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Showing posts from September, 2017

The river of God is filled with blessing.

"The river of God is filled with water" (Psalm 65:9).
What a superabundance of blessing there is in the river of God! We read more about the river of God in Ezekiel 47. We read about the amazing increase of God's blessing - "The water came up to my ankles ...The water came up to my knees ... The water came up to my waist ... the water had risen so much that it became a river which I couldn’t cross. The river was too deep to cross except by swimming" (Ezekiel 47:3-5). When God gave this vision to Ezekiel, He asked him, "Son of man, do you see this?" (Ezekiel 47:6). This is the question that the Lord puts to each one of us: 'Do you see what I'm showing you?' What happens when we're learning to swim in the river of God? -   "Wherever the river flows, there will be many fish and animals. The river will make the water in the Dead Sea fresh. Wherever the river flows, it will bring life" (Ezekiel 47:9). We read about fis…

Something For "A Cloudy And Dark Day"

" ... so will I seek out My sheep ... on a cloudy and dark day" (Ezekiel 34:12). Our life on earth is " a cloudy and dark day." Left to ourselves, we always lose our way. We cannot find our way back on to the way of the Lord without the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus does not leave us to stumble around on a "cloudy and dark day." He has come "to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10). He is "the Light of the world" (John 8:12). His Light is still shining brightly. The darkness can't put it out (John 1:5). We look to Jesus, and we see beyond "the cloudy and dark day." We look to Him, and we say, "The Lord is my light and my salvation" (Psalm 27:1).

God speaks His Word of love - His Word of forgiveness, peace and hope.

Samaria and Jerusalem behaved like prostitutes. In graphic language, the sin of turning from the Lord is compared to sexual immorality. Why does God expose their sin with such plainness of speech? He wants to show them the full extent of their rebellion, so that they may see the folly of continuing in sin and may be moved to return to the Lord - “Then they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 23:49). In Ezekiel 24, we learn about God’s holiness and His love. If we are to appreciate the wonderful love God has for sinners, we need to become more deeply aware of the awesome holiness of God’s hatred of sin. We look at our sin. We look at God’s holiness. We learn about ourselves. We see how far we have fallen short of God’s glory. We learn about God. We come to know that He is the Lord. Deeply aware of God’s holiness and our own sin, we are led, by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures, to see Jesus, crucified for us. We hear about God’s holiness. This is the Word of His…

We Need More Than Other People. We Need Jesus.

"Your wounds are as deep as the sea. Who can heal you?" (Ezekiel 2:13).
There's only one answer to this question - the Lord. Other people can help us - if they point away from themselves to the Lord, if they say to us, 'You need more than the help I can give to you. You need Jesus.'

Visions From God ... Speaking His Word In The Power Of The Spirit

“Visions from God” (Ezekiel 1:1); “The power of the Lord came over Ezekiel” (Ezekiel 1:3); “A bright light” (Ezekiel 1:27); “A rainbow in the clouds” , “The Lord’s glory”, “Bowed down”, “I heard someone speaking” (Ezekiel 1:28). In these phrases, we have some suggestion of the kind of lines we must follow, as we think about the various elements of divine revelation. In true ministry, there is both the Word of God and the Spirit of God. God’s Word is spoken to us in the power of the Spirit, so that we might speak His Word in the power of the Spirit (Ezekiel 2:1-4). Ezekiel is described as “a watchman over the people of Israel.” He was to speak the word of warning (Ezekiel 3:17). This is the kind of preaching which calls its hearers back from the wages of sin - death. The hearers are called to “change their wicked ways in order to save their lives” (Ezekiel 3:18).

