Sunday, 28 August 2016

Daily Devotional Readings: Year Three - July

1st July: Jeremiah 39:1-18
You can take the man out of Babylon, but you can't take Babylon out of the man! We may have never set foot in the ancient city of Babylon, but we know all about the spirit of Babylon! 'The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt' (17:9) - This is the spirit of Babylon, 'the spirit of disobedience', the spirit which is 'at work' in every one of us: 'All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God' (Ephesians 2:2; Romans 3:23). Is there any hope for us? We cannot change ourselves: 'Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil' (13:23). We can be changed by God. To those who 'trust' in Him, the Lord says, 'I will save you' (18). God wants to bless you. Put your trust in Him. Let His blessing flow into your heart (17:7).
2nd July: Jeremiah 40:1-16
'The Lord your God pronounced this evil against this place; the Lord has brought it about, and has done as He said. Because you sinned against the Lord, and did not obey His voice, this thing has come upon you' (3). We hear a great deal today about 'the feel good factor'. People need to get a good feeling: 'Give them a pat on the back. Make them feel good about themselves'. There's not much of a 'feel good factor' in Jeremiah's preaching! The people must have been wondering, 'Where did they dig him up from? He has nothing good to say about anyone or anything'. We must rise above the sarcasm of those who have no time for the Word of the Lord. We must ask, 'Where did Jeremiah's message really come from?'. This is what the Word of the Lord says: 'The Word came to Jeremiah from the Lord' (1).
3rd July: Jeremiah 41:1-42:6
Terrible things were happening! Things were going from bad to worse. 'What next?' - The people were wondering where it would all end. What are we to do when everything seems to be getting totally out of control? There is one thing we must never forget. It is the most important thing of all. We must 'pray to the Lord our God'. We must ask Him to 'show us the way we should go'. He will 'show us the thing that we should do' (42:2-3). It's time to stop complaining and start praying. 'What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!...Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer!...Jesus knows our every weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer!' (Mission Praise, 746).
4th July: Jeremiah 42:7-43:7
'Do not go to Egypt' (19). We may never set foot in the country known as 'Egypt' - but the spirit of 'Egypt' may be in our hearts: 'Who is the Lord, that I should obey Him...?' (Exodus 5:2). 'Egypt' is an attitude of the heart. It is an attitude of rebellion against God. We must say 'No' to 'Egypt'. We must say 'No' to the spirit of rebellion against God. For God's people, 'Egypt' was a place of slavery, a place from which they needed to be set free by God (Exodus 2:23-25; 3:7-10). Each of us must choose how we will live. We can remain in the place of slavery - 'slaves of sin' - , or we can be 'obedient from the heart', stepping out from that place into the place of freedom, 'the new life of the Spirit' - '`the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death' (Romans 6:17-18; 7:6; 8:2).
5th July: Psalm 115:1-18
'Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to Your Name be the glory because of Your love and faithfulness' (1). God loves us. He loves us with a faithful love, 'an evelasting love', a 'love that will not let us go'. His love 'never comes to an end'. Nothing can separate us from His love (Jeremiah 31:3; Lamentations 3:22-23; Romans 8:38-39; Church Hymnary, 677). What have we done to deserve such love? Absolutely nothing! We are 'sinners'. We do not deserve to be loved by God. We have done nothing to earn His love. Love begins with God. It comes from Him. How do we know that He loves us? Have we proved ourselves worthy of His love? No! - 'God shows His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us'. 'To God be the glory!' (Romans 5:8; Church Hymnary, 374).
6th July: Psalms 116:1-117:2
'I love the Lord...I will call on Him as long as I live' (116:1-2). Our love for God is to be a lifelong life. It is to be the love of our life. What are we to do when our love for God grows weak? We must remember His love for us - 'Great is His love towards us. The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever' (117:2). When we we find it difficult to keep on loving God, we must remember how much He loves us. When we feel live giving up on loving God, we must remember that He never gives up on loving us. He loves us when our love for Him is strong. He loves us when our love for Him is weak. In love, He reaches out to us. He brings us out of our weakness and into His strength. Let His strong love reach you in your weakness and give you His strength: 'Loving Him who first loved me' (Church Hymnary, 450).
7th July: Jeremiah 43:8-44:14
'The Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah' (43:8). The Lord speaks His Word to those who are prepared to make time for listening to Him. Come to God's Word, praying that it will be 'a lamp to your feet and a light to your path'. Come with the prayer, 'Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Word'. See that you 'live according to His Word': 'I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You' (Psalm 119:105,18,9,11). Pray that God will 'speak' to you. 'Listen' to what He says to you (1 Samuel 3:10). 'Say to them, "This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says..."' (43:10). Don't keep God's Word to yourself. Share His Word. We are not to listen to God without also speaking for Him. We must remember that we cannot really speak for Him unless we are also listening to Him.
8th July: Jeremiah 44:15-45:5
'Egypt' was to be a place of punishment. To those who remain in the the place of rebellion, God says, 'I will punish you in this place'. This is His Word of warning. We don't need to remain in the place of rebellion and punishment. We can 'return' to 'Judah', the place of obedience and blessing (28-29). This is not about places we will find on a map of the world. It's a call to look into the secret places of our hearts. We must ask God to search our hearts. What will He find when He looks into our hearts? Will He find rebellion? Will He find obedience? God wants us to leave the place of rebellion and punishment. He wants us to return to the place of obedience and blessing. 'Search me, O God, and know my heart!...See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!' (Psalm 139:23-24).
9th July: Jeremiah 46:1-28
'Egypt rises like the Nile, like rivers whose waters surge. He said, "I will rise, I will cover the earth, I will destroy cities and their inhabitants"' (8). The spirit of rebellion against God is very powerful. Many lives have been destroyed by the attitude of proud unbelief: 'Who is the Lord, that I should obey Him...?' (Exodus 5:2). We must take our stand against this attitude. We must stand up for the Lord. We see the world going from bad and worse. We must continue to believe the Word of God. When we are filled with fear, He comes to us with His Word, 'Do not fear...Do not be dismayed...'. When we feel the spirit of rebellion sweeping over us, God comes to us with His promise: 'I will surely save you out of a distant place'. He gives us 'peace and security' - 'Do not fear...I am with you' (27-28).
10th July: Jeremiah 47:1-48:17
'The day has come to destroy all the Philistines...The Lord is about to destroy the Philistines ...Woe to you, O Moab! The people of Chemosh are destroyed' (47:4). That seems like ancient history - nothing to do with us! What about this? - 'A curse on him who is lax in doing the Lord's work!' (48:17). The Bible may have been written many centuries ago - but it still has a great deal to do with us! We miss the point if we read the Bible as no more than a book of ancient history. God is still speaking to us through His Word. He is still calling us to sit up and take notice. He is still demanding our attention. We must not be lazy in the work of the Lord. We are to be faithful servants of the Lord. 'Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord...your labour in the Lord is not in vain' (1 Corinthians 15:58).
11th July: 1 Peter 1:1-25
On earth, we have 'trials'. In 'heaven', we will have 'salvation' (3-9). In our journey from trials to salvation, from earth to heaven, we are to live a life of holiness and love. In this life of 'obedience to the truth', we must never forget that we have been 'redeemed with the precious blood of Christ' (15,22,18-19). We must never take pride in our obedience - 'boasting is excluded'. All that can be said about ourselves is this: 'all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God'. What makes the difference? What is it that changes us? What is it that sets us on the pathway of holiness and love? We have received 'the redemption which is in Christ Jesus'. Our 'faith' is in Him (Romans 3:27,23-25). He makes the difference. He changes us. He makes us holy. He fills us with His love.
12th July: 1 Peter 2:1-25
Being 'God's own people' is a great privilege - 'you have received mercy'. It is also a great responsibility - 'declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light' (9-10). God's people are described as 'strangers in the world' (11). We must not think of ourselves as 'superior' - 'a cut above the rest'. We are not! In ourselves, we are 'strangers' - 'without God in the world'. There's nothing 'special' about us, There's something very special about what God has done for us: 'In Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ' (Ephesians 2:12-13). As those who 'have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls', let's point others to Him who 'bore our sins...that we might die to sin and live to righteousness' (24-25).
13th July: 1 Peter 3:1-4:6
The world is preoccupied with outward appearances. As Christians, we should be more concerned with our inward attitude. 'In your hearts reverence Christ as Lord'. Pray for His 'attitude' - 'a tender heart and a humble mind' (8,15; 4:1). We believe the Gospel - 'Christ died for our sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God'. Let's share the Gospel - 'Be always ready to give...a reason for the hope that is in you'. How are we to share the Gospel? - 'with gentleness and respect' (18,15). We must get the attitude right - 'so that nothing will hinder our prayers' (7). We need more than the 'right' prayers - words that sound good. We need the right attitude. The blessing will not come because our words sound good. It will only come when our attitude is right.
