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Showing posts from August, 2017

16th August: Luke 3:1-38

John's message came from 'God' (2). He did not begin with love. He preached about sin and divine judgment, warning his hearers to 'flee from the wrath to come' (7). He called for 'repentance' (3,8). This was not what people wanted to hear. Before we can rejoice in the Good News concerning salvation, we must recognize our sin and our need of salvation. John prepared the way for Jesus. 'All have sinned', 'The wages of sin is death' - This is the 'bad news' which prepares us to receive, with joyful thanksgiving, 'the Good News': 'the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord' (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Like John, we are to point to Jesus, God's 'beloved Son' : Before 'Adam' was, He is. Pray that the 'Holy Spirit' will bring people to Christ (22,38; 8:58).

15th August: Leviticus 14:33-15:33

You can get 'dry rot' in people - as well as houses (14:34; Hebrews 12:15)! Sin is like 'a wasting disease' (Psalm 106:13-15). It will only get worse - unless something is done about it! Sin spreads. and spreads, and... Can anything be done about this sad situation? Look into yourself, and you will find that the situation is hopeless (Romans 7:14-20). Look to Christ, and there is hope: 'where sin increased, grace abounded all the more' (Romans 5:20). Sin is not to be taken lightly. Don't underestimate the power of sin. Little by little, it will lure you away from Christ. Keep close to Jesus, rejoicing in this: 'He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world' (1 John 4:4). God calls for holiness: 'your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit'; 'present your bodies...to God' (1 Corinthians 6:19; Romans 12:1).

Don’t Let Familiarity Breed Contempt!

“The impressive thing here is the respect shown to Jeremiah by the pagan authorities. Strange, is it not that the outsiders seem more able  to recognize the worth of God’s servants than God’s people do? Familiarity, they say, breeds contempt. A prophet is not without honour save in his own country.”
(Rev James Philip, Notes on Jeremiah 40:1-6, Gardenstown Church, Wednesday 22nd August 1956)

The Return Of God's Blessing

"Once the stroke of God is past, the air clears and a better spirit pervades the community,under Gedaliah's kindly governorship. God's blessing on the land again appears (Jeremiah 40:12). How quick He is to turn His anger away. He doth not willingly afflict the children of men. Slow to chide, and swift to bless is our God!"
(Rev James Philip on Jeremiah 40:7-16, Gardenstown Church, Thursday 23rd August 1956).

A Word Of Warning

"It was jealousy that moved Ishmael to murder Gedaliah. The Bible has a habit of revealing the fateful consequences of human passions. Who amongst us really believes that that jealous spirit within is capable of this? Believe the Bible rather than your own feelings, and be on your guard. Root it out!" 
(Rev James Philip on Jeremiah 41:1-10, Gardenstown Church, Friday 24th August 1956)

Watch Where You're Going!

"Now see where one man's jealousy has led! The remnant feel themselves forced to go down to Egypt. Egypt has ever spelt doom to God's people, from Abraham downwards. There is a pull towards Egypt in all our hearts. That is where the battle lies for us. Resist!"
(Rev James Philip, Notes on Jeremiah 41:11-18, Gardenstown Church, Saturday 25th August 1956)

Do we really seek the Lord's guidance?

"Notice the deceit - they pretend earnestly to seek the Lord's guidance, but at heart they simply desire God to approve a course they had already decided upon. All too often this is how we deal with God.We make up our minds, then close them to God's mind. Is it a wonder that we go astray?"
(Rev James Philip, Notes on Jeremiah 42:1-22, Gardenstown Church, Sunday 26th August 1956)

Make Sure You're Not Arguing With God!

"Here is a favourite trick people have, when they resist God's will - they do not dare oppose God openly, they take it out on the Lord's servants. Many honoured and faithful servants of God suffer agonies when the spleen of convicted Christians vents itself upon them, Friends, your quarrel is not with the servant, but with servant's God. Beware!" 
(Rev James Philip, Notes on Jeremiah 43:1-13, Gardenstown Church, Monday 27th August 1956)

Are We Learning To Turn From Sin And Turn To God?

