Satan. “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Living In The Light Of God's Unfailing Love

“I see Your mercy in front of me. I walk in the light of Your truth” (Psalm 26:3).
In Your mercy, Lord, open up for us a new way of living – a way of living that is shaped by Your truth, a way of living that is filled with Your light.
“I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness” (Psalm 26:3).
Have we always been mindful of God’s unfailing love? Have we always trusted in His faithfulness? We know the answer as soon as we ask the question. Often, we have failed the Lord – but He has never failed us. Many times, we have let Him down – but He has never let us down. It’s His love for us that’s unfailing – not our love for Him.

If I Perish ...

“And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?’ … I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’” (Esther 4:14,16).
God has a plan for us. Are we willing to pay the price?

A Call To Prayer And A Promise Of Blessing

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
In 2 Chronicles 7:14, there is a call to prayer and promise of blessing: ‘If My people who are called by My Name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their hand’. Why is there so little blessing? – ‘You do not have, because you do not ask’. God will bless mightily – when His people pray earnestly. Why does the devil have so many victories among us? – ‘Resist the devil, and he will flee from you’. God will lead us in His way of victory – when we stop tolerating the devil, and start resisting him. Why does God seem so far away? – ‘Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you’ (James 4:2,7-8). God will come near to us – if we will let Him. ‘I stand at the door and knock; if any one… opens the door, I will come in…’ (Revelation 3:20).
We are to seek God’s face. Seeking God’s face – what will this mean? We could simply repeat what is said here – come to him in prayer, come to Him with humility, come to Him in repentance – turning from our wicked ways. Let’s think a little bit more about seeking God’s face. We communicate with each other by letters, emails and telephone calls. All of these things are good, but they’re not really a substitute for being with each other – face-to-face. Seek God’s face – God is calling us to get to know Him better. He’s calling us to move beyond a casual acquaintance with Him. Don’t be content with a superficial knowledge of God. Don’t be content with a shallow experience of God’s love and power. God has given us great promises – “I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” How great is our God! How wonderful is His blessing! Our appreciation of our great God and His wonderful blessing will grow stronger as we are learning to say, from hearts that have been deeply touched by His love and power, ”O for a closer walk with God.”

King Jesus

“For a full 180 days, King Xerxes displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendour and glory of his majesty” (Esther 1:4).
As I was reading these words about King Xerxes, I thought about another king, a very different king, a much better king – King Jesus. What did Jesus say about His Kingdom?  This is what He said – “My Kingdom is not of this world… My Kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36). We read about Xerxes. We read about Jesus. We must make our choice. What is most important to us – this world or the world towards which God is calling us, the world of His glory?

Our God? or Ourselves?

Who is most important to us? Our God or ourselves (Zechariah 7:5-6)? This is the challenge that is placed before us by the prophets of God. Our way of thinking and our way of living must be laid bare by the Word of the Lord. God wants us to see ourselves as we really are. He wants us to see Him as He really is. By ourselves, we cannot move from a self-centred life to a God-centred life, but we can look to the Lord to change us. When we ask for the Lord's help, we don't suddenly become perfect, but we do receive help from the Lord - help to become more what He wants us to be.
We need both truth and holiness (Zechariah 8:3). Truth is not just something to be believed. Truth changes us. Truth leads us into the pathways of holiness. We need both "truth and peace" (Zechariah 8:19). When truth changes us, it leads us into the paths of peace. The holy life is not to be a life of pride. That is Pharisaism. We think that holiness is all our own doing. The way of true holiness is also the way of peace. We seek to show, by our way of living, that we have been saved by the Lord and changed by Him. We show that the Lord is working in us, when we learn to walk in the way of peace. We are not to be like the Pharisee who looks down his nose at other people. We are to reach out to them in peace. At the Cross, we have learned that we are loved. At the Cross, we learn to hold out the love of Christ to other people.

The Silencing Of Satan ... Walking In The Spirit

"I, the Lord, silence you, Satan!" (Zechariah 3:2). We cannot silence Satan. The Lord can silence Satan. This is why we must answer Satan with the Word of the Lord. Satan has no answer to the Word of the Lord. "See, I have taken your sin away from you, and I will dress you in fine clothing" (Zechariah 3:4). This is God's great salvation: our sin is removed, and we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Satan has no answer to this. He may try to accuse us, but the Lord's Word will prevail over him: "For those who are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation" (Romans 8:1). Those who have been forgiven by the Lord are called to "live according to His ways" (Zechariah 3:7). We are to walk in the Spirit. He gives life to us. He raises us up from and above the way of sin and death (Romans 8:2). "These men are a sign of things to come" (Zechariah 3:8) - a sign that pointed forward to Jesus, God's Servant, "the Branch" (Zechariah 3:8). We are to point to Jesus. We are to bring something of heaven and its glory into the lives of the people we meet. "The stone" - Look at the stone (Zechariah 3:9). This is a call to look to Jesus, the cornerstone, the Foundation Stone of our faith. "I will remove this land's sin in a single day" (Zechariah 3:9). The forgiveness of our sin comes in a day. Its effects last for a lifetime - "each of you will invite your neighbours to sit under your vine and fig tree" (Zechariah 3:10). We are to invite people to rest in Jesus.

