Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Notes on Isaiah

ISAIAH

1:1-31  -  God invites us to ‘come’ to Him and receive salvation - ‘though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow’. He also warns us - there will be judgment ‘if you refuse and rebel’ (18-20). God speaks to us of His great purpose of salvation: ‘God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him’. He tells us that we can be saved through faith in Christ: ‘Whoever believes in Him is not condemned’. He calls us back from the way of unbelief and judgment: ‘Whoever does not believe is condemned already because he does not believe in the Name of the only Son of God’ (John 3:17-18). In Jesus Christ, there is ‘great salvation’. Make sure that you receive God’s salvation. ‘How shall we escape if we neglect or ignore such a great salvation?’ (Hebrews 2:3).
2:1-22  -  God calls us to worship Him - ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord...’ - and walk in His ways - ‘Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord’ (3,5). We are moving towards the Day when ‘the pride of men shall be humbled and brought low’, the Day when ‘the Lord alone will be exalted’ (11,12,17). How are we to get ready for the Return of our Lord Jesus Christ? God calls us to keep on worshipping Him. We are to encourage one another to keep on walking with God. ‘Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching’ (Hebrews 10:25). Let our pride be humbled and let the Lord be exalted as we await Christ’s Return in ‘faith’, looking to Him alone for our ‘salvation’ (1 Peter 1:7-9).
3:1-26  -  God’s Word calls us to make our choice. We must choose between the way of  ‘the righteous’ and the way of ‘the wicked’. There is a great difference between the two ways - ‘Tell the righteous it will be well with them... Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them!...’ (10-11). We still need to hear the words of  Jesus: ‘Enter by the narrow gate... only a few find the narrow gate, the hard way that leads to life’. His words are not popular. Many people dismiss His words as old-fashioned. They don’t like this kind of talk: ‘the gate to hell is wide and the road that leads to it is easy, and there are many who travel it’ (Matthew 7:13-14). They say, ‘ Jesus said such ‘nice’ things about love. Why does He spoil it all by saying things like this?’ When will we start listening to all that Jesus says - and not only the ‘nice’ things we like to hear?
4:1-5:17  -  ‘Those who are left... will be called holy’ (4:3). The world speaks of God’s people with contempt - ‘the holy people who need to learn to live in the real world’. When God calls His people ‘holy’, He speaks in a very different way. He speaks with affection. He looks upon us with love. We are special to Him. We are precious in His eyes. God loves us and He calls us to be holy. We are to live as those who have been set apart for God. We are not to live for this world only. There is something else, something greater than this so-called ‘real world’. There is a world that is unseen and eternal, heavenly and glorious. This is our higher calling, our call to holiness. Let us ‘look to the things that are unseen and eternal’. Let us ‘press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus’ (2 Corinthians 4:18; Philippians 3:14).
5:18-6:13  -  God reveals His holiness: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts’ (3). In His holiness, we see our own sinfulness: ‘I am a man of unclean lips’ (5). God is perfectly holy: ‘Your eyes are too pure to look on evil’ (Habakkuk 1:13). When we look at ourselves in the light of God’s perfect holiness,  we see the truth concerning ourselves: ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). There is no room for excuses. We must confess our sin. We must pray for God’s forgiveness: ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner’ (Luke 18:13). To those who come to Him with a true confession of sin, God speaks His Word of forgiveness: ‘your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven’ (7). The Lord has saved us. Let us serve Him. Let us pray, ‘Here am I! Send me’ (8). Let us share the Good News of His forgiveness.
7:1-25  -  Isaiah looked ahead to the coming of ‘Immanuel’ - ‘God with us’ (14; Matthew 1:23). We look forward to the Second Coming of Immanuel: ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God’ (Revelation 21:3). The Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ presents us with a challenge: ‘When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?’ (Luke 18:8). He calls us to ‘stand firm in our faith’. We must not ‘shrink back ‘ from Him. We must ‘believe and be saved’ (9; Hebrews 10:37-39). Jesus says, ‘I am coming soon’. Let us pray, ‘Come, Lord Jesus’. Let us pray that our ‘love’ for Him will not ‘grow cold’. Let us pray for strength to ‘stand firm to the end and be saved’ (Revelation 22:7,12,20; Matthew 24:12-13).
8:1-22  -  ‘Immanuel... God is with us’ (8,10). Jesus Christ has come to be with us so that we might go to be with Him. He has come from heaven to earth so that we might go from earth to heaven. He died for us that we might live with Him. He does not return to heaven alone. He ‘brings many sons to glory’: ‘Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me’ (18; Hebrews 2:9-10,13). Jesus speaks to us of  the glory of the Father’s House’. He shares this glory with us: ‘I go to prepare a place for you... I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also’. He invites us to enter this heavenly glory.  He is ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’. Without Him, we cannot enter heaven: ‘No one comes to the Father except through Me’. Through faith in Him, we receive ‘eternal life’ (John 14:1-3,6; 6:40).
9:1-10:4  -  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 a Saviour has been born to you: He is Christ the Lord’. Jesus Christ is our great Saviour. He is our ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ (9:6: Luke 2:11). Jesus Christ has brought to us a great salvation. Through faith in Him, we enter God’s heavenly and eternal ‘Kingdom’ (9:7: Luke 1:30-33). This is ‘Good News of great joy’ - for ‘all the people’, for ‘all generations’. Let us rejoice in the Lord, as Mary, the mother of Jesus, did - ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour... for the Mighty One has done great things for me...’. Let us join with the angels in saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest...’ (Luke 2:10; 1:46-50; 2:14).
10:5-34  -  ‘A few, the remaining few of Jacob, will return to the Mighty God...’ (21). So few people take time to worship the Lord. Are we to become discouraged? No! We must take encouragement from God’s Word: ‘The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame’(17). We must continue to pray for God’s blessing. ‘Let the flame burn brighter in the heart of the darkness, turning night to glorious day. Let the song grow louder as our love grows stronger; let it shine! let it shine!’. ‘Shine, Jesus, shine, fill this land with the Father’s glory; blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire. Flow, river, flow, flood the nations with grace and mercy; send forth Your Word, Lord, and let there be light!’ (Mission Praise, 743,445). May God give us grace to ‘truly rely on’ Him, ‘the Lord, the Holy One of Israel’ (20).
11:1-12:6  -  The family tree of ‘Jesse, the father of King David’ has a very special ‘Branch’ - Jesus Christ (11:1; Matthew 1:1,6,16). Jesus Christ has raised ‘a banner for the nations’. He is ‘the Saviour of the world’. He has died ‘for the sins of the whole world’. The ‘Good News’ is to be preached to ‘all the world’. Christ calls ‘all nations’ to ‘turn to Him’. He calls ‘all nations’ to receive the ‘forgiveness of sins’. He calls ‘all nations’ to become His ‘disciples’ (12; John 4:42; 1 John 2:2; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; Matthew 28:19). May our personal faith - ‘I will praise You, O Lord... God is my Salvation... The Lord is my Strength and my Song...’ - become our public testimony - making Christ ‘known among the nations’, telling ‘all the world’ what the Lord has done for us (12:1-2,4-5).
13:1-22  -  ‘The Day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty... The Day of the Lord is coming - a cruel Day with wrath and fierce anger...’ (6,9). Christ’s Return will be a Day of salvation - ‘the Day He comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed’. It will also be a Day of judgment - ‘When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven... He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord...’ (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). Don’t let the Day of the Lord ‘surprise you like a thief’. It can be a Day of ‘salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ’. Trust ‘Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath’ (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4,9; 1:9-10).
14:1-23  -  We look beyond ‘the king of Babylon’ (4). We see Satan, full of pride - ‘I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High’ - , fallen  - ‘How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer...’ - , and  brought to nothing - ‘you will be brought down to the pit of hell...’ (12-15). We look also at ‘the king of Tyre’. Again, we see Satan - ‘you were on the holy mountain of God... you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God... your heart was proud... you have come to a dreadful end...’ (Ezekiel 28:12-19). Satan (the devil) wages war against the Lord and His people. The final outcome of this war is certain - defeat for Satan.  Christ has won the victory: By ‘the authority of Christ’, Satan ‘has been thrown down’. In Christ, we have the victory: ‘they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb ...’ (Revelation 12:7-12).
14:24-15:9  -  ‘My heart cries out for Moab’ (5). Here, we see the loving heart of God. He takes ‘no pleasure in the death of the wicked’. He does ‘not want anyone to perish’. He longs for ‘everyone to come to repentance’ (Ezekiel 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9). We see the loving heart of God in our Saviour, Jesus Christ: ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!’. We see the loving heart of God in Paul. He sees the nation of Israel turning away from Israel. He is filled with compassion: ‘I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart’ (Matthew 23:37; Romans 9:2). May God help us to feel for the lost, to look upon them with His love, to long for them to be saved.
16:1-17:3  -  ‘In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a Man will sit on it - One from the house of David...’ (5). This Man is more than ‘a descendant of David’. He is Jesus Christ, ‘the Son of God’ (Romans 1:4). ‘Jesus, the Saviour reigns’. Jesus is ‘the King of Love’. He is ‘our great Redeemer... our God and King’. Let us worship ‘our glorious King’. Let us sing to Him, ‘Alleluia! What a Saviour!’. Let us, with heart and voice, ‘confess Him King of glory now’. He is ‘our King’. Let us ‘bring Him hearts that love Him’. Let us ‘bring Him thankful praise’. He puts His question to us: ‘Who will serve the King?’. Let us give our answer: We will ‘rise up’. We will ‘have done with lesser things’. We will ‘give heart and soul and mind and strength to serve the King of kings’ (Church Hymnary, 296,388,371,380,300,464,479,477). 
17:4-18:7  -  ‘You have forgotten the God of your salvation, and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge’ (10). How easy it is to forget! The Lord has loved us so much. We should remember to say, ‘Thank You’. Very often, we forget. When Jesus healed ten lepers, only ‘one of them came back’ to say ‘Thank You’. Far too often, we are like ‘the other nine’ (Luke 17:11-19). We forget to thank Him for His love. We take His love for granted. We should be celebrating. We should be letting Him know how much we love Him. Don’t forget ‘your first love’ (Revelation 2:4). Let Jesus be your first love. Let Him be your only love - for the whole of your life. ‘High heaven, that heard the solemn vow, that vow renewed shall daily hear; till in life’s latest hour I bow, and bless in death a bond so dear’ (Mission Praise, 499).
19:1-20:6  -  ‘The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel my heritage”’ (19:25). ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek... you are all one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3:28). How can people who seem to be opposites be brought together? Jesus Christ brings them together. He breaks down ‘the barrier’. He removes ‘the dividing wall of hostility’. We are brought ‘near’ to one another through ‘the blood of Christ’. We must come to ‘the Cross’ of Christ. There, at ‘the Cross’, we will find each other. We will discover what it means to be ‘one body’ in Christ (Ephesians 2:13-16). When Satan comes, creating misunderstanding, filling our minds with suspicion  and undermining our hopes of peace, let’s remind him of God’s Word, ‘You are all one in Christ Jesus’.
21:1-17  -  We live in a situation of conflict. We are at war with the enemy. Satan is God’s enemy. Satan is our enemy. Satan is a very determined enemy. Satan is a defeated enemy. The words of verse 9 - ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon...’ - , repeated again in Revelation 14:8; 18:2, assure us that Satan will not prevail over the Lord and His people. The victory is the Lord’s. He gives His victory to us. When the going gets tough, when Satan seems to have the upper hand, let’s remember this: ‘Fierce may be the conflict, strong may be the foe, but the King’s own army none can overthrow. Round His standard ranging, victory is secure, for His truth unchanging makes the triumph sure’. Let us not hesitate to commit ourselves to Christ: ‘Joyfully enlisting, by Thy grace divine, we are on the Lord’s side; Saviour, we are Thine’ (Church Hymnary, 479).
22:1-25  -  Here, we read about ‘the Valley of Vision’ (1,5). The Lord Himself is to be our Vision: ‘Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art, Thou my best thought, by day or by night, waking or sleeping Thy presence my light’ (Church Hymnary, 87). Down in the valley, the mountain-top experience seems a long way off. What are we to do when everything seems to be hard-going? When there seems to be no way out of the valley, no way back to the mountain-top, we must keep on ‘looking to Jesus’ (Hebrews 12:1-2). In the ‘valley’, we must learn to say, ‘My goal is God Himself, not joy nor peace, nor even blessing, but Himself, my God’. Let your ‘valley’ become your ‘valley of vision’, the place where you are learning to ‘turn your eyes upon Jesus’   (Mission Praise, 470,712).
23:1-18  -  ‘Look at the land of the Babylonians, this people that is now of no account!’ (13). To the nation which turns to Him, the Lord speaks His promise of blessing - ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord ...’ (Psalm 33:12). To the nation which turns away from Him, God speaks His warning of judgment - ‘For lack of guidance a nation falls’ (Proverbs 11:14). We must choose. Will we choose to listen to the Lord, to submit our lives to Him, to follow the guidance He has given to us in His Word? Or, will we ignore Him and go our own way? The way of the Lord leads to blessing - ‘Righteousness exalts a nation’. The way of self leads to judgment - ‘sin is a disgrace to any people’ (Proverbs 14:34). What will it be? - ‘Look at the Babylonians...!’ or ‘They will see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16).
