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Showing posts from July, 2017

22nd-31st July: Exodus 35-40; Mark 14:53-16:20; Psalm 10

22nd July: Exodus 35:1-36:7 The work of God is shared by many different people with many different gifts. The work is done according to (a) the Lord's command (35:1,4,10; 36:1,5); (b) heartfelt obedience (21; 36:3,5-7); (c) the God-given abilities (24-25; 36:2,4,8). There is something for 'everyone' to do - everyone 'whose heart is stirred whose spirit is moved' (21). Many gifts are needed (31-35). Underlying them all, there is this: 'filled with the Spirit of God' (31). In God's work, there is to be 'full' obedience. When we are fully obedient, there will be 'an overflowing blessing' (Malachi 3:10). 'The people bring much more than enough...'. There 'was sufficient to do all the work, and more' (36:5,7). God is ready to bless. Are we ready to obey? 'If my people...I will...'(2 Chronicles 7:14). 'Always abounding in the work of the Lord' (1 Corinthians 15:58)! 23rd July: Exodus 36:8-38 Moses may ha…

"The words of the Lord are pure words" (Psalm 12).

Reading the words of the Psalmist, “The words of the Lord are pure words” (Psalm 12:6), brought to mind the words of the Apostle Paul – “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15). God’s Word is pure. God’s Word is trustworthy. Take these two thoughts together. We think of the perfection of God’s Word. Let’s also give thanks for His perfect love. There is no love like the love of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He loves us with the greatest love of all. There can be nothing more perfect than this – the love of Jesus. Where do we learn of His love? We learn of His love as we read God’s Word – “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so”, I am so glad that my Father in heaven tells of His love in the Book He has given. Wonderful things in the Bible I see. This is the greatest that Jesus loves me.” In reading the words of Paul, I note that he describes himself …

God's Way of Salvation (Psalm 11)

This Psalm begins with a tremendous statement of faith - “In the Lord I take refuge.” The whole Psalm should be understood in the light of this tremendous statement of faith. * From the vantage-point of faith, the Psalmist is able to overcome the temptation to doubt God (vs. 1-3). - His enemies say to him, “”Flee like a bird to your mountain.” The Psalmist replies, “In the Lord I take refuge.” - The “wicked” are out to get him. The Psalmist looks at them, and says, “In the Lord do I take refuge.” - It seems that “the foundations are being destroyed.” The Psalmist looks to the Lord, and says, “In the Lord I take refuge.”
 * From the vantage-point of faith, the Psalmist views the whole of life in the light of God. "The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord is on His heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; His eyes examine them. The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence His soul hates. On the wicked He will rain fiery coals and b…

It's either one or the other - turning towards God or turning away from Him (Psalm 10).

"Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?" (1). This question can be turned around. God puts the question to us, “Why, in your times of trouble, do you stand far off?” In this Psalm, God is inviting us to think about the kind of people we are becoming. Are we turning away from God? Or Are we turning towards Him? It’s either one or the other – turning towards God or turning away from Him. * We read about “the wicked man” who “hunts down the weak” (v. 2). He thinks only of himself – “He boasts of the cravings of his heart.” There is no place for the Lord in his life – “he reviles the Lord. In his pride the wicked does not seek Him: in all his thoughts there is no room for God”(vs. 3-4). Things are going well for him – “His ways are always prosperous.” He doesn’t give thanks to God – “he is haughty and Your laws are far from him.” He thinks that everything will keep on going his way – “He says to himself, ‘Nothing will shak…

Praise God for His Deliverance (Psalm 9).

* The Psalmist worships the Lord (Psalm 9:1-2).  * He does not speak proud words. He sees all things in the light of the holy God (Psalm 9:3-8).  * At the heart of this Psalm, there is a declaration of the character of God (Psalm 9:7-8).  * The majesty, righteousness and judgment of God - Have we lost these important aspects of God's character? Have we turned God into a sentimentalized 'god' of our own making? Let's not take God for granted. Let God be God. This is very different from insisting that God must be what we think He should be.  * We read about God's trustworthiness (Psalm 9:9-10).  * We praise God. We make it known that He is to be praised (Psalm 9:11-12).  * In our worship, we speak of God's judgment as well as His salvation. (Psalm 9:12).  * In our worship, we look to the Lord for mercy and, with joy, we praise Him for His salvation (Psalm 9:13-14).  * As well as emphasizing that God is trustworthy, we must also emphasize that He is not t…

Psalm 8 - A Harvest Sermon

There is a physical harvest. There is a spiritual harvest. Can we expect a spiritual harvest in this generation? Or Must we give up hope and turn our backs to the wall? Ours is a time when nothing can be taken for granted. Many people are entirely dismissive of the whole idea that there is a God to whom we ought to offer our praise and thanksgiving. If ever there was a time for Christians to stand up and be counted as those who belong to Christ, this is it. If Christians remain silent, if Christians are ashamed of their Lord and Saviour, there will be a harvest, but it won’t be a godly harvest. It will be a harvest of unrighteousness. What is happening in our time? – It’s the same thing that’s happened so many times before. It’s the same old story, a story which can be read in the pages of both the Old Testament and the New Testament. There is a great turning away from the truth. People only listen to what they want to hear. Everyone does what is right in his own eyes. …

The Glory of the Lord in His Creation (Psalm 8)

This Psalm is a hymn of praise. It proclaims the glory of the Lord in His creation. The focus is not so much on the glories of nature. The great theme is the glory of Him who created nature. The Psalm begins and ends with the praise of God – “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens” (v. 1); “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (v. 9). The whole Psalm is filled with the fear of God and joy in God. The words of verse 2 – “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger” – are quoted in the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem – “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ” ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?” (Matthew 21:16). The reference to “children and infants” refers also to those who are without spiritual learnin…