14th July: 1 Peter 4:7-5:14
In all the service we offer to God, there is to be the offering of worship: 'To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever' (4:11; 5:11). We will not learn to serve God unless we are learning to worship Him. There is a 'form of religion' which 'denies the power' of God - 'These people honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me' (2 Timothy 3:5; Matthew 15:8). They go through the motions - but their hearts are not in it! We must pray that God will deliver us from this kind of thing: 'O for a heart to praise my God! A heart from sin set free; A heart that always feels Thy blood, so freely shed for me' (Church Hymnary, 85). 'Religion' is about respectability. Salvation is about renewal: 'Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me' (Psalm 51:10).
15th July: Jeremiah 49:1-22
'Afterwards I will restore the fortunes...' (6). Sometimes, when you're going through a particularly difficult time, you may wonder, 'Will this ever end?'. God speaks to us His Word of encouragement. There will be an 'afterwards'. There will be a 'restoration of our fortunes'. 'The Lord will not cast us off for ever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion according to His steadfast love. He does not willingly bring suffering or grief to anyone' (Lamentations 3:31-33). There will come a time when we will be able to look back at our most distressing circumstances and say from the heart, 'God meant it for good' (Genesis 50:20). In our most testing and trying times, God is teaching us to say, with confidence in Him, 'We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him' (Romans 8:28).
16th July: Jeremiah 49:23-39
'I will restore the fortunes...in days to come' (39). God is calling us on to His future, a glorious future, a future full of heavenly and eternal glory. We look ahead to 'days to come'. We look ahead to the greatest Day of all - the Day of Christ's Return. It will be a glorious Day - 'the Day He comes to be glorified...in all who have believed'. What a glorious Day it will be - the Day of 'the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ', the Day of 'our being gathered to Him': 'The Lord Himself will come down from heaven...We will be with the Lord for ever'. Get ready for Christ's Return. Don't be like those who 'perish'. They 'do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus'. They 'refuse to love the truth and be saved'. Have 'faith' in Christ and be 'saved' (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; 2:1,10,13-14; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
17th July: Jeremiah 50:1-28
'The people...will go in tears to seek the Lord their God...They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten' (4-5). God is calling us to come to Him. He is calling us to commit ourselves to Him. We are to come to the Lord with 'tears': 'Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation' (2 Corinthians 7:10). Our commitment to the Lord is not to be a half-hearted thing. It is to be a whole-hearted dedication of our lives to Him. God loves us. He has blessed us so much. He has drawn us to Himself. He has heard and answered our prayer for salvation. How are we to respond to such love? We must give ourselves to Him as 'a living sacrifice'. This is our 'spiritual worship'. It is 'holy and pleasing to God' (Romans 12:1).
18th July: Jeremiah 50:29-46
'The arrogant one will stumble and fall' (32). God's Word warns us - 'Pride goes before...a fall'; 'Arrogance will bring your downfall' (Proverbs 16:18; 29:23). We must not trust in ourselves. We must put our trust in the Lord - Our 'Redeemer is strong. The Lord Almighty is His Name' (34). We must not boast of ourselves. Salvation is 'not our own doing'. We must 'boast of the Lord'. Salvation is 'the gift of God' (1 Corinthians 1:31; Ephesians 2:8-9). When we are tempted to take pride in ourselves - 'Lord, I thank You that I am not like other men...' (Luke 18:11-12), we must come to the Cross of Christ, praying the sinner's prayer - 'Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner' (Luke 18:13) - and boasting only of the Lord - 'God forbid that I should glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ' (Galatians 6:14).
19th July: Psalm 118:1-29
'The Lord is my Strength and my Song. He is my Saviour' (14). Knowing that Jesus Christ is our Saviour gives us a song to sing: 'Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine...This is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour all the day long'. Knowing that Jesus Christ is our Saviour, we sing His song with strength, committing ourselves to His service, earnestly seeking to win others for Him: 'We've a story to tell to the nations, that shall turn their hearts to the right ...We've a song to be sung to the nations, that shall lift their hearts to the Lord...We've a message to give to the nations, that the Lord, who reigneth above, hath sent us His Son to save us...We've a Saviour to show to the nations...' (Mission Praise, 59,744). Don't keep your Saviour to yourself. Share Him with others. Win others for Him.
20th July: Psalm 119:1-24
The way of blessing is the way of obedience (1,9,11,17). Many will choose the way of disobedience - 'influential people sit together and slander me'. We must choose the way of obedience - 'Your servant will meditate on Your teachings' (23). Following Jesus Christ will not be easy. We see many people turning back from following Him. We are tempted to join them. We feel the pull of the world. We must not take our eyes off Jesus. We must not return to the world's way of living. We must remember all that Jesus has done for us - 'He loved us and gave Himself for us' (Galatians 2:20) - and recommit ourselves to following Him: 'I have decided to follow Jesus...The world behind me, the Cross before me...Though none go with me, I still will follow...No turning back, no turning back' (Mission Praise, 272).
21st July: Psalm 119: 25-48
'Revive me according to Your Word' (25). How does God revive us according to His Word? He gives us His salvation: 'Let Your unfailing love come to me, O Lord - Your salvation according to Your Word' (41). He gives us His strength: 'My soul is weary with sorrow. Strengthen me according to Your Word' (28). He gives us a change of heart: 'I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on Your laws...I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free...Give me understanding, and I will keep Your law and obey it with my whole heart...Turn my heart to Your testimonies...' (30,32,34,36). He gives us 'new life': 'When someone becomes a Christian he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!' (40; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
22nd July: Psalm 119:49-72
God's Word makes such a difference! When everything seems so hopeless, we turn to God's Word and we find that there is 'hope' (49). When we are going through a time of terrible 'suffering', we turn to God's Word and we find 'comfort' (50,52). When everything seems to be going so badly, we must keep on reading the Word of the Lord: 'The wicked have laid a trap for me, but I do not forget Your law' (61). Through His Word, God is teaching us to see His purpose in our sufferings: 'The punishment You gave me was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to Your laws' (71). God is showing us what is really important: 'The law that You gave means more to me than all the money in the world' (72). He is teaching us to see His 'love' in every part of our life (64).
23rd July: Psalm 119:73-96
We rejoice in God's 'constant love'. This is our 'comfort' - God keeps on loving us no matter what's going on in our lives. We may be going through really hard times - 'Men persecute me with lies...They have almost succeeded in killing me'. There's one thing that never changes - God's 'constant love'. He loves us in the hard times as well as in the happy times. His love inspires us to keep on loving Him when we feel like giving up in despair (76,86-88). We see many changes taking place in our world. Sometimes, we wonder, 'Where is God in all of this? Has He abandoned us? Can we keep on trusting Him and rejoicing in His Word?'. When our minds are full of negative thoughts, we must remember God's Word - 'Your Word, O Lord, will last for ever...Your faithfulness endures through all the ages' (89-90).
24th July: Psalm 119:97-120
Throughout life, we have to make choices. Some choices are relatively straightforward. Others are very much more difficult. Some choices don't affect the rest of our life very much. There are, however, choices which affect the whole of our life. There is one choice which is more important than any other - Choosing the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour. Those who refuse to choose are 'double-minded'(113). They can't make up their mind. They know that they should be following Christ - but they are still 'in love with the world'. They are 'lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God' (I John 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:4). Make your choice. Say to the world, 'Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God'. Say to God, 'I have decided to obey Your laws until the day I die' (115,112).
25th July: Psalm 119:121-144
'The entrance of Your words gives light' (130). The Word of God brings light into our lives. Sadly, many people 'love darkness rather than light'. They refuse to 'come to the light'. They prefer to remain in the darkness. They refuse to listen to what God is saying to them through His Word. Then, when things are not going so well for them, they blame God. They say, 'It's all Your fault'! Things could have been so different. They could have learned to spend time with God. They could have learned the lessons of faith which are found in God's Word. They could have learned to cope with life's difficulties. They could have been filled with the strength of the Lord. They would not be complaining against Him. They would be rejoicing in Him: He has 'called us out of darkness into His marvellous light' (1 Peter 2:10).
26th July: Psalm 119:145-176
'With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!' (145). God is calling us to pray. There is nothing more important than this. If other things have become more important in our lives, we need to think about the way we are living. God wants to send His blessing into our lives: 'Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you' (Matthew 7:7). His blessing will come to those who seek him with their whole heart: 'You will seek Me and find Me when you seek me with all your heart' (Jeremiah 29:13). If we do not ask, we will not receive: 'You do not have, because you do not ask' (James 4:2). God's blessing is not given to those who are half-hearted. God is calling us to love Him with our whole heart: 'I long for Your salvation, O Lord, and Your law is my delight' (174).
27th July: Jeremiah 51:1-33
'Lift up a banner in the land! Blow the trumpet among the nations!' (27). God calls us to be His witnesses. If we are growing in our fellowship with the Lord, we will want others to know what they're missing. We will want them to know how much blessing they could know - if they put their faith in Christ and began to walk with Him day-by-day. Let us give our testimony: 'The Lord is my Banner', 'His banner over me is love' (Exodus 17:15; Song of Solomon 2:4). Let us make sure that our 'trumpet' gives out 'a clear call', calling people to come to Christ. We must point them to Christ, calling them to trust Him as Saviour and obey Him as Lord. We must show them the way to true happiness: 'Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey' (Mission Praise, 760).