24:1-23  -  ‘They raise their voices, they shout for joy; from the west they acclaim the Lord’s majesty. Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord, exalt the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea. From the ends of the earth we hear singing: “Glory to the Righteous One”’ (14-16). What a beautiful picture of a land that is enjoying God’s blessing, praising Him and giving glory to Him! Looking around us, we see a very different picture - ‘The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws... therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt’ (5-6). Can the dark picture of sin and guilt be turned into the brighter picture of salvation and rejoicing? God ‘is able to do so much more than we can ask for, or even imagine’ (Ephesians 3:20). Be bold. Pray that God will send revival in our time.         
25:1-26:9  -  ‘O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your Name... You have done marvellous things’ (25:1). We remember what God has done for us. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour. We rejoice in Jesus Christ who died for us. We rejoice in Jesus Christ who rose again for us. We look forward to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. We look forward to the Day when ‘He will swallow up death for ever’. On that Day, ‘the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces’. On that Day, we will look back and say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us’. On that Day, we will ‘rejoice and be glad in His salvation’ (25:8-9). Here and now, let us learn to ‘trust in the Lord’. We can trust in Him ‘for ever’. He is ‘the everlasting Rock’ - ‘the Rock of our salvation’ (4; Psalm 95:1).
26:10-27:13  -  Jesus is our Saviour - ‘Lord, You establish peace for us’; ‘We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’. We cannot save ourselves. We can only look away from ourselves to Jesus - and be saved by Him: ‘all that we have accomplished You have done for us’; ‘By grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God’ (26:12; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:8). Jesus is our Lord - ‘Lord, our God... You alone are our Lord’. How are we to live once we have received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ? - ‘Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him’. We are not to ‘keep on sinning so that God can keep on showing us more and more kindness and forgiveness’. We are to live a life of ‘good works’ (26:13; Colossians 2:6; Romans 6:1; Ephesians 2:10).
28:1-22  -  Jesus Christ is ‘the precious Cornerstone’. He is ‘the sure Foundation’ (16). Jesus is the Name of our salvation - ‘Salvation is found in no-one else... there is no other name... by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4:10-12). There is only one ‘Foundation’ for our faith - ‘Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 3:11). He is the ‘chosen and precious Cornerstone’ - ‘to you who believe, this Stone is precious’ (1 Peter 2:6-7). Build your life on Christ, ‘the solid Rock’ - ‘My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; no merit of my own I claim, but wholly trust in Jesus’ Name. When weary in this earthly race, I rest on His unchanging grace... When earthly hopes are swept away, He will uphold me on that Day. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand’ (Matthew 7:24-27; Mission Praise, 473).
28:23-29:16  -  ‘The wisdom of the wise will perish’ (29:14). There is another ‘wisdom’, a ‘wisdom’ which shall not perish, a ‘wisdom’ which is ‘wiser than man’s wisdom’. Christ is ‘the Wisdom of God’ (1 Corinthians 1:24-25). With Christ as our Saviour, we ‘shall not perish’. Through faith in Him, we receive the ‘wisdom’ which brings ‘salvation’ (John 3:16; 2 Timothy 3:15). Jesus Christ is ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’ (John14:6). He is the Way to true wisdom. He is the Truth upon which true wisdom is based. He is the Life which is based on true wisdom. He is true Wisdom. We must not seek wisdom apart from faith in Jesus Christ  - ‘the world did not know God through wisdom’. There is one true wisdom which does ‘not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God’ - faith in ‘Christ crucified’ (1 Corinthians 1:21-23; 2:1-5).
29:17-30:17  -  ‘In returning and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, “No!”’ (15-16). God wants to bless us. He wants to be our ‘salvation’. He wants to be our ‘strength’. How does God bless us? How does He become our ‘salvation’? How does He become our ‘strength’? We must want His blessing. We must want His ‘salvation’. We must want His ‘strength’. We must return to Him and rest in Him. We must quietly listen to His Word, putting our trust in Him. There is no ‘salvation’ without ‘returning and rest’. There is no ‘strength’ without ‘quietness and trust’. God does not force Himself upon us. We can say, ‘No! I will have none of it’. God wants to bless you. Will you say, ‘Yes, Lord! I want You to be my “salvation”. I want You to be my “strength”’?
30:18-31:19  -  ‘Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord!’ (1). It is so easy to forget the Lord. We try to go it alone, and we forget to look to Him for help. Even when we forget Him, He does not forget us. When we turn our backs on Him, He calls us to ‘return to Him’ (6). He reminds us that our true help is found in Him: ‘Our help is in the Name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth’ (Psalm 124:8). We need not look around here, there and everywhere for an answer to the question, ‘Where does my help come from?’. There is only one true answer to this question: ‘My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth’ (Psalm 121:1-2).
32:1-20  -  ‘Abandoned... deserted... a wasteland...’ (14). Can such a desperate situation be turned around? Yes! When ‘the Spirit is poured upon us from on high... the wilderness becomes a fruitful field’ (15). We must not lose heart. We must keep on calling upon the Lord. We must believe that God is able to turn things around. When the situation seems hopeless, we must put our trust in ‘the God of hope’. We must pray that God will send His blessing: ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope’ (Romans 15:13). ‘Restore, O Lord, the honour of Your Name! In works of sovereign power, come, shake the earth  again... Restore, O Lord, in all the earth Your fame, and in our time revive the Church that bears Your Name’ (Mission Praise, 579).    
33:1-24  -  ‘O Lord...Be our strength every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble’ (2). We are not to pray to the Lord only ‘in the time of trouble’. We are to pray to Him ‘every morning’. We are not to keep God at a distance, calling on Him only when things are going badly. When we keep God at a distance, our life tells its own sad story - ‘O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear - all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer’. When we draw near to God, He draws near to us, and everything becomes very different - ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!’ (James 4:8; Mission Praise, 746). Let God’s  ‘love’ come to you ‘new every morning’ - ‘fresh as the morning , as sure as the sunrise’ (Lamentations 3:22-23).
34:1-17  -  God calls us to ‘draw near’ to Him. He wants us to ‘pay attention’ to Him. We must ‘listen’ to His Word (1). God’s Word is not always what we want to hear. It will always be what we need to hear. ‘The Lord is angry with all nations’ (2). We don’t like to hear about God’s anger. We prefer to be told ‘You’re doing fine’. We need to hear about God’s anger. We need to hear about how far we have wandered away from God - ‘We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us turned to his own way’. We are sinners. We have turned away from the Lord. We have chosen our own way rather than His way. We must hear this ‘bad news’ before we can really appreciate the ‘Good News’ - ‘the Lord has laid all our sins on Jesus’, ‘Christ died for us while we were still sinners’, ‘Christ died for our sins’ (53:6; Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3).
35:1-10  -  What blessings are given to those who draw near to God - ‘Your God... will come and save you’ (4). The Good News of Christ comes to us as a call to faith - ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’ (Acts 16:31). We have been saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot remain the same. We are called to live a new life. We must travel on the Lord’s ‘highway’ - ‘the Way of Holiness’ (8). This is ‘the Way’ which leads to ‘everlasting joy’ (10). This ‘Way’ is so different from the world’s way. The world has no time for those who seek to live a holy life. This is what Jesus says about the world’s way of life: ‘the gate is wide and the way is wide that leads to destruction’ (Matthew 7:13). Whatever the world may say, we must never forget this: ‘Without holiness, no-one will see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14). 
36:1-37:20  -  Hezekiah is facing a very powerful enemy - ‘Sennacherib, king of Assyria’ (36:1). Hezekiah prays for deliverance - ‘O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand’. He prays for salvation - ‘O Lord our God, save us...’ (37:20). We face an even more powerful enemy - Satan, ‘the ruler of this world’, ‘the god of this world’. We must pray for deliverance. We must look to the Lord for salvation. We must pray with faith in Jesus Christ. Satan ‘has no power over’ Jesus. When Jesus was ‘lifted up from the earth’ (crucified), He won a mighty victory over Satan. Jesus died for us so that Satan, ‘the ruler of this world’ might be ‘cast out’. Satan’s power is broken when ‘the light of the Gospel of  the glory of Christ’ shines ‘in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ’ (John 14:30;12:31-33; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6).
37:21-38:8  -  Sennacherib has no power over God’s people. They are protected by a superior power, the power of God - ‘This is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria: “He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here... By the way that he came he will return...”’. This is God’s answer to Hezekiah’s prayer for salvation - ‘I will defend this city to save it’ (33-35). What a great God we have! He is the God of our salvation. He will answer our prayer for salvation. God loves us: ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son...’. Christ died for us: ‘God made Him who knew no sin (Christ) to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God’. Christ promises to receive all who come to Him for salvation: ‘I will never turn away anyone who comes to Me’ (John 3:16; 6:37; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
38:9-39:8  -  ‘The Lord will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our life in the House of the Lord’ (20). Some people say, ‘I can be a Christian without going to Church’. Here, we have something very different. Believing in the Lord leads to worshipping the Lord. It doesn’t make sense to say, ‘I believe in the Lord but  I’m not interested in worshipping Him’. We believe in Christ. We are saved by Him. We receive a new Spirit of worship: ‘God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Father, my Father!”’ (Galatians 4:4). Let’s have none of this ‘believing without worshipping’ - ‘Abba Father, let me be Yours and Your alone. May my will for ever be evermore Your own. Never let my heart grow cold, never let me go. Abba Father, let me be Yours and Yours alone’ (Mission Praise, 3).
40:1-31  -  ‘The Lord is the everlasting God... He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak... those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength...’ (28-31). Far too often, we say, ‘I can’t’ when we really mean ‘I won’t’. ‘I can’t’ - This is an insult to the power of God. The Lord calls us to do something special for Him. We say, ‘I can’t’. What are we really saying? This is what we are saying - ‘Lord, I don’t believe Your promise - “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength”’. Don’t say, ‘I can’t’. Don’t get so busy with other things that you fail to wait upon the Lord and renew your strength. When the Lord calls you to serve Him, say, ‘Yes, Lord, I will wait upon You. I will renew my strength. I will do Your will’.  
41:1-29  -  ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you... I am the Lord your God who... says to you, Do not fear; I will help you... I Myself will help you, declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel’ (10-14). When we have something important to say, we repeat ourselves. We want to make sure that our message gets across. We say, ‘Do you get the point? Do you see what I mean?’. This is what God is doing here. Three times, He says, ‘I will help you’. He wants us to get the point. He wants to leave us in no doubt. He wants us to be sure of this: ‘I will help you’. He doesn’t want us to go around thinking, ‘I wonder if God will help me?’. He really does want to help us. He says it once. He says it twice. He says it three times: ‘I will help you’.
42:1-25  -  ‘Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, my Chosen One in whom I delight; I will put My Spirit on Him, and He will bring justice to the nations’ (1). These words turn our thoughts towards the Lord Jesus Christ. At His baptism, we hear the voice of the Father - ‘This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased’. At His baptism, we see ‘the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting on Him’.  Jesus is the fulfilment of God’s Word of prophecy: ‘All mankind shall see the Saviour sent from God’. After His resurrection, we hear Jesus Himself speaking. He says, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit...’ (Matthew 12:15-21; 3:16-17; 28:18-20; Luke 3:6). Let us bring Christ to the nations. Let us serve the Lord in the power of the Spirit.
43:1-28  -  ‘I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour... I am the Lord, apart from Me there is no saviour’ (3,11). Isaiah’s words turn our thoughts towards Jesus our Saviour. The Name of Jesus is the Name of our salvation: ‘Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4:12). ‘How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear’; ‘There is a Name I love to hear... It tells me of a Saviour’s love, who died to set me free; it tells me of His precious blood, the sinner’s perfect plea. O how I love the Saviour’s Name, the sweetest Name on earth’; ‘Name of all majesty... See now what God has done, sending His only Son, Christ the beloved One, Jesus is Lord!’ (Church Hymnary, 376; Mission Praise, 672,481).
44:1-28  -  ‘I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring, and My blessing on your descendants’ (3). Here, Isaiah is looking forward to the mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost - ‘They were all filled with the Holy Spirit...’ (Acts 2:4). It is ‘the Spirit’ who brings ‘streams of living water’ into our lives. It is ‘the Spirit’ who sends ‘streams of living water’, flowing out from us to others (John 7:37-39). We are to ‘be filled with the Spirit’. ‘Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ’ - Let your life be full of praise to God: ‘filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18-20).
45:1-25  -  ‘I am the Lord... I will strengthen you’ (5). How does the Lord strengthen us? He strengthens us with salvation. He comes to us as our ‘God and Saviour’.  He calls us to come to Him and receive salvation: ‘Turn to Me and be saved...’. Through faith in Christ, we are ‘saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation’ (15,17,21-22). We are strengthened with ‘everlasting salvation’. We look ahead to Christ’s Return ‘in power and great glory’ (Matthew 24:30). On that Day, the glory of our Saviour will be fully revealed: ‘At the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father’. Jesus is our Saviour. His ‘Name is above every name’. Our ‘strength’ comes from Him (23-24;  Philippians 2:10-11).