Learning From God's Word: 2 Samuel

2 Samuel 1:1-2:32 Here, we read here about the end of Saul's reign and 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 us 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.
2 Samuel 3:1-5:25 In 2 Samuel 2:1-7, we read of David becoming the king of Judah. In 2 Samuel 5:1-5, we  read of him becoming the king of Israel. 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).
2 Samuel 6:1-8:18 David worships God - "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 ex…

Our Rebellion, God's Redemption

Speaking through the prophet, God uses very colourful sexual imagery to describe Israel’s relationship with Himself and her revolt against Him. The last word, in Ezekiel 16, is not, however, a word concerning the rebellion of Israel against the Lord. It is the message of redemption - the forgiveness of sins (Ezekiel 16:63). “I am the Lord ... I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it” (Ezekiel 17:24). In His Word, God tells us who He is and what He has done for us. He is the God who loves us. He has shown us His love in the death of His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. What a contrast there is between God’s salvation and man’s sin. God brought His people out of Egypt and into the promised land. They rebelled against Him and refused to listen to Him (Ezekiel 20:6-8). God had not given up on His people. He would draw them to Himself. He would make them His instrument of blessing to the nations (Ezekiel 20:40-44). In Ezekiel 21 - 22, words concerning God’s holy judgment ag…

How are we to pray?

2 Chronicles 7:12-22
The gathering together of God’s people - “I ... have chosen this place for Myself” (2 Chronicles 7:12). Note also 2 Chronicles 7:15-16 - “... this place... this temple.”
The key verse is 2 Chronicles 7:14. Taking this verse together with Acts 1:12-14, we may say, ‘This is the kind of prayer that leads to Pentecost.’
What we have here is humility, prayer, longing for God and repentance.
We must ask, ‘How are we to pray?’
* We are to pray with humility. Remember the parable of the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:9-14).
* We are to pray with longing for God. Prayer is more than just words. There is to be intensity and persistence. The parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8): She kept on praying until she received an answer. We are to “cry out to God day and night” (Luke 18:7).
* We are to pray with repentance. Our words are to be backed up by our life.
When God hears this kind of prayer, arising from our hearts and lives as well as our lips, He sa…

The glory of God - in creation and in Christ

Psalm 19:1-14
The glory of God in creation - general revelation
The glory of God in Christ - special revelation
The link between the two is the glory of God, shining through the written Word of God.
Creation shows us the greatness of God's power. Christ shows us the greatness of God's love.
In creation, we see the beauty of nature. In Christ, we see the beauty of holiness.
How are we to move beyond appreciating the beauty of nature to living the life of holiness? We need to turn, again and again, to the written Word of God. Read God's Word. Listen to what the Lord is saying to you. The main thing that God says to us is this - He points us to Jesus, His Son; Jesus, our Saviour; Jesus - "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). As we read the Scriptures, we learn that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15), and we rejoice in the Lord. We give thanks for His love and His salvation, and we give …

Psalm 23

“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).

Psalm 24

“The one who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:3) - That’s Jesus. “He will receive a blessing from the Lord” (Psalm 24:5).
How do we receive this blessing? We must receive it through Jesus. We must open our hearts to “the King of glory” (Psalm 24:7,9). He will lead us on to “the mountain of the Lord”, to “His holy place” (Psalm 24:3).

Psalm 27

The Lord brings light and salvation to us. He is our light and our salvation (Psalm 27:1).
"The Lord is my light and my salvation" (Psalm 27:1).
Whenever we confess our faith in the Lord, we must never forget what we were without the Lord. We were in darkness. We were lost. He has brought us out of our darkness and into His light. He has found us. He has saved us.
When the Lord saves us, He gives us a great desire to worship Him (Psalm 27:4).
We are on a journey - a lifelong journey, an eternal journey (Psalm 27:13-14) - “all the days of my life, “forever” (Psalm 23:6).
“Wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14). We need to hear this for both our lifelong journey and our eternal journey.

Psalm 32

The forgiveness of sins (Psalm 32:1-2); Confess and be forgiven (Psalm 32:5). Once we have begun our journey with the Lord, we are to seek instruction from His Word (Psalm 32:8). To receive instruction from the Lord, we need to have the right attitude (Psalm 32:9). When the Lord has saved us and we are learning to walk with Him in the light of His Word, we will rejoice in the Lord and His faithful love for us (Psalm 32:10-11). When we say that God's love is faithful, we mean this: it's forever love.

Psalm 33

Worship the Lord with joy (Psalm 33:1,3). We give thanks for the Word of the Lord and the work of the Lord. They show us His love. They assure us that He can be trusted (Psalm 33:4-5). We learn that He is the 'forever' God. He opens His "heart" to us (Psalm 33:11). He shows us the way to happiness (Psalm 33:12).