The Fruitless Life? or The Fruitful Life?

"The Lord spoke His Word through the prophet Haggai" (Haggai 1:1). The prophet is only the messenger. It is the Lord who speaks His Word. God's Word challenges our way of thinking and our way of living. We say, "Everything is okay." God says, "Everything is not okay." There is a problem. God says to us, "Carefully consider your ways" (Haggai 1:5). Our way of thinking and living is self-centred. It should be God-centred (Haggai 1:4). When we respond to God's Word, He says to us, "I am with you" (Haggai 1:13). We are not left to do the work in our own strength. He gives us the strength that we need.
First, the Lord speaks to Haggai (Haggai 2:1). Then, Haggai speaks for God (Haggai 2:2). "The faithful few who returned from Babylon" (Haggai 2:2) - Even if we are few, let us remain faithful. God calls us to "be strong" (Haggai 2:4). He says to us, "Work, because I am with you" (Haggai 2:4). He gives us His strength. He calls us to use His strength in His service. God looks beyond what we are in ourselves. He looks on to what we will become through His strength. He says to us, "Is there any seed left in the barn? The vines, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree still haven't produced" - This is the fruitless life, the life that is lived in our own strength. "But from now on, I will bless you" - This is the fruitful life, the life that is lived in the strength of the Lord. For the work of the Lord to be established, there needs to be the tearing down of the work of man - "I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of nations. I will overthrow chariots and their riders, and the horses will fall along with their riders" (Haggai 2:22). When the work of Satan is torn down, the work of the Lord begins - "a new creation. All things have passed away. All things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

From Rebellion To Righteousness

"This is the Word that the Lord spoke to Zephaniah" (Zephaniah 1:1). Straightaway, our attention is drawn away from the prophet to the Lord - "The Lord spoke His Word" (Zephaniah 1:1). How are we to hear the Word of the Lord? - "Be silent in the presence of the Almighty Lord" (Zephaniah 1:7). How can we hear what the Lord is saying to us, if we're too busy speaking? We must listen to God, if we are to hear what He is saying to us. What we hear from the Lord may not be what we want to hear. It will be what we need to hear. He speaks to us His Word of judgment so that we might see ourselves as sinners and come to Him for salvation.
"Search for the Lord, all you humble people in the land... " (Zephaniah 2:2). Even when the people have wandered away, far from God, and the land has become deeply affected by ungodly and unrighteous ways of thinking and living, God continues to call the people to return to Him and enter into His blessing.
The Lord is "righteous" (Zephaniah 3:5). His people are "rebellious" (Zephaniah 3:1). The people were not served well by their "prophets" and "priests" (Zephaniah 3:4). Could this situation be turned around? Could the people be led back from rebellion to righteousness? From the human side, there is no returning to the Lord. The human side is not all that there is. There is God - and He refuses to give up on His people: "Then I will give all people pure lips to worship the Lord and to serve Him with one purpose" (Zephaniah 3:9). To His people, God says, "I will remove your arrogance" (Zephaniah 3:11). Rebellious people can be changed by God's saving grace. How many will return to the Lord? - God speaks about "a faithful few" (Zephaniah 3:12-13). "They will seek refuge in the Name of the Lord" (Zephaniah 3:12). Any good thing in us has come from the Lord, When we consider all that the Lord has done for us, we are to worship Him - "Sing happily, people of Zion... " (Zephaniah 3:14). What reasons do we have for singing praise to the Lord? - "The Lord has reversed the judgments against you. He has forced out your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is with you" (Zephaniah 3:15). We rejoice in the Lord, and He takes delight in us - "He... celebrates over you with shouts of joy" (Zephaniah 3:17).

