In times of prosperity, in times of adversity

Jesus speaks to "the cities where most of his mighty works had been done" (Matthew 11:20). He gives them absolutely no encouragement to bask in their past glories. He presents them with the challenge of the present. He calls on them to makle an immediate response to God. In no uncertain terms, he challenges them …

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Lord, You speak to us about our sin and Your salvation.

Lord, You speak to us about our sin - ‘Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people’ - and Your salvation - ‘I will... put a new spirit in them...’ (Ezekiel 12:2; Ezekiel 11:19-20). Show us, Lord, that we must receive’ with humility, the bad news concerning our sin - ‘The wages of …

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How far can psychology and sociology take us?

When I was a young student, I studied psychology and sociology. I learned a lot about these subjects. Most of it I've now forgotten. Here's something I haven't forgotten. At my first psychology seminar, the leader described the study of psychology as building on shifting sand. As I heard these words, I remembered the parable …

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Jesus drinks from the cup of our condemnation. We drink from the cup of His salvation.

John 18:1-27 The story continues. Jesus is betrayed. Jesus is arrested (1-11). He stands before the Jewish authorities (12-14,19-24). Jesus is 'drinking from the cup which the Father has given Him' - He drinks from the cup of our condemnation so that we might drink from the cup of His salvation (11; Matthew 26:38-39; 2 …

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Learning from Martin Luther (The Kingdom Of God: Romans and Galatians)

This message was preached as part of a series in which we looked at what the books of the New Testament say about "the Kingdom of God." Since the focus is really on Martin Luther, I've given "Learning from Martin Luther" as the main title, with "The Kingdom of God: Romans and Galatians" being given …

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God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:1-32 'I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith' (16). Do you think it was easy for Paul to maintain such commitment to Christ, such confidence in Christ? What kind of world did he live in?: a world of 'ungodliness and …

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God has great things in store for His people.

Romans 5:1-21 God has great things in store for His people! (a) 'Much more' (9-10): 'Justified by Christ's blood', 'reconciled to God', 'We shall be saved by Christ from the wrath of God', 'saved by His life'. (b) 'Much more' (15,17): 'The grace of God' has 'abounded for many'. In Christ, we have 'received the abundance of …

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Preaching the Word of the Lord – Exodus 20:1-21

Before the Ten Commandments, there is love (Exodus 20:2). There is more than law. There us more than the exodus. There is Jesus, our Saviour. He does for us what the law can never do for us. He saves us. The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17) - What effect do they have on us? Read Exodus …

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Let Christ’s love give you strength – to keep on serving Him.

Daily Devotional Readings: Year One - July 1st July: Exodus 20:21-21:32 So many instructions - Don't get bogged down in details. Remember this: We do not live by an ethic of legalism. This is an ethic of redemption (20:1-2). Forget the God of redemption, and you have nothing but a lot of rules and regulations. …

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Redeemed by God, let us live in odience to Him and enjoy His blessing.

Numbers 35:1-36:13 Cities of refuge were provided for those who had killed someone accidentally. This is a good illustration of fleeing to Christ for refuge. He is our 'strong tower'. We 'run' to Him and we are 'safe' (Hebrews 6:18; Proverbs 18:10). God gave Israel a 'land'. They were not to 'defile the land' (34). …

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Something very wonderful has happened: Jesus has risen from the dead.

Luke 23:26-24:12 'God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong' (1 Corinthians 1:27). In his weakness, the thief on the cross trusted Christ for salvation (42-43). Pilate, a man of power, rejected Christ, sending Him off to be crucified (23:23-25). Jesus was 'delivered into the hands of sinful men'. Jesus was …

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A glimpse into the eternal dimension, a vision of glory

"Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: 'Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and …

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Earnestly contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to God’s holy people.

"Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to earnestly contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people" (Jude 3). We rejoice in the great salvation that has been given to us. It is a good thing …

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Carl Bangs, “Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation”

In this post, I will draw comparisons between Arminius and Berkouwer.  * Bangs points out that the historical situation in Holland was not a simple one - Calvinism coming in, Arminius nearly ruining it and the Synod of Dort restoring it: “The earliest Dutch Reformed leaders don’t seem to be Calvinists at all. They rise …

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We’ve wandered away from the Lord. He’s waiting for us to make our way back to Him.

For more notes on God's Word, visit God's Word For Every Day. 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 …

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Without the Lord, there can be no salvation and no victory.

As we read of David and his many exploits, we must remember that this is part of the great story of the mighty works of the Lord. To God’s people, there is the command, “Be strong.” From God’s people, there is the commitment: “Let’s prove ourselves strong for our people and the cities of our …

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Lord, we thank You that You are so determined to keep on blessing us.

Lord, we thank You that You are so determined to keep on blessing us. There are times when we're not expecting very much - and then You come to us with Your blessing, and everything changes. Everything becomes so much brighter. You are with us. You are leading us forward. You are leading us on …

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God’s love for us, our love for him and our love for one another

"We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19) .  Before there is our love for God, there is his love for us. Before there is our love for another, there is God's love for each one of us. God's love, always, comes first. This is something we should never forget. When we become …

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God’s Eternal Love – In creation and Scripture, we see love, eternal love, the love of God.

God reveals Himself in creation and Scripture. He speaks through His created world. He speaks through His written Word. God is always speaking. He is never silent. Through His created world, God is speaking to us, every day and  every night. He is showing us His glory (Psalm 19:1-2). He makes us aware of His …

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Berkouwer’s reinterpretation of election – not a devaluation of divine sovereignty

Berkouwer emphasizes that his reinterpretation of election "has nothing to do with a devaluation of divine sovereignty. It is not motivated by respect for the autonomy of the free man" (A Half Century of Theology, p. 95). He sought to affirm divine election while avoiding the dangers of determinism. Describing the process by which he …

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Looking ahead to the cross, Jesus said, ‘For this I was born…’

John 18:28-19:16 'Barabbas was a robber'. He was released (39-40). There was 'no crime' in Jesus. He was 'crucified' (38,4,6,16). Was Jesus no more than the innocent victim of a shameful and tragic miscarriage of justice? No! Jesus, the King of kings, chose to die. Looking ahead to the Cross, He said, 'For this I …

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We all make mistakes. May God help us to learn from our mistakes.

1 Samuel 14:24-52 Making mistakes: it's part of life for all of us: 'We all make mistakes. If any one makes no mistakes... he is a perfect man' (James 3:2). What are we to make of the 'mistakes' made by Saul and Jonathan? Saul's 'mistake' was an error of judgment which 'troubled the land' (24,29). …

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There is no god who can compare with the Lord.

2 Kings 16:1-17:41; Acts 26:24-27:12; Psalm 81:8-16 “They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless” (2 Kings 17:15). There is no god who can compare with the Lord (Psalm 81:9-10). He alone is worthy of praise. He alone gives value to our lives by bringing fulfilment to them: “Open wide your mouth and I will …

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When we feel like the light’s been switched off

Our light can go out. Jesus' light never goes out. This is something we must never forget. It's not about our light. It's about His light. Our feelings tell us one thing. Jesus tells us something else. Who are we to believe: our feelings or Jesus, our Saviour? We know what our answer should be, …

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By the mercy of God, through the Word of God, in the power of God, for the glory of God

In the work of ministry, we are, often, discouraged by the lack of response. May God help us to remember that "we have received this ministry by the mercy of God" (2 Corinthians 4:1). May he give us the wonderful privilege of seeing more and more people, responding to the Word of God, which, by …

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The restoration of God to His proper place among His people

David becomes king (1 Chronicles 11:3). David is helped by his supporters. He has more than the help of other people. His help comes from the Lord (1 Chronicles 12:18). The work, done by David, was, first and foremost, the work of God - the restoration of God to His proper place among His people …

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