There’s a difference between human popularity and divine approval.

2 Samuel 14:1-15:12; Acts 5:12-42; Proverbs 14:15-24 There’s a difference between human popularity – “Absalom’s following kept on increasing” (2 Samuel 15:12) – and divine approval – “more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number” (Acts 5:14). A man can gain popularity because the people are gullible …

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Preaching the Gospel and teaching the Word

Jeremiah 9:17-11:17; Colossians 1:24-2:5; Psalm 117:1-2 The Lord’s people are called to a ministry of preaching the Gospel and teaching the Word (Jeremiah 11:6; Colossians 1:25,28). While this ministry is carried out by particular individuals, e.g. Jeremiah and Paul, it is a ministry which is strengthened by the support and encouragement which comes from the Lord’s …

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There are things happening which bring great distress to the Lord’s people.

2 Samuel 13:1-39; Acts 4:23-5:11; Psalm 71:9-18 There are things happening which bring great distress to the Lord’s people. “When King David heard all this, he was furious… Ammon… had disgraced his sister Tamar” (2 Samuel 13:21-22). “Why do the nations rage … against the Lord and against His Anointed One” (Acts 4:25-26). “My enemies …

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How important it is not to settle for a superficial religion

Judges 7:8b-8:35; John 5:31-47; Proverbs 11:19-28 “No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals” (Judges 8:33). “John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light” (John 5:35) – “For a time”, but note their response to Jesus -”I have …

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The Lord is looking for His people to stand up and be counted as His faithful servants.

Deuteronomy 29:1-30:10; Luke 18:31-19:10; Proverbs 10:1-10 The Lord is looking for His people to stand up and be counted as His faithful servants. There is a commitment to be made, a commitment to be maintained. It is not only beginning with Christ. It is going on with Him. This is illustrated in the story of …

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The Word of God is like a fire.

Jeremiah 4:10-5:31; Philippians 3:1-4:1; Psalm 116:1-11 The Word of God is like a fire, burning up the sin of man (Jeremiah 5:14). The purpose of this fire is not, however, destructive. God’s purpose is to burn up the pride which “puts confidence in the flesh”, to burn away the “legalistic righteousness.” All of that is …

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The child died, but the love of God did not cease.

 2 Samuel 11:1-12:31; Acts 4:1-22; Psalm 71:1-8 “David pleaded with God for the child”, born of his adultery with Bathsheba, but “the child died” (2 Samuel 12:18). David prayed that “the Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live” (2 Samuel 12:22). The child died, but the love of God did not …

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Raised, with Christ, to eternal life

2 Samuel 7:1-8:18; Acts 2:22-47; Proverbs 14:5-14 “The Lord gave David victory wherever he went” (2 Samuel 8:14). The victory, given to Jesus, was a greater victory than any victory given by God to David. Concerning David, Scripture says, “David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day” (Acts 2:29). Concerning …

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The light of the righteous shines brightly.

1 Samuel 14:24-15:35; John 14:1-31; Proverbs 12:28-13:9 “To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22). “Whoever has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me … Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching” (John 14:21,23). “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality” (Proverbs 12:28). …

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Speak, for Your servant is listening.

1 Samuel 1:1-2:26; John 10:22-42; Psalm 63:1-11 “Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:13). They “sinned against the Lord” – “they did not listen to their father’s rebuke” (1 Samuel 2:25). God is calling us back from this way of living. He is showing us the better …

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Jesus is more than a prophet.

Deuteronomy 16:21-18:22; Luke 14:15-35; Psalm 44:13-26 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet …” (Deuteronomy 18:15). This prophecy has its greatest fulfilment in Christ. Jesus is more than a prophet. He is the substance of the prophecy concerning God’s Kingdom. The coming of God’s Kingdom is the coming of Christ – …

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Jesus reigns – forever and ever.

2 Samuel 3:22-5:5; Acts 1:1-22; Psalms 69:13-28 David ascended to the throne of Israel – “they anointed David king over Israel” (2 Samuel 5:3). “He reigned for forty years” (2 Samuel 5:4). Jesus ascended “into heaven” (Acts 1:11), to the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. There, He reigns forever and ever. As we …

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Is there any hope?