The Watchman, The Shepherd, New Birth And Revival

In Ezekiel 33, we read about the ministry of "the watchman." He listens to God's Word and speaks the Word of warning  to the people (Ezekiel 33:7). He declares the love of God - "I don't want wicked people to die ... I want them to turn from their ways and live" (Ezekiel 33:10). The warning is spoken as the voice of love, calling sinners to draw back from the way that leads to death, to turn to the Lord and live.
In Ezekiel 34, there is the promise of a new Shepherd for the lost sheep. This is Good News. We are more than lost sheep. We are the Lord's sheep. Without the Lord, we are  lost. In Him, we are found. God says, "I will search for My sheep Myself and I will look after them" (Ezekiel 34:11). We read this, and our thoughts turn to Jesus, who came to seek and to save the lost. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for us. He is the Great Shepherd, who rose from the dead for us. He is the Chief Shepherd, who is coming again for us. The Lord says to us, "You, My sheep, are the sheep of My pasture." He says to us, "I am your God" (Ezekiel 34:31).
In Ezekiel 35, we learn that it is through His judgment as well as His salvation that we learn that the Lord is God. It is important that we remember two things - (i) God's purpose is salvation (John 3:17); (ii) His judgment comes upon us as a result of our sin (John 3:18). The light of God's love shines brightly. It is sin which brings darkness into our world. The darkness of our sin is great. The bright shining light of God's love is greater. This is the great love of God, revealed to us in Jesus Christ, the Light of the world.
The great miracle of the new birth is described in Ezekiel 36:26 - "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you." We cannot change ourselves. We must be changed by the Lord. He forgives our sin. He gives us His Holy Spirit. He enables us to put the past behind us and live the new life in the Spirit.
To the valley of dry bones, the Word of God is spoken: "I will put My Spirit in you, and you will live" (Ezekiel 37:14). It is only through the working of the Holy Spirit that there can be blessing among God's people. It is only through the Spirit's power that God's work is carried forward in the blessing of many who are dead in their sins without God's saving grace. When the Lord comes in power, everything changes. The dead are brought to life.

God's Purpose, God's Spirit, God's Glory, God's People, God's Blessing

In Ezekiel 38:23, we read about God's purpose in history - "I will show My greatness and My holiness. I will reveal Myself to many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord." It is important that we see the divine dimension in the events which take place here on earth. There are political events, but politics isn't everything. There's more than politics. There's the work of God. He is working out His plan,
"I will pour out My Spirit on the nation of Israel" (Ezekiel 39:29). True blessing comes when God pours out His Spirit. This is something for which we must always - the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
In Ezekiel 40-43, we have a description of the temple. We can measure the physical dimensions of the temple, but there is something that we cannot measure: "I saw the glory of the Lord fill the temple" (Ezekiel 43:5). This is the spiritual dimension. This is the presence of the Spirit of the  Lord. We look beyond the temple. We catch a glimpse of the glory of God. The glory of the temple fades. The glory of the Lord remains forevermore.
In Ezekiel 44-46, we read about the worship of God. The emphasis is on holiness. The place of worship is described as "the holy place" (Ezekiel 44:1). When we move into the New Testament, the emphasis is on the people. We are to be the holy people of God - "You are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God." Why does God call us to be His holy people? - "You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light." As we do this, there's something we must never forget - "Once you were not God's people, but now you are. Once you were not shown mercy, but now you have been shown mercy" (1 Peter 2:9-10).
In Ezekiel 47:1-11, we have a wonderful picture and an encouraging message - the river of God's blessing. In Ezekiel 48:35, we have a wonderful presence and an inspiring message - "The Lord is there."

A Faithful Follower Of The Lord

Daniel was a faithful follower of the Lord. He refused to follow a worldly way of living (Daniel 1:8). He loved the Lord. He refused to follow a way of life which would harm his walk with God. He is a great example for those who take seriously the call to live in obedience to God. As we read about Daniel’s single-minded devotion to the Lord, we are challenged to live in obedience to God’s holy Word rather than following the ways of the sinful world which is always threatening to pull us away from the Lord.
In Daniel 2, we read about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation. God is speaking to Nebuchadnezzar. God is speaking through Daniel. The heart of the message, given in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation, is summed up in Daniel 2:44 - “At the time of those kings, the God of heaven will establish a Kingdom that will never be destroyed ... It will be established forever.” These are prophetic words. They look far beyond Daniel’s time. They look ahead to God’s eternal Kingdom.
“Look, I see four men ... The fourth one looks like a son of the gods” (Daniel 3:25). These words of Nebuchadnezzar point beyond the servants of God - Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They point to the Son of God - our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The Son of God saved His faithful servants. He saves all who put their trust in Him. He saved them from the fire of Nebuchadnezzar. He saves us from the fire of judgment.
“Stop sinning and do what is right” (Daniel 4:27). This was the Word that God spoke to Nebuchadnezzar. This is the Word that God speaks to us. “Now, I, Nebuchadnezzar will praise, honour, and give glory to the King of heaven. Everything He does is true, His ways are right and He can humiliate those who act arrogantly” (Daniel 4:37) - This was Nebuchadnezzar’s response to the Word of Lord. In Nebuchadnezzar’s response, there is a call to worship, addressed to every one of us. It is a call to humble ourselves before God. It is a call to learn from Him and live for Him.
The handwriting on the wall (Daniel 5) is a word of judgment. Numbered, Numbered, Weighed and Divided - This is the message that came to Nebuchadnezzar from God. God has numbered the days of your kingdom. He will bring it to an end. You have been weighed on a scale. You have been found to be too light. Your kingdom will be divided. It will be given to the Medes and the Persians. Down through the centuries, these words could be repeated, time and time again. Human greatness is brought to nothing so that the glory might belong to God alone.
Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6) - What a remarkable miracle we have here. When we read about it, our thoughts move on to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Jesus is a far greater miracle than the deliverance of Daniel. Daniel was delivered from the threat of death. Jesus was dead - and He was raised to life. We rejoice in what God did for Daniel. Our joy is so much greater when we think of what God has done for us through the mighty resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

