Sunday, 28 February 2016

What are the most important things in our lives?

1 Samuel 19:1-24
What are the most important things in our lives? Why are they so important to us? Everything revolves around ourselves, Lord. We forget about You. Call us back, Lord - back from the brink, back from "the broad way that leads to destruction" (Matthew 7:13). Call us into "safety, certainty and enjoyment" (George Cutting) - saved by You, assured of Your salvation, enjoying Your salvation.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Often, we wish we could look into the future, and see what's going to happen to us.

2 Samuel 18:1-33
Often, we wish we could look into the future, and see what's going to happen to us. We can't. the future belongs to You, Lord - not to us. Help us to wait on You, Lord - to wait patiently for the time when Your future becomes our present. Our 'tomorrow' can never become our 'today' - until our 'today' becomes our 'yesterday.' Help us, Lord, to forget about gazing into some kind of 'crystal ball.' Give us the grace to walk with You in faith - one day at a time.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

What, Lord, we are to do when Your presence does not seem so real to us?

Song of Solomon 4:9-5:16
There are times, Lord, when You come very near to us. We pray, "Let my Beloved come to His garden" (Song of Solomon 4:16). You answer, "I come to My garden ... My Bride" (Song of Solomon 5:1). There are times when You seem to be far away from us: "I opened to my Beloved, but my Beloved had turned and gone" (Song of Solomon 5:6). What, Lord, we are to do when Your presence does not seem so real to us? Help us to remember the great promise that comes to us from the risen Christ: "I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20). Help us to hold on to this promise, believing that the times of blessing will return: "His speech is sweet; He is altogether lovely ... my Beloved ... my Friend" (Song of Solomon 5:16).

What, Lord, are we to do when things seem to be going from bad to worse?

Psalm 38:1-22
“My guilt  has overwhelmed me. Like a heavy load, it is more than I can bear” (Psalm 38:4). What, Lord, are we to do when things seem to be going from bad to worse? What are we to do when everything seems to be falling apart? When, Lord, we are “completely devastated” and our “heart is in turmoil” (Psalm 38:8), help us to join with the Psalmist in saying, “I wait with hope for You, O Lord” (Psalm 38:15).

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Mark Schultz: Broken and Beautiful

What are we to do when our whole life seems to be one problem after another?

2 Samuel 21:1-22:7
What are we to do when our whole life seems to be one problem after another? We're to pray - and, when we pray, we're to believe that You will hear and answer our prayers (2 Samuel 21:14; 2 Samuel 24:25). What are we to do when the going gets tough? We turn to You, Lord. It's not about how tough we are. It's about how trustworthy You are. You are absolutely trustworthy, completely dependable, utterly reliable. You are the faithful God. Those who trust You fully find You wholly true. Help us, Lord, to trust You - to know that You are faithful.

What a difference there is between fear and faith.

1 Samuel 27:1-28:2
What a difference there is between fear - "I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul" - and faith - "The Lord will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine" (1 Samuel 27:1; 1 Samuel 17:37). Sometimes, fear, sometimes faith - this was the story of David's life. It's the story of our life. How, Lord, are we to overcome fear? How are we to grow strong in faith? It's Your "perfect love that casts out fear." It's Your love that makes us strong in faith and gives us the victory (1 John 4:18-19; 1 John 5:4-5). Lord, fill our hearts with Your love. May there be, in us, more faith and less fear.

Lord, You are our Commander-in-Chief. Your work is to be done in Your way.

1 Chronicles 24:1-25:31
Lord, You are our Commander-in-Chief. Your work is to be done in Your way - "as the Lord God of Israel had commanded" (1 Chronicles 24:19). Help us never to 'get too big for our boots.' Help us never to imagine that we're more important than we really are. You're the One that's important. You're the One that's at the centre of everything. Help us, Lord, to exalt You - and not ourselves.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Some things are worth repeating!

2 Samuel 22:8-51 
Some things are worth repeating! Help us, Lord, never to tire of praising You, We can never praise You enough. You are greater than all of our praise. Help us, in our worship, to lift up our hearts to You. Help us to think of how great You are. Help us to rejoice in the greatness of Your love for us. Help us to remember all that You have done for us. 

Sometimes, Lord, it seems like You are far away from us.

2 Kings 9:1-37
Sometimes, Lord, it seems like You are far away from us. Why do we feel like this? It’s because we have wandered away from You. We’ve allowed something else to come between ourselves and You. Call us back to Yourself, back from the brink, back to a new beginning, back to the blessing that will grow stronger and stronger as we learn to trust You and say, from the heart, “The Lord is God. He is our God. He has blessed us, and we are glad.”

Help us, Lord, to take sin seriously. Help us to take Your salvation even more seriously.

1 Samuel 28:3-25
Help us, Lord, to take sin seriously - "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23). Help us to take Your salvation even more seriously. Help us to believe that the story of our life is more than the story of our sin. It's also the story of Your salvation. When we are deeply aware of our sin, may we become even more deeply appreciative of Your promise of salvation: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31).

Help us, Lord, to offer our whole life to You - not just the 'religious' part of it.

1 Chronicles 26:1-27:34
Lord, You're calling us to serve You. We're to serve You in the world. Before we can serve You in the world, there must be this: "ministering in the House of the Lord" (1 Chronicles 26:12). Part of our worship involves the dedication of "gifts for the maintenance of the House of the Lord" (1 Chronicles 26:12). When we're worshipping You in Your House, when we're supporting the work that is centred on Your House, help us to remember this: When our service of worship ends, our service in the world begins. Help us, Lord, to offer our whole life to You - not just the 'religious' part of it. Help us to serve You every day of the week.

When you read God's Word ...

"When you read God's Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, 'It is talking to me, and about me.'" (Soren Kierkegaard).

Salvation, security, singing and sharing

Psalm 40:1-17
Lord, we thank You for Your gifts – salvation, security, singing and sharing. You have saved us – “He drew me up from the desolate pit … ” (Psalm 40:1). You give us security – You “set my feet on a rock, making my feet secure” (Psalm 40:1). You give to us “a new song … a song of praise to our God” (Psalm 40:3). You give us something wonderful to share with other people – “I have not hidden Thy saving help within my heart, I have spoken of Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation … ” (Psalm 40:10). Thank You, Lord.

Sometimes, Lord, we have more questions than answers.

Psalm 77:1-20
Sometimes, Lord, we have more questions than answers (Psalm 77:7-9). The questions keep flooding into our minds. We wonder where the answers are going to come from. What, Lord, are we to do when this happens? We remember what You have done for us (Psalm 77:11-12). Help us, Lord, to look back over the “years” – and remember that Your “hand” has been upon us (Psalm 77:5,10). May the memories of Your many blessings fill us with strength – to face the future with confidence in You. Help us, Lord. to trust in You – and be truly happy.

