Charles’s quotes


"It is surely ours to combine these elements of mourning for sin and joy in our salvation in one complex and composite experience which keeps us perpetually humble and yet perpetually joyful too."— Rev William Still

Thursday, 31 December 2015

All Of God's Word - Not Just Some Of It!

Jesus' words, known as "the Sermon  on the Mount" (Matthew 5-7), need to be taken as a whole. We're not to pick out the bits that we like, and ignore the bits that we don't like so much. We're not to come, looking for "comfort" (Matthew 5:4), if we're not also seeking for "righteousness" (Matthew 5:6). We're not to look for peace, if we're not preparing ourselves for persecution (Matthew 5:9-10). We're not to read one verse, and say, "This is great", and then skim over the next verse, as if it wasn't even there.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The Lamb Of God

As the story of Christ’s becoming one of us - His birth - moves on towards the story of His dying in our place - His crucifixion, the story of His baptism is a significant step forward. Jesus identifies with us. He stands in the place of the sinner. John the Baptist said to Jesus, “I need to be baptized by You. Why are You coming to me?” (Matthew 3:14). Jesus was doing everything that God required of Him - everything that needed to be done for sinners to be saved. The chief focus is on His death for us - “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). We do, however, need to look back from His crucifixion to His birth and His baptism. In His birth, we see the sovereign purpose of God. In His baptism, we see the definite choice made by Jesus. In salvation, there is the work of God, and there is our response. God reveals Himself to us through His Son: “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). We respond to God’s revelation and redemption when we put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, when we look away from ourselves - sinners - to Jesus Christ, the Saviour of sinners, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Do what God tells us to do ...

Genesis 2:4-25
Do what God tells us to do. This leads to blessing. Do what God tells us not to do. This leads to trouble. It’s been trouble ever since.
Here, on earth, things can be turned around. We can be set in the right direction. We are not yet at our final destination, but we’re travelling towards it.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they “died” spiritually. Immediately, we see conflict. The devil has won a battle. He has won many more battles. He will win many more battles. He will not win the war.
In Genesis 3:15, we catch a glimpse of God’s eternal Kingdom, in which “there will no longer be any curse” (Revelation 22:3).

The Prodigal Son And The Perfect Son

* Jesus told a story of God’s love – “the story of the prodigal son” (Luke 15:11-32).
* Jesus is the Story of God’s love – His Story is the Story of God’s perfect Son.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Before the creation, there is the Creator.

Genesis 1:1-2:3
Before the creation, there is the Creator.
 * He is the chief focus of attention in the Bible’s first chapter. Wherever we look in Genesis 1, we see the word, God. This is about Him. Genesis 1 speaks about us. It tells us where we have come from. We have come from God. He is our Creator. Take away God, and our life has no meaning, no purpose, no direction.
 * Move on from the Bible’s first chapter. Read the rest of Genesis, the rest of the Old Testament,the rest of the Bible. What do you find? The Bible is a Book about God. It’s not only a Book about God. It’s a Book that has been given to us by God. It’s His Word.
 * What about our faith and our life? Our faith comes to us from God. Our life has been given to us by God. We are to put our faith in God. We are to live our life for God.
 * “God said, Let there be light, and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). The light of God’s love and holiness. “He created us in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). Created by God - love. Created for God - called to holiness. The light of His love - a sure foundation for our faith. The light of His holiness - The Lord is calling us to walk with him in the light of His holy Word.
 * “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). This was before our sin spoiled the world. We must not blame God for our sin. We are the ones who have spoiled His good creation.
 * “God completed His work”  (Genesis 2:2). This was the end of the beginning. When we come to Genesis 3, it seems like we’re reading about the beginning of the end. It’s not. It’s the start of a new beginning - God’s rescue plan (Genesis 3:15). 

The Holy City ...

"The Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God - It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel" (Revelation 21:10-11).

At the heart of "the Holy City", there is Jesus Christ. In Him, we see the bright shining light of God's love. He is the precious cornerstone upon which our eternal salvation is built (1 Peter 2:4-7).
As we read about "the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God" (Revelation 21:10), our thoughts turn to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. It's only because of what He has done for us that we will be welcomed into the glory of God's saving and eternal presence of love. Jesus is "the cornerstone" of our faith (1 Peter 2:6). He is the foundation upon which our salvation is built. Without Him, there is no salvation. With Him, there is full salvation. What light there is shining into our hearts - from the wonderful love of our Saviour. It's the light that comes from the glory of God. It has touched our life here on earth. It will fill our life with Him - when we go to be with Him in "the Holy City."

Monday, 28 December 2015

“Blessed are those who wash their robes ... "

To those who come to Him, the Lord Jesus says, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may … go through the gates into the city.”  Let us not remain “outside” of God’s Kingdom (Revelation 22:14-15).

There is a better way than continuing in sin. It is the way of coming to the Saviour and receiving from Him the forgiveness of sin, the power of a new life and the glorious hope of entering into the full glory of His heavenly and eternal Kingdom.

Begin ... Build ... Be Blessed ...

Begin with God.
The first verse of the Bible gives us the best starting-place for our life: "In the beginning, God" (Genesis 1:1). Let us "seek first God's Kingdom and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). "In the beginning, God" - This is what gives our life its true meaning, purpose and direction.
Build on God's Word.
We don't speak God's Word to ourselves. God's Word is spoken to us. In His written Word, He has given us a firm foundation for living to His glory (2 Timothy 3:14-17). Learning from the Scriptures, let us build our life on our Saviour.
Be Blessed in God's Spirit.
Being "in the Spirit" is not just having a "happy" feeling. It's learning to "walk with the Lord in the light of His Word." How are we to "be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18)? God's Word tells us - "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly" (Colossians 3:16).

Sunday, 27 December 2015

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).

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Praise the Lord.

“Praise the Lord” (Psalm 134:1). “Praise the Name of the Lord” (Psalm 135:1). “Give thanks to the Lord” (Psalm 136:1). God is calling us to worship Him. In a world where worshipping the Lord has been abandoned by so many people, it isn’t easy to keep on worshipping Him - “How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:4). Even though many people have stopped worshipping God, we must renew our commitment to Him: “I will give thanks to you with all my heart” (Psalm 138:1). “If no one joins, still I will worship. No turning back.”

