Out of the shadows of our past, into the light of His future

Micah 5:1-7:20; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Proverbs 21:17-26 God wipes out the shadow of our past - He “pardons sin” (Micah 7:18). He shines in the light of His future - “We will be “clothed with our heavenly dwelling” (2 Corinthians 5:4). From this standpoint of privilege, we are called to fulfil our responsibility: to be soldiers of …

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Words that encourage us and enable us

"The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valour" (Judges 6:12). These words were spoken to Gideon. For us, as well as Gideon, they are words of encouragement, and they are words of enabling. We are encouraged by the words, "The Lord is with you." How can we be described as "mighty men of …

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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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Fulfil your vows – in the strength of the Lord.

Nahum 1:1-3:19; Ephesians 6:1-24; Psalm 114:1-8 “Fulfil your vows” (Nahum 1:15). “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). In all the vows we have promised to keep, we must remember the strength of the Lord: “Be strong in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:10). …

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The good news for sinners: our Saviour is greater than our sin.

 "Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless (or unsearchable) riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8). This post continues on from an earlier post, which contrasts Paul and Jesus. You may find it helpful to read that post before reading this one. …

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

"At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do" (Matthew 11:25-26). "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, …

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The deep things of God – and the deep love of Christ

"'What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived' — the things God has prepared for those who love him — 10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God" (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).  "I pray …

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Not by works… for good works

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). We look back - and we remember. What do we remember about Jesus? We …

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The apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers… and Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord

"Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no …

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All glory to the Lord – the God of eternal love, the God of our eternal salvation.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight" (Ephesians 1:3-4). We sing praise to the Lord. He has blessed us so much - …

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What does it mean to be blessed?

"Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord" (Jeremiah 17:7). What does it mean to be "blessed"? Sometimes, the words, "happy" and "blessed", are taken to mean the same thing. Is there a difference between being "happy" and being "blessed"? The word, "blessed", makes us think about the question, "Where does the blessing come from. It invites …

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Always seeking, never finding

"The word is very near you" (Deuteronomy 30:14). Some people are always searching - but never finding. They look here, there and everywhere ... and, then, they start again ... and so, the search continues ... always searching, never finding. They tell us, "It's all about the search." Jesus tells us something very different. He …

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The Kingdom Of God: The Prison Letters – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon

Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon: These letters are known, collectively, as the prison letters. They were written by Paul during his time of imprisonment in Rome. In Philippians, we see God's kingdom as a kingdom as a kingdom of joy: "Rejoice in the Lord always, and, again, I say, rejoice" (Philippians 4:4). When the Lord …

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What power there is in the written Word of God!

"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It …

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Never to be forgotten

In 1996, Willie McDonald died at the age of ninety. I had only known him for a short time. I will always remember him as a man who loved the Lord deeply. He was small of stature, but he was a man of “strength”: real, spiritual strength (Psalm 90:10). He was “strong in the Lord”, …

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God’s salvation – for us, in us, through us

For us: "In Him we have redemption through His blood" (Ephesians 1:7). "Through His blood": Never forget this. In our salvation, everything comes from this: Jesus died for us. In us: "I pray... that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." Our salvation is more than remembering that Jesus died for us. Paul prayed …

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Follow God’s example… walk in the way of love.

"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:1-2). God's love for us always comes before our love for Him. His love is eternal. It has no beginning. It has no …

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Our great privilege and our great responsibility

"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). These verses speak to us of our great privilege …

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We were “far off.” Now, we have been “brought near.”

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 2:13). We were "far off." Now, we have been "brought near." "This is the Lord's doing; and it is marvelous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23). Each and every one of us were like the prodigal son - …

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Learning from the prophets and apostles… Saved by Jesus Christ, our Saviour

"You are ... 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians 2:19-20).  We give thanks to God for the prophets and the apostles. In their own day, they were faithful servants of the Lord. In our day, their words continue to speak to us with power and love. We …

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A revelation of love… A revolution of love…

The gospel begins with a revelation of love - "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us" (Ephesians 1:7-8), and it leads to a revolution of love - "When you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth …

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Waiting On The Lord, We Renew Our Strength.

Luke 11:13, 24:49, Acts 1:1–14, Ephesians 5:18 Waiting On The Lord, We Renew Our Strength. Jesus tells His apostles, ‘the Holy Spirit’ will ‘come upon you’ (Acts 1:11, 8). He gives them His Word of promise: ‘I send the promise of my Father upon you’. He gives them His Word of command: ‘stay in the …

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The grace of God reaches us and changes us.

"I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy" (Leviticus 11:45). Where does holiness come from? How are we to become holy? Before we read about God's holiness, we read about his love. God says, "I am holy" - but, first, he says, "I ... …

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Notice what comes first, and what comes second.

"See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, told you" (Deuteronomy 1:21). Notice what comes first - "the Lord your God has given you the land", and what comes second - "Go up and take possession of it." By grace, God …

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Where does our life of faith begin? …

Where does our life of faith begin? Does it begin with our decision? or Does it begin with God's grace? "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:4-5). We were dead. The …

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Sing to the Lord … and listen to His voice …

"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!" (Psalm 95:1) - what a great call to worship! "Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts" (Psalm 95:7-8) - a much-needed word of warning! We're called to worship, but, sometimes, our hearts are far from …

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Everlasting love

Isaiah 51:17-54:17; Ephesians 1:1-23; Psalm 109:21-31 ’“With everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,’ says the Lord your Redeemer” (Isaiah 54:8). “In love, He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:5). This loving kindness has its origin in the heart of the eternal God. It continues for all …

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God’s grace is so great.

Isaiah 55:1-57:13; Ephesians 2:1-22; Psalm 110:1-7 Following the promise of grace (Isaiah 55:7), we have this great declaration by the Lord, “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My …

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Don’t settle for “second-best.”

Fourth Sunday in Lent: 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41 Don’t settle for “second-best”. ‘Samuel did what the Lord commanded’ (1 Samuel 16:4). Real obedience comes from ‘the heart’. It is more than just ‘keeping up appearances’ (1 Samuel 16:7). ‘The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart’- This …

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The Redeemed of the Lord …

Isaiah 60:1-62:12; Ephesians 4:1-16; Proverbs 23:19-28 The grace of God is very great and very precious. Through His grace, we are “called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord” (Isaiah 62:12). We are “urged ... to live a life worthy of this high calling” (Ephesians 4:1). Following “the right path” is always a matter of the …

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