God's Word Of Love - For The Preacher And The People

"The Lord spoke the Word to Micah" (Micah 1:1).  The Word is given to the prophet. This is where true prophecy begins. It begins with God. It does not come from the mind of the prophet. It is given to him by the Lord. In this revelation, given by God to the prophet, there is "the Word" and "the vision." God speaks to us. He draws near to us. Jesus is God's "Word" to us. He is more than the words spoken to us. He is "the Word made flesh" (John 1:1,14). To "all" people, God says, "Listen ... Pay attention" (Micah 1:2). What does God say to us? He speaks "against" us (Micah 1:2). Do we need to hear this? Yes! We do. The Word that is spoken against us prepares us for the Good News of God's love. The more seriously we take the Word that is spoken against us, the more we will give thanks to God for His love. We will rejoice in this - His love reaches us in our sin and triumphs over our sin.
"The Lord will lead the people" (Micah 2:13). These are precious words. Whatever happens in our life, we must hold on to this: "The Lord will lead the people." Whatever happens to us - good things or bad things, we must not lose sight of the Lord. In the good times, let us trust Him to keep us, walking in His way, praising Him, even when we don't understand what's going on in our lives. He is there with us, every step of the way. He loves us - always and forever.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

No More Resisting God's Spirit And Rebelling Against God's Word ... Let Us Return To The Lord.

God sees us in our sin. He says, “You are not My people.” He sees us in our Saviour. He says, “You are the children of the living God” (Hosea 1:10). This is grace. This is salvation. This is the love of God. When this great truth reaches us, we are changed. What “a great day” it is when the Lord’s people, gathered together in the Name of the Lord, are led forward with God and by God into true and lasting spiritual growth and blessing.“I will make the Valley of Achor (Disaster) a door of hope” (Hosea 2:15). What a word of encouragement this is! Here’s another great word of encouragement: “Those who are not loved I will call My loved ones. Those who are not My people I will call My people.” The Lord has done great things for us. By His grace, we are able to say, “You are my God” (Hosea 2:23).
God says, “I will wait for you” (Hosea 3:3). The people were slow to respond to God’s love. God’s Word says, “They will come trembling to the Lord for His blessings in the last days” (Hosea 3:5). How wonderfully patient the Lord is! He doesn’t compel us to come to Him. He waits patiently, until we find it in our hearts to come and receive the new life which He, in love, is offering to us.
“The people of Israel are as stubborn as a bull” (Hosea 4:16). This is more than the story of Israel. It’s the story of every one of us. Resisting God’s Spirit and rebelling against God’s Word, we dig ourselves, more and more deeply, into a hole of our own making. It is a hole from which we cannot lift ourselves. We can only be saved by the Lord. The stubbornness must be taken out of our hearts. Love for Christ must be put into our hearts. It is His love which changes us. He breaks down our stubbornness. He builds in us a new and true love for Him.
Following many words about sin in Hosea 5, we have a call to “return to the Lord.” The people hear God’s call, and they say, “Let’s return to the Lord” (Hosea 6:1). This call to return to the Lord comes to us with the promise of His healing - “He will heal us” (Hosea 6:1), His revival - “He will revive us” (Hosea 6:2), and His life - “He will raise us so that we may live in His presence” (Hosea 6:2). We hear the bad news of our sin so that our hearts may be prepared by the Lord to receive the Good News of His great salvation. Once we have returned to the Lord, we are called to give ourselves to him in loyalty - “I want your loyalty, not your sacrifices” (Hosea 6:8).