Isaiah 17:1-19:25; 2 Corinthians 10:1-18; Psalm 106:16-31 Much of the “oracle concerning Egypt” (Isaiah 19:1) speaks of the negative aspects which are associated with the nation of Egypt. Nevertheless, there is a Word of hope at the end of this oracle (Isaiah 19:18-25). In 2 Corinthians 10:15-16, Paul expresses the hope that “our area of activity …

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Be holy in all you do, and love one another deeply, from the heart.

Ezekiel 41:1-42:20; 1 Peter 1:1-2:3; Psalm 131:1-3 Ezekiel emphasizes that the Temple was to be built according to God’s pattern. Our lives are to be lived according to God’s pattern – “Be holy in all you do”, “Love one another deeply, from the heart” (1 Peter 1:15,22). the instructions for the building the Temple were …

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The renewal of our lives

Isaiah 1:1-2:22; 2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2; Psalm 105:1-11 The ministry of Isaiah calls for reality, for transformed lives. This renewal of our lives can only be achieved through the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. We don’t have the power to change ourselves. It is in Christ that we become “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This …

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Keeping the Lord at the centre of all that we do

Leviticus 1:1-3:17; Mark 9:33-10:12; Psalm 27:1-6, The offerings were to be “made to the Lord”. They were to be “pleasing to the Lord.” These recurring phrases emphasize the importance of keeping the Lord at the centre of all that we do. We are not to argue about who is the greatest (Mark 9:34). There is …

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The darkness of sin, and the light of God’s salvation

Genesis 19 is a chapter that's full of the darkness of sin. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is followed by the sordid episode with Lot and his daughters. Sin leads to judgment. That's the lesson of Sodom and Gomorrah. sin leads to judgment. we see this in the birth of these two illicitly conceived …

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Salvation – God’s reply to sin

Amos 3:1-4:13; Romans 3:9-31; Psalm 85:8-13 Scripture speaks honestly about sin – “You have not returned to Me” (Amos 4:6,8,9,10,11); “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18). God’s reply to sin is salvation – “Surely His salvation is near those who fear Him, that His glory may dwell in our land” …

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In love, God is calling us to return to Him.

Judges 9:1-57; John 6:1-24; Psalm 58:1-11 “Surely there is a God who judges the earth” (Psalm 58:11). “God repaid the wickedness… ” (Judges 9:54). The Holy God speaks to us of His judgment upon sinners. He speaks to us His Word of warning, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the …

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By the power of the Holy Spirit

Isaiah 10:20-13:22; 2 Corinthians 8:16-9:5; Psalm 105:37-45 Jesus Christ was filled with “the Spirit of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:2). It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are to live for Christ. As we give ourselves to the Lord in service, our first priority is “to honour the Lord Himself.” We do this …

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Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

Judges 12:1-13:25; John 6:60-7:13; Psalm 59:9-17 Judges tells us of Samson, a man of great strength. The Psalmist teaches us that true strength comes from the Lord. Samson’s true strength was God-given. Our true strength is God-given. True strength is more than physical strength. It’s spiritual strength. The Psalmist says to God, “O my Strength, …

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The return of our Lord Jesus Christ

Joshua 1:1-2:24; Luke 2:5-38; Proverbs 10:11-20 Israel’s entry into the promised land was a highly significant event in the history of God’s redemption. ‘The momentous event’ is the Return of our Lord Jesus Christ: “The Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27). We must be ready for His …

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The Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power.