28th July: Jeremiah 51:34-64
'When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud' (61). God's Word is not to be kept within the place of worship. We are to take His Word to 'Babylon'. We must speak His Word in the places where He is not worshipped. We are to call people to turn from their sinful ways. We are to call them to return to the Lord. This will not be an easy message to speak. Many people won't want to hear it. We must warn people that by neglecting God's salvation, they are placing themselves in danger of His judgment. We must speak of the Day when everyone of us must 'answer' to God concerning the way we have lived our lives (Hebrews 2:3; 4:13). We must call on people to 'believe in the Lord Jesus' and 'be saved' (Acts 16:31).
29th July: Jeremiah 52:1-34
We need 'a portion for each day...all the days of our life' (34). When we pray, 'Give us this day our daily bread', we must look beynd our physical need for food. We must remember our spiritual need for 'the Bread of life': 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God' (Matthew 6:11; John 6:35; Luke 4:4). Day-by day, we should pray for spiritual feeding: 'Break Thou the Bread of life, dear Lord to me, as Thou didst break the bread beside the sea. Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord. My spirit longs for Thee, Thou living Word! Thou art the Bread of life, O Lord, to me, Thy holy Word the truth that saveth me. Give me to eat and live with Thee above. Teach me to love Thy truth, for Thou art love' (Mission Praise, 64).
30th July: Psalm 120:1-121:8
'Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips' (120:2). God calls us to 'believe the truth', 'love the truth' and 'follow the truth'. We are to be people who 'do what is true' (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11; 3 John 3-4; John 3:21). How can we be such people? We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. He is 'the Truth' (Hebrews 12:2; John 14:6). When we are tempted to turn away from the pathway of truth, we must remember this: 'My help comes from the Lord'. We must remember God's promise: 'The Lord is your Keeper...The Lord will keep you from all evil'. God's promise is not only for 'this time'. It's 'for evermore'(121:2,5,7-8). This gives us glorious hope as we keep on looking to Christ,'eagerly awaiting' His Return ( Hebrews 9:28).
31st July: Psalm 122:1-124:8
'I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the House of the Lord"' (122:2). Why do we go to the House of the Lord? We go 'to give thanks to the Name of the Lord' (122:4). We seek His mercy for our past sins: 'Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us!' (123:3). We seek His help for our future temptations: 'Our help is in the Name of the Lord...' (124:8). As we receive mercy and help from the Lord, we worship Him: 'Blessed be the Lord' (124:6). In our worship, we 'look to the Lord of our God', drawing encouragement from His Word: 'The Lord is on our side' - In Him we have the victory (123:2; 124:1-5). Rejoicing in God's blessing, we pray for others: 'May they prosper who love You' (122:6).

Daily Devotional Readings: Year Three - June

1st June: Jeremiah 23:21-40
'I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied' (21). Before we can speak for God, we must take time to listen to Him. We dare not attempt to speak for God if we are not prepared to spend time listening to Him. Everything could have been so different - if 'these prophets' had taken time to listen to God: 'If they had stood in My council, they would have proclaimed My words to My people and would have turned them from their evil ways' (22). 'If' - God doesn't force us to listen to His Word. He invites us to listen. The choice is ours. You can allow other things to become more important than spending time with God. Don't be 'too busy' for the 'one thing' that is more important than anything else - listening to God's Word (Luke 10:41-42).
2nd June: Jeremiah 24:1-25:14
Can our lives be changed? Yes! They can be changed by God: 'I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord'. This is no superficial change. This is real change, change which makes a difference. This is a change of heart: 'they shall return to Me with their whole heart' (7). How are we changed? We are changed by God: 'I will put My Spirit within you, and you shall live' (Ezekiel 37:14). We become new people - 'alive to God in Christ Jesus' (Romans 6:11). This is the great change, the change that makes all the difference. It's not just a little change here and there. It's everywhere. No part of our life remains the same. Every part of life is changed. When there's a real change of heart, everything changes - 'all things have become new' (2 Corinthians 5:17). 'Change my heart, O God...' (Mission Praise, 69).
3rd June: Jeremiah 25:15-38
'I am beginning to bring disaster on the city that bears My Name' (29). With the privilege of being the Lord's people comes the responsibilty of living as the Lord's people. We are not to be His people in name only. We are to live the life of the people of God. We must not imagine that we can enjoy the privilege of being God's people if we are not prepared to bear the responsibility of living as His people. Privilege and resonsibility belong together: 'You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins' (Amos 3:2). We cannot say, 'I belong to the Lord' and then live whatever way we like. To those who have been 'raised with Christ', receiving new life through faith in Him, God says, 'Set your hearts and minds on things above, not on earthly things' (Colossians 3:1-2).
4th June: Jeremiah 26:1-24
'He has spoken to us in the Name of the Lord our God' (16). Jeremiah was a true servant of the Lord. We need people like him today. He was faithful. He was unashamed of his Lord. He was unafraid to speak up for his Lord. We see this same faithfulness in Christ's apostles: 'Day after day, in the temple and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and preaching the Good News that Jesus is the Christ' (Acts 5:42). We could do with people like that today, people who are enthusiastic about sharing the Gospel, people who are eager to win others for Christ. We can be people like that. God can make us like that - if we let Him! As you hear the Word of the Lord in Church, as you read His Word in your own home, pray that God will give you the strength to share with others the Word He has given to you.
5th June: Jeremiah 27:1-22
'They will be taken to Babylon and there they will remain until the day I come for them. Then I will bring them and restore them to this place' (22). God had a great purpose for His people - but they had to wait for His time. God has a great purpose for us. Christ is preparing a great 'place' for us: 'In My Father's House are many mansions...I am going there to prepare a place for you'. Christ has promised that He will return to take us to that great 'place': "I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also' (John 14:2-3). Christ is coming. We must wait for Him. We must be patient. We must wait for His time, the time of His Coming, the Day when He comes for us. The Lord has not forgotten His promise. He will come 'to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him' (Hebrews 9:28).
6th June: Jeremiah 28:1-17
'Listen, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie' (15). What a difference there is between those who wait on the Lord for His strength and those who rush ahead in their own strength! The Word of God warns us against trying to serve God in our own strength: 'Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted'. If we are to be true servants of the Lord, we must learn to wait upon the Lord and receive His strength: 'Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength'. What a difference the strength of the Lord makes - 'They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint' (Isaiah 40:30-31)! Let us exchange our weakness for God's strength - then we will truly be 'sent' by the Lord and will speak His truth.
7th June: Jeremiah 29:1-32
'I know the plans I have for you...to give you a future and a hope'. This was God's long-term purpose for His people. It was important that they did not lose sight of this. There would be 'seventy years' of captivity in Babylon (10-11). At times, they must have wondered, 'Will this ever end? Is there really something better still to come?'. Our life on earth may sometimes seem like the 'seventy years' in Babylon: 'The length of our days is seventy years...yet all they bring us is trouble and sorrow'! We wonder, 'Is there a glorious future still to come?'. In our times of 'suffering' and 'sorrow', we draw our 'strength' from God's Word. We look forward to 'the Day' when Christ 'comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be admired in all who believe' (Psalms 90:10; 119:28; 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5,10).
8th June: Jeremiah 30:1-24
'I am with you to save you'. This was God's Word to His people. Their 'captivity' in Babylon would not last forever. God had given His promise: 'I will restore the fortunes of My people...I will bring them back to the land which I gave to their fathers' (10-11,3). 'I am with you to save you'. This is still God's Word to us. Our 'captivity' will not last forever. Christ has died to 'free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death'. We look beyond our earthly life. We see our glorious future. 'Death' will be 'swallowed up in victory'. 'Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ'. Let us 'be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, our labour is not in vain' (Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:54,57-58).
9th June: Psalm 106:1-48
We read here about sin and salvation. There is a very realistic description of Israel's sin - 'They soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel...They despised the pleasant land; they did not believe His promise...They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord...They rebelled against the Spirit of God' (13,24-25,33). This is not only ancient history. It's the story of our life! We read this, and we must join in Israel's confession of sin: 'We have sinned, even as our fathers did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly' (6). The history of Israel is not only a history of sin. It is also a history of salvation: 'He saved them...' (8,10). As we read of God's salvation, we must echo the prayer of God's people - 'Save us, O Lord our God...' - and join with them in praising God - 'Praise be to the Lord...' (47-48).
10th June: Psalm 107:1-43
There are some things that are worth repeating! The story of God's amazing grace is worth repeating over and over again - 'Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress' (6,13,19,28). The call to praise the Lord is also something we need to hear again and again - 'Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men' (8,15,21,31). Let us 'consider the great love of the Lord'. Let us 'give thanks to the Lord' (43,1). 'The great love of God is revealed in the Son, who came to this earth to redeem every one. That love, like a stream flowing clear to the sea, makes clean every heart that from sin would be free...It's yours, it is ours, O how lavishly given! The pearl of great price, and the treasure of heaven!' (Church Hymnary, 415).