The Shepherd Of Love

"The Son of Man came to save the lost" (Matthew 18:11). In Matthew 18:12-1, Jesus speaks about sheep. He's really speaking about us. He is the Shepherd. We are His sheep. Sheep wander away from the shepherd. We wander away from the Lord. The shepherd looks for the lost sheep. Jesus has come to seek for us and find us. He brings  us home to God, our Father. Through His saving grace, we receive new life - a life  in which we rejoice in our great Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. He delivers us from the condemnation, which our sin has brought upon us. He brings us into the knowledge of His forgiveness. This Gospel of salvation changes us. It teaches us to live in the power of God's love.

Lord, what a great difference there is between life “under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 9:9) and Life in the Son.

Ecclesiastes 8:1-9:10
Lord, what a great difference there is between life “under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 9:9) and Life in the Son. The world tells us that there is nothing beyond “the grave” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Our Saviour promises us “an inheritance from the Lord as a reward” (Colossians 3:24). Help us, Lord, never to lose sight of the eternal dimension. This is what gives our life real depth, true meaning and a strong sense of purpose.

We look, Lord, for happiness, but we cannot find it.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4:16
We look, Lord, for happiness, but we cannot find it. Why do we keep missing happiness? We’re looking in the wrong place. We try to find happiness in ourselves. You’re saying to us, “You’ll only find happiness when you come to Jesus. Only Jesus can fill the God-shaped blank in your heart.” Teach us, Lord, to listen to Your voice, speaking to us of Jesus, calling us to come to Him and receive from Him Your gift of salvation. Help us to rejoice in Jesus, to be glad that He is our great Saviour.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Less pride and more praise - That's what we need, Lord.

2 Samuel 24:1-25
Less pride and more praise - That's what we need, Lord. Less taking glory for ourselves and more giving glory to You - May that be the story of our life. Less living in our own weakness and more living in Your power - Lead us, Lord, into a life that is becoming less centred on ourselves and more centred on You.

When, Lord, things are going badly, we start feeling sorry for ourselves ...

1 Samuel 29:1-30:15
When, Lord, things are going badly, we start feeling sorry for ourselves - when we should be getting strengthened by You. You are "our strength and our shield." You give us Your "strength" and Your "peace" (Psalm 28:7-8; Psalm 29:10-11). Give to us the peace that comes to us from knowing that we are not alone. May we not fall down in our weakness. May we stand up in Your victory.

No-one goes on forever.

1 Kings 1:1-53
No-one goes on forever. We read about David’s reign coming to an end, about David being replaced by Solomon (1 Kings 1:30). Help us, Lord, to pray that the future will be “greater” than the past (1 Kings 1:37,47). In all of life’s changes, help us to remember this: You are the living God (1 Kings 1:29) – the God who remains constant when everything else is changing, the God whose love is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable.

What will heaven be like? and How do I get to heaven?

In Scripture, we catch glimpses of what heaven will be like. When we attempt to say too much about exactly what heaven will be like, we can very quickly get the feeling that we are out of our depth and that we are attempting to describe things that are are far beyond our present understanding.
As well as the question, “What will heaven be like?”, the Bible also addresses another question – “How do I get to heaven?”
What are we to say about these two questions?
Both questions are very important. We don’t, however, need to give a precise description of heaven, anticipating every question which could possibly be asked about it. We do need to know the way to heaven.
I suspect that, sometimes, people, who ask all sorts of imaginative questions about what heaven will be like, are not always so interested in making a personal commitment of their lives to Jesus Christ.
In Deuteronomy 29:29, we read, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”
I think that this verse is relevant to the way in which we approach the two questions, “What will heaven be like? and “How do I get to heaven?”
* When we ask the question, “What will heaven be like?”, we should always remember that “the secret things belong to God. We know enough about heaven to create in us a desire to be there. When, however, the question is pressed, “What will be heaven be like?”, we become aware of how little we know.
* One thing we do know is this: Jesus Christ is our Saviour. This has been “revealed to us”. The heart of our message must always be to point to Jesus Christ as “the Way” to heaven (John 14:6).
* Notice also, in Deuteronomy 29:29, the emphasis on the call to obedience.
Thinking about heaven should change the way we live here-and-now. This is very much more practical than just wondering what it will be like.
We don’t know everything about heaven. We do know all that we need to know about the way to get to heaven – Jesus is the Way (John 14:6) – and that’s enough for now! It’s enough to get us on the way to heaven and to keep us walking in the way that leads to our heavenly destination – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

When everything seems to be going wrong ...

Psalm 41:1-13
When everything seems to be going wrong, help us, Lord, not to forget about You. Things will only get worse, if we turn away from You. Help us to turn to You, and receive help from You. Give us the strength that we need to say, with confident faith, “My enemy has not triumphed over me” (Psalm 41:1). Help us to rejoice in You, Lord, and to say, from our hearts, “Blessed is the Lord .. ” (Psalm 41:13).

Saturday, 20 February 2016

The Power And The Glory

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

We compare ourselves to other people ...

2 Kings 13:1-14:16
We compare ourselves to other people. We like to think that we’re doing pretty well. What, Lord, do You think about all of this? Are You impressed? You’re saying to us, “What about Jesus? How do you compare to Him? Help us, Lord, to look at Jesus – and see where we need to be changed. Help us to look to Him – and be changed by Him.

We thank You, Lord, that You are the God of new beginnings.

1 Kings 2:1-46
We thank You, Lord, that You are the God of new beginnings. Your purpose doesn’t stand still. It moves forward. Will we move forward with You? – That, Lord, is the question that each of us must ask answer. We cannot stand still. There are two ways we can go. We can move forward with You. We can go back to the past, back to what we were before Christ saved us, before He took hold of our lives, before He began to make us new people. Dare we even think of going back to the old life? That life can’t even begin to compare with our new life in Christ. Help us, Lord, to press on into the future, Your future, the new life in Christ, eternal life.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Lord, we thank You that You are preparing a wonderful future for us.

Psalms 23:5-24:10
Lord, we thank You that You are preparing a wonderful future for us. It’s glory with You. It’s eternal life: “I shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6). Fill our hearts, O Lord, with resurrection hope – the true and living hope, the sure and steadfast hope that comes from knowing You, the God who has raised Your Son, the God who raises us up, with Jesus, to everlasting life.

"Awake, O sleeper" (Ephesians 5:14).

God wants us to ‘grow up in every way into Christ’(Ephesians 4:15). We are to ‘walk in love’(Ephesians 5:2), a life which is ‘pleasing to the Lord’(Ephesians 5:10). It is so easy for us to settle for something less than God’s very best. We settle down into a state of spiritual complacency. What does God have to say about this? – ‘Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God’(Ephesians 4:30). He gives us His wake-up call: ‘Awake, O sleeper…’(Ephesians 5:14). God says to us, ‘Awake, awake, put on your strength… Shake yourself from the dust, arise’(Isaiah 52:1-2). Have you become ‘lukewarm’? – ‘Be zealous and repent’. Christ says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him’(Revelation 3:16, 19-20). What will you say to Him? – ‘Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today. Come in to stay’.