"If people do the same in Egypt as they have done at home, the same punishment will overtake them. One marvels at the perversity of their hearts, to have learned so little from the sack of Jerusalem. But do we learn from the judgments God sends upon us? Do they make us repent, and learn righteousness? (Isaiah 26:9)." 
(Rev James Philip, Notes on Jeremiah 44:1-19, Gardenstown Church,  Tuesday 28th August 1956)

Whose Word Are We Listening To?

"Study the end of verse 28 - 'My word, or theirs, saith the Lord.' This is the ultimate test. In darkness or shadow, it is always God's Word that stands. Heaven and earth will pass away, but not His Word. It is our wisdom to remember this all our days!"
(Rev James Philip, Notes on Jeremiah 44:20-30, Gardenstown Church, Wednesday 29th August 1956)

Do We Seek Great Things For Ourselves - Or For God?

"Amidst his ministry to the nations, this spiritual giant has time  for a penetrating word for his scribe. Often the larger affairs of national prophecy can conceal petty ambitions in lesser men. Baruch wanted to be something - and instantly the discerning prophet pierced his heart with these searching and challenging words, "Should you then seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them." (5). Is this a word for you today?"
(Rev James Philip, Notes on Jeremiah 45:1-5, Gardenstown Church, Thursday 30th August 1956)

Are You Under A Cloud Today? ...

"Jeremiah's horizon stretches to the heathen nations - here it is Egypt, and the outlook is dark, as it is for every God-forgetting nation. But in verses 27-28, there are promises full of comfort to God's people - 27 “Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, Israel. I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid. 28 Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant, for I am with you,” declares the Lord. “Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only in due measure; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.” Are you under a cloud today? Then this is your word from God. Grasp it with both hands and rejoice!"
(Rev James Philip, Notes on Jeremiah 46:1-27, Gardenstown Church, Friday 31st August 1956)

Don't Lose Hope!

"6  “‘Alas, sword of the Lord, how long till you rest? Return to your sheath;cease and be still.’
7 But how can it rest when the Lord has commanded it, when he has ordered it to attack Ashkelon and the coast?” It is all very well to complain about desolation and judgment in the land - but it is God who brings these things, and only He can turn our captivity around. Think how little men, even Christian men, heed God's dealings, then you will see how impossible it is for His sword to be quiet. It has more work to do yet, before blessing comes." 
(Rev James Philip, Notes on Jeremiah 47:1-7, Gardenstown Church, Saturday 1st September 1956)

Everything Can Be Turned Around - By God!

"This chapter reads like a whirlwind! And the Lord is in the whirlwind. What has angered God at Moab? See verse 26 - “Make her drunk, for she has defied the Lord. Let Moab wallow in her vomit; let her be an object of ridicule." - this is the sin of sins. Judgment inevitably falls upon it, in man or nation. Yet God's mercy can cure it and remove it - “Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab in days to come,”declares the Lord." (47). There is nothing too hard for the Lord." (Rev James Philip, Notes on Jeremiah 48:1-17, Gardenstown Church, Sunday 2nd September 1956)

14th August: Leviticus 13:47-14:32

We read about skin disease. Remember: there is also the sin disease - and we're all suffering from that!. Sin is a deadly 'cancer' for which there is only one treatment: 'Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow; no other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus' (Redemption Hymnal, 333). The new birth - like physical birth - is a unique, once-for-all, experience: it is the beginning of the Christian life (John 3:3-6). Many times over, we will need to be 'washed a second time' (58). Justification (Romans 5:1) happens in a moment: 'The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment a pardon receives'. Sanctification (Romans 6:13,19). lasts a lifetime: 'Take time to be holy...(Mission Praise, 708,625). God loves us: He will help us to 'be holy' (1 Peter 1:16).

13th August: Proverbs 4:20-27

'Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you' (25). Living the Christian life is like 'walking a tightrope' - We must 'not swerve to the right or to the left' (27; Deuteronomy 28:14; Joshua 1:7; 23:6). Looking straight ahead, 'let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith...'(Hebrews 12:2). In the face of life's many difficulties, you may ask, "Can I 'run with perseverance the race marked out for me' (Hebrews 12:1)?". Keep your eyes on your own capacity for perseverance - and you will be filled with thoughts of your own weakness. Keep your eyes on Christ and His preserving power (1 Peter 1:5; John 10:27-29; Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:37-39). You will grow strong - strengthened by Christ's Word: 'My grace is sufficient for you' (2 Corinthians 12:9).