11th June: Jeremiah 31:1-20
'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness' (3). So often, we have been like 'the prodigal son' (Luke 15:11-24). We have walked away from our Father's House. We have wandered off into 'the far country'. We feel that we are far from God, yet still He draws near to us. The Lord is at work in our hearts. He is bringing us 'to our senses'. He is reminding us of His love. He is drawing us back to Himself. In love, He is calling us home again. He is speaking to our hearts. He is saying to us, 'I have loved you with an everlasting love'. As His love reaches our hearts, 'the prodigal son' becomes 'the returning son': 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son'. 'Bring me back, let me come back, for you are the Lord my God!' (18).
12th June: Jeremiah 31:21-40
'Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take' (21). It's so easy to take a wrong turning. You lose your sense of direction. You get confused. You're not sure which way to go. You are lost. You are getting more and more lost all the time. You can't find your way back home again. You need someone who knows the way to come and be your guide. Is there someone who can get us on the right road again? Is there someone who can guide us safely home? Yes! Jesus is 'the Way, the True Way, the Living Way'. 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. That's what Jesus said. Without the Way, there is no going, Without the Truth, there is no knowing. Without the Life, there is no living' (John 14:6; Junior Praise, 89). Let Jesus be your Guide. Let Him be your Saviour.
13th June: Jeremiah 32:1-25
'Nothing is too hard for You' (17). We face many difficult situations. What are you to do when you feel you can take no more? Remember the Lord. Nothing is too hard for Him. Remember His promise: 'The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one' (2 Thessalonians 3:3). Jesus calls us to follow Him. He calls us to follow Him. He warns us - 'the way is hard'. It is Jesus - our loving Saviour - who calls us to follow Him. He does not leave us to go it alone. He gives us His strength - 'My yoke is easy and my burden is light' (Matthew 4:19; 7:14; 11:30). 'When the road is rough and steep, fix your eyes upon Jesus. He alone has power to keep. Fix your eyes upon Him'. You can 'depend on' Jesus. He is your 'gracious Friend'. 'He is faithful to the end' (Junior Praise, 279).
14th June: Jeremiah 32:26-44
'I will bring them back to this place' (37). God is bringing us into His 'place'. He is bringing us close to Himself: 'They will be My people, and I will be their God' (38). He is bringing us into the 'place' of obedience: 'I will inspire them to fear Me, so that they will never turn away from Me' (40). He is leading us to the 'place' of blessing: 'I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear Me for their own good and the good of their children after them' (39). Sometimes, our life seems like 'a desolate waste'. We must not lose sight of the purpose of God: 'I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all My heart and soul' (43,41). God will not leave us in our 'desolate waste'. He will lead us to a better 'place' - the 'place' of obedience and blessing.
15th June: James 1:1-27
Even the most difficult times can have a godly effect on us - when we ask God for wisdom: 'Lord, what are You teaching me in this?' (2-5). Humanly speaking, we may be 'in humble circumstances'. Spiritually speaking, we are in a 'high position' (9). Our position is to become even higher - 'the crown of life' (12). Before that happens, there will be many temptations (13-15). We can face these temptations with confidence in the God of faithfulness and His 'Word of truth' (16-18). God's 'Word' is 'planted in us' so that we may become 'doers of the Word, and not hearers only' (21-22). Don't let God's Word 'go in one ear and out the other' - 'like water off a duck's back'. Let there be His controlling - 'a tight rein on the tongue', caring - looking after the needy, and cleansing - 'unstained from the world' (26-27).
16th June: James 2:1-26
The Gospel turns the world's values upside down - the 'poor in the world' are 'rich in faith' (5). We are to live according to the Gospel. We are not to be controlled by the world's way of thinking. If we 'show favouritism', we place ourselves in a dangerous position - 'judgment without mercy'. Even where there is the threat of judgment, there is the promise of mercy - 'mercy triumphs over judgment' (9,13). God is calling us back from the brink. He is saying, 'It's not too late'. Even at 'the eleventh hour', God is calling us to receive His mercy (Matthew 20:6-9). He wants to change us. He wants us to put Him first. For Abraham and Rahab, God came first - not Abraham's son, not Rahab's country (20-26; Genesis 22:12; Joshua 2:9). Don't let anyone or anything come before Him. He must come first - every time.
17th June: James 3:1-4:12
So much harm can be done by a hurtful word. so much good can be done by a word of witness. An evil 'fire' can be turned into a godly fire: 'It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing. That's how it is with God's love, once you've experienced it. You spread His love to everyone. You want to pass it on (3:5; Mission Praise, 348). Use your words with wisdom - 'the wisdom that comes from heaven' (17-18). Don't fight to get your own way. Ask God to show you His way (4:2). Be careful how you speak: 'Do not slander one another...Who are you to judge your neighbour?' (4:11-12). May God deliver us from hypocrisy - 'out of the same mouth come praise and cursing' (3:10). May He give us 'more grace' - to be 'humble' and not 'proud', submitting to God and resisting the devil (4:6-7).
18th June: James 4:13-5:20
Don't worry about 'what will happen tomorrow'. It's in the Lord's hands (4:14-15). We must not lose sight of 'the purpose of the Lord'. We must remember that 'the Lord is full of compassion and mercy' (11). We look forward to 'the Lord's Coming' as the great Day of our salvation (7-8). We must not, however, forget God's words of warning: 'The Judge is standing at the door'. God speaks to us concerning 'the misery that is coming upon you'. What is He saying to us here? - He is warning us: Be careful how you live - Don't trust in riches. 'Don't grumble against each other' (1-3,9). The warning and the promise belong together. Those who are facing judgment can be brought to the Saviour. May God help us to speak His Word - the warning as well as the promise - , always praying that sinners will be saved (16,19-20).
19th June: Jeremiah 33:1-26
'I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against Me...Then this city will bring Me renown, joy, praise, and honour before all nations on earth...' (7-9). What great blessing lay ahead of God's people! God was pointing His people to the place of blessing: Jesus Christ - 'the righteous Branch from David's line' (15-16). 'In Christ', we have 'every spiritual blessing': 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him' (Ephesians 1:3; 1 Corinthians 2:9). God has so much blessing to give to us. Come to Him and receive His blessing: 'Call to Me, and I will answer you; I will show you wonderful and marvellous things that you know nothing about' (3).
20th June: Jeremiah 34:1-22
'Freedom for the slaves' - What a good idea! 'Everyone agreed'. The slaves were 'set free'. So far, so good! Then things went wrong - 'Afterwards they changed their minds and took back the slaves...and enslaved them again' (8-11). What did God have to say about this? - 'You have turned round and dishonoured Me...You took back the slaves...You forced them into slavery again...You have not obeyed Me' (16-17). Jesus Christ isn't like these slavemasters! He doesn't only promise us freedom. He gives us our freedom: 'If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed'. He doesn't come to us with 'a pack of lies' - promising this, that and the other, and then breaking every promise. He sets us free with His Word of truth - 'You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free' (John 8:36,32; Psalm 119:45).
21st June: Jeremiah 35:1-19
'Will you not learn a lesson and obey My words?' (13) - 'Jonadab, son of Rechab, ordered his sons not to drink wine and this command has been kept...I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed Me' (14). We are not to say, 'I will follow You' and then change our mind (Luke 9:57). We are not to sing, 'Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee', and then live a life which contradicts our prayer of commitment to the Lord (Church Hymnary, 462). We are to mean what we say. We are to follow through our words of commitment with a life of obedience, a life that is pleasing to the Lord. The Rechabites were obedient to Jonadaab's command - and they were blessed by God (18-19). Obedient and blessed - That's what God wants us to be. Let's obey the Lord - and look to Him for the blessing.
22nd June: Psalm 108:1-13
'With God we shall gain the victory. He will trample down our enemies' (13). In ourselves, there is only defeat. We are no match for 'our enemies' - the world, the flesh and the devil. We are surrounded by the world - 'The world is ever near. I see the sights that dazzle. The tempting sounds I hear'. We live with the constant problem of the flesh - 'the storms of passion, the murmurs of self-will' (Church Hymnary, 434). Behind the world and the flesh, there is an even stronger enemy - the devil: 'Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against...the spiritual forces of evil...' (Ephesians 6:12). Our situation seems to be utterly hopeless. How can we possibly win the victory? The simple truth is: We cannot. There is, however, a deeper truth: God is with us - and 'with God we shall win the victory'!
23rd June: Psalm 109:1-31
We must come to the Lord, recognizing that, without Him, our situation is hopeless - 'I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I fade away like an evening shadow' (22). When our enemies are on the attack, we are no match for them. What are we to do when the world, the flesh and the devil are threatening to overwhelm us? We must come to the Lord, praying for His help, asking Him to save us - 'Help me, O Lord my God; save me in accordance with Your love' (26). Let us look away from ourselves and our own weakness. Let us put our trust in the Lord and His strength. The Lord will not fail us. He 'stands beside' us in our time of testing. He 'saves' us from our enemies. Let us praise Him: 'I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth. I will praise Him among many people...' (30-31).