Lord, we’re always making choices ...

2 Kings 14:17-15:22
Lord, we’re always making choices. Sometimes, we make good choices. Sometimes, we make bad choices. Life can be very confusing. We wonder, “What’s for the best? What are we to do?” Show us Your way. Lead us in Your way. Give us the strength that we  need to walk in Your way.

Restore us, O God ...

Psalm 80:1-19
“Restore us, O God, make Your face shine upon us, that we may be saved” (Psalm 80:3). When, Lord, we come to You with the question of salvation – “What must I do to be saved?”, You come to us with Your answer – “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31). In Christ, You have “blessed us with every spiritual blessing” (Ephesians 1:3). Thank You, Lord.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Lord, we’re being pulled in two different directions ...

2 Kings 15:23-16:20
Lord, we’re being pulled in two different directions. You’re drawing us to Yourself. The world is pulling us away from You. Help us to confess our sin – we need to be better than we are. Help us to trust in Your power – You’re the only One who can make us better than we are.

Teach us, Lord, to worship You. As we worship You, may we receive from You the strength that we need to work for You.

2 Chronicles 3:1-5:1
Lord, You call us to work for You, to “work in the Temple of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 4:11; 2 Chronicles 5:1). This is no ordinary work. It’s spiritual work. It is “most holy” (2 Chronicles 3:8,10; 2 Chronicles 4:22). Real work come for You emerges from true worship of You. Before we can be Your workers, we must be your worshippers. Teach us, Lord, to worship You. As we worship You, may we receive from You the strength that we need to work for You.

Sometimes, Lord, You say to us ...

Judges 2:6-3:11
Sometimes, Lord, You say to us, "This is the way, walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21). Sometimes, You say to us, "This is not the way. Do not walk in it." Help us, Lord, to walk in Your way -  and not in the way of the world.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Lord, when the service of worship comes to an end, may our service of living begin - and never end!

Psalm 132:1-18 
‘Let us go to the Lord’s House; let us worship before His throne’ (Psalm 132:7). Lord, You're calling us to worship You. We are to gather together as Your worshipping people. As we gather for worship, may we remember that You, Lord, are ‘King’. May we give You more than the praise of our lips. May we give You the praise of our lives. We do not only sing to You. We live for You. We come ‘before Your throne’ with this prayer, ‘Take my heart - it is Thine own; It shall be Thy royal throne’. You hear and answer our prayer. You give us Your strength. We rise to Your challenge: ‘Rise up, O Church of God! Have done with lesser things; Give heart and soul and mind and strength to serve the King of kings.’ Lord, when the service of worship comes to an end, may our service of living begin - and never end!

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Help us, Lord, to keep on praying that our love for You will grow.

Psalms 128:1-129:8
‘Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways’ (Psalm 128:1). If, Lord, we are to enjoy Your blessing, we must fear You and walk in Your ways. Many people despise the place of worship. They ‘pass by’. They have no desire to know ‘the blessing of the Lord’. Lord, You’re warning us that we must not allow this attitude to grow in us: ‘May all who hate Zion be put to shame’. We must take care that our love for You doesn’t ‘wither’ away. Help us to keep on praying that our love for You will ‘grow’. If we place no value on Your blessing, our lives will be empty. May we come to You, our Lord, with this prayer: ‘The greatest thing in all my life is knowing You, loving You, serving You. I want to know You more, love You more, serve You more’.  You will ‘fill’ our life with Your blessing (Psalm 129:5-8; Mission Praise, 646).       

Monday, 15 February 2016

Everything seems to be falling round about us ...

2 Kings 20:1-21:18
“Carried off to Babylon” (2 Kings 20:17); “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!” (Revelation 14:18 & 18:2). Everything seems to be falling round about us. We hear so much bad news. We wonder, “What, Lord, do You think of all this?” Even “in Babylon” there were “the chosen” – people who belonged to You (1 Peter 5:13). Help us to be Your people – “in the world” but “not of the world” (John 17:11,16).

Lord, we see division among Your people ... You are not pleased.

2 Chronicles 10:1-11:23
Lord, we see division among Your people: "Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day" (2 Chronicles 10:19). You are not pleased. You say, "Do not go up to fight against your brothers" (2 Chronicles 11:4). This is not just ancient history. It's our problem. It's a big problem. We still need to hear the words of Jesus - "a house ... divided against itself cannot stand" (Mark 3:25). There are to be "no divisions" among us (1 Corinthians 1:10). We are "all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). Lord, help us, in our praying and our living, to echo the prayer of Jesus: "May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me" (John 17:21,23).

Overlowing Blessing

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).

Between D-Day and V-Day

Tuesday 6th June 1944 : D-Day, the Allied invasion of Europe - it was a decisive invasion of enemy territory.It was D-Day, but it was not V-Day. The day of final victory, V-Day, was still to come V-Day did not come until 1945.
 * D-Day and V-Day - What does this teach us concerning the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ? D-Day is behind us. We are pressing on now to V-Day.
Through his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has made the decisive invasion into enemy territory.
When Christ returns, his victory will be complete. His victory will be revealed in all its fullness.
D-Day and V-Day: What lies behind these days? Warfare - There is a battle to be fought and a victory to be won.
Christ's resurrection and Christ's return: What lies behind these two great events? Warfare - We must fight the good fight, the fight of faith. We must press on to victory.
 - Between D-Day and V-Day, there is warfare.
 - Between Christ's resurrection and his return, there is warfare.
 - Between our personal decision and our call to glory, there is warfare.
 * Warfare - "long periods of intense boredom, punctuated by short periods of intense fright" (Churchill).
In our Christian warfare, the fight of faith, there are many ordinary days, days which are neither 'high' -the mountaintop experience - nor 'low' - the valley of despair. They are simply days of the hard slog, days when we must keep on going in the face of complacency, the feeling that it doesn't really matter all that much whether or not we go on with Jesus Christ. there are, of course, high times and low times, times when we seem to go from strength to strength, and times when we must hold on to faith or be overwhelmed.
High times, low times, but, more often than not, ordinary days, days when it would be so easy to take our eyes off Jesus, days when everything else seems so interesting, and Jesus seems so ordinary that we take him for granted.
The Christian warfare is never easy, but there is the promise of victory.
Here is a promise from the Lord: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when yo walk through fire, you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you" (Isaiah 43:2).
The waters bring the threat of drowning. The fire brings the threat of being burned out.
In the water, you must keep on swimming. Keep on swimming or start sinking. In the Christian life, we must keep on believing. We must keep on trusting the Lord Jesus Christ. Keep the fire burning - the fire of the Holy Spirit, or be burned out by the fiery darts of the evil one.
 * Warfare and victory - They belong together. We are in the midst of warfare, but we must not lose sight of the victory. In 1 Peter 1:6-7, we see both warfare and victory.
"In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed."
We have to suffer various trials, but look at the final outcome - "praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
"For a little while you may have to suffer various trials." What does this mean? - "for a little while". 
In the Christian life, there are, for each of us, times of particularly difficult testing. I believe that there is a more general meaning here. "For a little while" refers to the whole course of our Christian life. Our "little while2, here on earth, is contrasted with the "praise and glory and honour of eternal life."
How are we tested? Every time is a testing time.
 - In our 'highs', we are tempted to become overconfident in ourselves and take our eyes off Jesus.
 - In our 'lows', we are tempted to give up in despair.
 - In our many ordinary days, we are tempted to think that there is nothing much at stake, that it doesn't really matter whether we keep on going or give up on following on Jesus.
 * In our times of testing, i.e. at all times, we must keep our eyes on the victory. Look beyond the battle to the victory. Do you feel like David facing Goliath? You feel so small and weak. The opposition seems so great and powerful. But, that is only part of the story. There is something else - David had the Lord on his side. Goliath was full of confidence. He was the odds-on favourite. So it seemed, but there was another factor, a hidden factor, which Goliath could not understand - "the battle is the Lord's" (1 Samuel 17:47).
What does God say to us concerning the Christian life? - "Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you ... Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you" (2 Chronicles 20:17).
 * The battle is the Lord's, and the victory is the Lord's.
How does the Lord's victory become our victory? 
  (a) Don't give up when the going gets tough - "struck down but not destroyed", "we may be knocked down, but we are never knocked out" (J B Phillips) (2 Corinthians 4:9).
  (b) Keep right on to the end of the road. Keep on playing until the final whistle blows. 
When I was a boy, I played in a football match, in which we were losing 2-0 with 5 or 10 minutes to go. we kept on going. we won 3-2.
  (c) God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:56).  
D-Day has already taken place - the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. V- Day is still to come.
 - What are we to do between D-Day and V-Day?
"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58).
 - What can we look forward to? - V-Day: "The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down" (Revelation 12:9-10).