46:1-47:15  -  ‘I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me... I am bringing My righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed’ (46:9,13). God does not keep His distance from us. He comes near to us - ‘The Word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the Word of faith which we preach). God does not delay His salvation. He comes to us with His promise: ‘If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved’ (Romans 10:8-9). Jesus is the Word of God. He is our Saviour. He is our Lord (John 1:1,14; 20:28,31). Let us worship Jesus. He is ‘the Holy One of Israel’. He is ‘our Redeemer’. ‘The Lord Almighty is His Name’ (47:4). ‘O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord’ (Church Hymnary, 191).
48:1-22  -  ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go’ (17). God knows what is best for us. He helps us to say, ‘As for God, His way is perfect’ (Job 23:10; 2 Samuel 22:31).How does God help us to see that His way is best? He invites us to consider His love. We are to think about all that He has done for us - ‘the mercies of God’. He calls us to dedicate our lives to Him - ‘present your bodies, as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God’. Dedicating our lives to the Lord - This is ‘our ‘spiritual worship’. We are not to live for this world - ‘Do not be conformed to this world’. We are to live for the Lord - ‘be transformed by the renewal of your mind’. ‘God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect’. Learn this for yourself. Dedicate your life to Him (Romans 12:1-2).
49:1-26  -  ‘I, the Lord, am your Saviour, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob’. We are not to keep this to ourselves. God wants ‘all mankind’ to ‘know’ (26). ‘Jesus, the Name to sinners dear, the Name to sinners given, it scatters all their guilty fear, it turns their hell to heaven’ - This is not something to keep to ourselves. We must make Christ known to others - ‘Oh, that the world might taste and see the riches of His grace! The arms of love that compass me, would all mankind embrace. His only righteousness I show, His saving truth proclaim: ‘tis all my business here below to cry: “Behold the Lamb!”. Happy, if with my latest breath I may but gasp His Name: preach Him to all, and cry in death: “Behold, behold the Lamb!”’ (Mission Praise, 385). ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News’ (Mark 16:15).
50:1-51:8  -  ‘The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him that is weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught’ (50:4). We are to listen to God. We are to speak for God. We cannot speak for God unless we are listening to Him. Before we can speak for God, we must speak to Him. We must pray, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening’ (1 Samuel 3:9-10). Listening to God comes before speaking for God. First, we wait on the Lord - ‘I waited patiently for the Lord’. Then, we witness for the Lord - ‘He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God’. Waiting on the Lord and witnessing for Him, we will win others for Him - ‘Many  will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord’ (Psalm 40:1-3).
51:9-23  -  ‘Awake, awake!... O arm of the Lord; awake, as in days gone by... The ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them... I am the Lord your God... I have put My words in your mouth...’ (9,11,15-16). We must pray for revival in this generation. Pray for a revival of joyful worship. Pray for a revival of powerful preaching. Where will revival come from? It comes from the Lord. God hears the prayers of His people - ‘Awake, awake!... O arm of the Lord; awake, as in days gone by’. God answers the prayers of His people - ‘The ransomed of the Lord will return... Gladness and joy will overtake them’. Revival comes when God sends His Word of power - ‘I am the Lord your God... I have put My words in your mouth’.
52:1-12  -  ‘Good News’ - Let us ‘shout for joy’. ‘Good News’ - Let us sing ‘songs of joy’. There is the Good News of God’s reign - ‘Your God reigns’. There is the Good News of our redemption - ‘The Lord has redeemed’ us. We are not to keep the Good News to ourselves. This ‘news of happiness’ is to be shared with everyone. We must let ‘all the ends of the earth  see the salvation of our God’. ‘Christ died for our sins’ - This is Good News. Christ was ‘raised on the third day’ - This is Good News. ‘Jesus is Lord’ - This is Good News. This is the Good News we must ‘pass on’ to others. In our world, there is so much bad news. We must not let the Good News be drowned out by the bad news. We must make sure that the people hear the Good News - loud and clear (7-10; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Mission Praise, 249).
52:13-53:12  -  In this remarkable prophecy,.we see Jesus Christ, crucified for us - ‘the Lord has laid all our sins on Him’ - and risen from the dead - ‘After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life’ (6,11). ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ (Mission Praise, 745). We might put this question to Isaiah. In one sense, he wasn’t there. He lived long before the time of Christ. In another sense, he was there. God opened his eyes. God gave him a glimpse of what was going to happen in the future. ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’. In one sense, we weren’t there. These things happened long before we were even born. In another sense, we were there. It was our sins which Christ took with Him to the Cross. It was our sins which He left behind Him when He rose from the dead (Romans 4:25).
54:1-17  -  ‘The Lord’ is not only ‘the Holy One of Israel’. He is ‘the God of the whole earth’ (5). The Gospel is for ‘all nations’. The ministry of Christ’s apostles began in ‘Jerusalem’, but it did not end there. The Gospel was to be taken ‘to the ends of the earth’ (Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8). Taking the Gospel out from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth was not easy. The apostles faced much opposition. They stood upon God’s promise: ‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper’ (17). When we face opposition, we must take our stand on the Word of God: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31). Even when our words seem to fall on stony ground, we must keep on speaking the Word of God’s love: ‘With everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer’ (8).
55:1-13  -  The Word of God is spoken - ‘Seek the Lord while He may be found...’ (6-7). No one seems to be listening. What are we to do? We must remember God’s promise: ‘My Word will not return to Me empty’ (11). We do not see all that God is doing. He is doing much more than we realize - ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts...’ (8-9). We may be feeling very despondent - ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything’ (Luke 5:5). The Lord still comes to us with His Word of encouragement: ‘You shall go out with joy...’ (12). Before there is joy, there may be many tears. When there seems to be  nothing but disappointments, we must remember the Lord’s promise: ‘Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy...’ (Psalm 126:5-6). We must not ‘judge before the time...’ (1 Corinthians 4:5).
56:1-57:10  -  ‘My House will be called a House of prayer for all nations’ (56:7). God is gathering His people together ‘from every tribe and language and people and nation’ (Revelation 5:9). ‘Salvation comes from the Jews’, but it doesn’t end there - ‘The Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile (the rest of the world)’ (John 4:22; Romans 1:16). We were ‘foreigners’. Now, we are ‘no longer foreigners...’(56:6; Ephesians 2:19). Christ has ‘broken down the dividing wall of hostility’. ‘We are no longer Jews or Gentiles’. ‘We are one in Christ Jesus’. Christ has ‘made the two one’. We ‘have been brought near through the blood of Christ’. We are ‘one body’ - Jews and Gentiles brought together ‘through the Cross’ of Christ (Ephesians 2:13-16; Galatians 3:28).
57:11-58:14  -  ‘To the far and to the near’, God speaks His Word of ‘peace’ (57:19). Christ is God’s Word of ‘peace’ (Ephesians 2:13-14). Christ is for ‘the Jews’. Christ is for ‘the Gentiles’. There is one way of salvation. Jesus Christ is our Saviour. We must put our ‘faith’ in Him. Through Him, we have ‘peace with God’ (Romans 3:29-30; 5:1). God’s Word invites us to ‘call upon the Name of the Lord and be saved’ (58:9; Acts 2:21). In Christ, there is true ‘joy’ - ‘I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation...’ (58:14; 61:10). We rejoice in Jesus Christ. He is ‘the High and Exalted One’. He has come from His ‘high and holy place’. He has become ‘Emmanuel’, ‘God with us’. He is our peace and joy, our Saviour and our God’ (57:15; Matthew 1:21, 23; John 20:28).
59:1-21  -  What are we to do ‘when the enemy comes in like a flood’? We must look away from ourselves to Jesus Christ. He has ‘come’ as our ‘Redeemer’. Trusting in Jesus Christ, we must pray that ‘the Spirit of the the Lord will come like a rushing stream’. We must pray that ‘the wind of the Lord’ will come sweeping through us with much blessing (19-20). In ourselves, there is no blessing - ‘salvation... is far from us’. ‘Our sins have separated us from God’. We need to receive ‘salvation’ from the Lord (11,2,17). We must not delude ourselves. Satan is stronger than we are. We have no hope of victory over Satan - until we put our trust in Jesus Christ. Without Christ, we are helpless and hopeless. With Him, we shall be victorious. He is ‘the Rock of our salvation’ (Matthew 7:24-27; 2 Samuel 22:47; 1 Corinthians 10:4).
60:1-22  -  ‘Arise, shine; for your Light has come... the Lord will be your everlasting Light’ (1,19-20). Jesus Christ is ‘the Light of the world’. When we ‘follow Him’, we ‘will not walk in darkness’. We ‘will have the light of life’ (John 8:12). We are living in difficult times. We are surrounded by much darkness. We must not be discouraged - ‘the lamp of God has not yet gone out’ (1 Samuel 3:3).  When the darkness threatens to overcome the Light, we must take encouragement from God’s Word - ‘The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’ (John 1:5). When the darkness seems to be everywhere, put your trust in the Lord - The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?’ - and let ‘His Word’ be ‘a lamp to your feet and a light to your path’ (Psalms 27:1; 119:105).
61:1-11  -  ‘The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me... to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour’ (1-2). Jesus has fulfilled these words (Luke 4:18-21). Jesus has come, ‘proclaiming the Good News of God’. He tells us that ‘the time has come’. This is the time of opportunity, the time for making our response to Jesus Christ. He calls for our response - ‘Repent and believe the Good News!’. He calls us to make our response now  - ‘now is the acceptable time... now is the day of salvation’ (Mark 1:14-15; 2 Corinthians 6:2). There will come a time when the time of opportunity comes to an end. When Christ returns ‘with power and great glory’, it will be ‘the Day of vengeance of our God’. We do not know when Christ will return. Get ‘ready’ for His Return. Put your ‘faith’ in Him (2; Matthew 24:30,36,44; 25:13; Luke 18:8).
62:1-12  -  God has given us ‘a new Name’. It is ‘the Name which is above every name’, the Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (2; Philippians 2:9-11). Christ loves us. He has given Himself for us. He calls us His ‘Bride’ (Ephesians 5:25-27; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 21:2,9). Through faith in Christ, we have become ‘the Holy People’. Through Him, we are ‘the Redeemed of the Lord’. We have been ‘Sought After’ by the Lord. In Him, we are ‘the City No Longer Deserted’ (12; 1 Peter 2:9-9-10; 1:18-19; Luke 19:10; John 14:18). ‘There is a Name I love to hear... It tells me of a Saviour’s love, who died to set me free. It tells me of His precious blood, the sinner’s perfect plea... Jesus, the Name I love so well, the Name I love to hear!... O how I love the Saviour’s Name, the sweetest Name on earth!’ (Mission Praise, 672).
63:1-19  -  The Lord our God is ‘mighty to save’. He has shown His ‘steadfast love’ to us. He has become our ‘Saviour’. ‘In His love’, He has  ‘redeemed’ us (1,7-9). We read here about the power of God - He is ‘mighty to save’ - and the love of God - ‘In His love’, He has ‘redeemed’ us. What love the Lord has for us - ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son...’ (John 3:16)! What power there is in the Gospel of love - ‘The Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes’ (Romans 1:16)! What a ‘Saviour’ we have - Our Lord Jesus Christ is ‘able to save to the uttermost all who come to God through Him’ (Hebrews 7:25)! Think of Jesus Christ. Think of His love, His power, His salvation. Thank Him for all He has done for you - ‘Alleluia! What a Saviour!’ (Church Hymnary, 380)
64:1-65:12  -  We confess our sins to God - ‘We sinned... All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags’. We look to God for forgiveness - ‘Do not remember our sins for ever’ (64:5-6,9). We know that God hears and answers our prayer. Jesus Christ is God’s Answer to our prayer. He has ‘come down’ from heaven to earth. ‘The Son of the Most High’ has been ‘born’ into our world. Jesus Christ is God’s way of saying ‘Here am I! Here am I!’. He is ‘God with us’ (64:1; 65:1; Luke 1:32,35; Matthew 1:23). ‘The blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin’. Let us ‘confess our sins’. ‘The blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin’ - Let us come to God with faith, believing that He ‘will forgive our sins’. (1 John 1:7,9). Let us rejoice in Jesus, our Saviour!
65:13-66:4  -  What a contrast there is between those who belong to Christ - ‘My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts’ - and those who have refused to come to Christ for salvation - ‘You will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit’ (14)! God is preparing a great future ‘for those who love Him’ - ‘I will create a new heaven and a new earth’. He is calling us away from our sins - ‘Past things will  not be remembered. They will not come to mind’. He is calling us to His ‘holy mountain’.  How can we enter into our full enjoyment of God’s eternal salvation? God’s Word tells us: ‘I will pay attention to those who are humble and sorry for their sins and who tremble at My Word’ (65:17,25; 66:2; 1 Corinthians 2:9). Make sure that you belong to Christ. Put your faith in Him (John 3:18,36).
66:5-24  -  ‘Hear the Word of the Lord’. How are we to listen to God’s Word? We are to ‘tremble at His Word’. We are to ‘drink deeply with delight’ (5,10-11). There is to be the fear of the Lord. There is to be joy in the Lord. These are not opposites. They belong together - ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling... Rejoice in the Lord’ (Philippians 2:12; 3:1). We hear God’s warning, and we ‘tremble’. To those who ‘sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth’, God says this: ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’ (Hebrews 10:26,31). We hear God’s promise, and we ‘rejoice’: ‘The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms’ (Deuteronomy 33:27). Let us ‘hear the Word of the Lord’ - the warning as well as the promise!