24th June: Jeremiah 36:1-32
'The king cut it with the penknife, and threw it into the fire' (23). The king didn't like God's Word. He thought he could get rid of God's Word. What a fool he was! God saw what was going on. The king's attempt to silence God was utterly futile. God would not be silenced. He continued to speak His Word. Soon, the king was hearing another Word from the Lord: 'You burned that scroll...' (29)! God is still speaking to us today. He calls us to listen to Him. He calls us back from the way of 'wickedness', back from the brink of 'disaster' (31). He calls us back from the way of unbelief, the way that leads to 'the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels'. He calls us to be 'blessed'. Have faith in the Saviour. Receive 'the Kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world' (Matthew 25:41,34).
25th June: Jeremiah 37:1-21
'Is there any Word from the Lord?' - 'Yes! There is a Word from the Lord'. The Word from the Lord wasn't exactly what the king wanted to hear - 'You will be handed over to the king of Babylon' (17). God was going to bless His people - but they would have to be patient: Things were going to get an awful lot worse before they would get much better! Before their restoration - "I will bring them back and restore them to this place' - , God's people faced captivity - 'They will be taken to Babylon'. There was bad news - a captivity of 'seventy years'. There was good news - the captivity wouldn't last forever (27:22; 29:10-11)! God speaks of His blessing - 'It will certainly come' - , but He also says, 'Wait for it' (Habakkuk 2:3). Let's listen to all that He says to us - and not 'only hear what we want to hear'!
26th June: Jeremiah 38:1-28
'No Surrender' - Was this the way forward for God's people? 'No Surrender' - What would happen if God's people adopted this attitude? Jeremiah speaks God's Word to the people. He calls them to make their choice. They can 'surrender' and 'live'. They can say, 'No Surrender' - and face certain death (17-18). Captivity in Babylon would not be easy. They would be heartbroken as they recalled happier times - 'By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion'. It would be so difficult to keep on praising the Lord - 'How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?' (Psalm 137:1,4). Life in Babylon would be difficult - but 'it would not be the end of the world'! They could still look forward to the fulfilment of God's 'gracious promise': 'I will come to you and bring you back to this place' (29:10).
27th June: Proverbs 21:1-31
'The victory belongs to the Lord' (31). When defeat seems inevitable, God comes to us with His Word of encouragement: 'The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save, a Warrior who gives victory. He will take great delight in you. He will renew you in His love. He will rejoice over you with singing' (Zephaniah 3:17). God's Word shows us the way of victory. It is the way of faith in our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 'This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?' (1 John 5:4). God 'gives victory' to us. We must receive His victory by 'faith'. Living for Christ is never easy - 'In this world you will have trouble'. Don't let this get you down. Jesus says, 'Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world' (John 16:33).
28th June: Psalm 110:1-7
'The Lord says to my Lord: 'Sit at My right hand...' (1). These words direct our attention to our Lord Jesus Christ: When 'He was taken up into heaven, He sat at the right hand of God' (Mark 16:19). When Jesus ascended to the Father's right hand, the Holy Spirit was sent down from heaven to fill our lives with God's blessing (John 7:37-39). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, our lives are changed: 'In the Day of Your power, Your people will come to You willingly...' . We come to the Lord in our weakness, and He 'renews our strength'. We come to Him in our weariness, and we are 'refreshed' by His 'streams of living water' (3,7). 'Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace. Streams of mercy never ceasing call for songs of loudest praise' (Revised Church Hymnary, 435).
29th June: Psalms 111:1-112:10
'Praise the Lord...To Him belong eternal praise...Blessed is the man who fears the Lord...His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes...' (111:1,10; 112:1,8). Those who 'fear the Lord' have no need to live in fear of man. Those who know that 'eternal praise belongs to the Lord' can face their enemies with confidence. Our confidence is not in ourselves. Our confidence is in the Lord. We know how good the Lord has been to us - 'He provided redemption for His people'. We have heard and believed the Good News of Christ. We need not 'fear' any 'bad news' which the devil sends our way. We 'trust in the Lord', confident that the 'light ' will triumph over the 'darkness'. The Good News of Christ will triumph over the devil's bad news (111:9; 112:4,7).
30th June: Psalms 113:1-114:8
'The Lord is high above all nations...Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high?...Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, who turns the hard rock into springs of water' (113:4-5; 114:7-8). The Lord is greater than we could ever imagine. There is no greatness like the greatness of the Lord. All human greatness cannot even begin to compare with the greatness of God. His greatness is not only the greatness of His power. It is also the greatness of His love. When we sing, 'How great Thou art', we sing not only of His power - 'Thy power throughout the universe displayed'. We sing also of His love - 'And when I think that God His Son not sparing, sent Him to die - I scarce can take it in, that on the Cross my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin...' (Mission Praise, 506).

Praying Through God’s Word: Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy 1:1-46
Lord, You call us with Your challenge. You call us to make our choice. We are to put the past behind us. We are to press on into the future – with You and for You. We hesitate – and we end up doing nothing. Help us, Lord, to turn from our self-centred ways. Help us to walk with You in Your way – the way of faith, the way of obedience.
Deuteronomy 2:1-37
We thank You, Lord, that You are greater than all our problems. As we look back on the way You’ve led us, help us to say, “Grace brought me safe this far.” As we look to You to lead us into the future, help us to say, “Grace will lead me home.” Thank You, Lord for Your “amazing grace.”
Deuteronomy 3:1-29
Sometimes, Lord, Your blessing seems to be “so near and yet so far.” Help us, Lord, as we seek Your blessing, to remember that it is never our own achievement. It is always Your gift to us. We do not achieve victory in our own strength. You give to us Your victory. When, Lord, we feel like we are in a barren wilderness, help us to remember that the place of testing can become the place of triumph – when we put our trust in You.
Deuteronomy 4:1-43
Lord, You have saved us. Help us to serve You. In all our service, may we never forget Your salvation. May we always serve You with “the attitude of gratitude.”
Deuteronomy 4:44-5:33
We thank You, Lord, for the Scriptures. They lead us to our Saviour – Jesus. The Scriptures speak to us of His suffering and our salvation. When we think of all that Jesus has done for us, may we receive, from You, the spirit of thanksgiving – joyful thanksgiving, heartfelt thanksgiving.
Deuteronomy 6:1-25
Lord, we are called to fear You – and to love You. We tend to think that fear and love are opposites. You teach us something else, something very different. Fear and love belong together. You are the holy God, the God who cannot look upon our sin (Habakkuk 1:13). We fear You. You show us our sin so that we might be brought to Jesus, our Saviour. We come to Jesus. We learn how much You love us – and we begin to love You.
Deuteronomy 7:1-26
Lord, living for You is not easy. We have a fight on our hands. Satan is a determined enemy. Help us to remember that He’s also a defeated enemy. When the battle seems to be getting too much for us, help us to remember that we are “kept by the power of God” (1 Peter 1:3-5).
Deuteronomy 8:1-9:21
We thank You, Lord, that “we do not live by bread alone” (Deuteronomy 8:3). We need bread for the body. We also need Jesus, the Bread of Life (John 6:35). Help us, Lord, not to become too easily satisfied by the things of this world. Help us never to forget that we need Jesus. Without Him, there will always be something missing. With Him, there will be a new – eternal – sense of meaning, purpose and direction.
Deuteronomy 9:22-10:22
Help us, Lord, to listen to You and live for You, to speak to You and speak for You. Help us to receive from You and respond to You. Help us not to get caught up in the “What do I get out of it?” way of thinking. Help us to ask the more important question: “How can I give myself more fully to You, Lord?”
Deuteronomy 11:1-32
Lord, You give us Your promises and Your warnings. You show us the better way – and You say to us, “Make sure that You don’t go back to the old way of living, back to the world’s way of living, back to the way of life that will never satisfy.”
Deuteronomy 12:1-32
Who chooses what is important to us? Is it You, Lord? or Are we the ones who are in control?  Help us, Lord, not to pay lip-service to You – without really opening our hearts to You and giving You first place in our lives.
Deuteronomy 13:1-14:21
Lord, You are the God of love. You are also the God of holiness. We like to hear about Your love. It makes us feel good. We’re not so keen on hearing about Your holiness. You are the holy God. You are the God who calls us to be holy. Help us, Lord, not to be content with the half-truth, contained in the words, “All you need is love.” We do need love – but we also need holiness. Help us to “strive … for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
Deuteronomy 14:22-15:23
Lord, You call us to belong to You. This is wonderful. It makes our hearts glad. You also call us to serve You. We’re not to remain what we were before we became Your redeemed people. We’re to be renewed – “beholding the glory of the Lord, we are being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Deuteronomy 16:1-17:13
Lord, we celebrate Your love. We rejoice in Your salvation. Your love is a dying love. We see Your love in the death of Jesus, our Saviour. It’s also an undying love. It’s the only love that never dies. It never comes to an end. It’s eternal love, shown to us in the sacrificial death of “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
Deuteronomy 17:14-18:22
Help us, Lord, to be obedient to Your Word. Help us, in our obedience, to remain humble. How can we possibly bring glory yo You if we’re thinking about how obedient we are when we should be rejoicing in the great love by which You have saved us and the great power by which You keep us walking in the way of faith? Even when we’re pressing on to a closer walk with You, help us never to forget this: “Who is a God like You, forgiving sin … ” (Micah 7:18-20).
