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 …

Continue reading I once was lost, but now am found.

Turning-points

Genesis 32:1-33:20; Matthew 12:22-45; Proverbs 2:1-11 In Genesis 28:10-22, we read about a turning-point in Jacob’s life. Here, in Genesis 32:22-32, we have another turning-point. It’s summed up in Genesis 32:28 – “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” Jacob may “have overcome”, but there …

Continue reading Turning-points

The history of God’s salvation – Jesus is our Saviour and Lord.

"I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3). When we think about the history of God's salvation, we begin with God's everlasting love. We go back beyond the beginning of the world - back to the everlasting God and his everlasting love. "That it might be fulfilled" (Matthew 1:21). When we focus our …

Continue reading The history of God’s salvation – Jesus is our Saviour and Lord.

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 …

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

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 …

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

Jesus is Lord of all…

Genesis 45:1-47:12; Matthew 16:1-12; Psalm 14:1-7 Joseph makes himself known to his brothers: “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!” (Genesis 45:4). Jesus makes Himself known to His disciples (Matthew 16:13-17). In Joseph’s self-identification, there is a statement about why God had sent him into Egypt – “it was to save …

Continue reading Jesus is Lord of all…

The Lord is reaching out to us. He’s calling us to respond to Him.

Genesis 14:1-16:16; Matthew 5:43-6:24; Psalm 6:1-10 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 …

Continue reading The Lord is reaching out to us. He’s calling us to respond to Him.

Let us worship God with our lives as well as our words.

Genesis 49:1-50:26; Matthew 17:14-18:9; Psalm 15:1-5 In Genesis 49, we read of Jacob’s blessings on his sons. In Matthew 18:1-4, we read of the disciples asking Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?” Jesus replied to them, “whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” In the …

Continue reading Let us worship God with our lives as well as our words.

Eternal life – through Jesus Christ our Lord

Genesis 47:13-48:22; Matthew 16:21-17:13; Proverbs 3:1-10 In Genesis and Matthew, we see Jacob and Joseph looking to the future. It is to be a future of blessing. For both, death was near. the future, however, was life. In Jacob’s time, the expectation concerned an earthly land – “God will be with you and take you …

Continue reading Eternal life – through Jesus Christ our Lord

Looking beyond the things that are happening to us now – to the glory which is yet to come

Job 1:1-3:26; Matthew 18:10-35; Psalm 16:1-11 In the life of faith, we will face many difficulties. For Job, there was great suffering. For Jesus’ disciples, there was the pain of loss when Jesus was taken from them. For all of God’s people, there is something better still to come: “You will fill me with joy …

Continue reading Looking beyond the things that are happening to us now – to the glory which is yet to come

Jesus is showing us that He loves us.

Genesis 41:42-42:38; Matthew 14:22-15:9; Psalm 12:1-8 We may see a parallel between Joseph and “the twelve” (his eleven brothers and his father, Jacob) and Jesus and “the twelve” (His disciples). Joseph is leading them into a situation of testing. His long-term intention is to show them that He loves them. Jesus comes to “the twelve” …

Continue reading Jesus is showing us that He loves us.

When things are going badly…

Genesis 38:1-39:23; Matthew 13:36-58; Psalm 11:1-7 What a contrast there is between the unrestrained lust of Judah (Genesis 38) and the sexual restraint of Joseph  – “How then can I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). Joseph was unjustly treated, and put in prison. Nevertheless, God’s purpose was not hindered …

Continue reading When things are going badly…

The Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord

"You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High" (Luke 1:31-32) - What a special person Jesus is! He's the Son of God - and he's our Saviour! "And there were shepherds living out in …

Continue reading The Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord

When our hearts are breaking

Job 4:1-7:21; Matthew 19:1-15; Psalm 17:1-5 Bereavement, hardship, divorce – the Word of God speaks of these difficulties in Job and in the words of Jesus. These things can bring on deep depression. We see this in Job’s reaction to his bereavement and hardship. In such circumstances, we must take our thoughts to the Lord, …

Continue reading When our hearts are breaking

From the darkness of our sin… to the joy of God’s salvation

Genesis 19:1-20:18; Matthew 7:24-8:22; Psalm 7:1-9 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 …

Continue reading From the darkness of our sin… to the joy of God’s salvation

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 …

Continue reading In times of prosperity, in times of adversity

We don’t have the right to expect everything to be going great all the time.

Job 11:1-14:22; Matthew 2):1-9; Psalm 17:6-12 Jesus’ parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) teaches us that all that we have, apart from our sin, is received from God as a gift of His grace. We must remember this when, like Job, we are going through hard times. We don’t have the right to …

Continue reading We don’t have the right to expect everything to be going great all the time.

When we face difficult circumstances

Job 8;1-10:22; Matthew 19:16-30; Proverbs 3:11-20 When we face difficult circumstances, as Job did and as the Lord’s disciples did (Matthew 19:29), we must never forget that the Lord’s purpose is good and His long-term goal is our good –  “eternal life” (Matthew 19:29). What is to be our attitude to suffering? – “My son, …

Continue reading When we face difficult circumstances

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 …

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

God’s love and faithfulness, His guidance and blessing

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67; Psalm 45:10-17 or Song of Solomon 2:8-13 (or Zechariah 9:9-12); Psalm 145:8-14; Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 Rejoicing in God’s love and faithfulness, let us seek His guidance and blessing. The detailed account of Isaac's marriage highlights the guidance of God. He directs the life of His …

Continue reading God’s love and faithfulness, His guidance and blessing

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 …

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

In the beginning, there is love, eternal love, the love of God.