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Help us, Lord, to pray for revival.

Psalm 85:1-13
Help us, Lord, to pray for revival – ‘Restore us again, O God our Saviour… Will You not revive us again that Your people may rejoice in You?’(Psalm 85:4,6). Help us to pray that You will ‘grant us Your salvation.’ Help us to pray that ‘Your saving presence will remain in our land’, that ‘Your glory may dwell in our land’(Psalm 85:7,9). Help us to pray for real listening – ‘I will listen to what God the Lord will say’- , a real turning to You – ‘turning to You in our hearts’- , and a real sense of Your blessing – ‘You will speak peace to Your people’(Psalm 85:8). Teach us, Lord, that prayer for revival does not begin as a prayer for others. It begins with ourselves: ‘O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee; send a revival – start the work in me’. It begins with this prayer: “Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine; fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine.’

Saturday, 13 February 2016

The great promise of the Gospel and the strong warning of the Gospel

We have the great promise of the Gospel. In Christ, there is full salvation for all who come to God through Him. Alongside this great promise, there is also the strong warning of the Gospel. We read the solemn words of Psalm 11:6 – “On the wicked he will rain fire and brimstone; a scorching wind will be their lot” “Fire and brimstone” – What are we to say about this? We must note that Psalm 11 doesn’t end with “fire and brimstone.” It ends with the words: “upright men will see His face” (Psalm 11:7). God doesn’t want to leave us where He finds us. He doesn’t want to leave us trembling in fear of “fire and brimstone.” He speaks to us of these things so that we might see our need of the Saviour. He speaks to us of these things so that we might”flee from the wrath to come” (Luke 3:7). He speaks to us of these things so that we might find our way to the Cross of Christ. He speaks to us of these things so that we might learn to confess our sins and receive God’s forgiveness: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Lord, we read, in Your Word that "every man did what was right in his own eyes" ...

Judges 20:29-21:25
Lord, we read in Your Word that "every man did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25) - and it seems like we are reading a description of today's world. We look around us, and we see so little love for You. Your Son is "despised and rejected by men" (Isaiah 53:3). Our Saviour is "ignored" (Hebrews 2:3). We seem to hear nothing but bad news. Is there any good news? Do You have something to say to us - something to lift us out of our darkness and into Your light? we thank You, Lord, that there is Good News - Jesus is "the Light of the world" (John 8:12). Help us, Lord, to pray that the light of Jesus will shine more brightly in our world. Help us to pray for revival - and help us to begin with ourselves: "O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee. Send a revival. Start the work in me" (J. Edwin Orr, "Search me, O God").

Lord, You do not keep Your distance from us - and You do not keep Your silence.

Psalm 50:1-23
“Our God comes, He does not keep silence … God the Lord speaks” (Psalm 50:3,1). We thank You, Lord, that You do not keep Your distance from us. You come near to us. We thank You that You do not keep Your silence. You speak to us. How do You come near to us? How do You speak to us? You come near to us in Jesus. He is “the Word made flesh” (John 1:14). You speak to us through Jesus, Your living “Word” (John 1:1).

Encourage One Another ...

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good works, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24-25).

It's great that we are able to encourage one another in the Lord. Hebrews 10:25 speaks about "the assembling of ourselves together" and "exhorting one another." Each of us has a particular ministry of encouragement to those with whom we are gathered together to worship the Lord. It is a privilege to be able to share something of this ministry of encouragement with other people. We encourage one another in the Lord when we gather together for worship (Hebrews 10:25). The preaching of Christ strengthens our faith (Romans 10:17). What a great encouragement it is to know that "God is pleased through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21). What happens in the place of worship is important - but it's not the be-all and end-all. There's more than worship in the Lord's House. There's life outside of the place of worship. In the world - That's where we're to live a life of "love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24). If, when we're in the place of worship, we start thinking that this is all that there is - an hour on a Sunday, we've got it all wrong. When our worship ends, our witness begins. Our witness is more than words. It's living the life of a believer. In the world - This is where we see how real our worship is.

A Spiritual Harvest

At our Harvest Thanksgiving service, we must note the difference between our need and our greed. God provides for our need, but not for our greed. We think of God's provision for our material need, but we not forget his provision for our material need, but we must not forget his provision for our spiritual need. In the harvest, we see God's loving kindness towards us. He answers our prayer: "Give us, this day, our daily bread." In the gospel, we see God's loving kindness towards us. The gospel is love in action. God sees our need, and he provides for us, a Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Christ, God produces, in us, a spiritual harvest - "the fruit of the Spirit."
How is this spiritual harvest produced in us? - “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:23-24). Before we can have life, new life, eternal life, Jesus must die. He must sacrifice himself for our salvation - "I have come to do your will, O God" (Hebrews 10:7,9). This is the will of God - Christ's sacrifice, our salvation.
We are saved through Christ's sacrifice of himself for us. Once we have been saved by Christ, we are to sacrifice our own will to the will of God: "Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life" (John 12:25). We are to sacrifice our own will to the will of God, by following Christ: "Whoever serves me must follow me ... My Father will honour the one who serves me" (John 12:26).  
How do we learn to serve the Lord? We get to know Him through reading His Word. We grow in our love for him as we learn how much he loves us. We look at Jesus. we learn from his earthly life, but we don't stop there. We look on to his death on the cross for us. We look on to his death on the cross for us. We learn that he "came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). His love reaches us. His love changes us - and there becomes less trying to get our own way and more walking in his way.
As we turn to Jesus Christ, crucified for us, we are called out of our sinful past and unto his holy future. We are called as sinners, called to receive salvation.We are called to be saints, called to be holy, called to life of love, called to reap a spiritual harvest. There will be two parts to this harvest. In our own lives, there will be "the fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22-23). There will, also, be the fruit in the lives of others to whom we bring the love of Christ.   