Deuteronomy 19:1-20:9
By Your grace, Lord, You call us to be Your soldiers and servants. Help us not to be “fearful and fainthearted” (Deuteronomy 19:19). Help us to be “good soldiers of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3). When we hear your challenging question: “Who is on the Lord’s side?”, may we give our committed answer: “By Thy call of mercy, by Thy grace divine, we are on the Lord’s side; Saviour, we are Thine.”
Deuteronomy 20:10-21:23
We thank You, Lord, for Your amazing love – “while we were Your enemies we were reconciled to You by the death of Your Son” (Romans 5:10);  “Once we were no people but now we are Your people; once we had not received mercy but now we have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:10).
Deuteronomy 22:1-30
Help us, Lord, to be caring people. Where does this love for one another come from? It comes from Your love for us. Where there is a growing appreciation of Your love for us, there will be an increasing commitment to sharing Your love with others. Help us to love people without loving the ways of those who “live as enemies of the Cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18). May our love for them be a true expression of Your love for them. May it call them to return to You, to be forgiven by You, to make a new beginning with You.
Deuteronomy 23:1-25
Show us, Lord, what we really are – without You. Make us, more truly and more fully, what You want us to become – by Your saving grace. Fill us with Your holiness – and fill us with Your love. You’ve lifted us out of our sin and into Your salvation. This is Your doing. It’s not our own achievement. we’re called to be Your holy people – but we dare not imagine that we’re better than everyone else. We’re set apart for You – but we must never forget that we’ll never be anything more than sinners, saved by Your grace. Your love has reached. Your love changes us. Make us more like Jesus – walking with You on the pathway of holiness and reaching out, in love, to others, inviting them to receive the Saviour’s love and respond to His call: “Follow Me” (Matthew 4:19).
Deuteronomy 24:1-25:29
We thank You, Lord, that You love us. We thank You that You have done great things for us. We think of Your great love. We think of all that You have done for us – and we say, “To God be the glory.”
Deuteronomy 26:1-27:10
Lord, You have saved us. You call us, now, to live in obedience to Your Word. Teach us Your way, Lord, and help us to walk in it. May the light of Your love shine upon us. May Your love for us fill us with more love for You.
Deuteronomy 27:11-28:24
Lord, You speak to us Your Word of warning – and Your promise of blessing. You call us back from the way of disobedience – and on to the pathway of obedience and blessing. Where does the blessing come from? Does it come from our obedience? No! It comes from Your love. It comes from Your promise. Your love reaches us in our sin. Your blessing increases in us as we learn to turn from our sin and give You first place in our lives.
Deuteronomy 28:25-68
Why, Lord, do You speak to us the Word of warning and the promise of blessing? There is a good way to which we must turn – and there’s also a bad way from which we turn. How can we really appreciate and embrace the good way if we do not see the clear contrast between the good way and the bad way? Help us, Lord, to choose the good way – to choose Jesus, who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6).
Deuteronomy 29:1-29
Lord, Your Word speaks to us about the “secret things” and “the things that are revealed” (Deuteronomy 29:29). There are some “things” that we will never understand. These “things” belong to You, Lord. Help us to focus our attention on “the things that are revealed”, the teaching that comes to us from “the holy Scriptures”, the Gospel which brings us to Jesus, our Saviour – calling us to put our faith in Him and live in obedience to Him (2 Timothy 3:14-17).
Deuteronomy 30:1-31:13
Lord, You are not a god who keeps his distance from us. You are not a god who keeps his silence.You come near to us. You speak Your Word to us (Deuteronomy 30:11-14). How do we know that You are near to us? How do we know that You speak Your Word to us? Jesus is “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). He is “the Word made flesh” (John 1:14). Thank You for Jesus – He comes near to us and He speaks to us. Help us, Lord, to treasure His presence and to respond to His Word.
Deuteronomy 31:14-32:18
We sing to You, Lord. We sing our song of praise. It’s the song of Your salvation. It’s the song that gives glory to You. May our song of praise be more than words. May it be the song that arises from our hearts. May it be the song that comes from lives that are being transformed by Your grace.
Deuteronomy 32:19-33:17
Lord, You speak to us the Word of condemnation. You tell us that we are “a perverse generation” You tell us that “You will hide Your face from us” (Deuteronomy 32:20). You also speak to us the Word of compassion – “The Lord will … have compassion on His servants, when He sees their power is gone” (Deuteronomy 32:26). Help us, Lord, to hear the Word of condemnation – to know that “our power has gone”, so that we can hear the Word of compassion, the Word that comes to us in our weakness, the Word that brings us into Your strength – “a new creation in Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
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).

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Deliver Us, Lord, From Hypocrisy.

Jesus speaks about prayer (Matthew 6:5-15), doing good works (Matthew 6:1-4) and fasting (Matthew 6:16-18). He emphasizes that we're not to be like the hypocrites (Matthew 6:2,5,16). Sometimes, it is difficult to work out where Jesus is leading us with. In Acts, there's a strong emphasis on God's people praying together. In Matthew 6:6, Jesus is emphasizing the importance of praying "in secret." Is there something about us that leads us in the direction of hypocrisy whenever we are praying with others? We find the same emphasis in Jesus' teaching about doing good and fasting. - "Make sure that you don't become like the hypocrites." When we move into the public sphere, we run the risk of hypocrisy. We must never forget this - and we must pray that God will deliver us from hypocrisy.

Daily Devotional Readings: Year Three - April

1st April: Isaiah 52:1-12
'Good News' - Let us 'shout for joy'. 'Good News' - Let us sing 'songs of joy'. There is the Good News of God's reign - 'Your God reigns'. There is the Good News of our redemption - 'The Lord has redeemed' us. We are not to keep the Good News to ourselves. This 'news of happiness' is to be shared with everyone. We must let 'all the ends of the earth see the salvation of our God'. 'Christ died for our sins' - This is Good News. Christ was 'raised on the third day' - This is Good News. 'Jesus is Lord' - This is Good News. This is the Good News we must 'pass on' to others. In our world, there is so much bad news. We must not let the Good News be drowned out by the bad news. We must make sure that the people hear the Good News - loud and clear (7-10; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Mission Praise, 249).
2nd April: Isaiah 52:13-53:12
In this remarkable prophecy,.we see Jesus Christ, crucified for us - 'the Lord has laid all our sins on Him' - and risen from the dead - 'After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life' (6,11). 'Were you there when they crucified my Lord?' (Mission Praise, 745). We might put this question to Isaiah. In one sense, he wasn't there. He lived long before the time of Christ. In another sense, he was there. God opened his eyes. God gave him a glimpse of what was going to happen in the future. 'Were you there when they crucified my Lord?'. In one sense, we weren't there. These things happened long before we were even born. In another sense, we were there. It was our sins which Christ took with Him to the Cross. It was our sins which He left behind Him when He rose from the dead (Romans 4:25).
3rd April: Proverbs 18:1-24
'The fountain of wisdom is an overflowing stream' (4). 'The grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus' (1 Timothy 1:14). This is the 'wisdom' we must seek - the wisdom which receives 'salvation through faith in Christ Jesus' (2 Timothy 3:15). True wisdom finds its overflowing joy in the Saviour: 'The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe' (10). We rejoice in Jesus. He is God's Son - 'You shall call His Name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High' (Luke 1:31-32). He is our Saviour - 'You shall call His Name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins' (Matthew 1:21). He is 'the Friend who sticks closer than a brother' (24). Jesus is God's Son. Be wise. Let Him be your Saviour and Friend.
4th April: Isaiah 54:1-17
'The Lord' is not only 'the Holy One of Israel'. He is 'the God of the whole earth' (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' (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' (8).
5th April: Isaiah 55:1-13
The Word of God is spoken - 'Seek the Lord while He may be found...' (6-7). No one seems to be listening. What are we to do? We must remember God's promise: 'My Word will not return to Me empty' (11). We do not see all that God is doing. He is doing much more than we realize - 'My thoughts are not your thoughts...' (8-9). We may be feeling very despondent - 'Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything' (Luke 5:5). The Lord still comes to us with His Word of encouragement: 'You shall go out with joy...' (12). Before there is joy, there may be many tears. When there seems to be nothing but disappointments, we must remember the Lord's promise: 'Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy...' (Psalm 126:5-6). We must not 'judge before the time...' (1 Corinthians 4:5).