Friday, 25 December 2015

The Word of God - Spoken In The Power Of The Spirit Of God

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” (Psalm 19:7).
God’s Word does not return to Him empty. It accomplishes the purpose for which He sent it (Isaiah 55:11). Often, we feel like God’s Word returns to us empty. It never returns to Him empty. Wherever God’s Word is preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, God is at work. He is doing more than we realize. Some may refuse to listen to the voice of the Spirit – but the Spirit keeps on speaking to them, calling them to return to the Lord and receive His free gift of salvation: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them, and to our God, for He will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7). Let us pray that the Word of God will be spoken in the power of the Spirit of God: The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul (Psalm 19:7).
Psalm 19:14
Pray that ‘the meditation of your heart’ and ‘the words of your mouth’ will be filled with the Spirit of love.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Thanksgiving And Hope

"This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23).
When we think of all that the Lord has done for us, let us think also of what He will do for us.
Let us look back with thanksgiving. Let us look forward with hope.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Save me, O God ...

"Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help;   my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God" (Psalm 69:1-3).
Sometimes, we get ourselves into deep water. We're sinking. We're looking to You, Lord. The world is pulling us down, pulling us away from You. We're looking to You, Lord. It's not easy. Life is difficult. There are many problems. We're looking to You, Lord. Help us to keep on looking to You - when we feel like giving up and giving in. Help us to keep on believing that there is the light at the end of our tunnel. We're looking to You, Lord - and we will keep on looking to You, whatever happens. "Let heaven and earth praise Him… For God will save" (Psalm 69:34-35).

God does not save us because we praise Him. We praise God because He saves us.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Heartfelt Worship

“O God, my whole being desires you” (Psalm 63:1). 
May God help us to worship Him like that!

Some things are worth repeating!

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’(Psalm 107:6, 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’(Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31). Let us ‘consider the great love of the Lord.’ Let us ‘give thanks to the Lord’ (Psalm 107:43, 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!’ (Daniel Thambyrajah Niles).

A major step for Abraham - and for God

Genesis 12:1-9
This was a major step for Abraham - and for God. Abraham would never be the same again. For him, this was the beginning of a journey. It was more than a journey into a new land. It was a journey into God's blessing. Notice that Abraham was "75 years old" (Genesis 12:4) when he set out on this great journey of faith and blessing. 75 years old - we don't normally expect big changes at this age. Big change - this was what God expected of Abraham. Can we ever say, "It's too late to make a new beginning with God?" No! We must never say this. Whatever age we are, we must be ready to say "Yes" to God, to move forward with Him. Pray that God will give you a new hunger for Himself, for His Word, for prayer. As we get older, are we getting colder or bolder? Do we say, "My best days are behind me? or Do we rise to new challenges?

Looking forward to the future

Isaiah 35:1-10

Isaiah looks forward to the future. He says that there will be blessing from the Lord. He looks forward to a time of "joy and singing." He says that it will be a night of "the glory of the Lord" (Isaiah 35:2). Isaiah brings Good News to the people - "He will save you" (Isaiah 35:4). This is the Good News: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"  (1 Timothy 1:15). Those who have been saved by the Lord are described by Isaiah as "the redeemed." Once we have been "redeemed" or saved by the Lord, we are called to "walk in the Holy Way" (Isaiah 35:8-9). Isaiah's prophecy speaks to us of being saved by the Lord. It speaks of walking with the Lord. It also speaks of being with the Lord forevermore. This is the great message of Isaiah 35:10. This is "unending joy." There will be no more "sorrow." This is the completion of our salvation.

Friday, 18 December 2015

My Heart Is Overflowing With Good News.

"My heart is overflowing with Good News ... Grace is poured on your lips ... O warrior, strap your sword to your side ... Ride on victoriously in your majesty for the cause of truth, humility, and righteousness" (Psalm 45:1-4).
As we read this Psalm, we catch a glimpse of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ - "You are the most handsome of Adam's descendants" (Psalm 45:2). The Good News comes to us from Jesus. Grace comes to us from Jesus. We hear the Gospel. we believe in Jesus. He forgives our sins. He leads us in the way of victory. He teaches us truth, humility and righteousness. His truth sets us free - to become less self-centred and more Christ-centred. He teaches us the truth about ourselves. This keeps us humble. We're never any more than sinners who've been saved by His grace. He teaches us the truth about Himself. He is our Saviour. He is our Lord. As we learn of Jesus, our Saviour and Lord, He creates in us a desire to become more like Him - to be "led in paths of righteousness for His Name's sake" (Psalm 23:3).

Personal worship - and public worship

Psalm 129 speaks of God's judgment upon "wicked people who attack" the Lord's people. Psalm 130 is a prayer for forgiveness. In Psalm 131, the Psalmist comes to the Lord with humility - "My heart is not conceited" (Psalm 130:1). In Psalm, he worships the Lord with joy - "Let your godly ones sing with joy" (Psalm 132:9); "Then Zion's godly ones will sing joyfully" (Psalm 132:16). Our worship is not only personal worship. It is also public worship - worshipping in fellowship with the Lord's people: "See how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in harmony" (Psalm 133:1).

God forgives and forgets.

Jeremiah 31:31-40

God forgives and forgets (Jeremiah 31:34). It’s not “God cannot remember.” It’s “God chooses not to remember.” The rebuilding of our life - we are to be “holy to the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:38-40).

Rivers Of Living Wather - Flowing Into Us And Flowing Out From Us

Ezekiel 47:1-12

“ankle-deep, knee-deep, up to the waist, deep enough to swim in, a river than could not be crossed on foot” (Ezekiel 47:3-5).
Jerusalem - ankle-deep, all Judaea - knee deep, Samaria - up to the waist, the ends of the earth - deep enough to swim in (Acts 1:8)
Before there can be witness, there needs to be worship: from a trickle to a river - John 7:37-39.
The rivers of living water must flow into us before they can flow out from us. “There will be life everywhere the river goes” (Ezekiel 47:9).

