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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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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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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Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God – our Saviour

Genesis 21:1-23:20; Matthew 8:23-9:13; Psalm 7:10-17 As we read of the testing of Abraham in regard to God's call for Isaac to be sacrificed, we have a hint of God's provision of Jesus Christ as the Saviour who was sacrificed for the sins of the world. By faith, Abraham says, "God himself will provide the …

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The Death of Christ

"This is My blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28). Early on in my Christian life, I read James Denney's book, The Death of Christ.  Reading this book gave me a real sense of the importance of the death of Christ. This has stayed with me over the …

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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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May our words point to Jesus Christ, the living Word of God.

Ninth Sunday (or Last Sunday) after the Epiphany (Transfiguration of the Lord) – Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 2 (or Psalm 99, suggested as an alternative for Ninth Sunday); 2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9 May our words point to Jesus Christ, the living Word of God. Moses was alone with the Lord - receiving the Word of …

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Led in the way of victory

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28; Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b or 1 Kings 19:9-18; Psalm 85:8-13; Romans 10:5-15; Matthew 14:22-33 Strengthened by the Lord, we are led in the way of victory. In the story of Joseph, we see human sin and divine grace. We see jealousy (Genesis 37:11) and its effects: ‘where jealousy …

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Matthew 12:38-50 – “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.”

Jesus did not 'mince His words' with the Pharisees. He described them as 'a wicked and adulterous generation' (39,45). They were men who, by their stubborn refusal to listen to Jesus, had placed themselves under the judgment of God. The Pharisees may have had no time for Jesus, but there were those who were eager …

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Enthusiastic and energetic… Evangelical and Evangelistic… Let’s follow Jesus.

Enthusiastic and energetic - sometimes, these are the words curches use to describe the minister they're looking for. Enthusiastic and energetic - these are words that could be used to describe the crowd at a sports event or music concert. Is there anything inherently spiritual about looking for a minister who is enthusiastic and energetic? …

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Weak in ourselves, strong in the Lord – this is meekness, and it is blessed by the Lord.

"The meek shall increase their joy in the Lord" (Isaiah 29:19).  "Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth" (Numbers 12:3). "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5). The work "meek" rhymes with the word, "weak" - but the two words are …

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Trust in the Lord. He is working in us to do us good.

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 29:15-28; Psalm 105:1-11, 45b (or Psalm 128) or 1 Kings 3:5-12; Psalm 119:129-136; Romans 8:26-39; Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 Trust in the Lord. He is working in us to do us good. The tables are turned on Jacob. The trickster is tricked! The ‘trick’ was according to the ‘custom’ that the …

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A remnant: The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

"For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and those who escape from Mount Zion. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this" (Isaiah 37:32). A remnant - When Isaiah was called by God to the prophetic  ministry, he was given a warning. He was told that only a small minority of his hearers would respond …

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God has spoken, and he’s still speaking.

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Colossians 2:8). On the one side, there is philosophy. On the other side, there is Christ. The two are very different. Philosophy begins with man - "after the tradition of men." …

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Don’t say, “Jesus is a great man – nothing more than that.”

"As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'" (Matthew 3:16-17). Many people think of Jesus …

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Repentance – faith: where do we begin? What about beginning with “Christ crucified” – with Jesus, the Saviour of sinners?

"I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus" (Acts 20:21). What are we to say about "repentance" and "faith"? Where are we to begin? Are we to begin with repentance? or Are we to begin with faith? Let's begin with …

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“He has risen” – Jesus has triumphed over death.

"Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen!" (Luke 24:5-6). When we speak to the world concerning Jesus Christ - what are we to say? Are we to restrict ourselves to emphasizing his words - "Love our enemies" (Matthew 5:44)? There are plenty of people who tell …

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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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Jesus brings His light into our darkness.

For more of these Daily Devotional Readings, visit God's Word For Every Day. Matthew 4:12-17 Having overcome His enemy, Jesus begins His ministry. Satan will be back - Luke ends his account of Jesus' temptations with these ominous words, 'When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left until an opportune time' (4:12). Satan …

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Matthew 6:19-34 – Living for Christ is very different from worldly living.

On the one side of Christ's disciples, there are the hypocrites. On the other side, there are 'the Gentiles' (32). The hypocrites represent religion without reality. The Gentiles represent the world, living for material things only, refusing to take spiritual realities seriously. We are to be different from both the hypocrites and the Gentiles. Our …

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Out of darkness into light

Saturday in Holy Week: Job 14:1-14 (or Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24); Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16; 1 Peter 4:1-8; Matthew 27:57-66 (or John 19:38-42) Out of darkness into light - “Death is swallowed up in victory.” When you don’t really know what you’re talking about, it’s a case of the less said the better. That’s how Job feels …

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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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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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Renewed By God’s Salvation, We Are Strengthened For His Service.

Ps 51:10, Matt 15:8, 2 Tim 3:5, 1 Pet 4:11, 5:11 In all the service we offer to God, there is to be the offering of worship: ‘To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever’ (1 Peter 4:11; 5:11). We will not learn to serve God unless we are learning to …

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Our faith must be grounded in the Son of God and the Word of God.

Matthew 7:15-29 Whenever we are seeking to follow Christ, there will be dangers - false prophets (15-20), empty profession (21-23). Clearly, our faith must be grounded in the Son of God and the Word of God. This is the point of Jesus' parable of the two builders and the two houses (24-27). We must build …

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Special Days – Dedication / Anniversary: Genesis 28:10-22; Psalm 48: (1-8), 9-14; 1 Corinthians 3:9-17; Matthew 12:1-8

A night to remember – blessing from the Lord, dedication to the Lord Just another night (Genesis 28:11)? No! This was a night to remember, a night Jacob would never forget. God came to him with His wonderful promise of love: ‘I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you’ …

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The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: Isaiah 8:23-9:3; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13,17; Matthew 4:12-23 "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light" (Isaiah 9:2). The prophecy has been spoken - ‘To us a Child is born, to us a Son is given...’. The prophecy has been fulfilled - ‘Today in the town of David …

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Special Days – All Saints: Revelation 7:9-17 or Isaiah 51:1-6; Psalm 34:1-10, 22; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12

Looking at things with Christ’s eyes Christ invites us to ‘come’ (Revelation 6:1, 3, 5, 7) - and look at things through His eyes. With Him, we look at earth. With Him, we look at heaven. Troubled world, tremendous worship - These are the things we see when we look through the eyes of our …

Continue reading Special Days – All Saints: Revelation 7:9-17 or Isaiah 51:1-6; Psalm 34:1-10, 22; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12