Psalm 34

"I will praise the Lord at all times" (Psalm 34:1) - in the bad times as well as the good times. "Rejoice in the Lord always" (Philippians 4:4). "His praise will always be on my lips" (and in my heart) (Psalm 34:1). This Psalm begins with "I" (see also Psalm 34:2 - "I will boast in the Lord"), but it move on, from there, to "Proclaim with me the Lord, let us exalt His Name together" (Psalm 34:3). Note also "I" (Psalm 34:4) and "Taste and see" (Psalm 34:8).
The way to happiness - true and lasting joy (Psalm 34:5,8): True joy goes hand in hand with the fear of the Lord (Psalm 34:11-12).
The Lord sees us in our need, and He has compassion on us. He is near to us - "Emmanuel." He saves us - "Jesus" (Psalm 34:18; Matthew 1:23,21).
What the Lord does for us is summed up in Psalm 34:22 - He redeems us. This is more than changing our life here-and-now. This is eternal life. This co…

Psalm 40

The sinner becomes the singer and the servant.
* “a desolate pit”, “the muddy clay” - This is our sin. We bring our sin to the Saviour.
* “a new song” - This is our song of salvation. This is the song that our Saviour has given to us.
* “Many will see...” We do not sing for ourselves. We do not live for ourselves. We live for the Lord. We are to win people for Him.
Before a song can be a song of praise, it must be a song of salvation. We praise God because He has saved us.

Psalm 46

"God is our refuge and our strength ..." (Psalm 46;1). "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). First, the truth about God; Then, our feelings are brought into line with the truth about God,
Facts; Faith; Feelings
* Facts - Christ's death and resurrection for us
* Faith - I believe the facts. My faith is built on the sure foundation - Christ, the rock of my salvation.
* Feelings - Never start with feelings. They will lead you astray.
Safety; Certainty; Enjoyment
* Safety - We have been saved by the Lord. It's His doing - not ours.
* Certainty - We believe His Word. We stand upon His promises.
* Enjoyment - We enjoy His blessing.

Psalm 78:12-25

"He worked wonders" (Psalm 78:12), "He gave them drink as abundant as the depths" (Psalm 78:15), "He brought streams out of the stone and made water flow down like rivers" (Psalm 78:16), "They spoke against God - Is God able to provide food in the wilderness?" (Psalm 78:19), "waters gushed out, torrents overflowed" (Psalm 78:20), "He opened the doors of heaven" (Psalm 78:23), "He gave them grain from heaven" (Psalm 78:24), "the bread of angels, an abundant supply of food"(Psalm 78:25).
This is about more than food. In Psalm 78:22, we read about "salvation." Whatever words we use to describe God's salvation, we can never say all that needs to be said. It's always more than we can put into words.

Psalm 81

"Listen" (Psalm 81:8,13).
* Why should we listen?
(a) We should listen because there's something worth hearing.
(b) We should listen because there's something we need to hear.
(c) We should listen because there's something we need to hear.
* The call to listen - "My people" (Psalm 81:8,13); "I will admonish you" (Psalm 81:8); (c) "Following the Lord's ways" (Psalm 81:13).
* What do we hear when we listen?
(a) We hear about God's love. He loves us, and He has saved us. This is Good News.
(b) We hear about our sin. This is what we need to hear, even if we don't want to hear it. If we don't listen to the bad news concerning our sin, we won't appreciate the Good News of God's love.
(c) We hear about holiness. This is our wholeness. It comes to us from the Lord. It is the gift of his love. It is also our calling. In love, God is calling us to be holy. He's calling us to receive our wholeness - to become…

Psalm 93

“The Lord reigns” - “majesty”, “strength” (Psalm 93:1). He is the eternal God (Psalm 93:2). He speaks to us. His Word is true, holy and eternal (Psalm 93:5).

Psalm 98

"Be jubilant, shout for joy and sing to the Lord ... " (Psalm 98:4-5). Our joyful worship goes to the Lord. First, it comes from Him (Psalm 98:1-3).
Israel looked back to the Exodus. We look back to Jesus - His death and resurrection. We do more than look back. We look forward - "He is coming" (Psalm 98:9).