Our help is in the Name of the Lord.

“Our help is in the Name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:8). This is something we must never forget. When we are conscious of being helped by the Lord, we can say with confidence in Him: “Those who trust the Lord are like Mount Zion, which can never be shaken” (Psalm 125:1). Knowing the blessing of God in our lives, we have this joyful testimony: “The Lord has done spectacular things for us. We are overjoyed” (Psalm 126:3). The Lord “builds the house” of our life (Psalm 127:1) - This is the blessing which He promises to those who walk with Him: “Blessed are all who fear the Lord and live his way” (Psalm 128:1).

When I was in trouble ...

We call upon the Lord, and He answers us - “When I was in trouble, I cried out to the Lord, and He answered me” (Psalm 120:1). The Lord is our Helper - “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). We worship the Lord - “I was glad when they said to me, Let’s go to the House of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1). We put our trust in the Lord - “we depend on the Lord our God” (Psalm 123:2).

The Word of God at the heart of our life

Psalm 119 is a personal prayer of devotion to the Lord. It is clear, throughout this Psalm, that our relationship with God is maintained as we build our lives upon his written Word. What blessing the Word of God has brought into the life of the Psalmist! This is still the way of blessing today - “Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my faith” (Psalm 119:105). It is with the Word of God at the heart of our life that we face the future with confidence: “My hope is based on Your Word” (Psalm 119:147).

The “Hallelujah” arises from the hearts of God’s people.

The Lord “turns a rock into a pool, filled with water, and turns flint into a spring flowing with water” (Psalm 114:8). The “Hallelujah” arises from the hearts of God’s people (Psalm 115:18; Psalm 116:19; Psalm 117:2), “The Lord is responsible for this, and it is amazing for us to see” (Psalm 118:23).

From Disaster To Revival

 * "In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and You listened to my cry" (Jonah 2:2).
What are we to do when the going gets tough? We've heard the saying, When the going gets tough, the tough get going. We wonder if this really helps. What if we find that we're not really so tough? What happens when we can't get going? There are times when we know that this is too much for us. We can't raise ourselves up. We need to be lifted. We need You, Lord. You are "the lifter of my head." (Psalm 3:3). It's Your love that lifts us: "Love lifted me. When no-one but Christ could help, love lifted me" (James Rowe).
 * “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered You, Lord, and my prayer rose to You, to Your holy temple" (Jonah 2:7).
Where does this remembering come from? It comes from the Lord. He puts the prayer into our hearts. Jonah was running away from God. God was drawing Jonah back to Himself. Like Jonah, we lose our way in life. That's when we need to hear the wonderful words of Jesus, our Saviour. He tells us that He "came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10).
 * "Salvation is of the Lord. Victory belongs to the Lord" (Jonah 2:9).
Without the Lord, there is no salvation. Without Him, there is no victory. Jonah's story was a disaster story - until God stepped in. It was God who changed everything. That's the way it was with Jonah. That's the way it is with us.
 * "Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, ‘Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.’ The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth" (Jonah 3:3-5).
What a revival! What power there is in the Word of God!
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Corrected By God's Word - Not Correcting God's Word!

“I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected” (Habakkuk 2:1).
Habakkuk doesn’t say to God, “Let me hear what you have to say to me – and I’ll go away and think about it and see if I agree with what you have said.” No! He says something very different. He says, “Let me hear what you have to say to me – and I will be corrected by Your Word to me.” It’s our thinking that needs to be corrected by God’s Word – not God’s Word that needs to be corrected by us. The moment we speak about our thinking being corrected by God’s Word, we hear voices being raised – “The Bible was written such a long time ago. The world is very different now.” Yes! The world is very different now – but we must ask the awkward question, “How many of the changes have come from the fact that we have stopped listening to what the Bible has to say to us?” Have we stopped listening to what the Bible has to say to us? We may read the Bible – especially the passages that we like – but what happens when the Bible challenges us to change our way of thinking? Do we dig our heels in and end up in the situation where “everyone does what is right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25)? There’s a better way than this. It’s the way of listening to what the Lord has to say to us. It’s the way of being corrected by the Word of the Lord.

Filled With Glory

"I will fill this temple with glory" (Haggai 2:7).
We read about the glory of the temple at Jerusalem.  There is, however, a greater glory - the glory of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2) - "I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple" (Revelation 21:22). Where do we find the real glory? Is it in the place where we worship? No! It's in the Person whom we worship. It's in the Lord. The real glory comes from Him. It's the Lord who fills the temple with His glory.

A Call For Conversion, A Promise of Salvation (Zechariah 1:1-6)

 * The Faithful Ministry of God's Prophets
God’s work does not always move forward smoothly. We face determined opposition. Where there is opportunity, there will be opposition (1 Corinthians 16:9). The servants of Satan rise up to oppose the servants of the Lord. The Lord’s enemies had some success: ‘the work on the House of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill’ (Ezra 4:24). This was only a temporary setback. God gave new strength to His servants. He sent His ‘prophets, Haggai and Zechariah’ (Ezra 5:1). They brought His Word to the people. Strengthened by their ministry of God’s Word, ‘Zerubbabel... arose and began to rebuild the House of God in Jerusalem’ (Ezra 5:2). God’s work was back on track. His people were moving forward - again. When your head goes down, let the Lord come to you. He will lift you up!
God’s work makes good progress when God’s people receive strength from God’s Word. Haggai and Zechariah were faithful in preaching God’s Word to the people. Their preaching ministry was very important. It was just what the builders needed. It inspired them to keep working. God’s House was rebuilt and God’s people rejoiced (Ezra 6:14-16). The rebuilding of  God’s House was followed by the ministry of God’s servant, Ezra. ‘The hand of the Lord was upon Ezra’ (Ezra 7:6,28). His ministry was blessed by the Lord. In Ezra’s ministry of the Word, there are three vital elements - studying, doing and teaching (Ezra 7:10). Ezra did not only study and teach God’s Word. He did God’s Word. Obedience lies at the heart of true ministry. This is the kind of ministry that God blesses - an obedient ministry.
* "Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'Return to Me,' declares the Lord Almighty, 'and I will return to you,' says the Lord Almighty" (Zechariah 1:3).
What is the message that God's faithful servants bring to today's world?
(a) They bring the Lord's message. They say, "This is what the Lord Almighty says."
(b) They "tell the people" what they  need to hear. They don't ask them what they want to hear!
(c)  It is a call for conversion - "Return to Me."
(d) It is a promise of salvation - "I will return to you."