Daily Bible Readings: Year Three

1st January: Psalm 77:1-20
Sometimes, we have more questions than answers (7-9). The questions keep flooding into our minds. We wonder where the answers are going to come from. What are we to do when this happens? We must remember what the Lord has done for us (11-12). Look back over the 'years' - and remember how the 'hand' of the Lord has been upon you (5,10). Think of how the Lord has led you on your journey through life. He has been your 'Shepherd'. He has led you 'in paths of righteousness for His Name's sake'. Let the memory of God's many blessings fill you with strength - to face the future with confidence in Him: 'Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord for ever' (19-20; 23:1,3,6). Trust in the Lord. He will make you truly happy.
2nd January: Psalm 78:1-39
'Can God spread a table in the wilderness?' (19). We are living in a spiritual wilderness. We wonder, 'Can God continue to bless us in this wilderness?'. How does God's Word answer our question? - 'You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies'. In the 'wilderness', there are many 'enemies'. There is also the 'table'. At the 'table', God blesses us - 'You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows' (23:5). We are in the 'wilderness', surrounded by many 'enemies'. What are we to do? - We must come to the 'table' - the Lord's Table. We must come to Christ. We must drink from 'the cup of salvation' (116:7). Come to the Saviour. Look to Him for His blessing. He will not disappoint you. You will be 'anointed with the oil of gladness'. His blessing will be poured upon you 'like precious oil' (45:7; 133:2).
3rd January: Psalm 78:40-72
'He brought His people out like a flock; He led them like sheep through the desert' (52). The Lord brought His people out of Egypt. He brought them safely through the wilderness to 'His holy land' (42-43,51,54-55). He did great things for Israel. He does great things for us - 'He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name's sake' (23:3). Through faith in our Saviour, Jesus Christ, we have 'peace with God'. Our sins have been forgiven. We now 'stand' in His 'grace'. In our new life with Him, there will be times of 'suffering'. None of us is exempt from suffering. It comes to all of us - without exception. In your suffering, remember this: We will not be disappointed in 'our hope of sharing the glory of God' - 'God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit...' (Romans 5:1-5).
4th January: Job 38:39- 40:14
'I am unworthy - how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth...I have no answer...I will say no more' (40:3-5). God speaks to us about our sin: 'All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God'. He tells us that 'all our righteous acts are like filthy rags'. Why does God speak to us like this? He speaks 'so that every mouth may be silenced' (Romans 3:23, 19; Isaiah 64:6). We must stop talking about our own righteousness and start listening to what God is saying to us. He speaks to us of 'His love'. He tells us that, 'while we were sinners, Christ died for us'. This is Good News - 'the blood of Jesus, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin'. No more excuses - 'I'm not such a bad person. I'm really quite good'! Let's 'confess our sins' and receive God's forgiveness (Romans 5:8; 1 John 1:7-10).
5th January: Job 40:15-41:34
'Who can stand before Me?' (41:10). God puts this question to every one of us. God's Word gives two answers to this question. The first answer speaks to us of our sin. The second answer speaks to us of our Saviour. The first thing God says to us is this: 'There is no-one righteous, not even one' (Romans 3:10). The question is asked, 'Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? Who shall stand in His holy place?'. The answer is given, 'He who has clean hands and a pure heart...He will receive blessing from the Lord' (Psalm 24:3-5). We read these words, and we wonder, 'Is there any hope for us?'. Our situation seems hopeless - until we look to Jesus, the Man 'without sin', the beloved Son with whom God is well pleased', the Saviour who 'died for our sins' (Hebrews 4:14-16; Matthew 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:3).
6th January: Job 42:1-17
After so much suffering - a happy ending! Job has been brought closer to God (5-6). His 'friends' have been forgiven by the Lord (7-9). Everybody is happy about the way things have turned out for Job (10-11). Is there always a happy ending? In this earthly life, we will never reach a stage where there will be no more problems and everything will be just fine. For God's people - 'redeemed with the precious blood of Christ' - , there will be a 'happy ending - but not until 'the last time'! For now, we must face many 'trials'. Beyond our 'little while' of suffering there is a 'happy ending' - 'salvation ready to be revealed in the last time'. We must pray that our 'faith, more precious than gold, will be proved genuine and will result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed'. (1 Peter 1:3-7,18-19).
7th January: Psalm 79:1-13
We look at what's going on in our world today. We hear the enemies of the Lord saying, 'Where is their God?'. So many people are turning away from the Lord. They no longer worship Him. We wonder if things can be turned around. It would be so easy to give up and go the way of the world. This is what we must not do.We must keep on praying - 'How long, O Lord? Will You be angry for ever?'. We must look to the Lord for help - 'Help us, O God of our salvation'. We must look to 'our Saviour' for deliverance and forgiveness. We must pray that the Lord's Name will be glorified. How is the Name of the Lord to be glorified in today's world? It must begin with us - 'We, Your people, the flock which You shepherd, will give thanks to You forever. We will praise You throughout every generation.' (5,9-10,13).
8th January: Psalm 80:1-19
'Restore us, O God, make Your face shine upon us, that we may be saved' (3). This prayer for salvation is repeated with a growing sense of God's greatness - 'O God Almighty' (7), 'O Lord God Almighty' (19). To those who are asking the question of salvation - 'What must I do to be saved?' - , God gives His answer - 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved' (Acts 16:30-31). What does the Lord say to those who look to Christ for salvation? - 'The Lord will bless you and watch over you. The Lord will smile on you and be kind to you. The Lord will look on you with favour and give you peace' (Numbers 6:24-26). Let us worship Him: 'Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer' (Ephesians 1:3).
9th January: Ecclesiastes 1:1-2:26
Without Christ. life is empty. With Him, everything changes. He fills our life with God's blessing. With Him, we have more than life 'under the sun'. We have life 'in the Son' - abundant life, eternal life (1:3,14; 2:11,17; John 10:10; 1 John 5:11-12). Which life do you want? You can settle for life 'under the sun'. Many people do. They never think about the meaning of life. They never ask , 'What is the purpose of my life?'. There is another life, a better life, a life with meaning, purpose and direction. You can come to Christ and receive life 'in the Son'. This is life 'from above. This is our 'foretaste of glory divine': 'Angels descending bring from above echoes of mercy, whispers of love' 'Looking above', we are 'filled with His goodness' and saved by 'His love'. In our 'Saviour', we are 'happy and blest' (Mission Praise, 59).
10th January: Ecclesiastes 3:1-4:16
'God has put eternity into man's mind' (3:11). In every human heart, there is a God-shaped blank. It can only be filled by Jesus Christ. Many people try to find true happiness without opening their heart to Jesus Christ. That's like 'trying to catch the wind' (4:16). True happiness keeps slipping through your fingers. There's always something missing - 'an aching void the world can never fill' (Church Hymnary, 663). Jesus Christ stands at the door of every human heart. He knocks. He waits for your answer. He says, 'Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in...' (Revelation 3:20). Will you invite him into your heart? He is waiting for you to pray, 'Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today. Come in to stay. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus'.
11th January: Titus 1:1-2:10
How are we to live? We are not to be 'empty talkers', people who 'profess to know God' and 'deny Him by their deeds' (1:10,16). We must give no one the opportunity to 'speak evil of God's Word'. We must be 'a model of good deeds', showing 'the beauty of the teachings about God our Saviour in everything we do' (2:5,7,10). When we live in a Christlike way, 'those who oppose' Christ and His Gospel will be 'put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us' (2:8). This is how we are to live. How do we live? This is a question for all of us. It is a question which will make us feel uncomfortable. We don't find it easy to look closely at the way we live our lives. We won't get away with glossing over things. God calls us to pray, 'Search me, O God...Cleanse me from every sin...' (Psalm 139:23-24; Mission Praise, 587).
12th January: Titus 2:11-3:15
We read in 2:11,13 of Christ's coming in grace - 'the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people' - and His coming in glory - 'we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ'. From grace to glory - This is the journey from Christ's first coming to His Second Coming. It is also the journey of our life of faith. We begin with the forgiveness of our sins. our final destination is glory, heavenly and eternal glory, the glory of God. We live by the grace of God. We look forward to the glory of God. God wants us to live as 'a people of His own who are zealous for good deeds' (2:14). If we are to be 'zealous for good deeds', we must first be zealous for Jesus Christ. Do good - but never forget, 'He saved us - not because of deeds done by us...' (3:8,4-6).
13th January: Ecclesiastes 5:1-6:12
'The man who loves money can never have enough' (5:10). Some people are never satisfied, They're always wanting more. This is the world's way. The more you have, the more you want. The Lord's way is very different: 'Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth...Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven...Do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'...Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well'. 'Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom which He has promised to those who love Him?' (Matthew 6:21-23,31-33; James 2:5). There's more to life than 'getting on in the world'. 'Treasures on earth, treasures in heaven' - Which world is most important to you?
14th January: Ecclesiastes 7:1-29
'Do not be over-righteous and do not be over-wise' (16). Christ is 'our righteousness and our wisdom' (1 Corinthians 1:30). We must not take pride in our own righteousness or our own wisdom. We must not be like the arrogant 'Pharisee': 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men...'. If we get 'too big for our boots', we may be 'brought down to earth with a bump'! This is what God says to those who think they're wise: 'Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?' (Luke 18:11-12; 1 Corinthians 1:20). We do not make ourselves righteous. We do not make ourselves wise. 'Through faith in Jesus Christ', we receive 'God's righteousness'. We become 'wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus' (Romans 3:21-26; 2 Timothy 3:14-17).
15th January: Ecclesiastes 8:1-9:10
'Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might...' (9:10). 'Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart...' (Colossians 3:23-24). These two verses seem, at first, to be saying the same thing - until we read the rest of each verse! The first is describing life 'under the sun' (9:9): 'in the grave where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom'. The second describes life in the Son: 'you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward'. There is more to life than life under the sun. There is life in the Son. In everything we do, we must remember this: 'It is the Lord Jesus Christ you are serving'. We are 'working for the Lord, not for men'. 'Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord...your labour in the Lord is not in vain' (1 Corinthians 15:58).
16th January: Ecclesiastes 9:11-10:20
'Wisdom is better than weapons of war' (9:18). We are to seek the better way, the way of wisdom, the way of peace: 'The wisdom that comes from heaven is...peace-loving'... Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness' (James 3:18). We look back over the history of our world. We wish there had been more peace and less war. We pray for a better future - more peace, less war. We pray to 'the God of peace'. We pray for 'the peace of God'. We pray that God will fulfill His promise: 'The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet' (Philippians 4:9,7; Romans 15:33; 16:20). Let us look to 'the Cross of Jesus'. Let us trust in 'Christ, the Royal Master'. He leads us in His victory: 'At the Name of Jesus, Satan's legions flee; On then, Christian soldiers, On to victory!' (Church Hymnary, 480).
17th January: Ecclesiastes 11:1-12:14
'Fear God, and keep His commandments' (12:13). This is 'the heart of the matter'. It's 'the matter of the heart'. How can we even begin to fear God and keep His commandments if our hearts are full of sin? How can our hearts be cleansed from sin? There's only one way we can learn to 'fear God, and keep His commandments'. We must begin by opening our hearts to our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. We must look to Him for forgiveness - 'I will cleanse you'. We must look to Him for a new beginning - 'I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit in you' (Ezekiel 36:26). Let our fear of the Lord be filled with the love of Jesus. Let our keeping of God's commandments be filled with thanksgiving for Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Let us be devoted to Christ: 'Take my heart - it is Thine own; It shall be Thy royal throne' (Church Hymnary, 462).
18th January: Psalm 81:1-16
God calls us to worship Him with joy - 'Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob!' (1). He has blessed us with His salvation - 'I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt'. He will continue to bless us, as we keep on looking to Him for blessing - 'Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it' (10). God wants to bless us. He wants us to seek His blessing - 'O that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in My ways!...I would feed you with the finest of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you' (13,16). Far too often, we can't be bothered with God and are not really interested in seeking His blessing - 'My people did not listen to My voice; Israel would have none of me' (11). 'You will seek Me and find Me; when you seek Me with all your heart' (Jeremiah 29:13).
19th January: Song of Solomon 1:1-17
The Church is the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-33). We are to be presented to Christ 'as a pure Bride', 'a Bride beautifully dressed' for Him, 'the Bride, the wife of the Lamb' (2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 21:2,9). Christ says to His Bride, 'You are beautiful, my love'. Let us worship Him: 'You are beautiful, my Beloved, truly lovely' (15-16). Let us look to Christ and see how beautiful He is: 'You are beautiful beyond description, too marvellous for words, too wonderful for comprehension, like nothing ever seen or heard. Who can fathom Your infinite wisdom? Who can fathom the depth of Your love? You are beautiful beyond description, Majesty enthroned above...'. Let us pray that His beauty will be seen in us: 'Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, all His wondrous compassion and purity...' (Mission Praise, 788,406).
20th January: Song of Solomon 2:1-17
Christ comes to us in love: 'The Voice of my Beloved! Look! Here He comes...' (8). He calls us to come to Him: 'My Beloved speaks and says to me, "Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away"' (10). He calls us to belong to Him: 'My Beloved is mine and I am His' (16). Let us come to Jesus and experience His love: 'Jesus, how lovely You are! You are so gentle, so pure and kind...'. Let us come to Jesus and give Him our love: 'Jesus, I love You, love You more and more each day; Jesus, I love You, Your gentle touch renews my heart. It's really no wonder why no other love can satisfy; Jesus, I love You, You've won this heart of mine!'. Let us come to Jesus and receive His joy: 'Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart' (Mission Praise, 361,363,362).
21st January: Song of Solomon 3:1-4:8
Jesus says, 'Seek and you will find' (Matthew 7:7). When we have found Him, we say, with joy, 'I found Him whom my soul loves - my true love' (3:4). What does it mean to find Jesus? It means that He has found us. Before we ever thought of seeking for Him, He came seeking for us: 'the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost' (Luke 19:10). He comes to us with words of love: 'you are beautiful, my love' (4:1). Before we ever thought of loving Him, He loved us: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love' (Jeremiah 31:3). In love, He came looking for us. In love, He has found us. We seek. We find. We say, 'Hallelujah! I have found Him'. There is something else - His seeking and finding: 'Amazing grace! How sweet the sound...I once was lost, but now am found...' (Mission Praise, 31).
22nd January: Song of Solomon 4:9-5:16
There are times when the Lord comes very near to us. We pray, 'Let my Beloved come to His garden' (4:16). He answers, 'I come to My garden,...my Bride' (1). There are times when the Lord seems to be far away from us: 'I opened to my Beloved, but my Beloved had turned and gone' (6). What are we to do when the Lord's presence does not seem so real to us? We must remember His promise: 'I am with you always' (Matthew 28:20). Sometimes, we don't feel so good. We feel like the Lord has gone away and left us. These are the times when we need His Word of encouragement: 'I am with you always'. In the difficult times, we must hold on to His promise. We must keep on believing that the times of blessing will return: 'His speech is sweet; He is altogether lovely...my Beloved...my Friend' (5:16).
23rd January: Song of Solomon 6:1-7:9
'You are beautiful...How beautiful you are' (6:4; 7:6). What beauty can the Lord possibly see in us? We are sinners - 'We have all strayed like sheep. Each one of us has turned to go his own way'. There's nothing beautiful about that! Is this the whole story? Thank God! - There's something more. Christ died for sinners - 'the Lord laid all our sins on Him' (Isaiah 53:6). When God looks on us, He does not see our sin. He sees our Saviour, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He looks at us, and this is what He sees: 'The blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin' (1 John 1:7). Through faith in Christ, we are sinners, saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8). This is the beauty the Lord sees in us: 'There is, therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus' (Romans 8:1). This is not our beauty. It's His beauty!
24th January: Song of Solomon 7:10-8:14
'Love is as strong as death...It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it' (6-7). Here, we see the greatest love of all, the love of God: 'Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future...nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord' (Romans 8:38-39). How can we have the love of God, burning in our hearts 'like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame'? We cannot buy His love - 'If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned' (7). We must receive His love as a gift: 'So freely flows the endless love You give to me...So easy, I receive the love You give to me...Flowing out to me - the love within Your heart' (Mission Praise, 603).
25th January: Isaiah 1:1-31
God invites us to 'come' to Him and receive salvation - 'though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow'. He also warns us - there will be judgment 'if you refuse and rebel' (18-20). God speaks to us of His great purpose of salvation: 'God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him'. He tells us that we can be saved through faith in Christ: 'Whoever believes in Him is not condemned'. He calls us back from the way of unbelief and judgment: 'Whoever does not believe is condemned already because he does not believe in the Name of the only Son of God' (John 3:17-18). In Jesus Christ, there is 'great salvation'. Make sure that you receive God's salvation. 'How shall we escape if we neglect or ignore such a great salvation?' (Hebrews 2:3).
26th January: Isaiah 2:1-22
God calls us to worship Him - 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord...' - and walk in His ways - 'Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord' (3,5). We are moving towards the Day when 'the pride of men shall be humbled and brought low', the Day when 'the Lord alone will be exalted' (11,12,17). How are we to get ready for the Return of our Lord Jesus Christ? God calls us to keep on worshipping Him. We are to encourage one another to keep on walking with God. 'Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching' (Hebrews 10:25). Let our pride be humbled and let the Lord be exalted as we await Christ's Return in 'faith', looking to Him alone for our 'salvation' (1 Peter 1:7-9).
27th January: Proverbs 17:1-28
'A friend loves at all times' (17). We place great value on human friendship. The love of our friends is very special to us. There is, however, a greater Love and a greater Friend. Jesus loves us. Jesus is our Friend. His Love is greater than any other love. There is no better Friend than Jesus. His Love is the best love. He is our best Friend. 'He's my Forever Friend, my Leave-me-never Friend. From darkest night to rainbow's end, He's my Forever Friend. Even when I turn away, He cares for me. His love no one can shake. Even as I walk away, He's by my side with every breath I take...Sometimes, I'm not His friend,but He is always mine...Long ago and far away, upon a Cross, my Friend died for you. So, if you'd like to meet Him and don't know what to do, ask my Friend into your heart, and He'll be your Friend too'. Let Jesus be your best Friend!
28th January: Philemon
'He was useless...now he has become useful' (11). This is the story of Onesimus (the name means 'useful'). A runaway 'slave', he became 'a beloved brother...in the Lord' (16). It appears that Onesimus had stolen from his master, Philemon (18-19). He landed up in prison - and there, he was converted! This is what Paul is telling us when he speaks of 'Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment' (10). Why did God allow Paul, His faithful servant, to land up in prison - for the sake of the Gospel? Part of the reason was Onesimus. God wanted Paul to meet Onesimus. Paul was to lead Onesimus to Christ. Sometimes, our difficult circumstances may feel like a prison sentence. You want to get out, but you can't - until God has fulfilled His purpose: the 'useless' becomes 'useful' - in the service of God.
29th January: Isaiah 3:1-26
God's Word calls us to make our choice. We must choose between the way of 'the righteous' and the way of 'the wicked'. There is a great difference between the two ways - 'Tell the righteous it will be well with them...Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them!...' (10-11). We still need to hear the words of Jesus: 'Enter by the narrow gate...only a few find the narrow gate, the hard way that leads to life'. His words are not popular. Many people dismiss His words as old fashioned. They don't like this kind of talk: 'the gate to hell is wide and the road that leads to it is easy, and there are many who travel it' (Matthew 7:13-14). They say, ' Jesus said such 'nice' things about love. Why does He spoil it all by saying things like this?'. When will we start listening to all that Jesus says - and not only the 'nice' things we like to hear?
30th January: Isaiah 4:1-5:17
'Those who are left...will be called holy' (4:3). The world speaks of God's people with contempt - 'the holy people who need to learn to live in the real world'. When God calls His people 'holy', He speaks in a very different way. He speaks with affection. He looks upon us with love. We are special to Him. We are precious in His eyes. God loves us and He calls us to be holy. We are to live as those who have been set apart for God. We are not to live for this world only. There is something else, something greater than this so-called 'real world'. There is a world that is unseen and eternal, heavenly and glorious. This is our higher calling, our call to holiness. Let us 'look to the things that are unseen and eternal'. Let us 'press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus' (2 Corinthians 4:18; Philippians 3:14).
31st January: Isaiah 5:18-6:13
God reveals His holiness: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts' (3). In His holiness, we see our own sinfulness: 'I am a man of unclean lips' (5). God is perfectly holy: 'Your eyes are too pure to look on evil' (Habakkuk 1:13). When we look at ourselves in the light of God's perfect holiness, we see the truth concerning ourselves: 'All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23). There is no room for excuses. We must confess our sin. We must pray for God's forgivenss: 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner' (Luke 18:13). To those who come to Him with a true confession of sin, God speaks His Word of forgiveness: 'your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven' (7). The Lord has saved us. Let us serve Him. Let us pray, 'Here am I! Send me' (8). Let us share the Good News of His forgiveness.