Psalm 100

"all the earth" (Psalm 100:1), "through all generations" (Psalm 100:5) - It wasn't just for there and then. It's for here and now. "Every person in every nation in each succeeding generation has the right to hear the news that Christ can save."
The Good News of Christ is a message of triumph (Psalm 100:1). It's a message of gladness and joy. It leads to worship and service (Psalm 100:2). It's a message of love - eternal love (Psalm 100:5).

Psalm 103

What kind of person are you? Are you a forgiven man / woman? The God of love (Psalm 103:8) is reaching out to each and every one of us (Psalm 103:9-10). God's love is greater than we can put into words or even imagine (Psalm 103:11-12). Before there can be forgiven people, there needs to be the forgiving God.
The God of love is reaching out to us. How will we respond to Him? Will we keep our distance from him when He is drawing near to us? or Will we open our hearts to His love? Will we bring our sins to Him and receive His forgiveness? Will we come to Him in our weakness and receive his strength? Will we come to Him, deeply aware that our life on this earth is moving on towards its end? Will we come and receive from Him eternal life?
God's love is everlasting love. It is faithful love - the love of our heavenly Father (Psalm 103:13,17). The love of God can change everything. Our sins can be forgiven. We can receive God's strength. We can receive eternal life…

"Praise the Lord!" (Psalm 104:1).

We have come here to praise the Lord. Why do we praise the Lord? "Lord my God, You are very great." God is great in power. His power can impress us, but it will not save us until we are touched by a special power - the power of His love. God is great in holiness. His holiness (Isaiah 6:3) shows us our sin (Isaiah 6:5). It's His love that brings us salvation (Isaiah 6:7). When we see the greatness of His love, we can truly say, "Praise the Lord."

Psalm 111

Hallelujah! Jesus Christ is risen today - a celebration for Easter, and every Lord’s Day.
* At the start of the Psalm - “I will praise the Lord” (Psalm 111:1).
* At the end of the Psalm - “His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10).
In our worship, there is to be both “the fear of the Lord” (Psalm 111:10) and trust in the Lord - “the Lord is gracious and compassionate... He has sent redemption to His people” (Psalm 111:4,9).
We give thanks to the Lord for His love, but we must never forget that “His Name is holy and awe-inspiring” (Psalm 111:9).
* The character of God: He is holy, He is love.
* The message of the Gospel: In love for us, the holy God has provided a way for our sins to be forgiven.
These are the truths of God’s Word which are to shape our lives, making us more holy and more loving.

Psalm 115

"Not to us ... " (Psalm 115:1). We worship the Lord. He has saved us. The God of grace comes to us. He calls us to "trust in the Lord" (Psalm 115:9-11). The Lord blesses those who fear Him (Psalm 115:12-13). He's teaching us to live in a way that will bring praise and glory to Him. Our whole life is to say, "Praise the Lord ... Hallelujah! (Psalm 115:18).

Psalm 118:1-9

Some things are worth repeating (Psalm 118:1-4). Emphasis - This is important.
We're speaking about God's love for us - not our love for God. Our love for God is changeable - sometimes strong, sometimes weak. His love for us is always is unchangeable - always strong, never weak.

Psalm 118:10-18

"The Lord is my strength, my song and my salvation" (Psalm 118:14).
In the Lord, we have the "victory." This fills our hearts with "joy" (Psalm 118:15).
"In the tents of the righteous" (Psalm 118:15) - The Lord has made us "righteous", and He calls us to be "righteous." Let us "give thanks to the Lord" (Psalm 118:19).

