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Showing posts from May, 2017

31st May: 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.

30th May: 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).

29th May: 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.

28th May - 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?

27th May: 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.

26th May: 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.

25th May: 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).

24th May: 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…

23rd May: 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).

22nd May: 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.

21st May: 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).

20th May: 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.

19th May: "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."

Lord, help us never to think that prayer time is wasted time.

Lord, help us never to think that prayer time is wasted time. Jesus prayed. Jesus received Your blessing. Jesus brought Your blessing to others. Help us to be like Jesus – praying, receiving Your blessing, bringing Your blessing to others.

18th May: 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…

17th May: 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).

16th May: 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).

15th May: 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).

14th May: 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…

13th May: 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.

12th May: 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.

11th May: 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.

10th May: 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…

9th May: 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).

8th May: 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.

7th May: 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.

6th May: 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).

5th May: 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).

4th May: 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 …

3rd May: 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…

2nd May - 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…

1st May - The Holy Spirit - Learning from 1 Samuel

Everyone was so happy - ‘Long live the king! (1 Samuel 10:24). Everything seemed to be so promising - ‘The Spirit of God came mightily upon Saul’ (1 Samuel 11:6). God’s people were victorious (1 Samuel 11:11). God’s people ‘rejoiced greatly’ (1 Samuel 11:15). This is not, however, the whole story. Things were to get worse, much worse - ‘You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from Him who calls you’ (Galatians 5:7-8). Remember the parable of the sower: ‘Satan immediately comes and takes away the Word... When tribulation or persecution arises on account of the Word, immediately they fall away... The cares of the world and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the Word, and it proves unfruitful’ (Mark 4:15,17,19). Pray - ‘Deliver us from evil’ (Matthew 6:13). ‘Samuel did what the Lord commanded’ (1 Samuel 16:4). Real obedience comes from ‘the heart’. It is more than just ‘keeping up appearances’…