In the wilderness… (Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost: Exodus 14:19-31; Psalm 114 (or Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21) or Genesis 50:15-21; Psalm 103: (1-7), 8-13; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35)

In the wilderness, we can know that God is with us. Sin may be ‘near’, but God never leads His people into it (Exodus 13:13:17, James 1:13). Following Christ means walking a narrow road (Matthew 7:13-14). We are surrounded by many temptations. Pray that your feet will not slip (Psalm 37:31; 17:5; 44:18). Sometimes, the …

Continue reading In the wilderness… (Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost: Exodus 14:19-31; Psalm 114 (or Exodus 15:1b-11, 20-21) or Genesis 50:15-21; Psalm 103: (1-7), 8-13; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35)

Tell me the old, old story of Jesus and his love.

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you (Psalm 33:20-22). Here, we focus on the word, "hope." What do the politicians and economists have to …

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Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Exodus 3:1-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c or Jeremiah 15:15-21; Psalm 26:1-8; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 16:21-28

The work of God makes progress when God’s people move forward together. Salvation, service, personal faith, life among God’s people - God has much to teach us. Moses sins (Exodus 2:12). God graciously forgives (Micah 7:18-19) - this is salvation. His sin forgiven, Moses is called to service. He is called by the eternal God, …

Continue reading Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Exodus 3:1-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c or Jeremiah 15:15-21; Psalm 26:1-8; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 16:21-28

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Exodus 1:8-2:10; Psalm 124 or Isaiah 51:1-6; Psalm 138; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:13-20

Redeemed by the Lord, we are to be consecrated to Him. Things were difficult for Israel yet ‘the more they were oppressed the more they multiplied’ (Exodus 1:12). Difficult times can be the making of God’s people! Pharaoh (and Satan!) is murderously anxious about the growth of God's people (Exodus 1:15-16; John 10:10). God is …

Continue reading Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Exodus 1:8-2:10; Psalm 124 or Isaiah 51:1-6; Psalm 138; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:13-20

Faith that leads to obedience, and obedience that arises from faith

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God, the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection …

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Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 45:1-15; Psalm 133 or Isaiah 56:1, 6-8; Psalm 67; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28

We gather together to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. In the reunion of Joseph with his brothers, there is a great testimony to the God of grace: ‘Do not be distressed... because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life... God sent me before you to preserve for you …

Continue reading Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Genesis 45:1-15; Psalm 133 or Isaiah 56:1, 6-8; Psalm 67; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28

Lord, help us to keep on going – with you and for you.

"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 15:5). Let us keep on encouraging one another - to keep on worshipping the Lord. Where …

Continue reading Lord, help us to keep on going – with you and for you.

Trusting and following Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children, walking in the truth (3 John, verse 4). As I was reading these words, I thought of Jesus' words, "I am the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6). Throughout our life of faith, Jesus is the way. Throughout our life of …

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We go to the Scriptures, the written Word of God, and we pray that we will find Christ, the living Word of God.

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 1O:17, King James Version). Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ (Romans 10:17, Revised Standard Version). In both of these translations, the emphasis is on "hearing" and "what is heard." I began to think …

Continue reading We go to the Scriptures, the written Word of God, and we pray that we will find Christ, the living Word of God.

Peace with God, the grace in which we now stand, the hope of the glory of God

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:1-2). Peace with God, the grace in which we now stand, the hope of the glory of God: …

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Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Deuteronomy 11:18,26-28; Romans 3:21-25,28; Matthew 7:21-27

Obedience and Blessing God is at work among His people, teaching them many lessons.  Through His precious promises and strong warnings, He leads us in the way of obedience and blessing (Deuteronomy 11:31-32).  If we are to enjoy the Lord’s blessing, we need the whole Word of God – the warnings as well as the …

Continue reading Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Deuteronomy 11:18,26-28; Romans 3:21-25,28; Matthew 7:21-27

First Sunday of Lent: Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11

Created by God, Created for God Genesis 2:7 "the breath of life" Everything changes when the Lord breathes His breath of life into us. * Until God comes to us in power, our situation is desperate - "I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry" (Ezekiel …

Continue reading First Sunday of Lent: Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11

Looking beyond our many defeats to God’s final victory

If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31). "We are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Romans 8:37). In our world, there are many people who set themselves against the Lord. Here, the Word of God assures us that they will not triumph over the Lord, and they will not triumph …

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Looking beyond Moses to Jesus… Jesus meets the woman at the well.

