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Showing posts from June, 2016

How Soon We Forget

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Scripture:

Psa. 106:13        But they soon forgot his works;
        they did not wait for his counsel.
14     But they had a wanton craving in the wilderness,
        and put God to the test in the desert;
15     he gave them what they asked,
        but sent a wasting disease among them.

Observation:

The people of God were self-indulgent and filled with self-seeking discontent. Completely impatient with God, they decided to make their own decisions. They forgot about all that God had done for them in the past and the didn’t bother to consult the God of the future. The result was that “they fell prey to their own unsanctified emotions.” (New Bible Commentary). In doing so they suffered the consequences of forgetting about God.

Application:

This morning our world is in a bit of turmoil. The vote in the UK last Thursday has thrown things into a bit of uproar and created a sense of uncertainty regarding the future. Economically it could make things challenging for the whole world.

We all have…

The Steadfast Love of the LORD

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Scripture:

Psa. 107:33        He turns rivers into a desert,
        springs of water into thirsty ground,
34     a fruitful land into a salty waste,
        because of the wickedness of its inhabitants.
35     He turns a desert into pools of water,
        a parched land into springs of water.
36     And there he lets the hungry live,
        and they establish a town to live in;
37     they sow fields, and plant vineyards,
        and get a fruitful yield.
38     By his blessing they multiply greatly,
        and he does not let their cattle decrease.

Psa. 107:39        When they are diminished and brought low
        through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,
40     he pours contempt on princes
        and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
41     but he raises up the needy out of distress,
        and makes their families like flocks.
42     The upright see it and are glad;
        and all wickedness stops its mouth.
43     Let those who are wise give heed to these things,
        and consid…

What Would You Ask?

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Scripture:

Matt. 20:29   As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him.  30 There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”  31 The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, “Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!”  32 Jesus stood still and called them, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?”  33 They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.”  34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him.

Observation:


Jericho was the last stop before reaching Jerusalem. You can imagine the excitement and the focus of moving on to the final destination. The crowds were not very encouraging to the two blind men and they had to shout above the others for Jesus to hear them. They caught his attention and he called back to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” Their response may be seen as both …

Divine Virtues and Earthly Troubles

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Scripture:

Rom. 5:1   Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.  3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Observation:

Paul rejoices in what Christ has done for his people and invites them to share in the hope of the glory of God. At the same time he is well aware of the struggles that Christians face in the world. However, instead of threatening the peace of God’s people they actually can produce in us a greater assurance of our hope. Sufferings in our lives are used by God produce an ability to endure and to shape character. This, in turn, prod…

Testimonies and Decrees

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Scripture:

Psa. 119:137        You are righteous, O LORD,
        and your judgments are right.
138     You have appointed your decrees in righteousness
        and in all faithfulness.
139     My zeal consumes me
        because my foes forget your words.
140     Your promise is well tried,
        and your servant loves it.
141     I am small and despised,
        yet I do not forget your precepts.
142     Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness,
        and your law is the truth.
143     Trouble and anguish have come upon me,
        but your commandments are my delight.
144     Your decrees are righteous forever;
        give me understanding that I may live.

Observation:

The faithfulness of God is affirmed through the Psalmist. In this translation the word “decrees” is used, while in another the word “testimony.” The word “decree” sounds like a declaration from God and “testimony” more of a witness to the activity of God. But in this case God’s decrees are testimony to the very n…

Good Deeds

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Scripture:

Matt. 19:16   Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”  17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”  18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness;  19 Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  20 The young man said to him, “I have kept all these; what do I still lack?”  21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”  22 When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

Observation:


The rich young man was probably pretty good at doing good deeds. He had the financial resources to do all kinds of things, but not to the…

The Graciousness of God

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Scripture:

Psa. 67:0   To the leader: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.
1     May God be gracious to us and bless us
        and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
2     that your way may be known upon earth,
        your saving power among all nations.
3     Let the peoples praise you, O God;
        let all the peoples praise you.

Observation:

The people of God,
created in the image of God,
reflect God
when in a face to face relationship with God.

The potential for this reflection always exists because of the graciousness of our holy God. God never steps out of alignment with his people, but it is his people who turn their backs on him. God in his graciousness is always in a position to shine his face on us. The only reason we wouldn’t reflect his image is because we refuse to look upon his face. The cry of the Psalmist is that the people of God would respond to the graciousness of God. When that happens then God is reflected through his creation to all of the earth. God is th…

The Depth of God’s Love

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Scripture:

Psa. 87:0   Of the Korahites. A Psalm. A Song.
1     On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
2         the LORD loves the gates of Zion
        more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
3     Glorious things are spoken of you,
        O city of God. Selah

Psa. 87:4        Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon;
        Philistia too, and Tyre, with Ethiopia—
        “This one was born there,” they say.

Psa. 87:5        And of Zion it shall be said,
        “This one and that one were born in it”;
        for the Most High himself will establish it.
6     The LORD records, as he registers the peoples,
        “This one was born there.” Selah

Psa. 87:7        Singers and dancers alike say,
        “All my springs are in you.”

Observation:


Why would Rahab and Babylon know the Lord? There are some who would say that Rahab here represents Egypt, but whether the name represents Egypt or the actual woman, the reference is significant. Neither Rahab, Egypt, nor Babylon were born t…

Wholehearted Forgiveness

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Scripture:

Matt. 18:35 So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Observation:


Forgiveness is found in God’s character and is to be reflected in his children. Adopted children receive all the rights and privileges of belonging to the family and begin to take on family characteristics. The Father’s love for his children was revealed in his extravagant plan for forgiveness. By giving his eternal son he revealed his character and that we are to participate in his limitless and extravagant heart of forgiveness. Note that in Jesus’ comment he refers to “my” Father — not “our” Father. When we refuse to participate in the family mission we lose out on the relationship with our heavenly Father and brother. That which we have already received we are to pass on to others. Adopted children of the kingdom will respond with heart of the Father and share wholehearted forgiveness with those who have wronged.

Application:


It is s…

The Kingdom of God Breaks In

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Scripture:

Matthew 14:19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.

Observation:


This is a familiar story that the gospel writers share with us. The miracle of the feeding of the five thousand is mind-boggling on many levels. God meets the needs of the disciples, of Jesus, and of the many hungry listeners. At the same time Jesus is foreshadowing a day which is to come when the disciples gather in an upper room. They recline and then Jesus takes that which has been prepared, blesses it, breaks it and feeds the disciples food which will lead them into eternity. This miracle is just a foretaste of moments when the kingdom of God breaks into our world. This is a symbolic act of communion in which the kingdom of heaven is revealed.

Application:

God provides opportunities in our lives for us to grow spiritually an…

Keeping the Focus

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Scripture:

Gal. 2:10 They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.

Observation:

Paul and Barnabas had gone to Jerusalem where they met with the church leadership. Some have called it the first council meeting of the church. The concern was over some legalistic questions regarding the need for circumcision in the life of new believers. Not everyone who was coming to Christ was a Jew and therefore they struggled over whether they would be required to keep Jewish law. Finally they decided that they needed to keep the focus on what was really important. Paul had been called to minister to the Gentiles and this took the gospel message beyond the borders of the Jewish faith. This was affirmed by the leadership, and with their blessing they sent Paul to minister, but with this one admonition — to remember the poor.

It’s interesting that this becomes the send-off but it is also a reminder of the focus of ministry. Jesus was constantly ministering…