Psalm 118:19-29

God is calling us to praise Him.
* “I will praise the Lord” (Psalm 118:20).
* “I will praise You” (Psalm 118:21).
* “You are my God, and I will praise You” (Psalm 118:28).
Praise is more than words that we sing in church. Our whole life is to be full of praise to God.
We come to the Lord’s Table to receive forgiveness from Him. We go from the Lord’s Table to share His forgiveness with others.
* “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12),
* “Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive” (Colossians 3:13).
* How many times should I forgive my brother? - “As many as seven?” “Seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22). If we’re still counting, we’ve missed the point!
* “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they’re doing” (Luke 23:34).
Thank God that Jesus prayed this prayer for every one of us. Let it shape our attitudes and actions towards one another.
May God help us to be less like the Pharisee, and more like the tax collect…

Psalm 119:41-48

"Let Your faithful love come to me, Lord, Your salvation ... " (Psalm 119:41). God's faithful love comes to us as His salvation. God's salvation is revealed to us in His Word (Psalm 119:42), His Word of "truth" (Psalm 119:43), the Word of His "forever and ever" love (Psalm 119:44). His Word changes us. It creates in us "love" (Psalm 119:47-48) for the Lord and His Word. It empowers our walk with the Lord and our witness for Him (Psalm 119:45-46).

Psalm 119:105-112

God's Word is a bright shining light. It shines upon our life, and everything changes. Nothing can remain the same when the light of God shines on us. In His light, we see what we are - and what we can become. His Word brings light (Psalm 119:107). In His Word, there is light and life - and there is love, the best love, the love of God.

The Lord does great things - for us and through us.

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy" (Psalm 119:3). The Lord has done ... and will keep on doing great things for us.
Psalm 126:5-6 - The Lord will do great things through us - reaching out to others, bringing them to Jesus, our Saviour.

To whet your appetite for the Psalms ...

To whet your appetite for the Psalms, here are some early lessons:
stability in the Lord (Psalm 1:1-2);
service for the Lord (Psalm 2:11);
salvation of the Lord (Psalm 3:8);
sanctification from the Lord (4:4-5);
singing to the Lord (Psalm 8:4);
strength in the Lord (Psalm 9:9).
These are some of the blessings promised to those who 'delight in the law of the Lord' (Psalm 1:1-2). With a God like this - full of so much blessing for us - what else can we do but rejoice in Him?

Psalm 5

Psalm 5 is a morning prayer: ‘morning by morning’, we are to come before the Lord ‘in expectation’ of His blessing (Psalm 5:3). The Psalmist prays with great earnestness. His prayer is a ‘sighing’ before God, a ‘cry for help’(Psalm 5:1-2). He acknowledges the holiness of God: ‘You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil, with you the wicked cannot dwell’(Psalm 5:4). The words of Psalm 5:9 apply to every one of us. Paul quotes this verse in support of the conclusion that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’(Romans 3:13, 23). There is, however, a way of coming to God. It is ‘by His mercy’(Psalm 5:7). Each of us has been declared guilty by God (Psalm 5:10; Romans 3:19-20). For the fallen, God has provided a way of forgiveness. For the guilty, He has provided a way to gladness (Psalm 5:11; Luke 2:10-11). ‘Hallelujah! What a Saviour!’(Church Hymnary, 380).

Psalm 4

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

Psalm 16

‘Thou wilt show me the path of life; in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore’(Psalm 16:11). In this earthly life, there are many difficulties. For all of God’s people, there is something better still to come. We must look not only at the things which are happening now. We must look also to the glory which is yet to come. Our hope of eternal glory is based on Christ’s resurrection. David’s words (Psalm 16:8-11) are quoted by Peter in connection with ‘the resurrection of the Christ’(Acts 2:24-33). ‘Christ has been raised from the dead...at His coming those who belong to Christ...will be raised imperishable’(1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 52). ‘The Lord is my chosen portion...Therefore my heart is glad’(Psalm 16:5,9). Is this your testimony? Choose Christ and be glad.

Psalms 22-24

Read of the Psalmist’s sufferings. Think of the Saviour, suffering for you (Psalm 22:7-8,18; Matthew 27:39,43,35). We highlight two statements: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’, ‘They have pierced my hands and my feet’(Psalm 22:1,16). Jesus Christ was ‘crucified and killed by the hands of the lawless men’(Acts 2:23). There is, however, more to His story than this: ‘The Lord has laid all our sins on Him’(Isaiah 53:6). When we read of Jesus Christ, ‘pierced for our transgressions’, we see Him ‘pierced’ by men and forsaken by God (Isaiah 53:5; Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34; Matthew 27:46). Looking on to Jesus Christ, risen, exalted and returning, we see Him still bearing the marks of His suffering - ‘the mark of the nails’, ‘a Lamb standing as though it had been slain’, ‘pierced’(John 20:25; Revelation 5:6; 1:7).
Jesus Christ has ‘tasted death for everyone’(Hebrews 2:9). Now, through Him, salvation is proclaimed to ‘the congregation’, to ‘the ends of the earth’ to …