1st February: Psalms 82:1-83:18

'The Lord' is 'the Most High' (18). Through faith in Jesus Christ, we become 'sons of the Most High': 'You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus' (82:6; Galatians 3:26). Through the great love of God, we have received the great privilege of becoming 'sons of the Most High. With this great privilege comes the great responsibility of sharing His love with others: 'Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the desolate. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked' (82:3-4). Let us rejoice in our great privilege. Let us be faithful to our great responsibility. This is the way of enjoying God's great blessing: 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God'. This is the way of 'giving glory to our Father in heaven' (Matthew 5:9,16).

2nd February: Isaiah 7:1-25

Isaiah looked ahead to the coming of 'Immanuel' - 'God with us' (14; Matthew 1:23). We look forward to the Second Coming of Immanuel: 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God' (Revelation 21:3). The Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ presents us with a challenge: 'When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?' (Luke 18:8). He calls us to 'stand firm in our faith'. We must not 'shrink back ' from Him. We must 'believe and be saved' (9; Hebrews 10:37-39). Jesus says, 'I am coming soon'. Let us pray, 'Come, Lord Jesus'. Let us pray that our 'love' for Him will not 'grow cold'. Let us pray for strength to 'stand firm to the end and be saved' (Revelation 22:7,12,20; Matthew 24:12-13).

3rd February: Isaiah 8:1-22

'Immanuel...God is with us' (8,10). Jesus Christ has come to be with us so that we might go to be with Him. He has come from heaven to earth so that we might go from earth to heaven. He died for us that we might live with Him. He does not return to heaven alone. He 'brings many sons to glory': 'Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me' (18; Hebrews 2:9-10,13). Jesus speaks to us of the glory of the Father's House'. He shares this glory with us: 'I go to prepare a place for you...I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also'. He invites us to enter this heavenly glory. He is 'the Way, the Truth and the Life'. Without Him, we cannot enter heaven: 'No one comes to the Father except through Me'. Through faith in Him, we receive 'eternal life' (John 14:1-3,6; 6:40).

4th February: Isaiah 9:1-10:4

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 a Saviour has been born to you: He is Christ the Lord'. Jesus Christ is our great Saviour. He is our 'Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace' (9:6: Luke 2:11). Jesus Christ has brought to us a great salvation. Through faith in Him, we enter God's heavenly and eternal 'Kingdom' (9:7: Luke 1:30-33). This is 'Good News of great joy' - for 'all the people', for 'all generations'. Let us rejoice in the Lord, as Mary, the mother of Jesus, did - 'My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour...for the Mighty One has done great things for me...'. Let us join with the angels in saying, 'Glory to God in the highest...' (Luke 2:10; 1:46-50; 2:14).

5th February: Isaiah 10:5-34

'A few, the remaining few of Jacob, will return to the Mighty God...' (21). So few people take time to worship the Lord. Are we to become discouraged? No! We must take encouragement from God's Word: 'The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame'(17). We must continue to pray for God's blessing. 'Let the flame burn brighter in the heart of the darkness, turning night to glorious day. Let the song grow louder as our love grow stronger; let it shine! let it shine!'. 'Shine, Jesus, shine, fill this land with the Father's glory; blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire. Flow, river, flow, flood the nations with grace and mercy; send forth Your Word, Lord, and let there be light!' (Mission Praise, 743,445). May God give us grace to 'truly rely on' Him, 'the Lord, the Holy One of Israel' (20).

6th February: Isaiah 11:1-12:6

The family tree of 'Jesse, the father of King David' has a very special 'Branch' - Jesus Christ (11:1; Matthew 1:1,6,16). Jesus Christ has raised 'a banner for the nations'. He is 'the Saviour of the world'. He has died 'for the sins of the whole world'. The 'Good News' is to be preached to 'all the world'. Christ calls 'all nations' to 'turn to Him'. He calls 'all nations' to receive the 'forgiveness of sins'. He calls 'all nations' to become His 'disciples' (12; John 4:42; 1 John 2:2; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; Matthew 28:19). May our personal faith - 'I will praise You, O Lord...God is my Salvation...The Lord is my Strength and my Song...' - become our public testimony - making Christ 'known among the nations', telling 'all the world' what the Lord has done for us (12:1-2,4-5).

7th February: Isaiah 13:1-22

'The Day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty...The Day of the Lord is coming - a cruel Day with wrath and fierce anger...' (6,9). Christ's Return will be a Day of salvation - 'the Day He comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed'. It will also be a Day of judgment - 'When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven...He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord...' (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). Don't let the Day of the Lord 'surprise you like a thief'. It can be a Day of 'salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ'. Trust 'Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath' (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4,9; 1:9-10).

8th February: Isaiah 14:1-23

We look beyond 'the king of Babylon' (4). We see Satan, full of pride - 'I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High' - , fallen - 'How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer...' - , and brought to nothing - 'you will be brought down to the pit of hell...' (12-15). We look also at 'the king of Tyre'. Again, we see Satan - 'you were on the holy mountain of God...you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God...your heart was proud... you have come to a dreadful end...' (Ezekiel 28:12-19). Satan (the devil) wages war against the Lord and His people. The final outcome of this war is certain - defeat for Satan. Christ has won the victory: By 'the authority of Christ', Satan 'has been thrown down'. In Christ, we have the victory: 'they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb ...' (Revelation 12:7-12).

9th February: Isaiah 14:24-15:9

'My heart cries out for Moab' (5). Here, we see the loving heart of God. He takes 'no pleasure in the death of the wicked'. He does 'not want anyone to perish'. He longs for 'everyone to come to repentance' (Ezekiel 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9). We see the loving heart of God in our Saviour, Jesus Christ: 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!'. We see the loving heart of God in Paul. He sees the nation of Israel turning away from God. He is filled with compassion: 'I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart' (Matthew 23:37; Romans 9:2). May God help us to feel for the lost, to look upon them with His love, to long for them to be saved.

10th February: Psalm 84:1-12

'How I love Your Temple, Almighty Lord! How I want to be there! I long to be in the Lord's Temple. With my whole being I sing for joy to the living God' (1-2). This is much more than paying lip-service to the Lord.This is real. Worshipping the Lord meant everything to the Psalmist: 'I long for You, O God. I thirst for You, the living God; when can I go and worship in Your presence' (42:1-2). He found great joy in worshipping the Lord: 'Let Your light and Your truth guide me...to the place where You dwell. Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight...' (43:4). He worshipped God with his whole heart: 'O God, You are my God, and I long for You. My whole being desires You...my soul is thirsty for You' (63:1). This is real worship, joyful worship, heartfetlt worship. May God help us to worship Him like that!

11th February: Hebrews 1:1-2:9

From the heights of heaven and the depths of suffering, 'God...has spoken to us by His Son' (1:1-2). Jesus Christ is God's 'Word' to us. He is 'the Word' who came from heaven: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God'. He is 'the Word' who came to earth: 'the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...' (John 1:1-14). In heaven, He is worshipped by angels: 'Let all God's angels worship Him' (1:6). On earth, 'He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone' (2:9). We see the greatness of Christ in both His heavenly glory and His saving grace. None can compare with Him. He is our Lord. He is our Saviour. We consider all that He has done for us - 'the nail marks in His hands...' - and we worship Him - 'my Lord and my God' (John 20:19-20,24-28).

12th February: Hebrews 2:10-3:19

God invites each of us to receive a great blessing - the blessing of being His 'children' (2:13). We become God's children through faith in Christ: 'To all who received Him, who believed in His Name, He gave power to become children of God' (John 1:12). What will you do with God's great invitation, His invitation of love? Will you receive Christ and become a child of God? Will you miss out on the blessing 'because of unbelief' (19)? God is waiting for your answer - 'Today, when you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts' (3:7,15). Throughout life, we must guard against 'an evil, unbelieving heart, leading us to fall away from the living God'. 'Every day', we must take care that we do not become 'hardened by the deceitfulness of sin' (3:12-13). As God's children, let's grow in Christ (1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18).

