Strengthened by the Word of God and the Spirit of God

“The Spirit entered me when the Lord spoke to me” (Ezekiel 2:1). These words come to us from the prophet, Ezekiel. The name, Ezekiel, means “strengthened by God.” How was Ezekiel strengthened by God? In Ezekiel 2:1, we read about the Word of God: “the Lord spoke to me” and the Spirit of God – …

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Everything changes when we begin to see things the way God sees them.

"The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast" (1 Peter 5:10). Does our life on earth, sometimes, feel like a maze? We're stuck in the middle. We've lost our way. We can't seem to find …

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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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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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Sound doctrine is more than believing the right things.

"But, as for you, teach what is consistent with sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1). What does Paul when he speaks about "sound doctrine"? Does he mean believing the right things? or Is there more to it than this? As we read Paul's letter to Titus, it becomes clear that "sound doctrine" means more than believing the …

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The Lord is always near to us, even when the going gets tough.

"We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches, we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring" (2 Thessalonians 1:3-4). Faith is growing. …

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God will give us the strength that we need to serve him with gladness.

"We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 1:3). When some people use the words, "faith, love and hope", they does not speak of "our God and Father", and they do not speak of "our Lord Jesus …

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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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We listen to Jesus, we learn from Jesus, and we worship Jesus.

"I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.  I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:11-12). "By revelation from Jesus Christ": This was more than Paul's preaching. It was Christ's revelation. What a difference …

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When we preach Christ crucified, let us, also, preach that he is the risen Lord.

"We preach Christ crucified" (1 Corinthians 1:23). In his preaching. Paul "reasoned with people from the Scriptures" (Acts 17:2), but he did not say, "We preach Isaiah", "We preach Jeremiah" or "We preach... ." He said, "We preach Christ crucified." When Paul spoke about the death of Christ, he spoke about the love of God: …

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Let us rejoice in Jesus, God’s Son. Let us rejoice in Jesus, our Saviour.

"God's Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" was "declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:3-4). This post is a continuation of my earlier post, "This is my Son. This is your Saviour." You should, really, read that post before reading …

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This is my Son. This is your Saviour.

"God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it... God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:32,36). On the day of Pentecost, Peter preached Jesus, the risen Lord. What are we to say about Jesus and the resurrection? Did Jesus become the Lord and the Christ when …

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An angel, a virgin and a baby

"Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, 'Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!' But when she saw him, she was troubled …

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To each one of us, Jesus says, “What about you? Who do you say I am?”

"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, '“Who do people say the Son of Man is?' They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' 'But what about you?' he asked. 'Who do you say I am?' Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Messiah, …

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An encouraging message – from the Lord

"Then Haggai, the Lord’s messenger, gave this message of the Lord to the people: ‘I am with you,’ declares the Lord" (Haggai 1:13). Haggai spoke the words, but the message did not come from him. The message was given to him. It was the "message of the Lord." Haggai spoke the words, but he was not saying, "I, Haggai, …

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Let us praise the Lord with great joy.

"Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, ‘Do not fear, Zion; do …

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When the going gets tough, remember this: Jesus says, “I will come again.”

"How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?" (Habakkuk 1:2). "Then the Lord replied: Write down the revelation (or vision) and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation (or vision) awaits an appointed time; …

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Are you looking for good news? Are you searching for peace?

"Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace!" (Nahum 1:15). What is this "good news"? Where does this "peace" come from? "The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him" (Nahum 1:7). Here is "good news": "The Lord is good." Here …

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We have been saved by the Lord. Let us serve him.

"From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: 'In my distress I called to the Lord,    and he answered me.From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,    and you listened to my cry'" (Jonah 2:1-2). It seemed like this was the end of the road for Jonah. His situation was hopeless. Was it really …

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God has spoken to us. Let us speak to him, and let us speak for him.

"The Sovereign Lord has spoken: so who can refuse to proclaim his message?" (Amos 3:8). As I was reading these words from Amos, I recalled the words of Paul, "I believed in God, so I spoke" (2 Corinthians 4:13). We receive the Word of the Lord with faith. We are not to keep the Word of the …

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Jesus – what a great Saviour he is!

"But I have been the Lord your God ever since you came out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Saviour except me" (Hosea 13:4). Here, God is saying to the people, "Here's something you must never forget. I brought you out of Egypt the land of bondage." He's saying to them, "Never forget how much …

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More questions than answers

"In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will …

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The Lord be with you! The Lord bless you!

"Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, ‘The Lord be with you!’ ‘The Lord bless you!’ they answered" (Ruth 2:4). "The Lord be with you! The Lord bless you!" There's nothing more important than this. This is more than saying "I hope that you're things are going well for you." Things are going well - what does this …

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The story of Goliath is still with us – and God is still with us!

"I come to you in the name of the Lord" (1 Samuel 17:45). These words were spoken by David. They were spoken to Goliath. It seemed like David didn't have any a chance against Goliath. The odds were stacked against David. Everything pointed to a Goliath victory - everything except this: "I come to you …

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When it seems like the foundations of our faith are being shaken

"The Lord is my rock" (2 Samuel 22:2). When it seems like the foundations of our faith are being shaken, we need to remember this: "The Lord is my rock." What are we to say about these words, "The Lord is my rock." Sometimes, we hear people saying, "My faith is my rock. I don't …

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The glory of God is more important than the reputation of his servants.

"The prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: ‘Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that …

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The Spirit of the Lord – this is where the power comes from.

"The sons of the prophets said 'The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.'" (2 Kings 2:15). Here, the sons of the prophets speak of "the spirit of Elijah." They, also, speak of "the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Kings 2:16). We listen to this preacher. We listen to that preacher. We read their sermons. We …

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We have more than God’s call. We, also, have his promise.

"I will certainly be with you" (Exodus 3:12). These words were spoken by God. They were spoken to Moses. Why did God speak these words to Moses, and why does he continue to speak these words to us? Moses was being called to do something big - for God. Moses felt that it was too …

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When places and faces slip into our past

"The temple which I build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods" (2 Chronicles 2:5). We become very attached to the places where we worship. They are associated with many special memories. They bring back treasured memories of people, with whom we have shared our journey of faith. Some of us …

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In life’s hard times as well as its happy times, the Lord is with us.

"The Lord made them joyful"(Ezra 6:22). We do all that we can to make ourselves happy - yet we, still, have the nagging feeling that there's something missing. The more we try to find happiness the more we fail to find it. What's our problem? Is it all about our starting-point? - 'I will make …

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The joy of the Lord – and the strength of the Lord

"The joy of the Lord is your strength. Your strength comes from rejoicing in the Lord" (Nehemiah 8:10). Nehemiah was working for the Lord - and he was, also, rejoicing in the Lord. The joy of the Lord - this was where Nehemiah's strength came from. the joy of the Lord - this is where …

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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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Beginning with Esther – and moving on to Jesus

"Who knows, perhaps you (Esther) have come to the kingdom for such a time as this ... If I (Esther) perish, I perish" (Esther 4:14,16). When I read the words, "For such a time as this", I found myself thinking of the words of Galatians 4:4 - "When the time had fully come God sent …

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Our chief focus of attention is to be on the Lord.

"After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ assistant: 2 ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the River Jordan into the land I am about to give to them – to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you …

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Old songs, new songs – let us sing of the Lord’s great love.

"I will sing of the Lord’s great love for ever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations" (Psalm 89:1). "I will sing" - In the worship of God, there are old songs, and there are new songs. There was a time when the old songs were new songs. There will come …

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