The highest position in heaven

The opening words of Psalm 110 are applied, in Hebrews, to our Lord Jesus Christ: “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit in the highest position in heaven until I make Your enemies Your footstool.” As we consider the mighty triumph of our Lord Jesus Christ, our hearts are filled with worship - “Hallelujah!” (Psalm 111:1; Psalm 112:1; Psalm 113:1,9).

“Give thanks to the Lord.”

Psalm 107 calls us to “give thanks to the Lord” (Psalm 107:1,8,15,21,31). When we hear the call to “give thanks to the Lord”, our response is to be ‘I want to give thanks to You among the people, O Lord” (Psalm 108:3). “With my mouth I will give many thanks to the Lord, I will praise Him among many people” (Psalm 109:30).

The joy of the Lord and the fear of the Lord

As well as the joy of the Lord, there is also to be the fear of the Lord in our worship. Psalms 97, 98 and 100 speak of the joy of the Lord: “Find joy in the Lord, you righteous people” (Psalm 97:12). “Shout happily to the Lord, all the earth. Break into joyful singing” (Psalm 98:4). “Shout happily to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord cheerfully. Come into His presence with a joyful song” (Psalm 100:1-2). Psalm 99 emphasizes the importance of the fear of the Lord: “The Lord rules as King. Let the people tremble. He is enthroned over the angels. Let the earth quake” (Psalm 99:1).

Raised From The Dead!

“God raised Jesus Christ from the dead” (Acts 2:24).

Did this become true only because a lot of people said that it was true? Has it become false because many people refuse to believe that it’s true? No! It’s God’s great miracle. Death has been defeated. There is hope. Death will not triumph over us. Jesus Christ is Lord.

Stephen and his Saviour

"Look," Stephen said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God" (Acts 7:56).

Immediately after this great  vision of his Saviour, Stephen prayed two prayers
 - "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (Acts 7:59);
 - "Lord, do not hold this sin against them" (Acts 7:60).
Stephen's death wasn't a sad exit from this world. It was a triumphant entry into God's eternal Kingdom.
Through faith in Christ, we can die triumphantly.

Great things can happen ...

Great things can happen when ‘earnest prayer’ is ‘made to God by the church’ - God ‘is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think’ (Acts 12:5-7; Ephesians 3:20). Give all the glory to God.
Herod ‘did not give God the glory’. He accepted the praise of the people - ‘This is the voice of a god, not of a man’. Herod’s sudden death - ‘an angel of the Lord struck him down’ - is a warning (Acts 12:22-23; Proverbs 29:1).
‘Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows that he will also reap’. ‘Walk humbly with your God’ (Galatians 6:7; Micah 6:8).

A Problem - And A Response

"Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls ... Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words ... Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord" (Acts 15:24,32,35).

There was a problem. There needed to be a response. Whenever God's people are being "troubled" and "unsettled" by those who speak their own "words" rather than the Word of the Lord, what are we to do? We must pray that God will raise up "prophets" who will preach the Gospel and teach the Word of God, strengthening the faith of God's people and leading them into a closer walk with God.

Decisions - And Disiciples

“Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.’” (Acts 15:36). 

We begin with making decisions – but we don’t end there. We must go on from there to making disciples. Making a decision for Christ is just the beginning. Growing into a disciple of Christ – this is God’s calling for the whole of our life’s journey.

Tragedy ... And Triumph

Genesis 3:1-7
The tragedy of Adam and Eve: their fall into sin. We compare this with the triumph of Jesus - His victory over Satan.
What made the difference?- standing on the Word of God.
Adam and Eve believed the lie of the devil.
Jesus took His stand on the Word of God.
What about us? Do we stand? or Do we fall? Will we listen to Satan? or Will we listen to God?
We cannot be facing in two directions at the same time. We must make our choice.
Will our life be self-centred? or Will it be God-centred?
God is calling us out of the old life (the Adam life). He’s calling us into the new life (the Jesus life). When we choose to walk with Jesus, He walks with us.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Sing To The Lord ...

May God help each of us to “sing to the Lord.” May we “sing praise to Him.” May we “glory in His holy Name.” May we “rejoice” in Him. May we come to Him in our weakness and find our new “strength” in Him (Psalm 105:2-4).

Take Your Problems To The Lord.

The Psalmist faced many difficulties. There were the problems caused by “unfaithful people” (Psalm 101:3-5). He had health problems (Psalm 102:3-5). He takes his problems to the Lord, convinced that “from everlasting to everlasting, the Lord’s mercy is on those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:17).

Praising God and finding strength in Him

The way of blessing is the way of praising God and finding strength in Him (Psalm 84:4-5). We worship the Lord - "Your Name is the LordYou alone are the Most High God of the whole earth" (Psalm 83:18). As we worship Him, our strength is restored. He answers our prayer - “Restore us, O God, our Saviour” (Psalm 85:4). As we worship God, our joy is restored - “Give me joy, O Lord, because I lift my soul to You” (Psalm 86:4). What a joy it is to know the Lord. He’s the Source of all our blessings (Psalm 87:7). Knowing that it is God’s desire to bless us, we come to Him, earnestly seeking His blessing: “I cry out to You for help, O Lord, and, in the morning, my prayer will come into Your presence” (Psalm 88:13).

Bring Your Questions To The Lord.

