God promises blessing to those who take refuge in Him (Search The Scriptures: Psalms).

PSALMS God calls us to follow “the way of righteous people” (Psalm 1:6). He directs our attention to His “Son”, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (Psalm 2:7). He promises blessing to those who “take refuge ... In Him” (Psalm 2:12). There is much opposition: “O Lord, look how my enemies have increased! Many are …

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A witness of Jesus Christ (4): Learning from his death

To the end, Bonhoeffer showed remarkable courage and compassion. The day before his execution was a Sunday. The prisoners were permitted to have a service, with Bonhoeffer as the minister. He spoke on "the Scripture passages for the day": "Through his stripes, we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5) and "Blessed be the God and Father of …

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Trust in Christ, not in yourself.

Romans 9:1-33 We read about 'Jews' and 'Gentiles'. We learn about salvation. The Jews are not saved because of their nationality. It is 'not because of works'. The Gentiles are not excluded because of their nationality. It is 'because of His call'. Salvation comes from God's grace, not from our good works. It is received …

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Grounded in God’s grace – our assurance of faith; trusting in God’s grace – our confession of faith; inspired by God’s grace – our obedience of faith

In his contribution to Clark Pinnock (editor), Grace Unlimited (1975), G. R. Osborne states that Berkouwer, in his bookm Faith and Perseverance, pp. 9-10, “speaks of the timelessness of the doctrine of final perseverance, founded on ‘the richness and abidingness of salvation” (p. 188, emphasis mine). This single-sentence comment on Berkouwer’s view hardly gives a …

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We need true lives as well as true words.

2 Corinthians 5:11-7:1  -  ‘Reconciled’ to God through Christ, we have received ‘the ministry of reconciliation’. Saved by Him, we are to ‘work with Him’. We are ‘not to accept the grace of God in vain’ by living for ourselves. We are to be ‘ambassadors for Christ’. We must proclaim the urgent message of salvation - ‘now …

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Lord, Your love is the best love. It’s the greatest love of all.

We thank You, Lord, for “Your steadfast love” (Psalm 36:5,7,10). Your love is the best love. It’s the greatest love of all. Your love is very wonderful. We rejoice in Your love. We are amazed at Your love. We look at Jesus, Your Son, crucified for us, and we say, “Amazing love, how can it …

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Let the light of Christ shine.

Season of Epiphany: Epiphany of the Lord – Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12 Let the light of Christ shine. ‘Arise, shine; for your Light has come... the Lord will be your everlasting Light’ (Isaiah 60:1, 19-20). Jesus Christ is ‘the Light of the world’. When we ‘follow Him’, we ‘will not …

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer – A witness of Jesus Christ (3): The Cost of Discipleship

What can we learn from Bonhoeffer's book, The Cost of Discipleship? This book was first published when Bonhoeffer was only 31 years old. Page references are to the edition I was using at the time I wrote these notes. I've included the page references. It will give you a rough idea of the part of …

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Some Ideas For Preaching God’s 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 …

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A witness of Jesus Christ (2)

Bonhoeffer died because of his refusal to compromise, his refusal to depart from the path of following Jesus Christ. Long before the Second World War began, Bonhoeffer was a marked man. On January 30th 1933, Hitler came to power. The following day, Bonhoeffer gave a broadcast talk over the Berlin radio network. Before it was …

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The things that really matter

2 Corinthians 10:1-11:15  -  We are engaged in warfare. Is it ‘worldly war’? Do we use ‘worldly weapons’? No! It is spiritual  warfare. God has given us His weapons (10:3-4). Our enemy is ‘Satan’ - ‘the god of this world’ (11:13-15; 4:4). We face him with ‘the whole armour of God’, with ‘the Gospel of peace’ (Ephesians 6:11,13,15). We are not …

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Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

Ezekiel 25:1-17  -  We read here about God’s judgment upon sinful nations - Ammon (1-7), Moab (8-11), Edom (12-14) and Philistia (15-17). God speaks to us. He says to us, ‘You will know that I am the Lord’ (5,7,11,17). He speaks to us as our Judge. He speaks to us about ‘sin, righteousness and judgment’ …

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We are called to worship God with reverence and joy.