12th August: Luke 2:21-52

Jesus 'fulfilled all righteousness' (Matthew 3:15). His circumcision and presentation to the Lord was 'according to the law of Moses' (21-24; Leviticus 12:1-8). Jesus' obedience was always more than mere conformity to 'the written code'. He was walking 'in the Spirit'. He was filled with 'the Spirit of the living God' (2 Corinthians 3:3,6). His obedience came 'from the heart' and His 'praise' came 'not from men but from God' (Romans 6:17; 2:29). What joy there was for Simeon and Anna! This was 'salvation', 'redemption' (30,38). As you journey through life, don't 'lose Jesus' (43-45). Keep close to Him! If you do 'lose Him', where will you find Him again? - 'In the temple' (46). Have you lost your way? Find your way back to 'the sanctuary of God' - and things will start to fall into place again (Psalm 73:16-17)!

11th August: Leviticus 12:1-13:46

How can I be made clean (12:8)? - This is the vital question to which the Gospel gives its emphatic answer. We ask, 'What can wash away my stain?'. The answer is given, 'Nothing but the blood of Jesus'. We ask, 'Has atonement been made for my sin' (12:8)?'. The answer is clear: 'Christ has for sin atonement made'. You can be 'washed in the blood of the Lamb'. What water cannot do, Christ does for us. The water used in baptism - 'a little' or 'a lot'! - cannot wash away our sin. It can only point beyond itself to Christ's Cross, where we hear the Good News: 'There is wonder-working power in the precious blood of the Lamb' (Redemption Hymnal, 333,615,309,288). Confess your sin - 'Unclean, unclean' (13:45). Christ will change you - beginning with your 'heart' (12:3; Romans 2:28-29).

10th August: Leviticus 11:1-47

God sees only two types of people: 'clean' and 'unclean'. All of us are 'in Adam' (sinners). Not all are 'in Christ' (saved) (Romans 5:12-21). How about you? - Are you cleansed, forgiven, born again, saved, committed (1 John 1:7,9; John 3:7; Acts 16:31; 2 Timothy 1:12)? Or, are you still in your sins, guilty of neglecting God's great salvation, not far from - yet still outside of - God's Kingdom, almost persuaded but still uncommitted (John 8:24; 9:41; Hebrews 2:3; Acts 26:28)? Before the call to holiness (45), there is the call to salvation. Give your heart to Christ. This is where holiness begins (Mark 7:14-23). Holiness is not our own achievement - 'God is at work in you' (Phillipians 2:13). Remember: Our holiness is grounded in His redemption (45). Feed on His Word - and let holiness grow (Psalm 119:9-11).

Satan has no power over Jesus.

Isaiah 36:1-37:20 We read, Lord, about Hezekiah, facing a very powerful enemy – ‘Sennacherib, king of Assyria’ (Isaiah 36:1). We read his prayer for deliverance – ‘O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand’. He prays for salvation – ‘O Lord our God, save us…’ (Isaiah 37:20). We face an even more powerful enemy – Satan, ‘the ruler of this world’, ‘the god of this world.’ We pray for deliverance. We look to You, Lord, for salvation. Help us to pray with faith in Jesus Christ. Satan ‘has no power over’ Jesus. When Jesus was ‘lifted up from the earth’ (crucified), He won a mighty victory over Satan. Jesus died for us so that Satan, ‘the ruler of this world’ might be ‘cast out.’ We thank You, Lord, that Satan’s power is broken when ‘the light of the Gospel of  the glory of Christ’ shines ‘in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.’ We pray for deliverance. We look to You, Lord, for salvation. Help us to pray with faith …