Monday, 7 September 2015

The Spirit lifted me.

"The Spirit lifted me" (Ezekiel 3:12,14).
The Spirit speaks God's Word to us, and He gives God's power to us. Through God's Word, the spirit reaches us. Through God's power, the Spirit changes us.

Love, Real Love, The Greatest Love Of All

There’s a difference between the way other people see us – “He deserves our help … ” (Luke 7:4-5) – and the way we see ourselves – “I don’t deserve you to come into my house” (Luke 7:6). In the searchlight of God’s  holy Word, we are taken more deeply into ourselves – seeing our sin as it really is. Jesus doesn’t save us because we deserve to be saved. He saves us by His grace. He looks at us, sees what we’re really like, and keeps on loving us. This is love, real love, the greatest love of all.

Hold On – The Lord Is Holding On To You.

“Whoever doesn’t lose his faith in Me is indeed blessed” (Luke 7:23). Throughout life, there is a battle for faith. Who is it that keeps us in the faith? Is it ourselves? or Is it the Lord? In one sense, we are called to hold on to our faith. In a deeper sense, it is the Lord who holds on to us.

Far More Than A Prophet

“He is far more than a prophet” (Luke 7:26). This is what Jesus said about John. How much more can we say this about Jesus – “He is more than a prophet.” “Of all the people ever born, no one is greater than John” (Luke 7:28). If this can be said of John, how much more can it be said of Jesus.

The Forgiveness Of Sins And The Peace Of God

“Your sins have been forgiven” (Luke 7:48). “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (Luke 7:50). At the heart of God’s salvation, there is the forgiveness of sins and the peace of God. These blessings are received by faith. This is “the Good News about God’s Kingdom” (Luke 8:1). When the Lord  is crowned in our hearts as King, this is Good News for us because it means that the Lord’s blessing is upon us. To God be the glory!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Satan’s power is very frightening. Satan’s power will be broken.


In Daniel 8, we have a ‘vision’ concerning ‘the distant future’, ‘the time of the end’ (Daniel 8:26,17). Here, we catch a glimpse of Satan, the very powerful enemy of God’s people. Satan’s power is very frightening - ‘His power shall be great, and he shall cause fearful destruction...’. It was the power of Satan which lay behind the ‘stern-faced king’: ‘He will become very strong, but not by his own power’ (Daniel 8:23-24). Satan’s power will be broken. Satan faces certain defeat - ‘He will be defeated’. How will he be defeated? We will not defeat him - ‘He will not be destroyed by human power’. There is only one Power able to destroy the power of Satan: ‘He shall be broken by the hand of God’. ‘Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Friday, 4 September 2015

For the sake of the truth

“If apologetics becomes a fight over a system ... it becomes something very different from the 'giving an answer' for faith that the New Testament asks for. The struggle may not be waged for the sake of a fight, but only for the sake of the truth. There must, therefore, never be lust for victory in confrontation. Confrontations can easily be waged in a manner that alienates faith from science without the believing disputants even understanding the problems of science; quick counterarguments are then not even taken seriously by the other side. Apologetics may then celebrate some sort of victory, while in reality it has only exposed its poverty.” —G.C. Berkouwer

Theology is a work of faith ...

“Theology is a work of faith, and all of its statements must be such as the believer can recognize as objects of faith ... Theology ... lives in faith and for this reason works in creative response to the Word ... A genuinely biblical theology is not simply a theology buttressed with proper proof texts, but one done in responsive and believing listening to the Word.” —G.C. Berkouwer

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Hard Times And Happy Endings

Luke 8:40-56
There are two stories here - the story of a woman and the story of a girl. Both stories have a happy ending - but before the happy ending, there were hard times. When you and I decide to follow Jesus, we look forward to a happy ending, but we must never forget that there will be hard times along the way. For the woman and the girl - Where did the happy endings come from? They came from Jesus. It was Jesus who changed everything. He can do this for you and me. He can things around.

Simple, Sincere And Spiritual

1 Corinthians 2:1-16 
Paul's ministry was simple, sincere and spiritual.It was preaching in the power of the Spirit. What Paul is saying is this: Less about me, more about Jesus.
* His message was simple. He wasn't trying to impress people with great learning. He was bringing Jesus to them. He was bringing them to Jesus.
* His preaching was sincere. He said what he meant, and he meant what he said. He spoke the truth, and he lived the truth.
* His outlook was spiritual. The power did not come from himself. It came from the Spirit - the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love.

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Walking with God - on into His eternal glory

"Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away" (Genesis 5:24). Enoch walked with God. On an...