In Psalms 73 - 75, there is inner turmoil, as the Psalmist wonders what to make of the success of the wicked who oppose the Lord and His people. There are times of great confusion - “But when I tried to understand this, it was too difficult for me” (Psalm 73:16). There are times when the Psalmist is on the edge of despair - “Why, O God, have You rejected us forever? Why does Your anger smoulder against the sheep in Your care? ... How long, O God, will the enemy insult us? Will the enemy despise You forever?” (Psalm 74:1,10). Despite all that runs counter to God, the Psalmist remains strong in faith. He triumphs over all that opposes the purpose of God in his life - “God remains the foundation of my life and my inheritance forever ... From long ago, God has been my King, the One who has been victorious throughout the earth ... We give thanks to You, O God; we give thanks. You are present, and Your miracles confirm that ... I will speak about Your miracles forever. I will make music to praise the God of Jacob” (Psalm 73:26; Psalm 74:12; Psalm 75:1,9).

"I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God" (Romans 15:17).

Where has the blessing come from? Does it say something about how worthy we are? No! It's not about us. We haven't done anything to deserve God's blessing. The blessing comes from the Lord. To Him be all the glory!

God Is Great.

“God is known in Judah. His name is great in Israel ... What god is as great as our God” (Psalm 76:1; Psalm 77:13). God is great. He’s greater than we can put into words, or even imagine. As we think of the greatness of God, we worship Him, singing, “How great Thou art”, “Great is Thy faithfulness.” To the Lord be all glory for all that He is, all that He has done for us, and all that He says to us.

God's Glorious Future

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

How does the Lord keep us walking in His way? – He keeps on bringing to our attention the glorious future which He is preparing for us. He keeps on reminding us that we are being prepared for His eternal glory. How is He preparing us for ”praise,  glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed”? – He is teaching us to “love Him. ” The more we are learning to love Him, the more we will look forward, “with an inexpressible and glorious joy” to  ”the end result of our faith, the salvation of our souls” (1 Peter 1:7-9).

The Name Of Jesus

“May His Name endure forever. May His Name continue as long as the sun shines” (Psalm 72:17); “May He rule from sea to sea” (Psalm 72:8) - These words inspired the hymn, “Jesus shall reign ... “ The words of this Psalm find a glorious echo in the triumphant words of Philippians 2:9-11 - “At the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.”

Praise doesn't begin with us!

"Praise God in His sanctuary" (Psalm 150:1). "Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit... glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Where does praise come from? How do we learn to glorify God"? We learn that we "have been bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:20). At the Cross of Christ, we learn to praise God. We see Jesus, crucified for us - and our hearts are filled with praise to God. This is where praise begins. It doesn't begin with us. It begins with God. It begins with Jesus. It begins with the Holy Spirit.

The Lord is my Shepherd ...

Psalm 23:1-6

“The Lord is my Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1).
He speaks to us. He calls us to Himself. He leads us on with Himself (John 10:3).
He is all that we need for walking the walk as well as talking the talk.
He works in us through the “oil” of the Holy Spirit and the “table” and “cup” of Christ (Psalm 23:5).
The completion of God’s work in us is beyond this life. It’s more than “as long as I live.” It’s “forever” (Psalm 23:6).

Pain And Praise

The Psalmist is calling upon the Lord to be his “help and Saviour.” He is looking to the Lord for an immediate response - “Come quickly to rescue me, O God! Come quickly to help me, O Lord! ... O God, come quickly to me ... O Lord, do not delay” (Psalm 70:1,5). The Psalmist continues to pray for the Lord’s help: “”O God, do not be so distant from me, O my God, come quickly to me” (Psalm 71:12). In these prayers, we become aware of the Psalmist’s great pain. He speaks of “those who seek his life” and “want his downfall” (Psalm 70:2), his “enemies” who “talk about him” as “they watch him and plot to take his life” (Psalm 71:10). Through all his suffering, we see the light of faith shining brightly - “Because of Your faithfulness, O my God, even I will give thanks to You, as I play on a lyre. I will make music with a harp to praise You, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will sing with joy when I make music to praise You. My lips, which you have rescued, also will sing joyfully. My tongue will tell about Your righteousness all day long” (Psalm 71:22-24).

Great Distress, Great Mercy

Out of a situation of great distress, the Psalmist prays to the Lord: “O God, out of the greatness of Your mercy, answer me with the truth of Your salvation” (Psalm 69:13). “Answer me, O Lord, because Your mercy is good. Out of your unlimited compassion, turn to me” (Psalm 69:16). “Let Your saving power protect me, O God” (Psalm 69:29). When God answers our  prayer for salvation, this is cause for much praise and thanksgiving: “I want to praise the Name of God with a song. I want to praise its greatness with a song of thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30). “Let heaven and earth, the seas and everything that moves in them, praise Him” (Psalm 69:34).

Praise and thanksgiving - to God

The Psalmist calls upon all of us to offer our praise and thanksgiving to God - "Shout happily to God, all the earth! Make music to praise the glory of His Name. Make His praise glorious" (Psalm 66:1-2). "Let everyone give thanks to You. Let the nations be glad and sing joyfully ... Let the people give thanks to You, O God. Let all the people give thanks to You" (Psalm 67:3,5).

Thanks be to God!

“Our God is a God of victories. The Almighty Lord is our escape from death ... He gives strength and power to His people. Thanks be to God!” (Psalm 68:20,35). These words turn our thoughts to the great words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:57 - “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This victory is the triumph of Christ, risen from the dead. The risen Christ - our Saviour and Lord - gives us victory over our greatest enemy - “death” (1 Corinthians 15:26). It is Christ’s triumph over the devil - “Jesus took on flesh and blood. He did this so that, by dying, He would destroy the one who had power over death (that is, the devil)”; “The reason that the Son of God appeared was to destroy what the devil does” (Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8).

God's Power - And God's Mercy

"Listen to my cry for help, O Lord" (Psalm 61:1). God is the God of power and mercy: "Power belongs to God. Mercy belongs to You, O Lord" (Psalm 62:11-12), "I look to You in the holy place to see Your power and Your glory. My lips will praise You because Your mercy is better than life itself" (Psalm 63:3). When we consider how great God is - great in power, great in mercy, we are filled with thanksgiving, praise and joy - "I will thank You as long as I live ... My mouth will sing Your praise with joyful lips" (Psalm 63:4-5).