Friday, 12 February 2016

Past grace is no guarantee of present growth.

Past grace is no guarantee of present growth. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, ‘the Author and Finisher of our faith' (Hebrews 12: 2).

This Is All About Jesus!

I was reading Romans 1:1-7. I was asking the question, "What's this about?" There's one simple answer to this question: "This is all about Jesus!"

Thursday, 11 February 2016

What is happening, Lord, when we are gathered together for worship?

1 Kings 8:54-9:28
What is happening, Lord, when we are gathered together for worship? Is this merely a human thing, something that we do? – No! there is something more than this. Before we even thought of coming to Your House, You were there waiting for us. You welcome us. You speak Your Word to us: “Let your heart be wholly true to the Lord your God” (1 Kings 8:61). You’re calling us into a life of “joy and gladness” – a life of “walking before You with integrity of heart” (1 Kings 8:66; 1 Kings 9:4). This is true worship. It’s not just something that we do on a Sunday morning. It’s learning to walk with You all the days of our life. Lord, help us to worship You today – and every day.

Paul And James On Faith And Works

James' attack on "dead faith" (G. C. Berkouwer, Faith and Justification, 137) and his protest for faith as "a truly experienced reality" (136), which dominates the whole of life, does not conflict with Paul who speaks against the works of the law but not against the works of faith.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

What happens when Your people “gather together”?

Nehemiah 8:1-9:5
What happens when Your people “gather together” (Nehemiah 8:1)? We hear Your Word (Nehemiah 8:2-3,8). We thank You for Your Son (Nehemiah 8:13-18; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). We dedicate our lives to You (Nehemiah 9:2). We worship You (Nehemiah 9:5). Lord, help us to enter in, with all our hearts, to all that You promise to bring into our lives when we respond to Your gracious call: “Let us worship God.”

So often, Lord, we start out well - and then something goes wrong.

2 Samuel 1:1-27
So often, Lord, we start out well - and then something goes wrong. Our heads go down. We lose our way. We fall away from You. Where does this spirit of defeat, this spirit of giving up, come from? - It comes from Satan. He sweeps in. He sweeps us off our feet. He sweeps us away from You. When Satan attacks us, help us, Lord, to remember Your promise: You are "able to keep us from falling" (Jude 24-25). Help us to hear Your Word: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Help us, Lord, to become better people – not bitter people!

2 Chronicles 26:1-28:27
Help us, Lord, to learn from the failure of King Uzziah. He began well – “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord … He set himself to seek God” (2 Chronicles 26:4-5). He lost his way – “When he was strong, he grew proud, and he was false to the Lord his God” ( 2 Chronicles 26:16). Help us, Lord, to become better people – not bitter people!

How much do the things of this world really matter – if we don’t have Jesus as our Saviour?

1 Kings 10:1-11:13
We look, Lord, at “King Solomon” – and we see ourselves! “He was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth” (1 Kings 10:23). We like to think that we’re ‘getting on in the world.’ There was something seriously wrong with Solomon – “His heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God …he did not follow the Lord completely” (1 Kings 11:4,6). This is our problem. There’s too much of the world in our way of life – and not enough of You, Lord! How much do the things of this world really matter – if we don’t have Jesus as our Saviour (Mark 8:36)?

The storm is raging. Jesus draws near. There is peace.

The storm is raging: ‘they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them’ (Mark 6:48). Jesus draws near, and there is peace: ‘the wind ceased’ (Mark 6:51). Another ‘storm’ continues to rage: ‘Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders...?’ (Mark 7:5). How did Jesus respond to this ‘storm’ of criticism? - He exposed the hypocrisy of those who made the tradition of men more important than the Word of God (Mark 7:7-9,13). He invited ‘the people’ to come ‘to Him’, to ‘hear’, to ‘understand’. His Word was addressed to ‘all’ of them (Mark 7:14). Jesus emphasizes this point: ‘man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart’ (1 Samuel 16:7). The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. Which will it be? - ‘Their hearts were hardened’ (Mark 7:52) or ‘Loving the Lord your God with all your heart’ (Mark 12:30).

We come to You, Lord, with sadness. You give us gladness.

1 Samuel 1:1-28
We come to You, Lord, with sadness. You give us gladness. How does this gladness come to us? It comes to us when we stand upon Your Word, when we believe Your promises. Our life is not controlled by our feelings - the feelings that drag us down, the feelings that pull us away from You. Your promises lift us out of these feelings. They lift us into Your presence. They assure us of Your love. They lead us into Your blessing. Thank You, Lord, for Your promises and Your presence, Your love and Your blessing.

The Problem, the Returning, the Blessing (James 5:19-20)

The Problem - "if one of you should wander from the truth"
The Returning - "if ... someone should bring him back"
The Blessing - "Whoever turns a sinner away from his error will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins."
Does God have a message of hope for those who have wandered away from Him? - Yes!
He speaks with truth concerning our sin, and He speaks with love concerning His salvation.
"Seek t  he Lord while He may be found; Call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon" (Isaiah 55:6-7).
What blessing is given to those who return to the Lord!
There was sin and guilt. Now, there is the forgiveness of sin.
There was death.  Now, there is life: new life - life with a new sense of meaning, purpose and direction; eternal life - life with the Lord in the everlasting glory of His everlasting Kingdom.

We thank You, Lord, that Your love is eternal love.

Psalms 56:1-57:11
“Be gracious to me, O God … Be merciful to us, O God” (Psalm 56:1; Psalm 57:1). In mercy, Lord, You don’t send to us the judgment we deserve. In grace, You give to us the salvation we don’t deserve.
How do You do this for us? You make Your grace and mercy available to us through Your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. How do we receive Your grace and mercy? We look to the Cross of Christ. There, we see Your “steadfast love and faithfulness” (Psalm 57:3,10). Your love is eternal love. It’s love unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable – “I will give thanks to You, O Lord … I will sing praises to You … Be exalted, O God” (Psalm 57:9-11).

What Kind Of People Are We Becoming?

Hosea 1:1-3:5
‘Hosea’ means ‘salvation’. Married to ‘an adulterous wife’, Hosea spoke with great compassion to ‘the land’ which was ‘guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord’(1:2). He brought God’s Word of love to the people: ‘I will show My love to the one I called, “Not My loved one”’. He spoke to them of the life-changing power of God’s love: ‘I will say to those called, “Not My people”, and they will say, “You are My God”’(2:23). He brought a Word of hope to God’s people: ‘The Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God... They will come trembling to the Lord and to His blessings in the last days’(3:5). His words of hope point us to our Saviour, Jesus Christ - ‘In these last days, God has spoken to us by His Son’(Hebrews 1:2).