Praying Through God’s Word: Isaiah

Isaiah 1:1-31
We thank You, Lord, that You invite us to “come” to You and receive salvation – “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Along with Your promise, there is also Your warning: “if you refuse and rebel … ” (Isaiah 1:18-20). You call us to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. With the Gospel promise, there is also the Gospel warning: “Whoever does not believe is condemned already because he does not believe in the Name of the only Son of God” (John 3:17-18). Help us, Lord, to receive Your “great salvation” – and to remember the Gospel warning: “How shall we escape if we neglect or ignore such a great salvation/” (Hebrews 2:3).
Isaiah 2:1-22
Lord, You’re calling us to worship You – “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord.” You’re calling us to walk in Your ways – “Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:3,5). We’re moving towards the Day when “the pride of men shall be humbled and brought low”, the Day wh…

The Holy One of Israel, ’ The God of the whole earth

Isaiah 54:1-17‘The Lord’ is not only ‘the Holy One of Israel’. He is ‘the God of the whole earth’ (Isaiah 54:5). The Gospel is for ‘all nations’. The ministry of Christ’s apostles began in ‘Jerusalem’, but it did not end there. The Gospel was to be taken ‘to the ends of the earth’ (Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8). Taking the Gospel out from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth was not easy. The apostles faced much opposition. They stood upon God’s promise: ‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper’ (Isaiah 54:17). When we face opposition, we must take our stand on the Word of God: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31). Even when our words seem to fall on stony ground, we must keep on speaking the Word of God’s love: ‘With everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer’ (Isaiah 54:8).

God has much more blessing for us.

God is “our Father” (Isaiah 64:8). He says to us, “Here I am” (Isaiah 65:2). He waits, in love, for us to come to Him and receive the blessing He has promised: “Whoever asks for a blessing in the land will be blessed by the God of Truth” (Isaiah 65:16). He sets before us this glorious future: “I will create a new heaven and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17). The Lord’s blessing is like “an overflowing stream” (Isaiah 66:12). The more we experience His blessing, the more we come to realize that this is just the beginning. God has much more blessing for us. There is no end to His love. His love is eternal. This eternal love is the source of His blessing. This is the basis of our eternal hope - “The new heaven and earth that I am about to make will continue in My presence” (Isaiah 66:22).

There's only one King of kings.

As we read of what is happening among the nations, both in the Bible and today’s news, we must never forget this - the Lord our God is “enthroned over the angels.” He alone is the God of the kingdoms of the world.” He “made heaven and earth” (Isaiah 37:16). As we rejoice in this truth concerning God, we must pray that “all the kingdoms on earth will know that He is the Lord” (Isaiah 37:20). As we read about kings - Sennacherib (Isaiah 37) and Hezekiah (Isaiah 38-39), we must remember that God’s Word concerns all of us. We are called to speak the Word of God with boldness - “Hear the Word of the Lord” (Isaiah 39:5) - and to receive the Word of God with humility - “The Lord’s Word that you have spoken is good” (Isaiah 39:8).

When we read God’s Word ...

Isaiah 11:1-9
When we read God’s Word, we ask, What can I learn about Jesus, about believing in him and living for Him?“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him... ” (Isaiah 11:2) - This is about Jesus. It’s about Peter on the Day of Pentecost. It’s about us. “Wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge” - All of these suggest something we know with our minds. Strength speaks to us about acting on what we know. Where do all these blessings come from? - They come from “the Spirit of the Lord.” Everything that God gives to us is summed up in this: “the Spirit of the Lord.” Life in the spirit includes both “the fear of the Lord” and trust in the Lord. Life in the Spirit includes both divine revelation and human response.There’s a vital connection between what we say and what we do and what we are. There will be powerful and effective preaching when what we say is backed up by what we do and what we are.

Help us, Lord, to bring Christ to the nations. Help us to serve You in the power of the Spirit.

Isaiah 42:1-25 ‘Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, my Chosen One in whom I delight; I will put My Spirit on Him, and He will bring justice to the nations’ (Isaiah 42:1). Lord, these words turn our thoughts towards Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. At His baptism, we hear Your voice – ‘This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased’. At His baptism, we see ‘the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting on Him’.  Jesus is the fulfilment of Your Word of prophecy: ‘All mankind shall see the Saviour sent from God’. After His resurrection, we hear Jesus Himself speaking. He says, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…’ (Matthew 12:15-21; 3:16-17; 28:18-20; Luke 3:6). Help us, Lord, to bring Christ to the nations. Help us to serve You in the power of the Spirit.