Exodus 13:3-7; Romans 5:1-25-8; John 4:5-42 Look beyond Moses to Jesus.We read, in Exodus 17:3-8, about God’s provision of water for His people in the wilderness. We read about Moses’ leadership. Jesus is greater than Moses. He is more than a leader. He is the Saviour. He is “living water.”   “While we were still sinners, …

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God’s Grace Always Comes Before Our Faith.

"God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith" (Romans 3:25). God's grace always comes before our faith. It's not our faith that saves us. It's His grace. Salvation is never our achievement. It's always God's gift. Salvation comes to us through the death of our Lord …

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The revelation of the mystery: a time to speak and a time to keep silence

Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles …

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Hearing the voice of Jesus, looking to Jesus and coming to Jesus

The words I have spoken to you, they are full of the Spirit and life (John 6:63). Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romaqns 10:17). I heard the voice of Jesus say, "Come unto Me and rest; lay down thy head upon My breast: I came to Jesus as I was, weary and …

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Salvation is not a ‘reward’ to be ‘earned.’ It is God’s ‘gift.’

Romans 4:1-25 -  Salvation is not a ‘reward’ to be ‘earned’. It is God’s ‘gift’ (4-5). Salvation comes from the Lord. ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son’ (John 3:16): Without the love of God, the gift of God, the Son of God, there can be no salvation. The way of …

Continue reading Salvation is not a ‘reward’ to be ‘earned.’ It is God’s ‘gift.’

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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Learning from Romans (24): Strong words – words for today

“Watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned… By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people” (Romans 16:17-18). These are very strong words. They are words which have a great deal to say to the Church at …

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Learning from Romans (23): The revelation of the mystery

In Jesus Christ, there is both mystery and revelation. There will always be mystery. There will always be something that's beyond our understanding. There is, also, revelation. Jesus impresses himself upon us. He calls us to come to him with faith. In Romans 16:25, Paul speaks about "the revelation of the mystery." What are we …

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Learning from Romans (22): Blessing from God – and glory to God

"I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God" (Romans 15:17). Where has the blessing come from? Does it say something about how worthy we are? No! It’s not about us. We haven’t done anything to deserve God’s blessing. The blessing comes from the Lord. To Him be all …

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Learning from Romans (21): Lord, when we feel like there’s no hope, show us that You are “the God of hope.”

Lord, when we feel like there’s no hope, show us that You are “the God of hope” (Romans 15:13). This is why we believe that “there is hope” (Jeremiah 31:17). Our hope is in You – the God of great faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23). With You as our God, how can we ever feel that we’re …

Continue reading Learning from Romans (21): Lord, when we feel like there’s no hope, show us that You are “the God of hope.”

Learning from Romans (19): From God, we receive endurance, encouragement, joy and peace.

"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ... May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you …

Continue reading Learning from Romans (19): From God, we receive endurance, encouragement, joy and peace.

Learning from Romans (18): Our feelings are changeable. God’s love is unchangeable.

"Salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed" (Romans 13:11). We read these great words, and we are encouraged. The Lord is leading us on the most wonderful journey. At the end of this journey, there is the most glorious destination. As we travel towards this glorious destination, we must keep our eyes …

Continue reading Learning from Romans (18): Our feelings are changeable. God’s love is unchangeable.

Learning from Romans (17): Wake up. Be awakened by the Lord.