Psalms 26-27

God’s love for us inspires our loyalty to Him: ‘Your love is ever before me, and I will walk continually in Your truth’(Psalm 26:3). Loyalty to the Lord involves worshipping Him and walking with Him (Psalm 26:11-12). Walking with God is not easy. There are ‘enemies round about’ us (Psalm 26:4-5, 9-10; Psalm 27:2-3,6,11-12). What are we to do? We are to worship God: ‘One thing have I asked of the Lord…that I may dwell in the House of the Lord…’(Psalm 27:4). What are we doing when we gather in the Lord’s House for worship? This is what we are doing - ‘Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage’(Psalm 27:14). Where does our strength come from? It comes from God: ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation… The Lord is the stronghold of my life’. Strong in Him, we say, ‘My heart will not fear… I will be confident’(Psalm 27:1,3).

Psalm 30

‘I will exalt You, O Lord’(Psalm 30:1). God is not exalted because we exalt Him. We exalt Him because He is exalted: ‘He is exalted, for ever exalted, and I will praise His Name’(Mission Praise,217). How do we come to the point where we say, ‘I will exalt You, O Lord’? We realize our need of Him - ‘when You hid Your face, I was dismayed’(Psalm 30:7). We look to Him for mercy - ‘To You, O Lord, I called; to the Lord, I cried for mercy’(Psalm 30:8). God hears and answers our prayer - ‘You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy’(Psalm 30:11). God calls us to worship Him - ‘Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy Name’(Psalm 30:4). ‘The joy of the Lord’, His ‘unutterable and exalted joy’, gives us ‘strength’(Nehemiah 8:10; 1 Peter 1:8). We worship God: ‘O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever’(Psalm 30:12).

Psalm 34

Looking to the Lord, we are ‘radiant’ He has ‘delivered’ us. He has ‘saved’ us (Psalm 34:4-6). Rejoicing in God’s salvation, we say, ‘I will bless the Lord at all times’(Psalm 34:1). We call upon others to worship the Lord with us - ‘O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His Name together!’(Psalm 34:3). We invite them to trust in the Lord and come to know the joy of His salvation - ‘O taste and see that the Lord is good! Happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!’(Psalm 34:8). We encourage them to keep on hearing the Word of the Lord so that they may learn to walk with God - ‘Come, O sons, listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord’(Psalm 34:11). We seek to lead people on to spiritual maturity. We say to them, ‘Depart from evil, and do good’, praying that they will become ‘mature’, ‘trained by practice to know the difference between good and evil’(Psalm 34:14; Hebrews 5:14).

Psalms 66-67

‘Come and see what God has done’(Psalm 66:5). God invites us to look into His Word, to read His Story, the Story of all that He has done for us. ‘Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He has done for me’(Psalm 66:16). God invites us to listen to the preaching of His Word, to let His Story become our story, to let His salvation become real in our lives. We read God’s Word. We hear His Word. This is our journey of discovery. We discover what the Lord has done for us. We discover how much He wants to bless us. He waits to hear our prayer - ‘May God be gracious to us and bless us...’. He answers our prayer - ‘God has blessed us’(Psalm 67:1,6-7). He wants us to ‘be glad and sing for joy’. He wants us to call ‘all the ends of the earth’ to ‘worship Him’(Psalm 67:4,7).