Prayer and Testimony

In Psalms 38-40, we have the Psalmist’s prayer and his testimony that God had heard and answered his prayer. “Do not abandon me, O Lord. O my God, do not be so distant from me. Come quickly to help me, O Lord, my Saviour... Listen to my prayer, O Lord. Open Your ear to my cry for help... I waited patiently for the Lord. He turned to me and heard my cry for help. He pulled me out of a horrible pit, out of the mud and clay. He set my feet on a rock and made my steps secure” (Psalm 38:21-22; Psalm 39:12; Psalm 40:1-2).

Monday, 14 December 2015

God's Wisdom? or Our Wisdom?

In Job 11, we hear from Zophar. So far, so good - That’s what we can say about the basic principles of his message: “God’s wisdom is higher than heaven” (Job 11:8); “If you want to set your heart right, then pray to Him. If you’re holding on to sin, put it far away” (Job 11:13). There’s a problem with Zophar’s message. He applies these basic principles to Job. He allows the idea that Job has sinned to dominate his thinking rather than allowing for the possibility that God, in His perfect wisdom, may have another reason, a very different reason, for permitting Job to suffer. When we have two important principles - God’s wisdom and God’s forgiveness, we must not assume that we know exactly how the two relate to each other. If we act on the basis of our own wisdom rather than God’s wisdom, we may end up showing ourselves to be fools.
In Job 12 - 14, Job speaks. He emphasizes that wisdom comes from God (Job 12:13). He charges his so-called ‘comforters’ with speaking foolishly, without the wisdom which comes from God: “Will you talk wickedly for God and talk deceitfully on His behalf? ... Doesn’t His Majesty terrify you? Doesn’t the fear of Him fall upon you?” (Job 13:7,11). Job is still unclear about what is happening to him. He is still wishing that he was dead: “I wish You would hide me in Sheol” (Job 14:13). He still insists on his innocence: “I know that I will be declared righteous” (Job 13:18).

Let's Give God Our Very Best.

Ephesians 4:7-5:14
God wants us to ‘grow up in every way into Christ’ (15). We are to ‘walk in love’ (2), a life which is ‘pleasing to the Lord’ (5:10).
It is so easy for us to settle for something less than God’s very best. We settle down into a state of spiritual complacency.
What does God have to say about this? - ‘Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God’ (30). He gives us His wake-up call: ‘Awake, O sleeper…’ (5:14). God says to us, ‘Awake, awake, put on your strength… Shake yourself from the dust, arise’ (Isaiah 52:1-2).
Have you become ‘lukewarm’? - ‘Be zealous and repent’. Christ says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him’ (Revelation 3:16,19-20).

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Lord, You have made us - to praise You.

Lord, You have made us - to praise You. You call us to live for Your glory. Praise to God, glory to God - Where does this come from? We look into our hearts - and it is not there. We look at our lives - and we say, "Where is this praise to God?, Where is this glory to God?" Lord, we can only praise You when You give to us the song of praise. You alone can fill our hearts with praise to You. You alone can fill our lives with Your glory. Without You, Lord, our life is a spiritual wasteland. Come, O Lord, to this spiritual wasteland. Come - and make our life a song of praise to You. Come - and make our life a hymn that says, "Glory to God."

More Than The Story Of Kings ...

The throne is handed on to Solomon by David. This is seen as part of the ongoing purpose of God: “Praise the Lord God of Israel who has let me see the heir to my throne” (1 Kings 1:48). The kingship was given to Solomon by “the Lord” (1 Kings 2:15) - “The Lord set me on my father David’s throne ... As He promised” (1 Kings 2:24). When we read the history of the kings of Israel, it is important that we do not lose sight of this spiritual dimension. This is more than the story of men. It’s the story of God’s dealings with His people.
Solomon was a wise man. His wisdom came from God: “He possessed wisdom from God”, “God gave Solomon wisdom” (1 Kings 3:28; 1 Kings 4:29). The work done by the king required wisdom. The gift of wisdom is to be received with praise to God: “May the Lord be praised today: He has given David a wise son to rule this great nation” (1 Kings 5:7). God gave wisdom for spiritual leadership - building the Lord’s Temple (1 Kings 6:1,37-38). God gives wisdom to us as we gather together in His House to hear His Word (1 Kings 6:19). We are not only to hear His Word. We are to do His work (1 Kings 7:51). For His work, God gives us His wisdom - holy wisdom.
Solomon prays (1 Kings 8:22-53). The Lord answers Solomon’s prayer (1 Kings 9:3-9). We must seek the blessing of God. Without His blessing, all our efforts are fruitless. When our work is “in the Lord”, it is “not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Together with work, there needs to be prayer. We are to look to God for the blessing. As we pray to God and work for Him, we must remember this: God is faithful - He fulfils His promises to His people (1 Kings 8:56). When God blesses us, we must remember to give thanks to Him. As well as praying to Him, working for Him and thanking Him, we must make sure that we keep on living for Him (1 Kings 8:61). At the centre of our life of obedience, there is to be worshipping Him in His House (1 Kings 9:3).
In 1 Kings 10, we read about Solomon’s wealth. In 1 Kings 11, we read about his weakness - women. There is sadness about Solomon’s reign - “He was no longer committed to the Lord his God as his father David had been ... He did not wholeheartedly follow the Lord as his father David had done” (1 Kings 11:4,6). Solomon’s sin led to God’s judgment: “So the Lord grew angry with Solomon because his heart had turned from the Lord God of Israel” (1 Kings 11:9).
1 Kings 12 tells us about Rehoboam (verses 1-19) and Jeroboam (verses 20-33). God was looking beyond both of these men. He was looking ahead to the reign of King Josiah (1 Kings 13:2). For the fulfilment of this prophecy, we must look on to 2 Kings 23:15-20. God is always ahead of us. We live in our present. He is calling us on to His future.
As we read about various king, there is something that we must never forget - the Lord is King. He is King of all kings. Over all kings, there is One who reigns supreme. The Lord reigns. His reign is greater than any earthly king. He is the King of heaven. There is no other king like the Lord. He is the One who sits on the heavenly throne. His throne is established forever.
We read about Elijah in his high-points of strength - the triumph over the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:36-39) - and his low-points of weakness - he is ready to give up: “I’ve had enough now, Lord” (1 Kings 19:4). How did Elijah get into such a mess? He forgot this: “The Lord’s power was on Elijah” (1 Kings 18:46). In all life’s ups and downs, we must hold on to this: The Lord has sent His Spirit of power to live in us (2 Timothy 1:7). How are we to live in the power of the Spirit? We need to feed on the Word of God and drink in the Word of God (1 Kings 17:4). We need to pray that the Lord will send His showers of blessing (1 Kings 17:14). We are to live our life “according to the Word of the Lord” (1 Kings 17:16). For our life of faith to be strong in the Lord, we need to listen attentively to the preaching of God’s Word (1 Kings 17:24).
Following the death of the evil king, Ahab, things changed. The new king, Jehoshaphat, was a different kind of man - “Jehoshaphat did what the Lord considered right” (1 Kings 22:43). Sadly, things took a turn for the worse after Jehoshaphat died: “Ahaziah ... Did what the Lord considered evil .... Ahaziah served Baal, worshipped him, and made the Lord God of Israel furious ...” (1 Kings 22:51-53). In all the changing circumstances of our lives, we must remember that the Lord is King. We are not to put our trust in kings. There are good kings. There are bad kings. There is only one true King. There is only One who is King over all. The Lord is the King of kings. This is the thought which we must take with us as we move on from 1 Kings to 2 Kings. The Lord is King. No human king can even begin to compare with the Lord, who is King over all.

