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Showing posts from January, 2017

God’s Blessing – Given, Accepted And Enjoyed (Genesis 12 - 13)

The “land” was given to Abraham by God. It was to be the land of His “blessing” (Genesis 12:1-3).  God’s gift of grace calls forth our response – “Abraham went, as the Lord had spoken to him” (Genesis 12:4). God had spoken. Abraham had acted upon God’s Word. Was it all plain sailing after that? No! There were trying times ahead of Abraham, times when he had to keep his eyes on the Lord. Receiving God’s gift of salvation does not guarantee that we will always walk with the Lord. We fall into sin – when we take our eyes off the Lord. “Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land” (Genesis 12:10). What are we make of this? What was going on here? Here are two different ways of looking at this situation – “Even when we are where God wants us to be, all will not necessarily go well for us materially – no matter what the prosperity gospel teaches. Abram was in the land God had sent him to, but that land…

Opening Up God’s Word: Genesis 1 - 2

“In the beginning, God”  – The first four words of the Bible take us back to the point where we can go no further, back to the eternity of God.
What do we find when we are taken back – into the heart of the eternal God?
We find love. We discover that “God is love.”
Creation is love because God is love. Before God made us, He loved us.
The love which we find in the opening chapters of Genesis is the love that is proclaimed throughout God’s Word – from Genesis to Revelation.
It’s the great love of God for us. It’s the love that never ends. It’s the love that goes on and on.
* How do we get to know God the Creator? How do we come to know that His heart is full of love for us?
In Genesis 1, three words are repeated over and over again: “And God said”.
These words emphasize the creative power of the Word of God.
God created through His Word. He proclaims His love to us through Jesus Christ, the living Word of God. He declares His love for us in the Scriptures, the written Word …

Praying Through God's Word - 31st January - 6th February

These prayers are also being posted, day-by-day, at A Prayer For Every Day


31st January - 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).  
1st February - Deuteronomy 24:1-25:29 We thank You, Lord, that Yo…

28th January - 3rd February: Genesis 23-29

28th January
Genesis 23:1-20
Genesis is known as "the book of beginnings." We can also learn from the endings. here, we read of the death of Sarah. As we read of the generations coming and going, we come to rest in the truth that only God is eternal. This is the great truth, proclaimed in Psalm 90. He alone is "God, from everlasting to everlasting" (Psalm 90:2). From Psalm 90, we learn the lesson: "Teach us to number each of our days so that we may grow in wisdom" (Psalm 90:120. The experience of bereavement is very distressing - "Abraham went to mourn for Sarah and to cry about her death" (Genesis 23:2). Nevertheless, we look beyond the things that are temporal to the things that are eternal, and we know that our suffering is light and temporary while our eternal glory is greater than we can imagine" (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). 29th January
Genesis 24:1-67 The story of how Isaac and Rebekah came to be married is told in vivid detai…

Real change comes from the Lord.

Genesis 20:1-18
We do not see Abraham in a good light here. There is, in this incident, a reminder of the deceitfulness of the human heart (Jeremiah 17:9). Our only hope of real change is in the Lord who says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove your stubborn hearts and give you obedient hearts" (Ezekiel 36:26). In the human heart, there is conflict - the flesh and the Spirit wrestling with each other (Galatians 5:17). If the Spirit is to display the victory of Christ in our lives, we must "put on the whole armour of God", receiving "power from the Lord and from His mighty strength" (Ephesians 6:10-11). This strength comes in this way: "take salvation as your helmet and the Word of God as the sword that the Spirit supplies" (Ephesians 6:17).

Praying Through God's Word - 24th-30th January

These prayers are also being posted, day-by-day, at A Prayer For Every Day.

24th January - 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).
25th January - 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"…

God continues to carry forward His great purpose of salvation.

Genesis 16:1-16
We move from salvation and the assurance of salvation to Satan and the activity of Satan. Sarai came with temptation - "Why don't you sleep with my slave? Maybe I can build a family through her." Abram gave in to temptation -"Abram agreed with Sarai (Genesis 16:2). The evil influence of Sarai continued: "Sarai mistreated Hagar so much that she ran away" (Genesis 16:6). When we read of Satan and his activity, we must not imagine, for a moment, that Satan wins the victory over the Lord and His purpose of salvation. This becomes clear as the story develops. The Lord's purpose will not be thwarted by the activity of Satan. The "Almighty Lord" will be victorious. This chapter ends with the birth of Ishmael. It is not a high- point in the purpose of God. It is a sign that Satan is trying to overthrow God and His gracious purpose. This leads to a 13-year gap in God's speaking to Abraham (Genesis 16:16-17:1), but that…

Jesus Christ, the King of love and Prince of peace ...

Genesis 14:1-24
Following the conflict in Genesis 14:1-16, there is a great sense of the peace of God in Genesis 14:17-24. Here, we have a glimpse of Jesus Christ, the King of love and Prince of peace, the Great High Priest, who comes to us with bread and wine (Genesis 14:18). He comes to us with blessing. He comes in the Name of God Most High. In  His Name, the Name of our Creator, we have the victory (Genesis 14:19-20). He gives us so much. We are to give ourselves to Him (Genesis 14:20). There is another king who lays claim to our lives - "the king of Sodom." This king does not speak in the Name of the Lord. He comes from Satan, and he is to be resisted (Genesis 14:21-24). Our strength comes from the Lord, and not from anything which Satan can offer to us. In our hearts, we must learn to say with real delight in the Saviour: 'I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold ... than riches untold.'

More than a human story ...

Genesis 12:1-20
The blessing promised to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) takes us right on to the book of Revelation, to "the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven" (Revelation 21:10). The story of Abraham is more than a human story. It is part of God's eternal purpose which will find its ultimate fulfilment in the coming of God's eternal Kingdom. From the outset, we see this as a Divine Story. It has human elements (Genesis 12:10-20), but, in its deepest meaning, it is God's Story. Recognizing this divine dimension, we use the God-given name - Abraham (Genesis 17:5). The name 'Abram' (exalted father) draws attention to the man. The name 'Abraham' (father of many) points to God's purpose. With Abraham, we worship the Lord (Genesis 12:7-8). We say, 'He is exalted' - Christ must increase, and we must decrease (John 3:30). We read of Abraham, and we look beyond him to Christ.  Looking to Christ, we say, 'Christ…

The Name that really matters ...

Genesis 11:1-32
Between the list of names in chapter 10 and 11:10-32, there is the story of what happens when we make ourselves the focus of attention rather than God - "Let's make a name for ourselves" (4). What a contrast there is between the tower of Babel, with the human builders trying to make a name for themselves, and the great declaration of Proverbs 18:10 - "The Name of the Lord is a strong tower." In the one case, there is scattering - "From that place the Lord scattered them all over the face of the earth" (9). In the other, there is safety - "A righteous man runs to it and is safe" (Proverbs 18:10). Following on from Proverbs 18:10, we read, "A rich person's wealth is his strong city and is like a high wall in his imagination" (Proverbs 18:11). "God chose what the world considers weak to put what is strong to shame" (1 Corinthians 1:27).