Numbers 15-24

Numbers 15:1-41
God's work among His people was directed toward the future - "Once you're settled in the land I'm giving you" - and it was grounded in the past - "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God" (Numbers 15:2,41). Our present obedience draws strength from our past redemption - "It is finished" - and our future hope - It is still to come.
Numbers 16:1-50 In this chapter, we read about the judgment of God upon those who sinned against Him. God is perfectly holy. He calls us to be holy. This is not to be a pretence. It is to be real. Those who came under God's judgment claimed to be holy (Numbers 16:3). God saw what they were really like. This very challenging. It's a reminder that we must not take God lightly: "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Alongside this, we should also remember that Christ's hands were pierced for us. He waits to welcome al…

Numbers 25 - 36

Numbers 25:1-26:65 God's people are being called on to maturity. This is the significance of the phrase, "at least twenty years old" (Numbers 26:2,4). There are, however, many dangers. We are easily sidetracked - putting other "gods" before the Lord our God (Numbers 25:3). This turning away from the Lord is a serious matter, leading to the withdrawal of God's blessing. We can, however, continue to enjoy the Lord's blessing if, like Caleb and Joshua, we are men and women of faith (Numbers 26:64-65).
Numbers 27:1-23 Joshua was to lead the  people beyond the point to which Moses had led them. Joshua was chosen and empowered by God. Reading the story of God's people, from one generation to another, we find that the names change - but the Lord remains the same. Moses played his part. Joshua played his part. At every point in the story, God is there, upholding His servants in every generation.
Numbers 28:1-29:40 The people of Israel were given a…

Be Strong And Courageous! ... (Joshua)

This is the story of what God was doing with His people. He was giving them the land he had promised to them. Joshua was to be the leader of God's people. Joshua’s strength came from the Lord: “Be strong and courageous! ...The Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). The report of the spies - “The Lord has given us the whole country” (Joshua 2:24) - emphasizes that God is in control. God is working out His purpose, His perfect purpose, His purpose of love. It is important to remember this. Without this understanding of the events recorded in the book of Joshua, we will lose our way and fail to see what relevance these events have for us. From these events, we learn that our strength comes from the Lord, who does great things for us because he loves us with a perfect love. The crossing of the River Jordan was a significant event. It was an event to be remembered. It wasn’t just a geographical event. It was more than a movement from one place to anothe…

Learning From God's Word: Ruth

Ruth 1:1-22 Following the triple tragedy of the deaths of Elimelech, Mahlon and Chilion (Ruth 1:3-5) and the departure of Orpah (Ruth 1:14), there was a new beginning for Naomi and Ruth. This new beginning came to them when "they came to Bethlehem" (Ruth 1:19). The town of Bethlehem marked a new beginning for them. It marks a new beginning for us. This was the place where our Saviour was born. "They happened to to enter Bethlehem just when the barley harvest began." The timing of their arrival turns our thoughts towards fruitfulness. We come to our Saviour - born at Bethlehem, and He makes us fruitful in His service. Without His help, we cannot even begin to see a harvest gathered in for Him. If we are to see the Lord's blessing on the work we do for Him, we must look to Him, putting our trust in Him.
Ruth 2:1-4:22 This is the story of Ruth and Boaz. It is a story which leads on to David (Ruth 4:22) - and, beyond him, to Christ. In this story of lo…

The Exodus is more than a departure. It's a deliverance ...

Exodus 2:23-25
The Exodus is more than a departure. It's a deliverance. It's more than a protest against Egypt. It's an answer to prayer. It's more than a social revolution. It's a spiritual revelation of God's love.


Exodus 3:1-22
Moses may have been content to remain in the background. God was calling him to step into the foreground - for God’s people.
This is more than the story of Moses. It’s the story of Israel. It points forward to God’s purpose for all nations. When we read the Old Testament story, we find that God is saying to us, ‘This is just the beginning. There is more than this.’ From Exodus to the Gospels, to Acts, to the book of Revelation: We’re not at the final triumph yet. Like those who have come before us - Moses, the Psalmist, the prophets, Jesus, Peter, Paul, we must face conflict. There will be glimpses of glory, but the full glory is still to come.
In Exodus, we see God’s people on a journey. It’s a journey with God. It’s a jou…