Lord, help us to get our priorities right.

Genesis 1:1-3
Lord, help us to get our priorities right - Your priorities. May our lives be more centred on You - less centred on ourselves. Help us to listen for Your Word - not to jump straight in with our own words. Help us to open our hearts to Your Holy Spirit. May He move among us - in power, in love, in holiness, in victory. Transform our life, O Lord - May we live as a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). May we know the great blessing of knowing that Jesus, our Saviour, is always "God with us" (Matthew 1:23).

A Word That Reaches The Heart

“O Lord … Say to my soul, I am your Saviour”  (Psalm 35:1,3).
Assurance of our salvation comes to us from the Lord Himself. He speaks to us. His Word is a deep Word. It reaches the heart.

Out Of Our Failure - And Into The Lord's Victory ...

The end of Saul’s reign, the beginning of David’s reign
For Saul, the end was tragic - “See how the mighty have fallen” (2 Samuel 1:19,25,27).
David’s reign marked a new beginning. God is gracious. He gives a new beginning when we have made a mess of things. He is the God of hope. He leads us out of our failure and into His victory.
David became the king of Judah (2 Samuel 2:1-7) and the king of Israel (2 Samuel 5:1-5). Behind the story of David, there is the story of God at work: “The Lord was with David”,     “The Lord had established him as king of Israel and made his kingdom famous for the sake of Israel, the Lord’s people” (2 Samuel 5:10-12).
“David worships the Lord” - “I will celebrate in the Lord’s presence”, “You are great, Lord God. There is no one like You, and there is no other god except you” (2 Samuel 6:21; 2 Samuel 7:22).
David trusts God - “Almighty Lord, You are God, and Your words are trustworthy” (2 Samuel 7:28).
David obeys God - “David ruled all Israel. He did what was fair and right for all his people” (2 Samuel 8:15).
“God’s kindness” (2 Samuel 9:3)
God has shown His kindness to us. We are to show His kindness to others.
“Be strong!” (2 Samuel 10:12) - We are to be strong in the strength of the Lord.
Strength and kindness - God will give us the strength to be less self-centred, and more other-centred and God-centred.
“The Lord considered David’s actions evil” (2 Samuel 11:27) - This is a summary of the sinful and shameful events that are recorded in 2 Samuel 11. For most of 2 Samuel 12, we have a record of the consequences of David’s sin. At the end of the chapter, there is a ray of hope - the birth of a son, Jedidiah. His name means “The Lord’s Beloved”. God’s love is greater than our sin!
In 2 Samuel 13 - 14, we read about sin - rape, murder and deception. This realistic account of human behaviour highlights the sin which separates us from God. This shows us very clearly our need of salvation. We need the Lord’s saving grace in our lives, if we are to be kept from going further along the road of sinful living. By His grace, He saves us. He forgives our sin. He calls us to walk with Him on the pathway of holiness.
In 2 Samuel 15 - 16, we have a very human story. It’s just like our life today. We read it, and we think about our own life. We ask, “Where is the Lord in all of this?” We need to maintain the Lord’s priorities. We need to keep “God’s ark” - His Word - among us. We need to seek His favour and honour His servants (2 Samuel 15:25; 2 Samuel 16:18). Maintaining the Lord’s priorities is so important if we are to keep sight of Him. If we fail to maintain our focus on the Lord, we will be swept along by events that do not seem to be filled with any real sense of the purpose of God being fulfilled in our lives. When God seems far away, and we can’t see Him at work, we must keep on believing in His presence and power, We walk by faith - not by sight.
In 2 Samuel 17 - 19, we read of Absalom pursuing David (chapter 17), David defeating Absalom (chapter 18), and David being restored to the throne (chapter 19). At the heart of these very human events concerning conflict within the nation, we must see the outworking of God’s purpose.
“May the Lord your God be praised. He has handed over the men who rebelled against your Majesty” (2 Samuel 18:28). The king is called “your Majesty”. We must never forget that there is an even greater King, an even greater Majesty. The Lord is King. We “worship His Majesty”.
In 2 Samuel 20 - 21, there are so many names. As we read about the various incidents that are described in these chapters, we must not overlook the spiritual dimension. We must respect the Lord and His servants (2 Samuel 20:19). We must seek the Lord’s blessing. “God answered the prayers for the land” (2 Samuel 21:14) - We must look to the Lord to do this in our generation.
David sings his song to the Lord (2 Samuel 22:1-51). It’s a song of praise. It’s a song which exalts the Lord. It’s a song which gives glory to the Lord. At the heart of David’s song of praise, there’s a particularly rich section, which is full of precious statements concerning the Lord.
* God’s way is perfect (2 Samuel 22:31).
* Who is God but the Lord? (2 Samuel 22:32).
* God arms me with strength (2 Samuel 22:33).
* He makes my feet like those of a deer (2 Samuel 22:34).
* He trains my hands for battle (2 Samuel 22:35).
* You have given me the shield of Your salvation (2 Samuel 22:36).
* You make a wide path for me to walk on so my feet do not slip (2 Samuel 22:37).
These great verses jump out from the particular historical circumstances out of which David speaks.
They speak to us as words which jump across the centuries.
These words begin as David’s confession of faith. They become our confession of faith.
David’s work was intended by God to bring blessing to the people.
He was “raised up” by God (2 Samuel 23:1). “The Spirit of the Lord spoke through him" (2 Samuel 23:2).
David’s influence on the people was not always a good influence.
He “sinned” against the Lord, bringing judgment upon the nation (2 Samuel 24:10,15).
Sin and judgment are not, however, the last word concerning God’s dealings with His people.
“So the Lord heard the prayers for the country, and the plague in Israel stopped” (2 Samuel 24:25).
The Lord’s servants are not perfect. There is sin in us. This affects our usefulness in God’s service.
God is greater than His servants.
His grace reaches out to men and women through His very inadequate servants. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels”.
Why? - “To show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to ourselves” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Leading sinners to the Saviour of sinners