Hosea 4:1-5:14
We read here of Israel’s rebellion against God: ‘A spirit of prostitution leads them astray. They are unfaithful to their God... A spirit of prostitution is in their heart. They do not acknowledge the Lord’(4:12; 5:4). God is not pleased with them. He speaks His Word of ‘judgment against’ them (5:1). We must look closely at our lives. What kind of people are we becoming? Are we becoming ‘slaves of sin’? God is calling us to be changed by His love and power: ‘Now that you have been set free from sin, and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap is holiness, and the result is eternal life’(Romans 6:16,22). Let His love show you that He has not abandoned you because of your sin. Let His power assure you that He can make you ‘a new person’(2 Corinthians 5:17).

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Here I am, Lord ...

1 Samuel 3:1-4:22
"Here I am, Lord ... I have heard You calling in the night. I will go, Lord ... I will hold Your people in my heart" (Daniel L. Schutte). Lord, You come to us. You come with Your Word. It is a Word for ourselves. It is a Word for others. We receive Your Word. We share Your Word. Glorify Your Name, Lord - in us and through us.

Why has God made us His ‘own people’?

In Christ, we are ‘a holy nation’. Why has God made us His ‘own people’? - ‘that you may declare the wonderful deeds of Him... ’ (1 Peter 2:9).‘The nations are waiting for us, waiting for the gospel we will bring’ (Songs of Fellowship, 539).

What a great Saviour we have!

Psalms 58:1-59:17 
“Surely there is a God who judges the earth … Deliver me from my enemies, O my God” (Psalm 58:11; Psalm 59:1). May these words send us to the Cross of Christ. We come in our need. Lord, we need Your forgiveness and Your victory. What do we find at the Cross of our Saviour? – “My God in His steadfast love will meet me … My God will let me look in triumph over my enemies” (Psalm 59:10). What a great Saviour we have! We think of His love and His power, and our hearts are filled with praise to You – “I will sing of Your strength … I will sing of Your love … O my Strength, I sing praises to You; You, O God, are my Fortress, my loving God” (Psalm 59:16-17).

Thank You, Lord, for giving us our own name - and the Name of Jesus.

1 Chronicles 2:1-55 
Thank You, Lord, for giving us our own name. It makes us feel special - "I'm me. I'm not somebody else." We thank You, even more, for giving us the Name of Jesus. His Name is the Name of our salvation. Among all the many names of people, from all over the world, there's one Name that stands out. It's the Name of Jesus. Why is Jesus so special? It's because He's Your Son - and He's our Saviour.

Monday, 8 February 2016

The Tower of Babel

Genesis 10-11
Following on from the reference to Babylon in 10:10, we have, in chapter 11, the story of "the Tower of Babel". "This is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible to them" (11:6). What can we say about the world today, as men 'play God', taking the issues of life and death into their own hands? We need to remember that God is the Creator and we are His creatures. We dare not assume an authority which does not belong to us. God is left out by man who sees himself as the be-all and end-all, man who does things his way, man who seeks his own glory rather than God's glory. We must ask, "Does this glorify God or man? Does this show the love of God or the 'couldn't care less' attitude of godless man?" We must ask concerning ourselves: "Am I getting caught up in a secular, materialistic, godless way of thinking? Am I seeking to bring Christian values to bear on social concerns?"
What does God think about our godless society? It's all there in the 'Tower of Babel' story. It's still true today. * Nothing is hidden from God. He sees all that's going on. We cannot leave God out, no matter how much we might like to. * God sees man, and He is not pleased. Sin brings judgment. * God allows man to do his own thing, but this leads to confusion. Nobody knows what to think. Everyone does what they feel like doing. There is a desperate need for authoritative teaching from God's Word. * The saving purpose of God is not withdrawn. Look on to 12:1-3. Look further on to Jesus Christ, the fulfilment of this prophecy.

Our sin is sad. Our sin is shameful. Can anything be done about our sin?

2 Samuel 3:1-39
Our sin is sad. Our sin is shameful. Can anything be done about our sin? When, Lord, we think about our sin, help us to remember this: You have done something about our sin. Our sin threatens to overwhelm us. We feel like we're going down. We don't have a chance. we can't do anything about it. We can't - but You can! You can - because You have! When Jesus died and rose again, He triumphed over sin. He won the victory for us. That was a long time ago - but it's still the reason we believe that Your triumph can become real in us and through us. What You did then, You can still do now. You raised Jesus from the dead. Give us Your strength to "walk with You in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).

Where, Lord, does our hope for the future come from?

1 Kings 12:25-13:34
“A son shall be born” (1 Kings 13:2). There would be a new king and a better future. Where, Lord, does our hope for the future come from? Does it come from earthly kings? No! It comes from Jesus, our Saviour. He’s the “King of kings.” He’s the “Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16). We read the words of prophecy: “to us a child is born … a son.” We read what Your Word says about Him. He is “Wonderful.” From Him, we receive wonderful blessings (Isaiah 9:6-7). Thank You, Lord, for Your Son, Jesus.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

God Loves Us, Even Though We Don't Deserve To Be Loved By Him.

Genesis 9
This is not only a story about Noah. It's a story about God. Noah was a man of faith. We can learn much from his faith. There is, however, something more than Noah's faith. We concentrate our attention on God's love. God loves us, even though we don't deserve to be loved by Him. We have failed Him many times. He has never failed us. He never stops loving us. He loves us, even when we don't love Him. Whatever you've done, God loves you. There is no sin too great for God's love. God's love is for everyone. Whoever you are - even if you don't feel very important, God loves you. There is no-one who has wandered too far away. God continues to love those who are far from Him. He waits for us to return to Him. God's love is forever. It is an everlasting love. God has made us to live with Him in heaven forever. By sinning against God, we have closed the door of heaven. God, in His love, has opened the door for us. Jesus is the Door to heaven. Human love can come to an end. God's love never comes to an end.

You call us, Lord, to return to You. You promise to welcome us.

2 Chronicles 30:1-31:10
You call us, Lord, to return to You. You promise to welcome us (2 Chronicles 30:9). Where does our returning come from? Where does our rejoicing come from? They both come from You. You put it into our hearts - to return to You (2 Chronicles 30:12). What joy there is for us when we return to You - "The good Lord pardons every one who sets his heart to seek God" (2 Chronicles 30:18-19).

What are we to do when everything seems to be hopeless?

1 Kings 14:1-15:8
What are we to do when everything seems to be hopeless? – We turn to You, Lord. You are the God of hope. Our hope is in You. You can turn things around. Your love changes everything. Your love changes us. Thank You, Lord, for Your love. It’s Your love that gives us hope for the future. We look to the future – and we look to You. We say, “I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.”