Easter Vigil: Genesis 1:1-2:4a; Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26; Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18; 8:6-18; 9:8-13; Psalm 46; Genesis 22:1-18; Psalm 16; Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21; Exodus 15:1b-13, 17-18; Isaiah 55:1-11; Isaiah 12:2-6; Proverbs 8:1-8, 19-21; 9:4b-6; Psalm 19; Ezekiel 36:24-28; Psalms 42 and 43; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 143; Zephaniah 3:14-20; Psalm 98; Romans 6:3-11; Psalm 114; Matthew 28:1-10 In …

Continue reading In the beginning, there is love, eternal love, the love of God.

Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 17:1-7, 15 or Isaiah 55:1-5; Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:13-21

Receiving Strength From The Lord At the place called Peniel, Jacob ‘saw God face to face’ (Genesis 32:30). We see ‘the glory of God in the face of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 4:6). Jacob wrestled with God and became an overcomer (Genesis 32:28). Christ wrestled with the powers of evil, and has won a mighty victory …

Continue reading Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 17:1-7, 15 or Isaiah 55:1-5; Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:13-21

Twenty-Seventh (or last) Sunday after Pentecost (Reign of Christ the King): Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24; Psalm 100 or Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-26; Psalm 95:1-7a; Ephesians 1:15-23; Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd, the Great Shepherd and the Chief Shepherd. God speaks to us in love. He says, ‘I Myself will be the Shepherd of My sheep’ (Ezekiel 34:15). We rejoice in His love. We say, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ (Psalm 23:1). Jesus is our Shepherd. He is ‘the good Shepherd’. …

Continue reading Twenty-Seventh (or last) Sunday after Pentecost (Reign of Christ the King): Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24; Psalm 100 or Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-26; Psalm 95:1-7a; Ephesians 1:15-23; Matthew 25:31-46

The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 22:1-12; Psalm 13 or Jeremiah 28:5-9; Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42 Let us look to Christ, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” In Genesis 21:22-34, we see Abraham in his relationship with the world. In Genesis 22:1-14, we see Abraham in his …

Continue reading The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world

Learning from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, “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 …

Continue reading Learning from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, “The Cost of Discipleship”

Love for God and love for our neighbour

"‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ 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 neighbour as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments’" …

Continue reading Love for God and love for our neighbour

Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost: Judges 4:1-7; Psalm 123 or Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18; Psalm 90:1-8, (9-11), 12; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25:14-30

Our help comes from the Lord. The glory goes to the Lord. Barak is an example of ‘faith’ (Hebrews 11:32-34). Faith involves believing God’s promise - ‘I will give...’and obeying His command - ‘Go’ (Judges 4:6-7). God still says, ‘Go... I am with you always...’ (Matthew 28:19-20). Barak needed Deborah’s help (Judges 4:8-10). Both needed …

Continue reading Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost: Judges 4:1-7; Psalm 123 or Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18; Psalm 90:1-8, (9-11), 12; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25:14-30

Daily bread that sustains our faith

"And the Lord said to Moses, “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 …

Continue reading Daily bread that sustains our faith

The way, the truth and the life; faith, hope and love

We begin with the words of Jesus: “I am the way and the truth and the life" (John 14:6). From there, we move on to the words of Paul: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13). There are six words upon which we must focus our attention. There …

Continue reading The way, the truth and the life; faith, hope and love

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 …

Continue reading We’ve wandered away from the Lord. He’s waiting for us to make our way back to Him.

God’s greatest gift – Jesus

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 21:8-21; Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17 or Jeremiah 20:7-13; Psalm 69:7-10, (11-15), 16-18; Romans 6:1b-11; Matthew 19:24-30 Let us rejoice in God’s greatest gift – Jesus. We have here the contrast between Isaac, the child of promise, and Ishmael, the fruit of unbelief. Ishmael was born as a result of impatience, the …

Continue reading God’s greatest gift – Jesus

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 …

Continue reading How far can psychology and sociology take us?

Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost: Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25; Psalm 78:1-7 or Amos 5:18-24; Psalm 70; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13

Let us serve the Lord all the days of our life. Close to the end of his life, Joshua commits himself and his family to the Lord (Joshua 24:15, 29). Moved by his example, the people commit themselves to the Lord (Joshua 24:16-18, 21, 24). For Israel, this was a momentous decision - a definite, …

Continue reading Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost: Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25; Psalm 78:1-7 or Amos 5:18-24; Psalm 70; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13

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 …

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

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 …

Continue reading Jesus says that we are not to be like ‘the hypocrites.’

Jesus is more than a great man. He is our Saviour and Lord.

"Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about Him spread all over Syria, and people brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and He healed them" (Matthew 4:23-24). What …

Continue reading Jesus is more than a great man. He is our Saviour and Lord.

Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Joshua 3:7-17; Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37 or Micah 3:5-12; Psalm 43; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13; Matthew 23:1-12

Set apart for God, we rejoice in His great love. ‘Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you’ (Joshua 3:5). ‘Sanctify them in the truth; Thy Word is truth’ (John 17:17). Together with the command, there is the prayer. We are called to set ourselves apart for God. We can only do …

Continue reading Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Joshua 3:7-17; Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37 or Micah 3:5-12; Psalm 43; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13; Matthew 23:1-12