"My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20).

It is a great thing to rejoice in God's salvation. We give thanks for the truth upon which our salvation rests. As well as rejoicing in God's salvation and standing upon His truth, we must also speak directly to those who have wandered from the truth, calling upon them to turn from the error of their ways.
Turning "a sinner from the error of his way" - we don't hear much of this kind of talk nowadays. People like to hear the Good News of salvation. They like to be assured of the truth of God's Word. If, however, our teaching regarding the Good News of salvation and the truth of God's Word are to have real depth, we must speak forthrightly about turning "a sinner from the error of his way."
 * Speaking about our "multitude of sins" - this is not to be dismissed as a purely negative reaction against the easy-going outlook of so many people in today's world. There is something much more positive than that - we speak about our sin so that we might learn to glory in God's salvation.
 * Speaking about "the error of our way" - this is not be dismissed as a 'know-it-all' attitude by which we 'look down our noses' at the 'anything goes' approach that is so common in today's world. There's something much more positive here - following our Saviour, we warn against the folly of building on a foundation of shifting sand so that we might learn to build our life upon the Solid Rock: Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:24-27;  1 Corinthians 3:11).
 * Speaking about "death" - this is not be dismissed as out-of-touch with the positive outlook of today's world. Once again, there is something very positive here. We emphasize that "the wages of sin is death" so that there might be a greater appreciation of "the gift of God" which is "eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
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Why do we speak of sin, error and death? 
 - We speak of sin so that people may be called back from the way of sin to a much better way  - the way of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, our Saviour: "He is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God through Him" (Hebrews 7:25).
 - We speak of error so that people may be called back from the way of error to a much more reliable way than the way of error - the way of truth, trusting in Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6). 
 - We speak of death so that people may be called back from the way of death to the much more wonderful way that God has planned for all who put their faith in His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ - the way of eternal life: "God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life" (1 John 5:11-12).

Read The Old Testament - And Look On, From There, To Jesus.

Numbers 19:1-22
When we read about being made clean, we must look beyond what we read in the Old Testament. From the sprinkling of the blood of “a red cow that is perfect, with no defects”, we must look on to the New Testament, where we read of “the blood of Jesus Christ which cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Jesus Christ is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Blessed In The Past - What About The Future?

Numbers 20:1-29 
Neither Moses nor Aaron were to enter the land, promised by God to His people (Numbers 20:12,24). This is a reminder to us that we dare not presume on God’s continued blessing. The fact that He has blessed us in the past does not mean that He will always bless us. We can lose out on His blessing. The blessing of God is to be treasured. It is not be taken lightly. It must never be taken for granted.

Victory in the wilderness

The book of Numbers tells us the story of Israel's journey through the wilderness. What can we learn from their journey? 
The people of Israel had been delivered from their bondage in Egypt. They were going to be brought to the Promised Land. For a long while, they were in the wilderness. For forty years, the wilderness was their “now moment”. We look back. We remember what the Lord has done for us. He died on the Cross for us. We look forward to His Return. What a great day that will be! In our many “now moments”, we are in the wilderness. It’s a place of danger. It’s a place of promise. We are involved in a constant battle for faith and obedience – “The sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want” (Galatians 5:17). Often, we fail our Lord. We need to hear the challenging words of Paul: “After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (Galatians 3:3). Thank God, we also hear Paul’s triumphant words: “Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Even in the wilderness, we catch a glimpse of the glory of the promised land!

On To The Promised Land

Deuteronomy 1:1-3:29
This is the continuing story of God’s mighty working on behalf of His chosen people. He is leading them on to the land He had promised to them. Entering this land will not be easy. There will be plenty of opposition. The enemy will be defeated. The Lord will triumph over all who stand against Him.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

The Great King

Jesus Christ – the great King (Psalm 24:8–10 )

“Who is this great King?” (Psalm 24:8, 10) The Psalmist tells us – “He is the Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, victorious in battle … The triumphant Lord – He is the great King!” (vs. 8, 10).
When we turn to the New Testament, we learn that Jesus is the great King. Jesus is the Lord. Jesus is strong and mighty. Jesus is victorious in battle. Jesus is the triumphant Lord. Jesus Christ is the Name which jumps out at us from the first chapter of Ephesians. Everything is centred upon Christ.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Sometimes, Lord, we wonder what it's all about!

Sometimes, Lord, we wonder what it's all about! When we feel like this, help us to know that You love us. Help us to see that You are working in us - to teach us to love You.

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The Lord has sent His Spirit of power to live in us.

We read about Elijah in his high-points of strength - the triumph over the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:36-39) - and his low-points of w...