13th February: Isaiah 16:1-17:3

'In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a Man will sit on it - One from the house of David...' (5). This Man is more than 'a descendant of David'. He is Jesus Christ, 'the Son of God' (Romans 1:4). 'Jesus, the Saviour reigns'. Jesus is 'the King of Love'. He is 'our great Redeemer ...our God and King'. Let us worship 'our glorious King'. Let us sing to Him, 'Alleluia! What a Saviour!'. Let us, with heart and voice, 'confess Him King of glory now'. He is 'our King'. Let us 'bring Him hearts that love Him'. Let us 'bring Him thankful praise'. He puts His question to us: 'Who will serve the King?'. Let us give our answer: We will 'rise up'. We will 'have done with lesser things'. We will 'give heart and soul and mind and strength to serve the King of kings' (Church Hymnary, 296,388,371,380,300,464,479,477).

14th February: Isaiah 17:4-18:7

'You have forgotten the God of your salvation, and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge' (10). How easy it is to forget! The Lord has loved us so much. We should remember to say, 'Thank You'. Very often, we forget. When Jesus healed ten lepers, only 'one of them came back' to say 'Thank You'. Far too often, we are like 'the other nine' (Luke 17:11-19). We forget to thank Him for His love. We take His love for granted. We should be celebrating. We should be letting Him know how much we love Him. Don't forget 'your first love' (Revelation 2:4). Let Jesus be your first love. Let Him be your only love - for the whole of your life. 'High heaven, that heard the solemn vow, that vow renewed shall daily hear; till in life's latest hour I bow, and bless in death a bond so dear' (Mission Praise, 499).

15th February: Isaiah 19:1-20:6

'The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, "Blessed be Egypt My people, Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel my heritage"' (19:25). 'There is neither Jew nor Greek...you are all one in Christ Jesus' (Galatians 3:28). How can people who seem to be opposites be brought together? Jesus Christ brings them together. He breaks down 'the barrier'. He removes 'the dividing wall of hostility'. We are brought 'near' to one another through 'the blood of Christ'. We must come to 'the Cross' of Christ. There, at 'the Cross', we will find each other. We will discover what it means to be 'one body' in Christ (Ephesians 2:13-16). When Satan comes, creating misunderstanding, filling our minds with suspicion and undermining our hopes of peace, let's remind him of God's Word, 'You are all one in Christ Jesus'.

16th February: Psalm 85:1-13

We are to pray for revival - 'Restore us again, O God our Saviour...Will You not revive us again that Your people may rejoice in You?' (4,6). We are to pray that God will 'grant us His salvation'. We are to pray that 'His saving presence will remain in our land'. We must pray that 'His glory may dwell in our land' (7,9). We are to pray for real listening - 'I will listen to what God the Lord will say' - , a real turning to the Lord - 'turning to Him in our hearts' - , and a real sense of His blessing - 'He will speak peace to His people' (8). Prayer for revival does not begin as a prayer for others. It begins with ourselves: 'O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee; send a revival - start the work in me'. It begins with this prayer: "Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine; fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine'(Mission Praise, 587).

17th February: Isaiah 21:1-17

We live in a situation of conflict. We are at war with the enemy. Satan is God's enemy. Satan is our enemy. Satan is a very determined enemy. Satan is a defeated enemy. The words of verse 9 - 'Fallen, fallen is Babylon...' - , repeated again in Revelation 14:8; 18:2, assure us that Satan will not prevail over the Lord and His people. The victory is the Lord's. He gives His victory to us. When the going gets tough, when Satan seems to have the upper hand, let's remember this: 'Fierce may be the conflict, strong may be the foe, but the King's own army none can overthrow. Round His standard ranging, victory is secure, for His truth unchanging makes the triumph sure'. Let us not hesitate to commit ourselves to Christ: 'Joyfully enlisting, by Thy grace divine, we are on the Lord's side; Saviour, we are Thine' (Church Hymnary, 479).

18th February: Isaiah 22:1-25

Here, we read about 'the Valley of Vision' (1,5). The Lord Himself is to be our Vision: 'Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art, Thou my best thought, by day or by night, waking or sleeping Thy presence my light' (Church Hymnary, 87). Down in the valley, the mountain-top experience seems a long way off. What are we to do when everything seems to be hard-going? When there seems to be no way out of the valley, no way back to the mountain-top, we must keep on 'looking to Jesus' (Hebrews 12:1-2). In the 'valley', we must learn to say, 'My goal is God Himself, not joy nor peace, nor even blessing, but Himself, my God'. Let your 'valley' become your 'valley of vision', the place where you are learning to 'turn your eyes upon Jesus' (Mission Praise, 470,712).

19th February: Isaiah 23:1-18

'Look at the land of the Babylonians, this people that is now of no account!' (13). To the nation which turns to Him, the Lord speaks His promise of blessing - 'Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord ...' (Psalm 33:12). To the nation which turns away from Him, God speaks His warning of judgment - 'For lack of guidance a nation falls' (Proverbs 11:14). We must choose. Will we choose to listen to the Lord, to submit our lives to Him, to follow the guidance He has given to us in His Word? Or, will we ignore Him and go our own way? The way of the Lord leads to blessing - 'Righteousness exalts a nation'. The way of self leads to judgment - 'sin is a disgrace to any people' (Proverbs 14:34). What will it be? - 'Look at the Babylonians...!' or 'They will see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven' (Matthew 5:16).

20th February: Isaiah 24:1-23

'They raise their voices, they shout for joy; from the west they acclaim the Lord's majesty. Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord, exalt the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea. From the ends of the earth we hear singing: "Glory to the Righteous One"' (14-16). What a beautiful picture of a land that is enjoying God's blessing, praising Him and giving glory to Him! Looking around us, we see a very different picture - 'The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws... therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt' (5-6). Can the dark picture of sin and guilt be turned into the brigther picture of salvation and rejoicing? God 'is able to do so much more than we can ask for, or even imagine' (Ephesians 3:20). Be bold. Pray that God will send revival in our time.

21st February: Isaiah 25:1-26:9

'O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your Name...You have done marvellous things' (25:1). We remember what God has done for us. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour. We rejoice in Jesus Christ who died for us. We rejoice in Jesus Christ who rose again for us. We look forward to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. We look forward to the Day when 'He will swallow up death for ever'. On that Day, 'the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces'. On that Day, we will look back and say, 'Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us'. On that Day, we will 'rejoice and be glad in His salvation' (25:8-9). Here and now, let us learn to 'trust in the Lord'. We can trust in Him 'for ever'. He is 'the everlasting Rock' - 'the Rock of our salvation' (4; Psalm 95:1).

22nd February: Isaiah 26:10-27:13

Jesus is our Saviour - 'Lord, You establish peace for us'; 'We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ'. We cannot save ourselves. We can only look away from ourselves to Jesus - and be saved by Him: 'all that we have accomplished You have done for us'; 'By grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God' (26:12; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:8). Jesus is our Lord - 'Lord, our God...You alone are our Lord'. How are we to live once we have received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ? - 'Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him'. We are not to 'keep on sinning so that God can keep on showing us more and more kindness and forgiveness'. We are to live a life of 'good works' (26:13; Colossians 2:6; Romans 6:1; Ephesians 2:10).

23rd February: Isaiah 28:1-22

Jesus Christ is 'the precious Cornerstone'. He is 'the sure Foundation' (16). Jesus is the Name of our salvation - 'Salvation is found in no-one else...there is no other name...by which we must be saved' (Acts 4:10-12). There is only one 'Foundation' for our faith - 'Jesus Christ' (1 Corinthians 3:11). He is the 'chosen and precious Cornerstone' - 'to you who believe, this Stone is precious' (1 Peter 2:6-7). Build your life on Christ, 'the solid Rock' - 'My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness; no merit of my own I claim, but wholly trust in Jesus' Name. When weary in this earthly race, I rest on His unchanging grace...When earthly hopes are swept away, He will uphold me on that Day. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand' (Matthew 7:24-27; Mission Praise, 473).

24th February: Isaiah 28:23-29:16

'The wisdom of the wise will perish' (29:14). There is another 'wisdom', a 'wisdom' which shall not perish, a 'wisdom' which is 'wiser than man's wisdom'. Christ is 'the Wisdom of God' (1 Corinthians 1:24-25). With Christ as our Saviour, we 'shall not perish'. Through faith in Him, we receive the 'wisdom' which brings 'salvation' (John 3:16; 2 Timothy 3:15). Jesus Christ is 'the Way, the Truth and the Life' (John14:6). He is the Way to true wisdom. He is the Truth upon which true wisdom is based. He is the Life which is based on true wisdom. He is true Wisdom. We must not seek wisdom apart from faith in Jesus Christ - 'the world did not know God through wisdom'. There is one true wisdom which does 'not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God' - faith in 'Christ crucified' (1 Corinthians 1:21-23; 2:1-5).

25th February: Isaiah 29:17-30:17

'In returning and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said, "No!"' (15-16). God wants to bless us. He wants to be our 'salvation'. He wants to be our 'strength'. How does God bless us? How does He become our 'salvation'? How does He become our 'strength'? We must want His blessing. We must want His 'salvation'. We must want His 'strength'. We must return to Him and rest in Him. We must quietly listen to His Word, putting our trust in Him. There is no 'salvation' without 'returning and rest'. There is no 'strength' without 'quietness and trust'. God does not force Himself upon us. We can say, 'No! I will have none of it'. God wants to bless you. Will you say, 'Yes, Lord! I want You to be my 'salvation'. I want You to be my 'strength'?

26th February: Isaiah 30:18-31:19

'Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord!' (1). It is so easy to forget the Lord. We try to go it alone, and we forget to look to Him for help. Even when we forget Him, He does not forget us. When we turn our backs on Him, He calls us to 'return to Him' (6). He reminds us that our true help is found in Him: 'Our help is in the Name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth' (Psalm 124:8). We need not look around here, there and everywhere for an answer to the question, 'Where does my help come from?'. There is only one true answer to this question: 'My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth' (Psalm 121:1-2).

27th February: Hebrews 4:1-5:10

'Today, when you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts'. These words from 3:7,15, are repeated here in 4:7. Make sure that you don't miss the point! These are words that we need to keep on hearing - again and again. None of us ever reaches a stage where we no longer need to hear and heed God's words of warning. Reading God's Word can be a very uncomfortable experience: 'God's Word is living and active...God's Word judges a person's thoughts and intentions. No creature can hide from God. Everything is uncovered and exposed for Him to see. We must answer to Him' (4:12-13). This may not be the kind of thing we like to hear. It's what we need to hear. We will only pray for 'mercy' and 'grace' when we see how sinful we really are. Then - and only then - will we come to Christ for 'eternal salvation' (4:15-16; 5:9). 

28th February: Hebrews 5:11-6:20

'Let us...go on to maturity' (6:1). There can be no question of 'continuing in sin' - 'God forbid! How can we who died to sin still live in it?' (Romans 6:1-2). We are to become 'mature people, whose minds are trained by practice to know the difference between good and evil' (5:14). We are to move on to 'the better things that belong to salvation' (9). it cannot be taken for granted that every believer will 'go on to maturity'. Some start so well and then they lose their way somewhere along the line. We should read the words of 6:4-8 as a warning. We can so easily become 'sluggish' (6:12). When this wrong attitude sets in, things go from bad to worse. Do you want to become 'worthless and near to being cursed' (8)? Take care. Pray for 'earnestness in realizing the full assurance of hope until the end' (6:11).