Judges 14:1-15:20; John 7:14-44; Proverbs 11:29-12:7 True strength comes from the Spirit of the Lord – “the Spirit of the Lord came upon him (Samson) in power” (Judges 14:19); “Whoever believes in Me (Jesus), as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within him. By this He meant the Spirit, whom those …

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Holiness And Honesty

Deuteronomy 21:1-22:30; Luke 16:1-18; Proverbs 9:13-18 Holiness and honesty are two qualities which are to characterize the life of the Christian. The 'laws' in Deuteronomy stress the importance of holiness. Jesus, in His parable of the shrewd manager, emphasizes the importance of honesty - "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted …

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A lifestyle, governed by heavenly priorities

In Genesis 14:18-20, we read about the remarkable appearance of the mysterious figure, Melchizedek. Here, we have the first suggestion of tithing - "Then Abram gave Him a tenth of everything" (Genesis 14:20). This is not a legalistic practice. It is set in the context of grace and worship. Abram's tithing follows on from this: …

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Only God can give real joy and peace to us.

God made a new beginning with Noah and his family. It doesn't take us long to spoil God's good work, With no concern for God's glory, we say, "let us ... make a name for ourselves" (Genesis 11:4). God's response to this situation was Jesus Christ. He is the Man who sought only to give glory …

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How are we to die? Dying in shame, or dying in glory?

2 Samuel 16:15-18:18; Acts 7:20-43; Psalm 72:1-20 How are we to die? This is an important question. There’s a difference between dying in shame and dying in glory. The death of Absalom (2 Samuel 18) is a shameful death. The death of Stephen (Acts 7) is a glorious triumph. Stephen’s death is preceded by a …

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More than a human love story

Genesis 24:1-67; Matthew 9:14-38; Psalm 8:1-9 In Genesis 24, we see the progress of the promise given to Abraham. From generation to generation, God is fulfilling His purpose. Once Rebekah had agreed to marry Isaac, she received this blessing: “Our sister, may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the cities of …

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God works through those who give faithful testimony to the Gospel of His grace.

2 Kings 1:1-2:25; Acts 20:1-38; Psalm 78:40-55 "Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?" (2 Kings 2:14). With each succeeding generation, God is looking for those who will commit themselves to the task of testifying to the Gospel of God's grace" (Acts 20:24). "He brought His people out like a flock; He led …

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The Name of Jesus Christ is the Name of our salvation.

More notes can be found at my One Year Bible blog. 2 Samuel 11:1-12:31; Acts 4:1-22; Psalm 71:1-8 “David pleaded with God for the child”, born of his adultery with Bathsheba, but “the child died” (2 Samuel 12:18). David prayed that “the Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live” (2 Samuel 12:22). The …

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The hand of the Lord was upon me.

Ezekiel 40:1-49; James 5:1-20; Psalm 130:1-8 The prophecy spoken by Ezekiel has its ultimate Source in God Himself – “the hand of the Lord was upon me” (Ezekiel 40:1). He goes on to describe “visions of God” (Ezekiel 40:2). To speak the Word of God faithfully requires patience. there is not always evidence of great …

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The Lord Almighty – wonderful and magnificent

Isaiah 27:1-28:29; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10; Psalm 106:40-48 Isaiah 28:29 contains a great description of God - “The Lord Almighty, wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom.” Paul speaks, in 2 Corinthians 12:7, of “surpassingly great revelations.”  Whenever God reveals an increased measure of His wonderful counsel and magnificent wisdom, He wants us to remain humble, resting only in …

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The Word of the Lord was rare – but the lamp of God had not yet gone out.

1 Samuel 2:27-4:22; John 11:1-44; Psalms 64:1-10 In the days of Samuel’s youth, “the word of the Lord was rare” (1 Samuel 3:1). Nevertheless, “the lamp of God had not yet gone out” (1 Samuel 3:3). God began to do a new work, with Samuel at the very heart of it. This new work was …

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Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord – to the glory of God the Father.

1 Samuel 5:1-7:17; John 11:45-12:11; Proverbs 12:18-27 In Samuel’s day, there was conflict between the god of the Philistines (Dagon) and the God of Israel. It was no contest – “there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord!” (1 Samuel 5:3-4). In Jesus’ day, there was conflict …

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In the place of prayer, we are empowered for service.