6th April: Isaiah 56:1-57:10
'My House will be called a House of prayer for all nations' (56:7). God is gathering His people together 'from every tribe and language and people and nation' (Revelation 5:9). 'Salvation comes from the Jews', but it doesn't end there - 'The Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile (the rest of the world)' (John 4:22; Romans 1:16). We were 'foreigners'. Now, we are 'no longer foreigners...'(56:6; Ephesians 2:19). Christ has 'broken down the dividing wall of hostility'. 'We are no longer Jews or Gentiles'. 'We are one in Christ Jesus'. Christ has 'made the two one'. We 'have been brought near through the blood of Christ'. We are 'one body' - Jews and Gentiles brought together 'through the Cross' of Christ (Ephesians 2:13-16; Galatians 3:28).
7th April: Isaiah 57:11-58:14
'To the far and to the near', God speaks His Word of 'peace' (57:19). Christ is God's Word of 'peace' (Ephesians 2:13-14). Christ is for 'the Jews'. Christ is for 'the Gentiles'. There is one way of salvation. Jesus Christ is our Saviour. We must put our 'faith' in Him. Through Him, we have 'peace with God' (Romans 3:29-30; 5:1). God's Word invites us to 'call upon the Name of the Lord and be saved' (58:9; Acts 2:21). In Christ, there is true 'joy' - 'I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation...' (58:14; 61:10). We rejoice in Jesus Christ. He is 'the High and Exalted One'. He has come from His 'high and holy place'. He has become 'Emmanuel', 'God with us'. He is our peace and joy, our Saviour and our God' (57:15; Matthew 1:21, 23; John 20:28).
8th April: Matthew 21:1-11
This was a day to be remembered. Sadly, however, it was quickly forgotten. Within a few days, the 'Hosanna' became 'Crucify Him! Crucify Him!' (9; 27:22-23). We can 'change our tune' so easily and so quickly - 'With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing'. What does God's Word say about this kind of thing? - 'My brothers and sisters, this should not happen!' (James 3:9). We come to the Lord's House. We come to worship Him. We listen to His Word - and we forget. God's Word calls us to 'be doers of the Word, and not hearers only'. Let every day be a 'Hosanna' day, a day for praising the Lord, a day for remembering Him and being 'blessed' by Him (James 1:22-25).
9th April: Mark 12:1-12
The prophets came. They spoke the Word of the Lord. The people did not like what they heard. They had no time for God's faithful servants. They did not want to know. They refused to listen. They rejected the Word of the Lord. God sent His Son. They did not listen to Him. They sent Him to the Cross. It sounds like such a sad story. It's the story of God's Word in today's world. People hear God's Word, and they shrug their shoulders - 'So what?'. They can't be bothered listening to what God has to say to them - 'It goes in one ear and out the other'. They don't take God's Word seriously - 'It's like water off a duck's back'. Is there another side to the story, a better side? Yes! Jesus is our Saviour. Jesus 'has risen'. In Jesus, we find true and lasting joy (10-11; 16:6; Acts 4:10-12; 1 Peter 2:4-8).
10th April: Luke 22:7-20
Read about the Lord's Supper. Think about what it means. Remember Jesus. Thank Him for His love. Give your love to Him. Here are some words to help you: 'Here is love vast as the ocean, loving kindness as the flood, when the Prince of life, our Ransom, shed for us His precious blood. Who His love will not remember? Who can cease to sing His praise? He can never be forgotten throughout heaven's eternal days'. 'Thank You for the Cross, the price You paid for us, how You gave Yourself so completely, precious Lord, precious Lord. Now our sins are gone, all forgiven, covered by Your blood, all forgotten, thank You Lord, thank You Lord'. 'Lord, You are so precious to me, and I love You, Yes, I love You, because You first loved me' (Songs of Fellowship, 168, 369; Mission Praise, 632).
11th April: John 18:1-11
It seemed like Jesus' enemies had 'the upper hand' - until we look 'behind the scenes'! Jesus was no tragic victim of circumstances. His death was no accident. He knew exactly what He was doing. Jesus was moving forward in perfect love - 'I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep...I lay down My life for the sheep...No one takes My life from Me. I give My life of My own free will'. Jesus was moving forward in perfect obedience to the Father's perfect will - 'This command I received from My Father'. Jesus was moving forward in perfect faith, looking beyond His death to His resurrection - 'I lay down My life that I may take it again...I have the authority to give My life, and I have the authority to take My life back again' (10:11,14-15,17-18). Jesus is our perfect Saviour!
12th April: Matthew 27:15-26
'Jesus' was 'crucified'. 'Barabbas' was 'released' (26). This is not only the story of Barabbas. It is our story - 'Jesus tasted death for everyone' (Hebrews 2:9). This is 'the big picture' - Jesus died 'for the sins of the whole world' (1 John 2:1-2). Barabbas was expecting to die. Then, something quite amazing happened - Jesus died for Barabbas! Each of us deserve to die - 'All have sinned...the wages of sin is death' (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Now, each of us can say, 'Jesus died for me'. We read the story of Barabbas. We rejoice in the Story of amazing love: 'Jesus died for me'. 'And can it be, that I should gain an interest in the Saviour's blood? Died He for me, who caused His pain - For me, who Him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?' (Church Hymnary, 409).
13th April: Mark 15:25-39
'Truly this Man was the Son of God!' (39). Jesus Christ was no ordinary man. He was special. He was unique. He is God's 'only Son' (John 3:16). He is God's 'beloved Son' (Matthew 3:17; Luke 9:35). He is not only the greatest Man who ever lived. He is 'greater than the angels' in heaven. 'All God's angels' are called to 'worship Him'. 'Truly this Man was the Son of God' - In these words of faith, we hear an echo of God's Word concerning His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ - 'You are My Son; today I have become Your Father...I will be His Father, and He will be My Son...Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever...Sit at my right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for your feet' (Hebrews 1:1-14). 'Truly this Man was the Son of God' - Let these words be your confession of faith in Christ.
14th April: Luke 23:50-24:8
Jesus was dead and buried. Surely, this was the end? No! There was something else - the resurrection. What a great miracle this was! Jesus had been dead. Now, He was alive! He had risen from the dead. What a surprise this was! - 'they were perplexed...they were frightened' (4-5). 'He is not here; He has risen!' The resurrection was no surprise for Jesus! He had been looking forward to it! - 'Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise' (6-7). They had forgotten. That's why they were surprised - 'perplexed' and 'frightened'. Now, 'they remembered His words' (8). The Lord speaks His Word to us. He calls us out of unbelief. He calls us to have faith in Him - a 'living' faith in a 'living ' Saviour (5).
15th April: John 20:19-31
'My Lord and my God!' (28). These words were spoken by Thomas. These five short words, fourteen letters in all, marked the turning-point in his life. He had been 'doubting Thomas' - 'Unless I see...I will not believe' (25). He became 'believing Thomas' - 'My Lord and my God!'. Never think, 'I'm just a "doubting Thomas". I'll never change. I'll always be a "doubting Thomas"'. You can be like 'believing Thomas'. He became a new man, a man of faith. God is calling us to make a new beginning with Him. He calls us to have faith. We are to 'believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God'. Through faith in Him, we receive new life - 'life in His Name' (31). Look to Jesus. Be changed by His love. 'Open our eyes, Lord. We want to see Jesus, to reach out and touch Him and say that we love Him...' (Mission Praise, 545).
16th April: Acts 2:22-36
'God raised Jesus from the dead...It was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him' (24). The proud unbeliever hears about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and says, 'Impossible!: 'Resurrection? - No way! Jesus died, and that's it! The end!'. The Word of God says something very different about our Lord's resurrection - 'Impossible!: "It was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him"'. Jesus is the perfect Son of God. He is the perfect Sacrifice for the sins of the world. It was impossible that He should remain dead! Don't listen to the voice of proud unbelief - 'Resurrection! This can't happen! It's impossible!'. Listen to the voice of the Gospel - 'Resurrection! This is what God has done! It's impossible! - God's perfect "plan" (23) couldn't possibly fail: the perfect Son, the perfect Sacrifice, the perfect Salvation'.
17th April: Isaiah 59:1-21
What are we to do 'when the enemy comes in like a flood'? We must look away from ourselves to Jesus Christ. He has 'come' as our 'Redeemer'. Trusting in Jesus Christ, we must pray that 'the Spirit of the the Lord will come like a rushing stream'. We must pray that 'the wind of the Lord' will come sweeping through us with much blessing (19-20). In ourselves, there is no blessing - 'salvation...is far from us'. 'Our sins have separated us from God'. We need to receive 'salvation' from the Lord (11,2,17). We must not delude ourselves. Satan is stronger than we are. We have no hope of victory over Satan - until we put our trust in Jesus Christ. Without Christ, we are helpless and hopeless. With Him, we shall be victorious. He is 'the Rock of our salvation' (Matthew 7:24-27; 2 Samuel 22:47; 1 Corinthians 10:4).
18th April: Isaiah 60:1-22
'Arise, shine; for your Light has come...the Lord will be your everlasting Light' (1,19-20). Jesus Christ is 'the Light of the world'. When we 'follow Him', we 'will not walk in darkness'. We 'will have the light of life' (John 8:12). We are living in difficult times. We are surrounded by much darkness. We must not be discouraged - 'the lamp of God has not yet gone out' (1 Samuel 3:3). When the darkness threatens to overcome the Light, we must take encouragement from God's Word - 'The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it' (John 1:5). When the darkness seems to be everywhere, put your trust in the Lord - The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?' - and let 'His Word' be 'a lamp to your feet and a light to your path' (Psalms 27:1; 119:105).