"The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light" (Romans 13:11-12). God is calling us to wake up. How do …

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Learning from Romans (16): The Word of the Lord, speaking to us in the power of the Holy Spirit

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s …

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Learning from Romans (15): Called by the love of God – to confess our faith in Christ and to live as his followers

"Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever!" (Romans 11:35-36). "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).  Where do …

Continue reading Learning from Romans (15): Called by the love of God – to confess our faith in Christ and to live as his followers

Learning from Romans (14): Confess with your mouth. Believe in your heart.

"If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). When He's in your heart, He has to come out. The Saviour is not be kept to ourselves. He's to be shared with other people. We pray, …

Continue reading Learning from Romans (14): Confess with your mouth. Believe in your heart.

Learning from Romans (13): This is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour all the day long.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). Salvation is not in our hands. It comes to us from Jesus. He is our Lord. He is our Saviour. We are to make our response to Jesus, but we …

Continue reading Learning from Romans (13): This is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour all the day long.

Learning from Romans (12): Faith in the Lord Jesus, reaching our hearts and changing our lives

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). Faith in Jesus Christ is more than believing with our minds. We are to believe in our hearts. This faith is not something to be kept to ourselves. It's to be shared: …

Continue reading Learning from Romans (12): Faith in the Lord Jesus, reaching our hearts and changing our lives

Learning from Romans (10): Let’s keep on confessing our sins, and let’s keep on confessing our faith in Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

"What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin" (Romans 7:24-25). What …

Continue reading Learning from Romans (10): Let’s keep on confessing our sins, and let’s keep on confessing our faith in Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

Learning from Romans (9): Sin lives in me, and Christ lives in me.

In Romans 7:20, Paul speaks about "sin living in me." - That was true  of Paul - and it's also true of every one of us. In Galatians 2:20, Paul speaks about "Christ living in me." - That was true of Paul - and it's also true of every believer. What we are, in ourselves, …

Continue reading Learning from Romans (9): Sin lives in me, and Christ lives in me.

Learning from Romans (8): We’ve only just begun. There’s so much more still to come.

"Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him" (Romans 5:9). The forgiveness of our sins - this is just the beginning. God has so "much more" for us. He is leading us on to our full enjoyment of His salvation: eternal life. We look back to …

Continue reading Learning from Romans (8): We’ve only just begun. There’s so much more still to come.

Learning from Romans (7): Grace and glory

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does …

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Learning from Romans (6): Think, often, of what Jesus has done for you. Thank Him for dying for you.

"When people work, their pay is not regarded as a gift but something they have earned" (Romans 4:4). When God is at work in us, bringing us to faith in His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, everything is very different. His salvation is His gift to us. It's not our reward from Him.   Grace gives …

Continue reading Learning from Romans (6): Think, often, of what Jesus has done for you. Thank Him for dying for you.

Learning from Romans (5): What a turnaround!

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). This is the truth concerning ourselves. God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). This is the truth concerning God's love for us. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we …

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Learning from Romans (4): God’s Love Is Reaching Out To Us – To Change Us.

"It is God's kindness that is trying to lead you to Him, and change the way you think and act" (Romans 2:4).  God doesn't want to leave us the way we are. He wants to change us. He wants to make us new men and women. He wants to make us men and women who …

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Learning from Romans (3): Faith: from first to last

In the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith” (Romans 1:17). Faith, from first to last: this is important. We begin with faith, and we continue with faith. In Galatians 3:1-6, Paul emphasizes the importance of …

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Learning from Romans (2): May God help us to stand up for Jesus.

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). What a great declaration of faith and commitment! Paul does not keep the gospel to himself. He shares it with others. We are to be like Paul. In his day, he was …

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Learning from Romans (1): Jesus was a Jew. Jesus is for all nations.

Jesus was a Jew – “a descendant of David” (Romans 1:3). Jesus is for “all nations” (Romans 1:5). Jesus was a Jew. If we are to understand Jesus, we need to go back to the Old Testament Scriptures, We need to read about what God did for his people, Israel. This is not to say …

Continue reading Learning from Romans (1): Jesus was a Jew. Jesus is for all nations.