Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Beloved And Precious

"Keep me as the apple of the eye" (Psalm 17:8).
 
Jesus is God's "beloved Son" (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5). In Jesus, God's "beloved" Son, we are "accepted" (Ephesians 1:6).  In the eyes of God the Father, Jesus is "precious" (1 Peter 2:4,6-7; 1 Peter 1:19) - and our faith is "precious" (1 Peter 1:7: 2 Peter 1:1).

Blessing Is In Jesus. Blessing Comes From Him.

“Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9).

Blessing is in Jesus. Blessing comes to us through Him. There's no direct route to God's blessing without going by way of Jesus. He is "the Way, the Truth and the Life." We come to God the Father through Him (John 14:6). When we are deeply aware of our sin, we rejoice in this: There is one God and one Mediator between God and us, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for us all" (1 Timothy 2:5-6). 

Building Our Faith And Life On Jesus

"From him will come the cornerstone... they shall be as mighty men, treading down their enemies... because the Lord is with them" (Zechariah 10:4-5).

 * Jesus Christ is "the cornerstone" upon which our faith is built  - "The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord" (Samuel John Stone).
  * In Christ, we are "more than conquerors" (Romans 8:37) - "From victory unto victory His army shall He lead, till every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed" (George Duffield).
 * Jesus is with us. He is our Saviour. He has forgiven our sins. He is our Lord. He leads us in triumph over Satan.

Amazing Grace - To God Be The Glory.

"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing" (Psalm 30:11).

What the Lord does for us - This is truly amazing. He does for us what we could never do for ourselves. He does for us what no-one else could ever do for us. We look at what we are. We look at what the Lord has done for us. We say, This is 'amazing grace.' We say, 'To God be the glory. Great things He has done.'  "This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23). "Not to us, Lord, not to us but to Your Name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness" (Psalm 115:1).

Light, Salvation, Strength

"The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1).

The "light" that brightens up our life is the light of God's "salvation." It's the Saviour who brings us out of darkness. He brings us into His light. This light gives us strength. God's salvation is more than forgiveness for the past. It is strength for every day.

Being Justified By God Begins When We Stop Trying To Justify Ourselves.

"he wanted to justify himself" (Luke 10:29).

Justifying ourselves is the exact opposite of being justified by God. Justifying ourselves - This is about saying, 'I'm right. I haven't done anything wrong.' Being justified by God - This is about saying, 'I have sinned. I need to be forgiven.' How can we receive forgiveness if we don't think we've done anything wrong? Receiving God's forgiveness begins with our confession: ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner’ (Luke 18:13). What does Jesus say about the man who prayed this prayer? - "This man ... went home justified before God" (Luke 18:14).

Love Lifted Me.

"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 2:2).

What are we to do when the going gets tough? We've heard the saying, When the going gets tough, the tough get going. We wonder if this really helps. What if we find that we're not really so tough? What happens when we can't get going? There are times when we know that this is too much for us. We can't raise ourselves up. We need to be lifted. We need You, Lord. You are "the lifter of my head." (Psalm 3:3). It's Your love that lifts us: "Love lifted me. When no-one but Christ could help, love lifted me" (James Rowe).  


In The Deep Waters - We're Looking To You, Lord.

"Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help;   my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God" (Psalm 69:1-3).

Sometimes, we get ourselves into deep water. We're sinking. We're looking to You, Lord. The world is pulling us down, pulling us away from You. We're looking to You, Lord. It's not easy. Life is difficult. There are many problems. We're looking to You, Lord. Help us to keep on looking to You - when we feel like giving up and giving in. Help us to keep on believing that there is the light at the end of our tunnel. We're looking to You, Lord - and we will keep on looking to You, whatever happens.

Remembering The Lord, Remembered By The Lord

“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered You, Lord, and my prayer rose to You, to Your holy temple" (Jonah 2:7).

Where does this remembering come from? It comes from the Lord. He puts the prayer into our hearts. Jonah was running away from God. God was drawing Jonah back to Himself. Like Jonah, we lose our way in life. That's when we need to hear the wonderful words of Jesus, our Saviour. He tells us that He "came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10).

Prayer To The Lord, Blessing From The Lord

"When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplications to the Lord, he rose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven. He stood and blessed the whole assembly of Israel in a loud voice, saying, Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave through His servant Moses." (1 Kings 8:54-56).

Prayer leads to blessing. When we receive the Lord's blessing, we are to pass it on to others. We do not pray to the Lord so that we can say, "The Lord has blessed me" - and leave it at that. We must move on from there. We are to share His blessing. We are to bring His blessing to others. His blessing inspires our praise. We think of all that He has done for us, and we say, "Praise be to the Lord." He is our God. He has not failed us - and He will not fail us. He will fulfil His promises of blessing. May His blessing give us the strength that we need to keep on saying, with all our heart, "Praise be to the Lord."

Joy Comes To Us - From Jesus.

"Zacchaeus received Jesus joyfully" (Luke 19:6).

Where did this joy come from? Did it come from Zacchaeus? No! It was given to him by Jesus. It came from Jesus' invitation. Jesus invited Zacchaeus to "come" to Him (Luke 19:5). This is where our joy comes from. Jesus invites us to come to Him. Jesus welcomes us when we come to Him.


A Great Privilege And A Great Responsibility

"Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple" (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

God has given us a great privilege - "you yourselves are God's temple... God's Spirit dwells in your midst."  He's given us a great responsibility - we must take care of "God's temple." When God's Spirit comes into our hearts, what does He do? Does He give us a feeling of superiority- we're better than they are? No! He calls upon us to search our hearts more deeply: "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).

The Heart Of Worship

"Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord,  the temple of the Lord!”... Has this house, which bears My Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord" (Jeremiah 7:4,11).

Jeremiah spoke to the people of his own day. He speaks to us as well. Don't let the place where you worship become more important than it really is. This is what he says to us. These are not only the words of Jeremiah. This is the Word of the Lord. What's happening in our hearts when we are gathered together in the House of the Lord? Are we thinking to ourselves, "I never miss a church service - not like those who've stopped coming to church"? What kind of "worship" is this? Lord, take us to the heart of worship. Give us a worshipping heart.

  

Righteousness And Joy

"May Your priests be clothed with Your righteousness; may Your faithful people sing for joy" (Psalm 132:9).

We need "righteousness" and "joy" - not righteousness without joy, not joy without righteousness. What is "righteousness", if there's no "joy"? It's Pharisaism. What is "joy" without "righteousness"? Is it really "the joy of the Lord"? No! "The joy of the Lord" gives us "strength" to live for the Lord (Nehemiah 8:10). "The joy of the Lord" is always more than a nice feeling. The joy of the Lord changes us.    

The Heart Of The Matter Is The Matter Of The Heart.

"And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep Your commands, statutes and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided” (1 Chronicles 29:19).

We don't begin with what's on the outside - building the temple. We begin with what's on the inside - "wholehearted devotion." The first thing isn't doing things for God. It's loving the Lord. In the work of the Lord, there's something we must never forget: The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. Everything good in the work of the Lord flows from this: "wholehearted devotion" to Him.