The Name of Jesus is the Name of our salvation.

Isaiah 43:1-28 ‘I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour… I am the Lord, apart from Me there is no saviour’ (Isaiah 43:3,11). Lord, these words turn our thoughts towards Jesus, our Saviour. The Name of Jesus is the Name of our salvation: ‘Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.’

Jesus is the Word of God. He is our Saviour. He is our Lord

Isaiah 46:1-47:15 ‘I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me... I am bringing My righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed’ (Isaiah 46:9,13). We thank You, Lord, that You don't keep Your distance from us. You come near to us - ‘The Word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the Word of faith which we preach). You do not delay Your salvation. You come to us with Your promise: ‘If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved’ (Romans 10:8-9). Jesus is the Word of God. He is our Saviour. He is our Lord (John 1:1,14; 20:28,31). Help us, Lord to worship Jesus. He is ‘the Holy One of Israel’. He is ‘our Redeemer’. ‘The Lord Almighty is His Name’ (Isaiah 47:4). ‘O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.’

The Day of the Lord is near. The Day of the Lord is coming.

Isaiah 13:1-22
“The Day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty … The Day of the Lord is coming – a cruel Day with fierce anger … “; “When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven … He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord … ” Lord, we read these words, and we wonder, “Is this what lies ahead of us?” We thank You, Lord, that You speak to us of something else, something very much more wonderful – the Day of Christ’s Return, the Day of our salvation: “the Day He comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed” (Isaiah 13:6,9; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). Why, Lord, do You speak to us about judgment? Does this have anything at all to do with the Good News of our salvation? you show us, Lord, what we have been saved from – so that we might appreciate more deeply, mo…

When we’re down in the valley, the mountain-top experience seems a long way off.

Isaiah 22:1-25 We read, Lord, about ‘the Valley of Vision’ (Isaiah 22:1,5). You are to be our Vision: ‘Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art, Thou my best thought, by day or by night, waking or sleeping Thy presence my light.’ When we’re down in the valley, the mountain-top experience seems a long way off. What are we to do when everything seems to be hard-going? When there seems to be no way out of the valley, no way back to the mountain-top, help us to keep on ‘looking to Jesus’ (Hebrews 12:1-2). When we’re in the ‘valley’, help us to say, ‘My goal is God Himself, not joy nor peace, nor even blessing, but Himself, my God’. May our ‘valley’ become Your ‘valley of vision’, the place where we are learning to ‘turn our eyes upon Jesus.’

How, Lord, can people who seem to be opposites be brought together?

Isaiah 19:1-20:6 ‘The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel my heritage”’ (Isaiah 19:25). ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek… you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3:28). How, Lord, can people who seem to be opposites be brought together? Jesus Christ brings them together. He breaks down ‘the barrier’. He removes ‘the dividing wall of hostility’. We are brought ‘near’ to one another through ‘the blood of Christ’. Help us, Lord, to come to ‘the Cross’ of Christ. There, at ‘the Cross’, we will find each other. We will discover what it means to be ‘one body’ in Christ (Ephesians 2:13-16). When Satan comes, creating misunderstanding, filling our minds with suspicion  and undermining our hopes of peace, help us to remind him of Your Word, ‘You are all one in Christ Jesus.’

Singing with joy

Isaiah 54:1-17

Singing with joy (Isaiah 54:1) - Our song comes from the Lord. Our joy comes from the Lord. From ourselves, there is sin. From the Lord, there is salvation. “Through the love of God our Saviour, all will be well ... All is well ... All must be well.” So much blessing is ours, because Jesus is crucified, risen and exalted.
On the Cross, Jesus was forsaken by God so that we might be forgiven by God. At the Cross, He was brought low so that we might be lifted up. From the Cross, Jesus calls out to us.
In love, He speaks to us. His love is the greatest love of all. His love is “everlasting love” (Isaiah 54:8).
This is where our song of joy comes from. It comes from His everlasting love.
In the Old Testament, we see the rainbow (Isaiah 54:9). It’s a reminder of God’s great love for us.
In the New Testament, we have bread and wine - God’s way of reminding us that He loves us so much that He gave his Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us.
Through Jesus, we have…

Don't trust 'Egypt'. Trust the Lord.