Nehemiah 7:4-8:18; Revelation 18:17b-19:10; Psalm 148:1-6 We are called to "worship God" (Revelation 19:10). Our worship is to be with reverence and joy. "Be still: "This is the call for reverence (Nehemiah 8:11). Alongside this reverence, there is to be joy: "The joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). We are to "rejoice" …

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There Is No Way To Heaven Which Begins With The Word ‘I’. We Must Begin With God – ‘God So Loved The World…’

Genesis 3:10-15 Having chosen the way of sin, we are ‘naked’ and ashamed (10). The Gospel teaches us that ‘there’s a way back to God from the dark paths of sin’. We can be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. We can bring the ‘filthy rags’ of ‘our righteous acts’ (Isaiah 64:6) to God, and …

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Jesus says that we are not to be like ‘the hypocrites.’

Matthew 6:1-18 Jesus says that we are not to be like 'the hypocrites' (2,5,16). The word 'hypocrite' means 'play actor.' It refers to 'putting on a performance'. This performance may be extremely religious, but God is not in it. The hypocrites live according to 'the letter' of the law, but they know nothing of the …

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Hearing God’s Word and speaking God’s Word

Joshua 22:1-34  -  Joshua had heard God’s Word (1:8). Now, he speaks God’s Word to the people (5). To those who ‘have obeyed’ Him, God says, ‘Keep on obeying Me’. This is the way of blessing (1-6). Together with God’s promise of blessing, we need His warning against rebellion: ‘Do not rebel against the Lord’ …

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There’s a difference between what we want to hear and what God wants us to hear.

Ezekiel 14:1-15:8  -  ‘Some of the elders of Israel came to’ Ezekiel. He spoke the Word of the Lord to them: ‘Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!’ (14:1,8). This may not have been what they wanted to hear. It was what God wanted them to hear. They did not want …

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A History Of Sin – And A History Of Salvation

Lord, we read about Israel’s sin - ‘They soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel... They despised the pleasant land; they did not believe His promise... They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord... They rebelled against the Spirit of God’(Psalm 106:13,24-25,33). This is not only …

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Daily bread that sustains our faith

"And the Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”" (Exodus 16:11-12). "And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the …

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So much blessing comes to us from the Lord.

Zechariah 12:1-14:21; Revelation 2:1-17: Proverbs 30:1-10 God "pours out... a spirit of supplication" upon His people. As a result of this, they look on Him, "the One they have pierced." In doing so, they come to "a fountain... to cleanse them from sin and impurity" (Zechariah 12:10; Zechariah 13:1). God's people mourn for the One …

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Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars for ever and ever.

Ezekiel 40:1-49  -  God was revealing Himself to Ezekiel. ‘The hand of the Lord was upon’ him. He received ‘visions of God’ (1-2). Ezekiel was not to keep this revelation to himself: ‘Tell the house of Israel everything you see’ (4). We are to learn from ‘the prophets who spoke in the Name of the …

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Does Jesus weep over you? He wants to rejoice over you.

Luke 19:1-48 Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem (9:51; 13:22; 17:11), the place where He would be crucified for the world's salvation. 'Passing through' Jericho, He brought 'salvation' to Zacchaeus (1, 9). 'Near to Jerusalem', He spoke about service (11-27). Jesus is our Saviour - He came 'to save us' (10). He is also …

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Is the Gospel still relevant?… Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

GALATIANS  1:1-2:10  -  ‘A revelation of Jesus Christ’ (1:12) - This is what the Gospel is all about. Christ is the Gospel. Without Him, there is no Gospel. What was Paul’s testimony? What did he preach to others? - God ‘was pleased to reveal His Son in order that I might preach Him…’ (1:15-16). We …

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May our words be Gospel words – words of love, words of encouragement, words of hope.

Lord, we read Zophar’s detailed description of “the wicked man’s portion from God, the heritage decreed for him by God” (Job 20:29). We wonder if Zophar has ever thought of asking the question:’ Help us, Lord, to learn from Zophar ‘Does all of this apply to Job? Is Job a wicked man? Is Job being …

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