Personal Salvation (Psalm 7)

The Psalmist was being pursued by enemies who were intent on his full and final destruction. He puts his trust in the Lord. He looks to the Lord for salvation – “O Lord my God, I take refuge in You; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me” (vs. 1-2). Following his opening words, we read about human sin – “O Lord my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands – if I have done evil to him who is at peace with me or without cause have robbed my foe - then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust” (vs. 3-5) – and divine judgment – “Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around You. Rule over them from on high; let the Lord judge the peoples. Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most H…

The Good News of salvation (Psalm 6)

(1) The Psalmist’s need of salvation
He comes to God in his need – “My soul is in anguish” (v. 3); “I am worn out from groaning” (v. 6); “My eyes grow weak with sorrow” (v.7). He looks to the future, and all that he sees is “the grave” (v. 5).  (2) The Psalmist’s prayer for salvation
He looks to the Lord for salvation – “Turn, O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love” (v. 4). He prays that God will not come under the judgment of God – O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath” (v. 1) He prays that God will have “mercy” on him – “Be merciful to me, Lord” (v.2) He trusts in God’s “unfailing love – “Turn, O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love” (v. 4).  (3) Repentance and Faith
In the Psalmist’s prayer, there is repentance - “Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping” (v. 8) – and faith – “The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer” (v. 9).  (4) Assuranc…

More Than A Morning Prayer: Psalm 5

“Morning by morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; morning by morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation” (v. 3). These are the words which have led to Psalm 5 being described as “a morning prayer.” It should, however, be noted that this is the only mention of “morning” in this Psalm. This Psalm is not only for the “morning”! Psalm 5 leads us to the Lord. It gives us a profound understanding of His character, It speaks to us about His holiness. In the first ten verses of this twelve-verse Psalm, we see two contrasting pictures. We see the believer before God. We see the unbeliever before God. We see the faithful. We see the faithless, We see the righteous. We see the wicked. We see ourselves standing in the presence of the holy God.
Here’s a summary of the Psalm: vs. 1-3, vs. 7-8 - a picture of the believer; vs. 4-6, vs. 9-10 – a picture of the unbeliever; vs. 11-12 – a statement of confident expectancy concerning the rich blessing of God which alone can …

14th-21st July: Exodus 27:20-34:35; Mark 14:1-52

14th July: Exodus 27:20-29:9 The 'lamp' was 'set up to burn continually' (27:20) - 'May we be a shining light...Let the flame burn brighter...' (Songs of Fellowship 389; Mission Praise, 743). A 'royal priesthood', we have been called by God - to let His light shine (1 Peter 2:9). He has called us to serve Him (28:1 John 15:16; Acts 20:28; 13:2; 9:15; Hebrews 5:4). The divine call is accompanied by a divine empowering - 'the Holy Spirit sent from heaven' (1 Peter 1:12). We are precious to God - Our 'names' are written on His heart (9-12,21,29-30; Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; John 10:3). In Christ we are cleansed (29:4 1 John 1:7), anointed (29:7; 1 John 2:27) and robed (29:5-6,8-9; Isaiah 61:10). In Christ, we have 'the best robe' (28:2; Luke 15:22; Revelation 7:9-10,13-14). In Him, we are 'consecrated' by the Word and 'anointed' by the Spirit (28:3,41; John 17:17; 14:16-17, 26; 16:13-14). 15th July: Exodus…

“Thoughts in the Night”: An Evening Psalm – Psalm 4

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for Thou alone, O Lord, makest me dwell in safety” (v.8). Here, in its closing verse, we find the central theme of Psalm 4 – peace, the peace of God. This Psalm can be divided into four sections: v. 1 - prayer for help; vs. 2-3 - reproof of his enemies; vs. 4-5 - exhortation of his enemies; vs. 6-8 - confidence in God.
 It is in the closing section (vs. 6-8) that we come to the heart of this Psalm’s message for us – the peace of God and confidence in God. The Psalm points us to the peace of God so that we might have confidence in God. Before we come to the Psalmist’s confident affirmation of the peace of God, we must first take a look at his struggle to cope with the opposition that comes from those who mock him (v. 2). He is able to cope with this opposition because he has come to rejoice in God as a prayer-answering God (v. 1).
v.1 : prayer for help The Psalmist had learned that his own experience of the divine mercy was the st…

Worshipping the Lord: Learning From The Psalms

In Psalm 4, there is a great message of the Gospel. By ourselves, we are sinners, turning God’s glory to shame, loving delusions and seeking false gods (Psalm 4:2). By grace, God has done something about this - ‘the Lord has set apart the godly for Himself’ (Psalm 4:3). When we pray, ‘Answer me’ (Psalm 4:1), we have this confidence: ‘the Lord will hear when I call to Him’ (Psalm 4:3). The Lord hears the sinner’s prayer, ‘Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer’ (Psalm 4:1). Jesus Christ is God’s Answer to this prayer. Christ brings relief (salvation). This salvation arises from the mercy of God. In Christ, we have a ‘joy’ and ‘peace’ which the world can neither give nor take away (Psalm 4:7-8). When the seeking sinner comes with question, ‘Who can show us any good?’ (Psalm 4:6), the Gospel Answer is always the same - Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Psalm 5 is a morning prayer: ‘morning by morning’, we are to come before the Lord ‘in expectation’ of His …