The power of Your love – the love that lifts us when we’re down …

Job 22:1-23:7 Lord, we read Job’s question: “Would He contend with me in the greatness of His power?” We also read his answer: “No; He would give heed to me” (Job 23:6). We thank You that You are not only the God of great power. You are also the God of great love. If You, …

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Daily Devotional Readings : Year One – January

1st January: Psalm 119:105-112 We begin the year with the words of verse 105: 'Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path'. This a great text with which to begin the year. It is a great starting-point for these studies in God's Word. As we journey through life with …

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Praying Through God’s Word: 1 Kings

1 Kings 1:1-53No-one goes on forever. We read about David’s reign coming to an end, about David being replaced by Solomon (1 Kings 1:30). Help us, Lord, to pray that the future will be “greater” than the past (1 Kings 1:37,47). In all of life’s changes, help us to remember this: You are the living …

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Our Shepherd, Our Strength – The Lord Saves And Satisfies.

Blessed by the God of love, called to be “His people, the flock of His pasture”we “praise” Him and “give thanks” to Him (Psalm 79:13). He is our “Shepherd” (Psalm 80:1). He restores our soul. He leads us in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake (Psalm 23). He is “our Strength.” In Him, …

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Salvation And Judgment

Deuteronomy 23:1-25:19; Luke 16:19-17:10; Psalm 45:10-17 Scripture speaks of both salvation and judgment. The Israelites were given "the land ... as an inheritance." The Amalekites were to be "blotted out" (Deuteronomy 25:19). Lazarus received salvation - "carried ... to Abraham's side." The rich man received judgment "in hell" (Luke 16:22-23). We must seek to honour …

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Daily Devotional Readings: Year One – February

1st February : Genesis 6:1-8 The story of Noah is the story of God's grace - 'Noah found grace' (8). Noah lived in very difficult times (5-7), yet 'Grace found Noah'. His testimony could be summed up: 'Amazing grace...I once was lost but now am found' (Mission Praise, 31). Expanding on the thought of 5:29 …

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God’s Eternal Love – In the beginning, there is love, eternal love, the love of God.

‘Genesis’ means ‘beginning’. These opening verses challenge us to get our priorities right - (a) The priority of God (Genesis 1:1). God comes first. Before anyone else is mentioned, He is there. (b) The priority of God’s Word (Genesis 1:3). God is the first to speak. Before any human word is spoken, there is the …

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Lord, You’re calling us to be faithful.

‘Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!’ (Jeremiah 23:1). Help us, Lord, not to be like the false ‘prophets’: ‘They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.’ What were these false ‘prophets’ saying? - ‘They keep saying to those who despise Me, …

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In the beginning, there is love, eternal love, the love of God.

Easter Vigil: Genesis 1:1-2:4a; Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26; Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18; 8:6-18; 9:8-13; Psalm 46; Genesis 22:1-18; Psalm 16; Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21; Exodus 15:1b-13, 17-18; Isaiah 55:1-11; Isaiah 12:2-6; Proverbs 8:1-8, 19-21; 9:4b-6; Psalm 19; Ezekiel 36:24-28; Psalms 42 and 43; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 143; Zephaniah 3:14-20; Psalm 98; Romans 6:3-11; Psalm 114; Matthew 28:1-10 In …

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Saved By Grace, Saved For Good Works, Saved To Be A Witness

 * Saved by grace - "He saved us, but not because of anything we had done to gain His approval. Instead, because of his mercy He saved us" (Titus 3:5).   * Saved for good works - "God’s saving kindness ... trains us to avoid ungodly lives filled with worldly desires so that we can live …

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Where does our true strength come from?

Habakkuk 1:1-3:19; Titus 2:1-15; Proverbs 26:3-12 “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights” – These are the last words of Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3:19). “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches …

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God’s Truth Comes Before Our Faith. Our Faith Receives God’s Truth.

It is so important that we emphasize both truth in itself and truth for us. Here are a couple of illustrations I have found helpful. The first one emphasizes that the Bible can only become the Word of God for us when, quite apart from our faith, the Bible is the Word of God. The …

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Daily Devotional Readings: Year One – March

1st March: Genesis 15:1-21 God is greater than our circumstances. God had given great promises to Abraham, yet there appeared no sign that His promises were being fulfilled. The circumstances seemed bleak, and Abraham felt despondent. Abraham was full of questions. In verse 2, he asks, 'What can you give me...?'. This is the question …

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Let’s wait on the Lord, and renew our strength.

‘The Lord is the everlasting God… He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak… those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…’ (Isaiah 40:28-31). Far too often, Lord, we say, ‘I can’t’ when we really mean ‘I won’t’. ‘I can’t’ – This, Lord,  is an insult to Your …

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Through Christ, God Has Blessed Us With Every Spiritual Blessing.

Psalm 79:1-13 We look at what’s going on in our world today. We hear the enemies of the Lord saying, ‘Where is their God?’. So many people are turning away from the Lord. They no longer worship Him. We wonder if things can be turned around. It would be so easy to give up and …

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Make Sure You’re Not Arguing With God!

"Here is a favourite trick people have, when they resist God's will - they do not dare oppose God openly, they take it out on the Lord's servants. Many honoured and faithful servants of God suffer agonies when the spleen of convicted Christians vents itself upon them, Friends, your quarrel is not with the servant, …

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God Is Speaking. Are You Listening To Him? God Is Listening. Are You Speaking To Him?

