Yield not to temptation.

Away from me, Satan!... Then the devil left Jesus (Matthew 4:10). When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Jesus until an opportune time (Luke 4:13). Jesus' temptations in the wilderness were over, but there would be more temptations, coming his way. As we read the words, "until an opportune time", we are reminded that …

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From a self-centred life to a God-centred life

They said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth’ (Genesis 11:4). Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall!  Take words with you and …

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Strengthened by God’s Spirit and God’s Word, let us take our stand against the devil.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil...  “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’"(Matthew 4:1,4). Things weren't looking so good. Jesus was in the wilderness. He was tempted by the devil. In the …

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How did Jesus come to his baptism? Did he come as a sinner in need of salvation? No. He came as the Saviour who brings salvation to sinners.

"Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then John consented" (Matthew 3:13-15). "Therefore, …

Continue reading How did Jesus come to his baptism? Did he come as a sinner in need of salvation? No. He came as the Saviour who brings salvation to sinners.

There is no salvation in the preacher. Salvation comes to us from Jesus, our Saviour.

"People went out to John from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River" (Matthew 3:5-6). People were listening. They were eager to hear what the Lord had to say to them. They knew that this was more than the words of …

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If there is to be delight in God’s Word, we must overcome doubt.

If there is to be delight in God's Word, we must overcome doubt. Satan is always saying, "Did God really say ...?" (Genesis 3:1). We must learn to say, "God did say" (Genesis 3:3). We must stand by this confession of faith in God and His Word. Satan will not give in easily. He will …

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

"Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”" (Matthew 22:37-40). What is love? Can we …

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Thinking about faith, love and hope, let us worship the Lord with joy.

https://youtu.be/-TVTmq7THU4 Faith: Thomas said, "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28). Like Thomas, we speak our words of faith to Jesus, our Saviour. This is more than confessing our faith in a church service. It's saying "thank you" to Jesus for all that he has done for us. We thank Jesus for all that he …

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Closeness to God develops as we learn to delight in the Word of God.

Among many names and life-spans, there is this remarkable statement: "Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away" (Genesis 5:24). This closeness to God develops as we learn to delight in the Word of God. Together with "Noah" who "found favour in the eyes of the Lord" (Genesis …

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Jesus is a very different King from the kings of this world.

In Matthew 21:1-22, we learn that Jesus is a very different King from the kings of this world. He is the King of love. There is no tyranny, no dictatorship, no reign of terror. Alongside His love, there is His holiness. We see this in the cleansing of the Temple. He is looking for us …

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There are always new treasures for us to discover.

Matthew 13:44-58 Be patient. Do not doubt the power of God's Word. Once God's Word has begun to exert its influence among the people, great things will happen. The beginnings may seem small. Remember: nothing is insignificant when God is in it! Some may be on the verge of the kind of joyful discovery of …

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Jesus was handed over to be crucified – but He wasn’t taken by surprise.

"At that time, the Son  of Man will be handed over to be crucified" (Matthew 26:2). Jesus was not taken by surprise. He knew what He was letting Himself in for. He knew why He had come to earth. He knew what He had come to do. He knew the purpose of His life. "You …

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What Are You Saying To Us, Lord, Here-And-Now?

"You have heard that it was said... But I say to you... " (Matthew 5:21-22,27-28,31-32,33-34, 38-39,43-44). When we see the great contrast between what has been said in the past and what Jesus says to His generation and our generation, we must remember Jesus' words, "Don't ever think that I came to set aside Moses; …

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Good News for everyone

Eighth Sunday after the Epiphany – Isaiah 49:8-16a; Psalm 131; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34 Good News for everyone: Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. ‘I, the Lord, am your Saviour, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob’. We are not to keep this to ourselves. God wants ‘all mankind’ to ‘know’ (Isaiah 49:26). ‘Jesus, the …

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The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God ny Saviour!

Job 40:3-42:17; Matthew 25:14-46; Psalm 18:43-50 “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first” (Job 42:12). “For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance” (Matthew 25:29). Both of these statements occur withn the context of the call to be faithful to God. This faithfulness …

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To understand the history of God’s salvation, we must remember this: Christ will come again.

Job 38:1-40:2; Matthew 24:32-25:13; Psalm 18:37-42 The story of our life is only understood once we see the full picture. The book of Job is not understood by reading the words of Job and his ‘comforters’. We must also hear the Word of the Lord. The history of God’s salvation is not understood by reading …

Continue reading To understand the history of God’s salvation, we must remember this: Christ will come again.

The God of glory is, also, the God of grace.

Job 35:1-37:24; Matthew 24:1-31; Proverbs 4:1-9 The Return of the Lord will be “with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). Even in the rather arrogant words of Elihu, in his proud rebuke of Job, there is the recognition of the power and glory of the Lord’s coming – “God comes in awesome majesty” (Job 37:22). …

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Lord, when we speak of You, teach us to speak with humility.

Job 33:1-34:37; Matthew 23:1-39; Psalm 18:25-36 There is a great similarity between Job’s ‘comforters’ and the Pharisees. Job’s ‘comforters’ say, “Should God then reward you on your terms, when you refuse to repent?… Job speaks without knowledge; his words lack insight … To his sin, he adds rebellion… and multiplies his words against God” (Job …

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Let us confess our sin, and glory in our Saviour, who forgives sin.