1st March: Psalm 86:1-17
'You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you...Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth...I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart...For great is Your love towards me' (5,11-13). God loves us. He forgives our sins. We receive His love. We want to love Him more. His love inspires our praise - 'I will praise You...'. His love inspires our prayer - 'Teach me Your way...'. Our whole life is to to be a celebration of His love - 'Great is Your love towards me'. We are to celebrate His love with 'joy' (4). We rejoice in the Lord because of who He is - 'You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness' - and what He has done for us - 'You, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me' (15,17).
2nd March: Psalm 87:1-7
'Glorious things are said of you, O city of God...The Lord will write in the register of the peoples: "This one was born in Zion". As they make music they will sing, "All my fountains are in You"' (3,6-7). The 'city of God' is our glorious destination - 'we are looking for the city that is to come', 'the Holy City' (Hebrews 13:14; Revelation 21:2). It is also the place of our heavenly birth - 'This one was born in Zion'. The heavenly birth - This is where our journey to the 'city of God' begins: 'No one can see the Kingdom of God without being born from above' (John 3:3). Between our heavenly birth and our glorious destination, there is life in the Spirit: The Psalmist says, 'All my fountains are in You'. Jesus says, 'Rivers of living water shall flow from the heart of anyone who believes in Me' (John7:38).
3rd March: Psalm 88:1-18
The Psalmist is really 'down in the dumps'. He feels like he is 'in the depths of the Pit", He feels like he is 'in the darkest depths' (6). This is the way he feels, but he has not stopped praying - 'O Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before You...I call to You, O Lord, every day...I cry to You for help, O Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before You' (1,9,13). His prayer doesn't make pleasant reading: 'My soul is full of trouble...I am like a man without strength...Your wrath lies heavily upon me...the darkness is my closest friend' (3-4,7,18). How can we be helped when we feel like this? We can be helped by Jesus. He knows what it feels like. For us, He has entered the 'darkness' - 'My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?'. For us, He has triumphed - 'risen from the dead' (Matthew 27:45-46; 28:5-7).
4th March:Isaiah 32:1-20
'Abandoned...deserted...a wasteland...' (14). Can such a desperate situation be turned around? Yes! When 'the Spirit is poured upon us from on high...the wilderness becomes a fruitful field' (15). We must not lose heart. We must keep on calling upon the Lord. We must believe that God is able to turn things around. When the situation seems hopeless, we must put our trust in 'the God of hope'. We must pray that God will send His blessing: 'May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope' (Romans 15:13). 'Restore, O Lord, the honour of Your Name! In works of sovereign power, come, shake the earth again ...Restore, O Lord, in all the earth Your fame, and in our time revive the Church that bears Your Name' (Mission Praise, 579).
5th March: Isaiah 33:1-24
'O Lord...Be our strength every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble' (2). We are not to pray to the Lord only 'in the time of trouble'. We are to pray to Him 'every morning'. We are not to keep God at a distance, calling on Him only when things are going badly. When we keep God at a distance, our life tells its own sad story - 'O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear - all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer'. When we draw near to God, He draws near to us, and everything becomes very different - 'What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!' (James 4:8; Mission Praise, 746). Let God's 'love' come to you 'new every morning' - 'fresh as the morning , as sure as the sunrise' (Lamentations 3:22-23).
6th March: Isaiah 34:1-17
God calls us to 'draw near' to Him. He wants us to 'pay attention' to Him. We must 'listen' to His Word (1). God's Word is not always what we want to hear. It will always be what we need to hear. 'The Lord is angry with all nations' (2). We don't like to hear about God's anger. We prefer to be told 'You're doing fine'. We need to hear about God's anger. We need to hear about how far we have wandered away from God - 'We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us turned to his own way'. We are sinners. We have turned away from the Lord. We have chosen our own way rather than His way. We must hear this 'bad news' before we can really appreciate the 'Good News' - 'the Lord has laid all our sins on Jesus', 'Christ died for us while we were still sinners', 'Christ died for our sins' (53:6; Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3).
7th March: Isaiah 35:1-10
What blessings are given to those who draw near to God - 'Your God...will come and save you' (4). The Good News of Christ comes to us as a call to faith - 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved' (Acts 16:31). We have been saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot remain the same. We are called to live a new life. We must travel on the Lord's 'highway' - 'the Way of Holiness' (8). This is 'the Way' which leads to 'everlasting joy' (10). This 'Way' is so different from the world's way. The world has no time for those who seek to live a holy life. This is what Jesus says about the world's way of life: 'the gate is wide and the way is wide that leads to destruction' (Matthew 7:13). Whatever the world may say, we must never forget this: 'Without holiness, no-one will see the Lord' (Hebrews 12:14).
8th March: Isaiah 36:1-37:20
Hezekiah is facing a very powerful enemy - 'Sennacherib, king of Assyria' (36:1). Hezekiah prays for deliverance - 'O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand'. He prays for salvation - 'O Lord our God, save us...' (37:20). We face an even more powerful enemy - Satan, 'the ruler of this world', 'the god of this world'. We must pray for deliverance. We must look to the Lord for salvation. We must pray with faith in Jesus Christ. Satan 'has no power over' Jesus. When Jesus was 'lifted up from the earth' (crucified), He won a mighty victory over Satan. Jesus died for us so that Satan, 'the ruler of this world' might be 'cast out'. Satan's power is broken when 'the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ' shines 'in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ' (John 14:30;12:31-33; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6).
9th March: Isaiah 37:21-38:8
Sennacherib has no power over God's people. They are protected by a superior power, the power of God - 'This is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria: "He will not enter this city or shoot an arrow here...By the way that he came he will return..."'. This is God's answer to Hezekiah's prayer for salvation - 'I will defend this city to save it' (33-35). What a great God we have! He is the God of our salvation. He will answer our prayer for salvation. God loves us: 'God so loved the world that He gave His only Son...'. Christ died for us: 'God made Him who knew no sin (Christ) to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God'. Christ promises to receive all who come to Him for salvation: 'I will never turn away anyone who comes to Me' (John 3:16; 6:37; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
10th March: Hebrews 7:1-28
'See how great He is!' (4). These words refer to Melchizedek (1-3; Genesis 14:18-20). Melchizedek has 'neither beginning of days nor end of life'. He 'continues a priest for ever'. He 'resembles the Son of God'. He is 'like the Son of God' (3). Let your thoughts move from Melchizedek to the Lord Jesus Christ - 'See how great He is'! Jesus Christ is 'the beginning and the end' (Revelation 21:6; 22:13). 'Jesus lives for ever' and 'has a permanent priesthood' (24). He is our great Saviour: 'He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him' (25). We look beyond Melchizedek. We look to our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. We look to Him and we say, 'There's no greater Name than Jesus, Name of Him who came to save us' (Mission Praise, 684). Let Jesus be your great Saviour. Come to Him and receive His great salvation.
11th March: Hebrews 8:1-9:14
God gave His promise - 'I will make a new covenant' (8:8-12; Jeremiah 31:31-34). God has fulfilled His promise. There is now a 'new covenant in Jesus' blood' (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25). The old covenant cannot even begin to compare with the new covenant. It is only a 'shadow'. The new covenant is the real thing. It is 'much more excellent'. It is 'a better covenant' (8:5-6), The old covenant is 'outdated' (8:13). It's seen its day. Now, it's past its 'sell by date'! We look at the old covenant and we say, 'There must be more than this'. There is more - 'much more'. Through 'the blood of Christ', 'our hearts and lives' have been 'cleansed'. Now, we can begin 'to serve the living God' (9:14). 'What a wonderful redemption!' - 'eternal redemption' (Mission Praise, 765; 9:12)!
12th March: Psalm 89:1-37
'I will sing of the Lord's great love for ever; with my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness through all generations' (1). Many years have passed since these words were written by the Psalmist. Many generations have come and gone since Jesus Christ came to our world. The years come and go. The centuries run their course. One generation gives way to another generation. Time moves on relentlessly. None of us can halt the march of time. Many changes have taken place over the course of time. There is something which must never change. The Lord is to be praised 'for ever'. He is to be praised 'through all generations'. We must look back and remember. Jesus Christ was crucified for us. Jesus Christ has risen for us. This is the Good News which inspires our praise: 'I will sing of the Lord's great love for ever...'.
13th March: Psalm 89:38-90:17
'Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations...From everlasting to everlasting, You are God' (1-2). The Bible begins with the words, 'In the beginning, God...'. Before the world began, there was God - 'the eternal God'. He is 'the high and exalted One'. He is the God 'who inhabits eternity'. He is the God 'who lives for ever'. He has no beginning. He has no end. He is 'the beginning and the end'. Our life on earth has a beginning. It has an end. Trusting in 'the eternal God', we rejoice in His precious promises - 'The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms'; 'I have loved you with an everlasting love'; 'The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord' (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 33:27; Isaiah 57:15; Revelation 21:6; Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 6:23).
14th March: Isaiah 38:9-39:8
'The Lord will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our life in the House of the Lord' (20). Some people say, 'I can be a Christian without going to Church'. Here, we have something very different. Believing in the Lord leads to worshipping the Lord. It doesn't make sense to say, 'I believe in the Lord but I'm not interested in worshipping Him'. We believe in Christ. We are saved by Him. We receive a new Spirit of worship: 'God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Father, my Father!" (Galatians 4:4). Let's have none of this 'believing without worshipping' - 'Abba Father, let me be Yours and Your alone. May my will for ever be evermore Your own. Never let my heart grow cold, never let me go. Abba Father, let me be Yours and Yours alone' (Mission Praise, 3).
15th March: Isaiah 40:1-31
'The Lord is the everlasting God...He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak... those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength...' (28-31). Far too often, we say, 'I can't' when we really mean 'I won't'. 'I can't' - This is an insult to the power of God. The Lord calls us to do something special for Him. We say, 'I can't'. What are we really saying? This is what we are saying - 'Lord, I don't believe Your promise - "Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength"'. Don't say, 'I can't'. Don't get so busy with other things that you fail to wait upon the Lord and renew your strength. When the Lord calls you to serve Him, say, 'Yes, Lord, I will wait upon You. I will renew my strength. I will do Your will'.
16th March: Isaiah 41:1-29
'Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you...I am the Lord your God who...says to you, Do not fear; I will help you...I Myself will help you, declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel' (10-14). We have something important to say. We repeat ourselves. We want to make sure that our message gets across. We say, 'Do you get the point? Do you see what I mean?'. This is what God is doing here. Three times, He says, 'I will help you'. He wants us to get the point. He wants to leave us in no doubt. He wants us to be sure of this: 'I will help you'. He doesn't want us to go around thinking, 'I wonder if God will help me?'. He really does want to help us. He says it once. He says it twice. He says it three times: 'I will help you'.
17th March: Isaiah 42:1-25
'Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, my Chosen One in whom I delight; I will put My Spirit on Him, and He will bring justice to the nations' (1). These words turn our thoughts towards the Lord Jesus Christ. At His baptism, we hear the voice of the Father - 'This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased'. At His baptism, we see 'the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting on Him'. Jesus is the fulfillment of God's Word of prophecy: 'All mankind shall see the Saviour sent from God'. After His resurrection, we hear Jesus Himself speaking. He says, 'Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit...' (Matthew 12:15-21; 3:16-17; 28:18-20; Luke 3:6). Let us bring Christ to the nations. Let us serve the Lord in the power of the Spirit.
18th March: Isaiah 43:1-28
'I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour...I am the Lord, apart from Me there is no saviour' (3,11). Isaiah's words turn our thoughts towards Jesus our Saviour. The Name of Jesus is the Name of our salvation: 'Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved' (Acts 4:12). 'How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds in a believer's ear'; 'There is a Name I love to hear...It tells me of a Saviour's love, who died to set me free; it tells me of His precious blood, the sinner's perfect plea. O how I love the Saviour's Name, the sweetest Name on earth'; 'Name of all majesty...See now what God has done, sending His only Son, Christ the beloved One, Jesus is Lord!' (Church Hymnary, 376; Mission Praise, 672,481).
19th March: Isaiah 44:1-28
'I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring, and My blessing on your descendants' (3). Here, Isaiah is looking forward to the mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost - 'They were all filled with the Holy Spirit...' (Acts 2:4). It is 'the Spirit' who brings 'streams of living water' into our lives. It is 'the Spirit' who sends 'streams of living water', flowing out from us to others (John 7:37-39). We are to 'be filled with the Spirit'. 'Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ' - Let your life be full of praise to God: 'filled with the Spirit' (Ephesians 5:18-20).
20th March: Isaiah 45:1-25
'I am the Lord...I will strengthen you' (5). How does the Lord strengthen us? He strengthens us with salvation. He comes to us as our 'God and Saviour'. He calls us to come to Him and receive salvation: 'Turn to Me and be saved...'. Through faith in Christ, we are 'saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation' (15,17,21-22). We are strengthened with 'everlasting salvation'. We look ahead to Christ's Return 'in power and great glory' (Matthew 24:30). On that Day, the glory of our Saviour will be fully revealed: 'At the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father'. Jesus is our Saviour. His 'Name is above every name'. Our 'strength' comes from Him (23-24; Philippians 2:10-11).
21st March: Isaiah 46:1-47:15
'I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me...I am bringing My righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed' (46:9,13). God does not keep His distance from us. He comes near to us - 'The Word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the Word of faith which we preach). God does not delay His salvation. He comes to us with His promise: 'If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord", and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved' (Romans 10:8-9). Jesus is the Word of God. He is our Saviour. He is our Lord (John 1:1,14; 20:28,31). Let us worship Jesus. He is 'the Holy One of Israel'. He is our Redeemer'. 'The Lord Almighty is His Name' (47:4). 'O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord' (Church Hymnary, 191).
22nd March: Isaiah 48:1-22
'I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go' (17). God knows what is best for us. He helps us to say, 'As for God, His way is perfect' (Job 23:10; 2 Samuel 22:31).How does God help us to see that His way is best? He invites us to consider His love. We are to think about all that He has done for us - 'the mercies of God'. He calls us to dedicate our lives to Him - 'present your bodies, as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God'. Dedicating our lives to the Lord - This is 'our 'spiritual worship'. We are not to live for this world - 'Do not be conformed to this world'. We are to live for the Lord - 'be transformed by the renewal of your mind'. 'God's will is good, pleasing and perfect'. Learn this for yourself. Dedicate your life to Him (Romans 12:1-2).
23rd March: Isaiah 49:1-26
'I, the Lord, am your Saviour, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob'. We are not to keep this to ourselves. God wants 'all mankind' to 'know' (26). 'Jesus, the Name to sinners dear, the Name to sinners given, it scatters all their guilty fear, it turns their hell to heaven' - This is not something to keep to oursleves. We must make Christ known to others - 'Oh, that the world might taste and see the riches of His grace! The arms of love that compass me, would all mankind embrace. His only righteousness I show, His saving truth proclaim: 'tis all my business here below to cry: "Behold the Lamb!". Happy, if with my latest breath I may but gasp His Name: preach Him to all, and cry in death: "Behold, behold the Lamb!"' (Mission Praise, 385). 'Go into all the world and preach the Good News' (Mark 16:15).
24th March: Psalm 91:1-16
'Surely He will save you from the traps of the hunter'(3). God has given us His warning. We must 'be alert' - 'Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour'. He also gives us His promise - 'Resist the devil, and he will flee from you'. How are we to resist the devil? - We are to 'resist him, standing firm in the faith' (1 Peter 5:8-9; James 4:7). We must not try to resist the devil in our own strength. We will be defeated. He is much more powerful than we are. We must resist him in the strength of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, we have the victory - 'Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ' (1 Corinthians 15:57). Satan is out to get us. He's trying to trap us. Let's never forget this: Jesus is able to 'deliver us from the evil one' (Matthew 6:13).
25th March: Psalms 92:1-93:5
'You, O Lord, are exalted for ever...The Lord reigns, He is robed in majesty...' (8; 93:1-2). The Lord is 'exalted'. We are to exalt Him in our worship. He is not exalted because we exalt Him. We exalt Him because He is exalted. He is 'exalted far above all gods'. That is why we sing, 'I exalt Thee, O Lord'. 'He is exalted, the King is exalted on high' - This is the truth concerning the Lord. 'Iwill praise Him' - This is our response to His truth. We sing, 'Jesus, we enthrone You, we proclaim You our King'. This is our response to the eternal truth concerning our Saviour: 'The Lord is enthroned as King for ever'. 'From all eternity' the Lord is 'robed in majesty'. Let us respond to His majesty. Let us 'magnify' the Lord - 'O Lord our God, how majestic is Thy Name' (97:9; 29:10; Mission Praise, 158,217,388,507).
26th March: Hebrews 9:15-10:18
We look back to what Christ has done for us. We look forward to what He will do for us. Looking back and looking forward: These are both found in 9:28 - 'Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him'. We remember our Saviour. We remember what He has done for us: 'the Son of God loved us and gave Himself for us' (Galatians 2:20). We eat bread and drink wine, giving thanks that our Saviour went to the Cross for us - His body broken for us and His blood shed for us. We are not only looking back. We are also looking forward: 'As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes' (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Remember - and pray, 'Come, Lord Jesus!' (Revelation 22:20).
27th March: Hebrews 10:19-11:16
Are you 'looking for a better country - a heavenly one' (16)? 'God has put eternity into man's mind' (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In every human heart, there's 'a God-shaped blank'. Jesus came to give us 'life' - 'abundant life', 'eternal life' (John 10:10; 17:3; 1 John 5:11). Without Jesus, our lives are empty. The 'longing for a better country' can only be satisfied by Him. He is God's 'foretaste of glory divine' (Mission Praise, 59). Jesus stands at the door of every human heart. He knocks. He waits for our answer. He says, 'Look, I'm standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to My voice and opens the door, I'll come in...' (Revelation 3:20). Don't 'shrink back' (39). Invite Him into your heart now.
28th March: Psalm 94:1-23
'When I said, "My foot is slipping", Your love, O Lord, supported me' (18). The Lord is 'able to keep us from falling'. We are 'kept by the power of God'. Putting our trust in the Lord, we may be confident of this: 'God, who began His good work in us, will carry it through to completion on the Day of Christ Jesus'. We are called to 'press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenwards in Christ Jesus'. As we 'press on', we must never forget this: 'It is God who works in us to will and to work according to His good purpose'. 'Let us fix our eyes on Jesus', trusting in His promise: 'My sheep listen to My voice...I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of My hand...' (Jude 24-25; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Philippians 1:6; 3:14; 2:13; Hebrews 12:2; John 10:27-30).
29th March: Psalm 95:1-11
'Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord...Let us come before Him with thanksgiving...Come, let us bow down in worship...' (1-2,6). We are to worship the Lord with joyful thanksgiving. We rejoice in the Lord. We give thanks for His love. He is 'the great God'. He is 'our God'. He is the God of creation - 'In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land'. He is the God of salvation - 'We are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care' (3-5,7). If we are to learn to worship the Lord with joyful thanksgiving, we must open our hearts to Him: 'Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts' (7-8). When we hear the call to worship, we must open our hearts to the Spirit of worship.
30th March: Isaiah 50:1-51:8
'The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him that is weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught' (50:4). We are to listen to God. We are to speak for God. We cannot speak for God unless we are listening to Him. Before we can speak for God, we must speak to Him. We must pray, 'Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening' (1 Samuel 3:9-10). Listening to God comes before speaking for God. First, we wait on the Lord - 'I waited patiently for the Lord'. Then, we witness for the Lord - 'He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God'. Waiting on the Lord and witnessing for Him, we will win others for Him - 'Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord' (Psalm 40:1-3).
31st March: Isaiah 51:9-23
'Awake, awake!...O arm of the Lord; awake, as in days gone by...The ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them...I am the Lord your God...I have put My words in your mouth...' (9,11,15-16). We must pray for revival in this generation. Pray for a revival of joyful worship. Pray for a revival of powerful preaching. Where will revival come from? It comes from the Lord. God hears the prayers of His people - 'Awake, awake!...O arm of the Lord; awake, as in days gone by'. God answers the prayers of His people - 'The ransomed of the Lord will return...Gladness and joy will overtake them'. Revival comes when God sends His Word of power - 'I am the Lord your God...I have put My words in your mouth'.