Numbers 7:1-47Why do we bring our offerings to the Lord? - ‘that they may be used in doing the service of the tent of meeting’(5). We give ourselves to the Lord - ‘Love so amazing, so divine, Shall have my soul, my life, my all’- and we ask Him to put our gift to good …

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Satan is our enemy. He is powerful, determined – and defeated!

In Genesis 3:1, we read of  ‘the serpent’. We read of him again in Revelation 12:9 - ‘that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan’. He is a powerful enemy. He ‘leads the whole world astray’. He is a determined enemy. ‘Day and night’, he is busy, accusing God’s children. He is a defeated enemy. …

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Preaching the Word of the Lord – Psalm 96:1-13

A call to worship: Our song of praise is a song of salvation (Psalm 96:2). We are to "proclaim His salvation from day to day" (Psalm 96:2). Every day, we are to praise the Lord. God is calling us to worship Him with joy (Psalm 96:11-12). Sometimes, this isn't easy. We must ask the Lord …

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The Spirit of the Lord empowers our very human words …

"Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him" (Judges 6:34) Real spiritual power is more than human eloquence. It's the Spirit of the Lord who empowers our very human words. It's the Spirit of the Lord who calls our hearers to follow Jesus. It's the Spirit of the …

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Where are you? God is looking for us – to bring us back to Himself.

Genesis 3:1-5 We have read about the beginning of creation (1:1). Now we come to the beginning of sin. In these verses, we have temptation. Note that temptation is not sin. It only becomes sin when we do what the tempter suggests (6). Temptation comes from ‘that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan’ (Revelation …

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Daily Devotional Readings: Year Two – February

1st February: Judges 1:1-2:5 'You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? (Galatians 5:7). Everything seems to be going well - 'From victory to victory His army He shall lead till every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed' (1-18; Church Hymnary, 481). Things went badly wrong. God commanded His people …

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Waiting on the Lord, witnessing for Him and winning others for Him

Waiting on the Lord, witnessing for Him and winning others for Him ‘The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him that is weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught’ (Isaiah …

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Saved by the Lord – and called to a life of worship and witness …

Psalms 40:1-17- We have been saved by the Lord: ‘He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my feet secure’(2). He calls us to a life of worship and witness. We are to worship Him with ‘a new song...a song of praise …

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Berkouwer on the authority of Holy Scripture

Discussing the authority of Holy Scripture in the modern world, Berkouwer writes, “The confession of the authority of the Word of God can never be isolated from the saving content of the Word of God” (Modern Uncertainty and Christian Faith, p. 14, emphasis mine).In confessing that the Bible is the Word of God, the believer …

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A Little Bit about "The Triumph of Grace … " and "A Half Century … "

As well as Berkouwer's 'Studies in Dogmatics', there are the interesting books - The Triumph of Grace in the Theology of Karl Barth & A Half Century of Theology. Reading the first title makes some inclined to connect Berkouwer with Barth. We should be careful at this point. Though he has clearly studied Barth's works …

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We remember our loved one, and we, also, remember our loving Saviour.

"How precious is your lovingkindness, O God!" (Psalm 36:7). When I'm conducting a funeral service, I lead the people in prayer, giving thanks to God for "precious and treasured memories." We remember our loved one, and we, also, remember our loving Saviour. To help us focus our attention on Jesus, I begin each service by …

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Daily Devotional Readings: Year Two – March

1st March: Ruth 1:1-2:23 Ruth meets Boaz. It seemed like a 'chance' meeting - 'she happened to come...'(2:3). It was more than that. God was at work. Ruth had committed herself to the Lord (1:16-17). She was being guided by the Lord (Psalm 37:3-5; Proverbs 3:5-6). Ruth was unassuming and grateful, hard working and responsible …

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Preaching the Word of the Lord – Psalm 95:1-11

A call to worship God (Psalm 95:1-2,6): "The Lord is a great God" (Psalm 95:3). "He is our God" (Psalm 95:7). He is the God of creation (Psalm 95:4-5). He is the God of salvation (Psalm 95:7). When we are gathered together for worship, we are to listen to the voice of the Lord. We …

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Do We Seek Great Things For Ourselves – Or For God?

"Amidst his ministry to the nations, this spiritual giant has time  for a penetrating word for his scribe. Often the larger affairs of national prophecy can conceal petty ambitions in lesser men. Baruch wanted to be something - and instantly the discerning prophet pierced his heart with these searching and challenging words, "Should you then …

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“There’s a way back to God from the dark paths of sin.”

Genesis 4:6-16 In the story of Cain, we see the development of sin. Jealousy leads to anger, and anger leads to murder. In this story, we see ourselves in the ‘mirror’ of God’s Word. Here, God emphasizes our exceeding sinfulness - ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt’ (Jeremiah 17:9). Our sinfulness …

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Faith in Scripture as God’s Word

Berkouwer criticizes "an incorrect conception of theology, a conception of theology, a conception which considers it possible to discuss Holy Scripture apart from a personal relationship of belief in it, as though that alone would constitute true 'objectivity'." (Holy Scripture, pp. 9-10). He holds that those who view Scripture in this way "wrongly ... see …

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Praying Through God’s Word: Zephaniah

ZEPHANIAH1:1-2:7‘The great Day of the Lord is near – near and coming quickly… That Day will be a Day of wrath… I will bring distress upon the people… because they have sinned against the Lord’ (Zephaniah 1:14-17). This, Lord, is Your Word of warning. You’re calling us back to Yourself: ‘Seek the Lord – before …

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