1 Samuel 19:1-20:42; John 17:6-26; Psalm 68:7-14 In the story of David and Jonathan, we have a great picture of human friendship. In Jesus’ prayer (John 17), we learn so much about our friendship with God. When we have been with God in the place of prayer, as Jesus was, we are empowered for service: “The Lord …

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Out of small beginnings, great blessing can come.

Following Abram's rash action of fathering a child, Ishmael, by his maidservant, Hagar, we see, in Genesis 17, God's determination to bless him and to make him a blessing to many people. God will not be put off by our objections (Genesis 17:15-19). To such objections, He gives this answer: "Is anything too hard for …

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What happens when God hears and answers prayer?

2 Samuel 20:1-21:22; Acts 8:1-40; Proverbs 14:25-35 “God answered prayer on behalf of the land” (2 Samuel 21:14). At the heart of all the confusion of many events involving the nations, there is God – the God who hears and answers prayer. What happens when God hears and answers prayer? – People hear and believe …

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God’s great salvation

Ezekiel 38:1-39:29; James 4:1-17; Proverbs 28:7-17 God’s Word speaks of His judgment upon sin (Ezekiel 39:23-24). It also speaks of His great salvation from sin (Ezekiel 39:25-29). “Scripture says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble'” (James 4:6). God’s Word speaks of the choice placed before man – obedience or disobedience, blessing or …

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The light of the righteous shines brightly.

1 Samuel 14:24-15:35; John 14:1-31; Proverbs 12:28-13:9 “To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22). “Whoever has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me … Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching” (John 14:21,23). “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality” (Proverbs 12:28). …

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Repentance and rest

Isaiah 29:1-30:18; 2 Corinthians 12:11-21; Psalm 107:1-9 “In repentance and rest is your salvation” (Isaiah 30:15). Repentance is an ongoing part of our Christian experience - 2 Corinthians 12:21 emphasizes the need for continuing repentance. We have been saved. We continue to sin. We must seek, by God’s grace, to maintain our repentance. Rest is …

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There is no ‘Goliath’ too strong for the Lord.

1 Samuel 16:1-17:37; John 15:1-16:4; Psalm 67:1-7 David was able to face Goliath with confidence in God – “The Lord will deliver me” (1 Samuel 17:37). Saul, then, said to him, “Go, and the Lord be with you” (1 Samuel 17:38). Jesus’ disciples were able to go forward in their mission with confidence in God, since Jesus …

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When the Spirit is poured upon us from on high

Isaiah 30:19-32:20; 2 Corinthians 13:1-14; Proverbs 22:17-27 What a transformation there is when “the Spirit is poured upon us from on high” (Isaiah 32:14-15). The blessings which God pours upon us are well summed up in 2 Corinthians 13:14 - “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the fellowship …

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The problems are great. The Lord is greater.

Judges 18:1-19:30; John 8:12-30; Psalm 60:5-12 In Judges, we read of idolatry and adultery. Into this kind of situation comes the Lord’s warning – “if you do not believe that I am He, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:24). There is much resistance to the Gospel. There will, however, be those who …

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Even when His people are at a very low ebb, God does not abandon them.

Judges 16:1-17:13; John 7:45-8:11; Psalm 60:1-4 Samson “killed many more when he died than while he lived” (Judges 16:30). The chief priests and Pharisees were anxious to bring Jesus in – to destroy Him. Little did they realize that His death was to be His greatest victory. Even when His people are at a very …

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God’s Kingdom will prevail over the kingdom of Satan.

Daniel 3:13-4:18; 2 Peter 2:1-22; Proverbs 29:1-9 “The Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of men” (Daniel 4:17). It is a great comfort to know that God is sovereign. It gives strength in the midst of the conflict. It’s an unequal conflict – God’s Kingdom will prevail over the kingdom of Satan. We must …

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Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Judges 20:1-21:25; John 8:31-59; Psalm 61:1-8 The Book of Judges ends on a very sad note: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit (or “everyone did what was right in his own eyes”)” (Judges 21:25). The sadness doesn’t come from the political situation – “no king”. It comes from …

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