Leviticus 1 - 14

Leviticus 1:1-3:17 We may note the frequent recurrence of the phrase, "a soothing aroma to the Lord" (Leviticus 1:9,13,17: Leviticus 2:2,9,12; Leviticus 3:5,16). The presence of the Lord is "like a fragrance that fills the air." Not all people welcome the presence of the Lord. To some, it is "the aroma of Christ", " a life-giving fragrance." To others, it is "a deadly fragrance" (2 Corinthians 2:14-16). We are to pray that our life - in every part - will be pleasing to the Lord, bringing glory to Him. This will involve our worship in the holy place. It will also involve our living for the Lord in the many and varied situations of everyday life.
Leviticus 4:1-35 The word, "blood, appears often here. We may note, in particular, the phrase, in Leviticus 4:25, "the blood of the offering for sin." In the final verse (Leviticus 4:35), we may note why "the blood of the offering for sin" was shed - "forg…

Leviticus 15 - 27

Leviticus 15:1-16:34  Each of us is unclean before God. Each of us needs Christ, who has given Himself as "a sin offering" to "make atonement" for us (Leviticus 16:16). Christ is the perfect Saviour, who "bears all our iniquities" (Leviticus 16:22). Concerning His great sacrifice for us, the Word of God says, "On this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the Lord" (Leviticus 16:30).
Leviticus 17:1-18:30 Through the shed blood of Christ, we have peace with God and eternal life (Leviticus 17:11; Romans 5:1-2,8-10). We have received new life in Christ. Now, we are to leave the way of the behind us. We are to live e a new life as those who belong to the Christ (Leviticus 18:1-5; Romans 6:12-14; Romans 12:1-2).
Leviticus 19:1-37 Again and again, we read the words, "I am the Lord your God", or, more simply, "I am the Lord" (Leviticus 19:3-4,10,12,14,16,18,25,2…

Numbers 1 - 14

Numbers 1:1-4:49 God spoke, Israel obeyed (Numbers 1:1,54). This is the constant pattern of the life of faith - hearing and obeying the Word of God. The names of God's people differ from place to place. The pattern of their life remains the same. This pattern is also emphasized in Numbers 2, which begins with God speaking (Numbers 2:1) and ends with the people obeying (Numbers 2:34). This pattern is repeated in Numbers 3-4, which begin with God's Word (Numbers 3:1; Numbers 4:1) and end with our obedience (Numbers 3:51; Numbers 4:49). In Numbers, we read so much that is unfamiliar to us. We must learn to look for the Word that comes to us, in our time, as a Word from the Lord who is "the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). Hear and obey. Listen to what God is saying. Do what He has said.
Numbers  5:1-6:27 We must take sin seriously. It can lead to a withdrawal of God's blessing. This is the important and challenging message of Numbers …

Genesis 30-35

Genesis 30:1-43
Jacob was prospering. His family and his flocks were increasing. In Jacob's prospering, we must see more than human factors. God was in this. This is the teaching of the Scriptures. We are to see the Lord in the whole of life, and not only in a carefully demarcated area labelled 'spirituality.' The most significant event in this chapter is the birth of Joseph, the son of Jacob, upon whom the remainder of the book of Genesis is centred. It is easy to lose sight of the most important thing when so many other things are happening. This is what we must not do. We must learn to see what is most important. We must learn to centre our lives around the most important priority. We must not allow ourselves to be distracted into a life with many interests and no real centre.
Genesis 31:1-55 Stories like this are so human - with all the complications of relationships between people. there is, however, a depth-dimension. If we read these stories on the surf…

Praying Through God's Word - Deuteronomy 31:14-Joshua 5:15

You can find more of this series of prayers at A Prayer For Every Day and  
Praying Through God's 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 weakne…

Genesis 36-42

Genesis 36:1-43
"This is the account of Esau and his descendants. There are so many names. there is so little of any real note. What a contrast between this and the story of Jacob, leading on to Joseph and then, on from there, to the Exodus and, beyond that, to Christ. There are routes which are full of the blessing of God. They take us on the continuing story, which runs from Genesis to Revelation, the story of God's salvation. There are also dead-end streets which are going nowhere. The direction of our life is determined by the choices which we make. We can choose to go our own way. There is a better choice, a better way. We can choose to go God's way.

Genesis 37:1-36 At first, the story of Joseph looks like it's going to end up in a dead-end street. Joseph is sold as a slave. He is taken down into Egypt. Humanly speaking, Joseph was being rejected by his brothers. God, however, had other ideas. He had a great purpose for Joseph. His purpose was revea…