Isaiah speaks of both God’s judgment (Isaiah 34:2) and His salvation (Isaiah 35:2). What a privilege it is to be called “the redeemed of the Lord” (Isaiah 35:9-10). We're not to "trust Egypt" (Isaiah 36:6) - That's what we've been delivered from. We're to "trust the Lord our God" (Isaiah 36:7) - It's the Lord who has delivered us from "Egypt." The redemption of God - This is the source of true happiness, real joy and lasting gladness.

How can we enter into our full enjoyment of God’s eternal salvation?

Isaiah 65:13-66:4
Help us, Lord, to see clearly the great contrast between those who belong to Christ - ‘My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts’ - and those who have refused to come to Christ for salvation - ‘You will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit’ (Isaiah 65:14). You are preparing a great future ‘for those who love Him’ - ‘I will create a new heaven and a new earth’. You are calling us away from our sins - ‘Past things will  not be remembered. They will not come to mind’. You are calling us to Your ‘holy mountain’.  How can we enter into our full enjoyment of God’s eternal salvation? Your Word tells us: ‘I will pay attention to those who are humble and sorry for their sins and who tremble at My Word’ (Isaiah 65:17,25; Isaiah 66:2; 1 Corinthians 2:9). Help us to make sure that we belong to Christ. May we put our faith in Him (John 3:18,36).

Wonderful Grace Of Jesus

We are, because of our sin, under the judgment of God. Christ has taken our judgment that we might receive His salvation. In the Lord’s Supper, we have a great reminder of this. Christ drank from the cup of our condemnation that we might drink from the cup of His salvation. This is amazing grace, reaching out to us.
What we do with this grace, which is so freely offered to us in Christ, is a matter of eternal significance. May God, in this generation where there is so much unbelief, bring many people to heed the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Seek the 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.” These great words of grace are followed by some words which tell us how amazing this grace is: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways’, declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are…

Think of God's faithfulness, and "count your blessings."

Comfort (Isaiah 40:1) - This comes from God's great faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23).  In our past, present and future, we see the faithfulness of God - "His mercies never end. They are new every morning" (Lamentations 3:22-23).  Think of God's faithfulness, and "count your blessings." Think of this, that and the other blessing (good things in your life) - and don't forget to thank Him for the greatest blessing of all: Jesus.  - The faithfulness if God is summed up in this: "The Word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8).      - There's a New Testament way of saying this: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). As we move from one year to another year, let's think about the old and the new. On His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus speaks about the old and the new.  - He tells us that He didn't come to destroy the Law and Prophets. He came to fulfil them (Matthew 5:17-20). He …

Prophecy - From Isaiah To Jesus

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Jesus spoke about His death and resurrection (Matthew 16:21). This is prophecy. What we have here is even more remarkable. We read this, and we think that this must have been written after Jesus’ death. This is the work of the Spirit of God. He sees what lies ahead. He describes these events, as if they had already happened. This is more than a description of what was going to happen. It’s an explanation of the meaning of the death of Christ. Is there a look beyond His death to His resurrection? Yes! “He will see His seed, He will prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will succeed by His hand” (Isaiah 53:10). When these words were first spoken, people must have wondered, “What does all this mean?” They must have wondered about Jesus, when He started talking about His resurrection - “What is He talking about?” When Jesus died for us, and then rose from the dead, everything fell into place. This was what Isaiah and Jesus had been speaking about.

Matthew Henry On Spiritual Blindness

'He has blinded their eyes... I would heal them.' (John 12:40). What are we to say about these words? Are we to say, "It is God who blinds their eyes"? or Is there a difference between He - "He has blinded their eyes" - and I - "I would heal them"? Could "He" be understood as a reference to "the god of this world" -  "The god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4)? Here, we may recall the parable of the sower - "When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts" (Mark 4:15). 
 * Matthew Henry comments on John 12:39-40. "God damns none by mere sovereignty... They could not believe, that is, they would not; they were obstinately resolved in their infidelity... God is not the author of sin... yet... (t)here is a righteous han…