"Holiness, holiness, the only life that the Lord will bless"

1 Samuel 6:17-7:17
"Holiness, holiness, the only life that the Lord will bless" (Don Francisco). Lord, You are the holy God. You call us to be holy. The way of holiness is the way of blessing. Help us, Lord, to walk with You in Your way - the way of holiness, the way of blessing.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Give to us, Lord, Your joy.

2 Samuel 6:1-23
Give to us, Lord, Your joy - "The joy of the Lord is our strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). When the devil tries to tear away our joy from us, help us to remind him that Jesus died and rose again so that we might have true and lasting joy. Help us to remind him of Jesus' words: "In the world you'll have trouble. But cheer up! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Lord, You are the King. There is no king like You.

1 Samuel 8:1-9:10
Lord, You are the King. There is no king like You. No human king can even begin to compare with You - the divine King, the "King of kings" (Revelation 19:16). We lift to You our song of praise: "O worship the King, all glorious above. O gratefully sing, His power and His love."

A House Of Prayer, A Life Of Prayer

"a house of prayer" (Matthew 21:13)

Our whole life is to be "a house of prayer" - centred  on God, shaped by prayer. This means more than going to a place that is called "a house of prayer." God is calling us to a life of prayer. He's calling us to be prayerful people, people who love to be in His presence. Where are we to begin? - We must begin with the prayer - "God, be merciful to me, a sinner" (Luke 18: 13). We must begin with this - "The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). Everything good comes from this staring-point: "in me, there is no good thing" (Romans 7:18). The "good thing" - salvation - has to come to us from outside of ourselves. It has to be given to us by Jesus, our Saviour. When we begin here - how great is our sin, how great is our Saviour, we begin in the right place, the place where spiritual growth begins.

Jesus And The Woman At The Well – Learning From Jesus

Jesus is tired. He rests at the well. A woman comes along …
Out of this very ordinary situation comes a great opportunity to speak of spiritual truth.
Jesus doesn’t barge in like a bull in a china shop.
He makes an intriguing comment about “living water” (John 4:10), and, then, He waits for the woman’s reply. She asks Him to explain what He means (John 4:11-12). She asks. Jesus answers. His answer is a call to faith.
He doesn’t start pleading with the woman – putting pressure on her. He gives a general answer to her question. His answer leads to her next question, “Sir, give me this water … ” (John 4:15).
The woman recognizes the uniqueness of “this water.” Jesus is speaking about something different.
She’s still confused. She’s doesn’t understand what He’s talking about – but she wants to understand.
Suddenly, Jesus changes the direction of the conversation. He asks her to go and get her “husband” (John 4:16). What’s going on here? What’s this all about?
Jesus is leading her beyond a general conversation about “living water.” He’s inviting her to think about herself, her own situation, her own need of “living water.”  He’s leading her to a deeper knowledge of herself and Himself (John 4:17-19).
The conversation moves off in a more general direction (John 4:20). Perhaps, the woman feels that it’s getting too personal.
What is this conversation about? Is it about places where people worship? No! It’s about Jesus. It’s about our Saviour. Everything comes back to Him (John 4:25-26).
Jesus has led the woman to say that she is looking for the Messiah. She’s looking for the Christ (John 4:25). He tells her that He is the Messiah. He is the Christ (John 4:26).
Do we want to lead people to Jesus? May God help us to learn from Jesus.

Lord - may Your love reach us, may Your power change us.

Psalm 51:1-19
“Create in me, a clean heart, O God … Cast me not away from Thy presence … Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation” (Psalm 51:10-12). Lord, these words come to us from thew ancient past. They can become words that change our future – words for making a new beginning with You. We have sinned. We need to be forgiven. May Your love reach us. May Your power change us. May we know the truth and power of Jesus’ gracious and precious promise: “I will never turn away anyone who comes to Me” (John 6:37).

Lord, You are the strength of Your people.

Psalms 28:1-29:11
Lord, You are “the strength of Your people.” May each of us say, “You are my strength” (Psalm 28:7-8). Your strength comes to us through fellowship. We receive strength from others, and we give strength to them. Your strength is more than human strength – the strength that comes to us through fellowship. It is the strength which comes to us through faith – faith in You, our Lord and our God.

Be Filled With The Spirit, Addressing One Another In Psalms, Hymns And Spiritual Songs, Singing And Making Melody To The Lord With All Your Heart…’

2 Samuel 4:1-5:25
‘…They came into the house… and slew him…’(4:7). What are we to make of this kind of thing? - ‘What’s the world coming to?’. Where’s it all going to end?’. It is difficult to maintain real faith in the Lord when this kind of thing is going on. What are we to do? Don’t bury your head in the sand. Don’t pretend that such things are not happening. Don’t imagine that that they will just go away. ‘Inquire of the Lord’. ‘Do as the Lord commands’. Keep on believing that there will be a breakthrough - from the Lord(19,23,25,20). Can you ‘hear the sound of rustling in the leaves of the trees’? - ‘The Spirit of the Lord has come down on the earth’. Let us ‘rise, a mighty array, at the bidding of the Lord - The Spirit won’t be hindered by division in the perfect work that Jesus has begun’(24; John 3:8; Mission Praise, 274).

2 Samuel 6:1-23
‘When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart’(16). Michal was a very angry young woman. Her husband had embarrassed her and she didn’t like it! What had David done to deserve this? - ‘I will celebrate before the Lord’(21). This is really quite pathetic. God’s children are learning to ‘worship Him in Spirit and in truth’(John 4:23-24). In comes ‘the stiff upper lip brigade’. They have no real heart for worship. They put a dampener on it - ‘This has to stop’. This is not only pathetic. It is sinful. ‘Do not quench the Spirit… Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God… Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart…’(1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30; 5:18-20).

Friday, 5 February 2016

Being Justified By God Begins When We Stop Trying To Justify Ourselves.

"he wanted to justify himself" (Luke 10:29).

Justifying ourselves is the exact opposite of being justified by God. Justifying ourselves - This is about saying, 'I'm right. I haven't done anything wrong.' Being justified by God - This is about saying, 'I have sinned. I need to be forgiven.' How can we receive forgiveness if we don't think we've done anything wrong? Receiving God's forgiveness begins with our confession: ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner’ (Luke 18:13). What does Jesus say about the man who prayed this prayer? - "This man ... went home justified before God" (Luke 18:14).

Lord, You are not exalted because we exalt You. We exalt You because You are exalted.

Psalm 30:1-12
“I will exalt You, O Lord” (Psalm 30;1). Lord, You are not exalted because we exalt You. We exalt You because You are exalted. How do we come to the point where we exalt You? We realize our need of You – “when You hid Your face, I was dismayed” (Psalm 30:7). We look to You for mercy – “To You, O Lord, I called; to the Lord, I cried for mercy” (Psalm 30:8). You hear and answer our prayer – “You turned my wailing into dancing. You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy” (Psalm 30:11). You call us to worship You – “Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy Name” (Psalm 30:4). Help us, Lord, to worship You: “O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever”  (Psalm 30:12).