19th April: Isaiah 61:1-11
'The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me...to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour' (1-2). Jesus has fulfilled these words (Luke 4:18-21). Jesus has come, 'proclaiming the Good News of God'. He tells us that 'the time has come'. This is the time of opportunity, the time for making our response to Jesus Christ. He calls for our response - 'Repent and believe the Good News!'. He calls us to make our response now - 'now is the acceptable time...now is the day of salvation' (Mark 1:14-15; 2 Corinthians 6:2). There will come a time when the time of opportunity comes to an end. When Christ returns 'with power and great glory', it will be 'the Day of vengeance of our God'. We do not know when Christ will return. Get 'ready' for His Return. Put your 'faith' in Him (2; Matthew 24:30,36,44; 25:13; Luke 18:8).
20th April: Isaiah 62:1-12
God has given us 'a new Name'. It is 'the Name which is above every name', the Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (2; Philippians 2:9-11). Christ loves us. He has given Himself for us. He calls us His 'Bride' (Ephesians 5:25-27; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 21:2,9). Through faith in Christ, we have become 'the Holy People'. Through Him, we are 'the Redeemed of the Lord'. We have been 'Sought After' by the Lord. In Him, we are 'the City No Longer Deserted' (12; 1 Peter 2:9-9-10; 1:18-19; Luke 19:10; John 14:18). 'There is a Name I love to hear...It tells me of a Saviour's love, who died to set me free. It tells me of His precious blood, the sinner's perfect plea...Jesus, the Name I love so well, the Name I love to hear!...O how I love the Saviour's Name, the sweetest Name on earth!' (Mission Praise, 672).
21st April: Psalms 96:1-97:12
'The Lord reigns' (96:10; 97:1). 'The Lord is King!'. He is not only 'the King all-glorious above'. He is 'the King of love'. He is 'our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend!'. He is not only 'the King of heaven'. He is 'the God of grace'. He is 'the King of mercy' (Church Hymnary, 35,36,388,360,86). His reign is not to be restricted to some faraway heaven. It is not to be a reign that is far removed from the practicalities of our everyday life. He is to reign in our hearts. He is to reign in every part of our life. Let His reign of love begin. Let His grace and mercy control all that you do. We must pray, 'Reign in me, Sovereign Lord, reign in me'. When we say, 'Let Your Kingdom come' and 'let Your will be done', we must pray, 'Captivate my heart. Establish there Your throne' (Mission Praise, 570).
22nd April: Psalms 98:1-100:5
'Exalt the Lord our God...Make a joyful noise to the Lord' (99:5,9; 98:4,6; 100:1). We are to worship the Lord with joy. We are to glorify God. We are to enjoy Him. In our worship, we must never forget the holiness of God: 'He is holy!...The Lord our God is holy!' (99:5,9). In our worship, we rejoice in the love of God: 'His steadfast love endures for ever...He has done marvellous things!' (100:5; 98:1). The God of 'awesome purity' loves us with the most perfect love of all: 'No earthly father loves like Thee...'. Let us worship Him with holy fear and heartfelt love: 'O how I fear Thee, living God, with deepest, tenderest fears...with trembling hope and penitential tears! Yet I may love Thee too, O Lord, Almighty as Thou art, for Thou hast stooped to ask of me the love of my poor heart' (Church Hymnary, 356).
23rd April: Psalms 101:1-102:28
'I will sing of Your love...I will walk with integrity of heart...' (101:1-2). These words were written many centuries ago. 'Things are very different now' - so we're told! Worshipping the Lord and walking with Him: Are these things out-of-date now? Are they to be forgotten? So many people have no time for the Lord. They feel that they can do without Him. They refuse to worship Him. They do not walk with Him. In our ever-changing world, there is something we must never forget: The Lord is 'enthroned for ever'. His 'Name endures to all generations'. In all the changes of life, the Lord 'remains the same'. His 'years go on through all generations'. His 'years will never end' (12,24,27). These words were 'written for a future generation'. They were written for us. We must not forget to 'praise the Lord' (18)!
24th April: Proverbs 19:1-29
'The fear of the Lord leads to life' (23). 'The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him' (Psalm 25:14). What a strange combination - friendship and fear! We ask, 'How can there be friendship where there is fear?'. Here, we have a special kind of friendship - 'the friendship of the Lord' - and a special kind of fear - 'the fear of the Lord'. Why is this friendship and fear so special? It's because the Lord is special! He is the God of perfect holiness - 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty'. We must come before Him in 'the fear of the Lord' - 'Woe is me! I am undone; I am a man of unclean lips...'. He is the God of perfect love. He calls us into friendship with Himself - 'Your guilt is taken away and your sin forgiven' (Isaiah 6:3,5,7). We rejoice in 'the friendship of the Lord'. Let us respect Him with 'the fear of the Lord'.
25th April: Isaiah 63:1-19
The Lord our God is 'mighty to save'. He has shown His 'steadfast love' to us. He has become our 'Saviour'. 'In His love', He has 'redeemed' us (1,7-9). We read here about the power of God - He is 'mighty to save' - and the love of God - 'In His love', He has 'redeemed' us. What love the Lord has for us - 'God so loved the world that He gave His only Son...' (John 3:16)! What power there is in the Gospel of love - 'The Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes' (Romans 1:16)! What a 'Saviour' we have - Our Lord Jesus Christ is 'able to save to the uttermost all who come to God through Him' (Hebrews 7:25)! Think of Jesus Christ. Think of His love, His power, His salvation. Thank Him for all He has done for you - 'Alleluia! What a Saviour!' (Church Hymnary, 380)
26th April: Isaiah 64:1-65:12
We confess our sins to God - 'We sinned...All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags'. We look to God for forgiveness - 'Do not remember our sins for ever' (64:5-6,9). We know that God hears and answers our prayer. Jesus Christ is God's Answer to our prayer. He has 'come down' from heaven to earth. 'The Son of the Most High' has been 'born' into our world. Jesus Christ is God's way of saying 'Here am I! Here am I!'. He is 'God with us' (64:1; 65:1; Luke 1:32,35; Matthew 1:23). 'The blood of Jesus, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin'. Let us 'confess our sins'. 'The blood of Jesus, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin' - Let us come to God with faith, believing that He 'will forgive our sins'. (1 John 1:7,9). Let us rejoice in Jesus, our Saviour!
27th April:Isaiah 65:13-66:4
What a contrast there is 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' (14)! God is preparing a great future 'for those who love Him' - 'I will create a new heaven and a new earth'. He is calling us away from our sins - 'Past things will not be remembered. They will not come to mind'. He is calling us to His 'holy mountain'. How can we enter into our full enjoyment of God's eternal salvation? God's Word tells us: 'I will pay attention to those who are humble and sorry for their sins and who termble at My Word' (65:17,25; 66:2; 1 Corinthians 2:9). Make sure that you belong to Christ. Put your faith in Him (John 3:18,36).
28th April: Isaiah 66:5-24
'Hear the Word of the Lord'. How are we to listen to God's Word? We are to 'tremble at His Word'. We are to 'drink deeply with delight' (5,10-11). There is to be the fear of the Lord. There is to be joy in the Lord. These are not opposites. They belong together - 'Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling...Rejoice in the Lord' (Philippians 2:12; 3:1). We hear God's warning, and we'tremble'. To those who 'sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth', God says this: 'It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God' (Hebrews 10:26,31). We hear God's promise, and we 'rejoice': 'The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms' (Deuteronomy 33:27). Let us 'hear the Word of the Lord' - the warning as well as the promise!
29th April: Proverbs 20:1-30
'Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler; whoever is led astray by it is not wise' (1). We need to learn the truth of these words - before it's too late! There is a better way than the way of drunkenness. It is the way of being filled with the Holy Spirit: 'Don't get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit' (Ephesians 5:18). We must not 'live according to the flesh'. God calls us to 'live according to the Spirit'. He warns us against making the wrong choice: 'To set the mind on the flesh is death'. He shows us the way of blessing: 'To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace'. 'Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth'. May God help us to turn from 'the works of the flesh' and seek 'the fruit of the Spirit' (Romans 8:5-6; Colossians 3:2; Galatians 5:19-23).
30th April: Psalm 103:1-22
'Praise the Lord' (1-2,20-22). Let's praise Him for His 'steadfast love'. He is 'abounding in steadfast love' (8). How are we to respond to His 'steadfast love'? Are we to say, 'God loves me. I can do what I like'? No! We must not think like this. We're not to say, 'I'll keep on sinning. God will keep on forgiving' (Romans 6:1-2). God's Word tells us something very different. Loved by God, we learn to love Him. When God's 'steadfast love' has really touched our hearts, it changes our lives. This is the great change which the Psalmist has in mind when he writes, 'As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him...The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him' (11,17). Let's thank God for His love - and live to please Him!