Matthew 16:5-23 What a contrast there is between Jesus Christ and the religious leaders of His day. Three times, we are told to 'guard against...the Pharisees and Sadducees' (6,11-12). These men had religion without salvation. They claimed to have faith in God, yet they despised Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Saviour of sinners. …

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When things go badly wrong, the Lord is there for us.

Job 30:1-32:22; Matthew 22:15-46; Psalm 18:16-24 There were hypocrites trying to condemn Job. There were “hypocrites … trying to trap” Jesus (Matthew 22:18). In both cases, they had to give up – “they had found no way to refute Job” (Job 32:3); “No-one could say a word in reply” to Jesus (Matthew 22:46). The testimony …

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Hearing and Obeying God’s Word

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany – Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 119:1-8; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37 Hearing and Obeying God’s Word For Israel, a real turning to the Lord with ‘all the heart and soul’ involved obedience to ‘His commandments... written in this book of the law’ (Deuteronomy 30:10). We are not left wondering what God …

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Job’s “friends” failed to discern the presence and purpose of God in Job’s suffering.

Job 25:1-29:25; Matthew 21:33-22:14; Psalm 18:7-15 There is a judgment of God. Job’s ‘friends’ brought no comfort to him. They failed to discern the presence and purpose of God in Job’s sufferings. All the prophets of God and, above all, the Son of God, encountered persecution. There will, however, come a day when the enemies …

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We may not understand what’s going on, but the Lord does.

Job 22:1-24:25; Matthew 21:18-32; Proverbs 3:21-35 Job 23:10 contains a spiritual gem – “He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Failure to bear fruit leads to judgment (Matthew 21:19; John 15:16). When we face testing and purging, we must not lose sight of the …

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Do you want to enter God’s Kingdom? Make sure you are clothed in Christ’s righteousness.

Matthew 22:1-14 Jesus speaks in parables. Some hear, understand and believe. Others miss the point altogether. One man was 'not wearing wedding clothes' (11). He was dressed in the 'filthy rags' of his own 'righteous acts' (Isaiah 64:6). He was not clothed in the righteousness of Christ (Revelation 21:1-2, 7:9-14). Without Christ's righteousness we are …

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Let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Exodus 13:1-14:31; Matthew 27:45-66; Proverbs 4:20-27 “The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left” (Exodus 14:21-22). “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51). The dividing of the …

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Let us bring Christ to the nations.

Baptism of the Lord (First Sunday in Ordinary Time): Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7; Acts 10:34-38; Matthew 3:13-17 Let us bring Christ to the nations. Let us serve the Lord in the power of the Spirit. ‘Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, my Chosen One in whom I delight; I will put My Spirit on Him, and …

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Are there some things that are more than “just your own opinion”?

"I'll tell you what I think." "I'll give you my opinion." In today's world, people will listen to all sorts of opinions. They may disagree with what's being said, but they will listen, and they will say, "You're entitled to your opinion." What happens when someone says, "This is what the Word of the Lord …

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Getting our priorities right

Trinity Sunday (First Sunday after Pentecost): Genesis 1:1-2:4a; Psalm 8; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20 Getting our priorities right: God, His Word, His Spirit - at the centre of our life The Bible’s opening verses challenge us to get our priorities right. (a) The priority of God (Genesis 1:1). God comes first. Before anyone else …

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Listening to what God says to us through his world, his written Word and his Son

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands... The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple" (Psalm 19:1,7). God speaks to us through his world, and he speaks to us through his written Word. Speaking to us through his world, he prepares …

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Questions we can’t answer, and a question we must answer

There are many questions we can't answer. There is, however a question we must answer. It's this question, "What do you think of Christ?" (Mattthew 22:42). Let us turn our attention to this question. It's a question that comes to us from Jesus. It's a personal question. It's a question each one of us must …

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The Authority Of Grace

In Matthew 21:23-46, we learn that the authority of Jesus is heard in His words and seen in His actions. He speaks of grace. He lives by grace. Jesus is the foundation of our salvation. Without Him, there is no salvation. With Him, we are greatly blessed. What a great Saviour He is!

When I see the blood, I will pass over you.

Exodus 11:1-12:51; Matthew 27:11-44; Psalm 21:1-7 In Exodus 12:13, we read of the Passover – “when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” In the story of Christ’s crucifixion, we have the message of His blood being shed for sinners. This is illustrated in the events of Jesus being crucified and Barabbas being set …

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We rise up and stand firm.

Exodus 9:1-10:29; Matthew 26:69-27:10; Psalm 20:1-9 The tragedies of Pharaoh and Judas continue – “the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart … Moses replied … I will never appear before you again” (Exodus 10:27-28). Judas “went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5). This is the tragedy of those whose hearts are hardened against the Lord. The opportunity …

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The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting or reviving the soul.

Exodus 6:13-8:32; Matthew 26:47-68; Psalm 19:7-14 There is a clear similarity between Pharaoh and Judas. Pharaoh said, “I will let you go …” (Exodus 8:28). He didn’t keep his promise. ”Judas said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed Jesus” (Matthew 26:49). He betrayed Jesus. How are we to avoid this hypocrisy, this marked discrepancy between our words and …

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The Lord is leading His people on to better things.

Exodus 4:1-6:12; Matthew 26:31-46; Proverbs 4:10-19 Moses was not eloquent. God made him a mighty man of faith. Peter denied his Lord. God restored him and established him in Christ. We are inadequate and unworthy. God can do great things in us and through us. The Lord is leading His people on to better things: “The …

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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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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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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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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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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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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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I once was lost, but now am found.

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

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