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

1 Samuel 16:1-23
"Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Break me, melt me, mould me, fill me" (Daniel Iverson). Lord, it's Your Spirit who makes the difference. He changes us. We lose heart. He gives us new strength. We feel like giving up. He keeps us going on. Thank You, Lord, for Your Holy Spirit. Lead us out of our emptiness and into Your fullness.

All of us have been called to serve You, Lord.

1 Chronicles 9:1-44 
Lord, You speak to us about "very able men", who were called to do "the work of the service of the house of God" (1 Chronicles 9:13). Some have been called to preach Your Gospel and teach Your Word. All of us have been called to serve You. We may not preach or teach - but there will be something for us to do. Some were "chosen to be gatekeepers." Some were "assigned to take care of the furnishings ..." Some were "entrusted with the responsibility for baking." Some were "singers or musicians" (1 Chronicles 9:22,29,31,33). Lord, You have something for all of us. As we do Your work, help us to hear Your Spirit saying to us, "'Tis a task the Master just for you has planned ... There's a work for Jesus none but you can do."  

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

You, Lord, convict us of our sin ... We confess our sin to You.

2 Samuel 12:1-31
You, Lord, convict us of our sin - "You are the man" (2 Samuel 12:7). We confess our sin to You - "I have sinned against the Lord" (2 Samuel 12:13). Conviction of sin always comes before confession of sin. How could we confess that we are sinners if You do not show us that we are sinners? You forgive our sin - "the Lord has taken away your sin" (2 Samuel 12:13). You lead us in the way of Your salvation - "washed ... anointed .... changed he went into the house of the Lord and worshipped" (2 Samuel 12:20). What blessing comes to those who confess their sin. You lead us to confess our sin. From there, You lead us into Your forgiveness. You lead us into the fullness of Your salvation. Thank You, Lord.

Help us, Lord, to hear Your Word, to speak Your Word, and to live Your Word.

Joshua 22:1-34
Help us, Lord, to hear Your Word, to speak Your Word, and to live Your Word. You speak to us. Are we listening? There are people who need to hear Your Word. Do we fail them? Do we keep Your Word to ourselves? the world is watching us. Are we living for You? In our hearing, speaking and living, help us, Lord, to be, more truly and more fully, all that You want us to be.

We thank You, Lord, that You are "the eternal God."

Deuteronomy 33:18-34:12
We thank You, Lord, that You are "the eternal God." You are "our Refuge." You hold us in Your "everlasting arms" (Deuteronomy 33:27). This doesn't mean that life will be easy for us - but it does mean that You will be with us -whatever happens, and You'll never let us down. You'll always be there for us. You are "for us" - whatever problems we may have to face, may we learn to say, with triumphant faith, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).

There Is Only One Power Able To Destroy The Power Of Satan: ‘He Shall Be Broken By The Hand Of God.’

Daniel 7:1-28
There before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven... His Kingdom is one that will never be destroyed’(13-14). These words point us to Christ’s description of His Second Coming, the Coming of His Kingdom: ‘They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory’(Matthew 24:30). In Revelation 1:7, we have another echo of Daniel’s ‘vision’: ‘Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him’. ‘Lo! He comes, with clouds descending... Yea, Amen! let all adore Thee, high on Thine eternal throne; Saviour, take the power and glory, claim the Kingdom for Thine own. O come quickly! O come quickly! O come quickly! Alleluia! Come, Lord, come!’(Church Hymnary, 316).

Daniel 8:1-27
Here, we have a ‘vision’ concerning ‘the distant future’, ‘the time of the end’(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’(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).

More Than A Departure ...

Exodus 2:23-25

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

Monday, 1 February 2016

Sometimes, Lord, it seems like You have left us.

2 Samuel 13:1-39
Sometimes, Lord, it seems like You have left us. We feel like we're looking for You, but we're not finding You. We ask, "Where have You gone?" - then we start thinking, "Have you really left us?" or "Are we the ones who have wandered away from You?" Call us back to Yourself, Lord. Show us where we've gone wrong. Lift us above our changeable feelings into Your unchangeable love. Show us that You're beside us every step of the way - especially when we find it difficult to feel that You're really with us.

What a difference there is between the love of power and the power of love.

1 Samuel 18:1-20
What a difference there is between the love of power and the power of love. The world is all about the love of power. You, Lord, are all about the power of love. Your power is never power without love. Your love is powerful love. Fill us with Your power - and help us to give glory to You, the God of loving power and powerful love.

Glory To God - Not Man!

In all the social details of the division of the land, we must not lose sight of its spiritual basis (Joshua 21:43-45). The important thing is that God, and not man, receives the glory: "Do not rebel against the Lord or against us by building an altar for yourselves, other than the altar of the Lord your God" (Joshua 22:19). If God, and not man, is to be exalted, there must be new birth (John 3:3,5-7). To the man who is obsessed with his own problems - "My heart is in anguish within me ... " (Psalm 55:4-5), God gives "the wings of a dove" (Psalm 55:6), to rise to higher things.

Lord, we rejoice in Your salvation.

Psalm 34:1-22
Lord, we rejoice in Your salvation (Psalm 34:4-6). We say, “I will bless the Lord at all times” (Psalm 34:1). Help us to bring others with us, calling on them to worship You, with joy (Psalm 34:3,8). Help us to share Your Word with them (Psalm 34:11), and to lead them on to spiritual maturity (Psalm 34:14; Hebrews 5:14).

There Is Only One Kingdom Which Stands Forever - The Kingdom Of God.

Daniel 1:1-2:16
‘Daniel resolved not to defile himself’(8). Daniel was devoted to the Lord. It was not easy to live as the Lord’s faithful servant. His dedication to the Lord was put to the test - ‘Test your servants’(12). Our faith is put to the test. We ‘suffer many trials’. Why does God allow our faith to be tested by ‘all kinds of trials? - ‘The testing of your faith produces steadfastness’. ‘These have come so that your faith, which is much more precious than gold, may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed’(1 Peter 1:6-7; James 1:2-3). Knowing that ‘every trial falls from above, traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love’, may we learn to ‘trust God fully’ and ‘find Him wholly true’(Mission Praise, 421).

Daniel 2:17-49
‘In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom that will never be destroyed’(44). There is only one Kingdom which stands forever - the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom is eternal. Through Christ, ‘the Kingdom of God has come near to us’(Luke 10:9). Christ is the ‘King of kings’(Revelation 17:14;19:16). ‘His throne will last for ever and ever’. ‘His Kingdom will never end’. ‘He will reign for ever and ever’(Hebrews 1:8; Luke 1:33; Revelation 11:15). Christ is ‘triumphant... ever reigning... enthroned for ever’: ‘Sin and death and hell shall never stifle hymns of love. So, our hearts and voices raising through the ages long... this shall be our song: Yours the glory and the crown...’(Mission Praise, 77).

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