1st April: Isaiah 52:1-12
'Good News' - Let us 'shout for joy'. 'Good News' - Let us sing 'songs of joy'. There is the Good News of God's reign - 'Your God reigns'. There is the Good News of our redemption - 'The Lord has redeemed' us. We are not to keep the Good News to ourselves. This 'news of happiness' is to be shared with everyone. We must let 'all the ends of the earth see the salvation of our God'. 'Christ died for our sins' - This is Good News. Christ was 'raised on the third day' - This is Good News. 'Jesus is Lord' - This is Good News. This is the Good News we must 'pass on' to others. In our world, there is so much bad news. We must not let the Good News be drowned out by the bad news. We must make sure that the people hear the Good News - loud and clear (7-10; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Mission Praise, 249).
2nd April: Isaiah 52:13-53:12
In this remarkable prophecy,.we see Jesus Christ, crucified for us - 'the Lord has laid all our sins on Him' - and risen from the dead - 'After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life' (6,11). 'Were you there when they crucified my Lord?' (Mission Praise, 745). We might put this question to Isaiah. In one sense, he wasn't there. He lived long before the time of Christ. In another sense, he was there. God opened his eyes. God gave him a glimpse of what was going to happen in the future. 'Were you there when they crucified my Lord?'. In one sense, we weren't there. These things happened long before we were even born. In another sense, we were there. It was our sins which Christ took with Him to the Cross. It was our sins which He left behind Him when He rose from the dead (Romans 4:25).
3rd April: Proverbs 18:1-24
'The fountain of wisdom is an overflowing stream' (4). 'The grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus' (1 Timothy 1:14). This is the 'wisdom' we must seek - the wisdom which receives 'salvation through faith in Christ Jesus' (2 Timothy 3:15). True wisdom finds its overflowing joy in the Saviour: 'The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe' (10). We rejoice in Jesus. He is God's Son - 'You shall call His Name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High' (Luke 1:31-32). He is our Saviour - 'You shall call His Name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins' (Matthew 1:21). He is 'the Friend who sticks closer than a brother' (24). Jesus is God's Son. Be wise. Let Him be your Saviour and Friend.
4th April: Isaiah 54:1-17
'The Lord' is not only 'the Holy One of Israel'. He is 'the God of the whole earth' (5). The Gospel is for 'all nations'. The ministry of Christ's apostles began in 'Jerusalem', but it did not end there. The Gospel was to be taken 'to the ends of the earth' (Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8). Taking the Gospel out from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth was not easy. The apostles faced much opposition. They stood upon God's promise: 'No weapon formed against you shall prosper' (17). When we face opposition, we must take our stand on the Word of God: 'If God is for us, who can be against us?' (Romans 8:31). Even when our words seem to fall on stony ground, we must keep on speaking the Word of God's love: 'With everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer' (8).
5th April: Isaiah 55:1-13
The Word of God is spoken - 'Seek the Lord while He may be found...' (6-7). No one seems to be listening. What are we to do? We must remember God's promise: 'My Word will not return to Me empty' (11). We do not see all that God is doing. He is doing much more than we realize - 'My thoughts are not your thoughts...' (8-9). We may be feeling very despondent - 'Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything' (Luke 5:5). The Lord still comes to us with His Word of encouragement: 'You shall go out with joy...' (12). Before there is joy, there may be many tears. When there seems to be nothing but disappointments, we must remember the Lord's promise: 'Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy...' (Psalm 126:5-6). We must not 'judge before the time...' (1 Corinthians 4:5).
6th April: Isaiah 56:1-57:10
'My House will be called a House of prayer for all nations' (56:7). God is gathering His people together 'from every tribe and language and people and nation' (Revelation 5:9). 'Salvation comes from the Jews', but it doesn't end there - 'The Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile (the rest of the world)' (John 4:22; Romans 1:16). We were 'foreigners'. Now, we are 'no longer foreigners...'(56:6; Ephesians 2:19). Christ has 'broken down the dividing wall of hostility'. 'We are no longer Jews or Gentiles'. 'We are one in Christ Jesus'. Christ has 'made the two one'. We 'have been brought near through the blood of Christ'. We are 'one body' - Jews and Gentiles brought together 'through the Cross' of Christ (Ephesians 2:13-16; Galatians 3:28).
7th April: Isaiah 57:11-58:14
'To the far and to the near', God speaks His Word of 'peace' (57:19). Christ is God's Word of 'peace' (Ephesians 2:13-14). Christ is for 'the Jews'. Christ is for 'the Gentiles'. There is one way of salvation. Jesus Christ is our Saviour. We must put our 'faith' in Him. Through Him, we have 'peace with God' (Romans 3:29-30; 5:1). God's Word invites us to 'call upon the Name of the Lord and be saved' (58:9; Acts 2:21). In Christ, there is true 'joy' - 'I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation...' (58:14; 61:10). We rejoice in Jesus Christ. He is 'the High and Exalted One'. He has come from His 'high and holy place'. He has become 'Emmanuel', 'God with us'. He is our peace and joy, our Saviour and our God' (57:15; Matthew 1:21, 23; John 20:28).
8th April: Matthew 21:1-11
This was a day to be remembered. Sadly, however, it was quickly forgotten. Within a few days, the 'Hosanna' became 'Crucify Him! Crucify Him!' (9; 27:22-23). We can 'change our tune' so easily and so quickly - 'With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing'. What does God's Word say about this kind of thing? - 'My brothers and sisters, this should not happen!' (James 3:9). We come to the Lord's House. We come to worship Him. We listen to His Word - and we forget. God's Word calls us to 'be doers of the Word, and not hearers only'. Let every day be a 'Hosanna' day, a day for praising the Lord, a day for remembering Him and being 'blessed' by Him (James 1:22-25).
9th April: Mark 12:1-12
The prophets came. They spoke the Word of the Lord. The people did not like what they heard. They had no time for God's faithful servants. They did not want to know. They refused to listen. They rejected the Word of the Lord. God sent His Son. They did not listen to Him. They sent Him to the Cross. It sounds like such a sad story. It's the story of God's Word in today's world. People hear God's Word, and they shrug their shoulders - 'So what?'. They can't be bothered listening to what God has to say to them - 'It goes in one ear and out the other'. They don't take God's Word seriously - 'It's like water off a duck's back'. Is there another side to the story, a better side? Yes! Jesus is our Saviour. Jesus 'has risen'. In Jesus, we find true and lasting joy (10-11; 16:6; Acts 4:10-12; 1 Peter 2:4-8).
10th April: Luke 22:7-20
Read about the Lord's Supper. Think about what it means. Remember Jesus. Thank Him for His love. Give your love to Him. Here are some words to help you: 'Here is love vast as the ocean, loving kindness as the flood, when the Prince of life, our Ransom, shed for us His precious blood. Who His love will not remember? Who can cease to sing His praise? He can never be forgotten throughout heaven's eternal days'. 'Thank You for the Cross, the price You paid for us, how You gave Yourself so completely, precious Lord, precious Lord. Now our sins are gone, all forgiven, covered by Your blood, all forgotten, thank You Lord, thank You Lord'. 'Lord, You are so precious to me, and I love You, Yes, I love You, because You first loved me' (Songs of Fellowship, 168, 369; Mission Praise, 632).
11th April: John 18:1-11
It seemed like Jesus' enemies had 'the upper hand' - until we look 'behind the scenes'! Jesus was no tragic victim of circumstances. His death was no accident. He knew exactly what He was doing. Jesus was moving forward in perfect love - 'I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep...I lay down My life for the sheep...No one takes My life from Me. I give My life of My own free will'. Jesus was moving forward in perfect obedience to the Father's perfect will - 'This command I received from My Father'. Jesus was moving forward in perfect faith, looking beyond His death to His resurrection - 'I lay down My life that I may take it again...I have the authority to give My life, and I have the authority to take My life back again' (10:11,14-15,17-18). Jesus is our perfect Saviour!
12th April: Matthew 27:15-26
'Jesus' was 'crucified'. 'Barabbas' was 'released' (26). This is not only the story of Barabbas. It is our story - 'Jesus tasted death for everyone' (Hebrews 2:9). This is 'the big picture' - Jesus died 'for the sins of the whole world' (1 John 2:1-2). Barabbas was expecting to die. Then, something quite amazing happened - Jesus died for Barabbas! Each of us deserve to die - 'All have sinned...the wages of sin is death' (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Now, each of us can say, 'Jesus died for me'. We read the story of Barabbas. We rejoice in the Story of amazing love: 'Jesus died for me'. 'And can it be, that I should gain an interest in the Saviour's blood? Died He for me, who caused His pain - For me, who Him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?' (Church Hymnary, 409).
13th April: Mark 15:25-39
'Truly this Man was the Son of God!' (39). Jesus Christ was no ordinary man. He was special. He was unique. He is God's 'only Son' (John 3:16). He is God's 'beloved Son' (Matthew 3:17; Luke 9:35). He is not only the greatest Man who ever lived. He is 'greater than the angels' in heaven. 'All God's angels' are called to 'worship Him'. 'Truly this Man was the Son of God' - In these words of faith, we hear an echo of God's Word concerning His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ - 'You are My Son; today I have become Your Father...I will be His Father, and He will be My Son...Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever...Sit at my right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for your feet' (Hebrews 1:1-14). 'Truly this Man was the Son of God' - Let these words be your confession of faith in Christ.
14th April: Luke 23:50-24:8
Jesus was dead and buried. Surely, this was the end? No! There was something else - the resurrection. What a great miracle this was! Jesus had been dead. Now, He was alive! He had risen from the dead. What a surprise this was! - 'they were perplexed...they were frightened' (4-5). 'He is not here; He has risen!' The resurrection was no surprise for Jesus! He had been looking forward to it! - 'Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise' (6-7). They had forgotten. That's why they were surprised - 'perplexed' and 'frightened'. Now, 'they remembered His words' (8). The Lord speaks His Word to us. He calls us out of unbelief. He calls us to have faith in Him - a 'living' faith in a 'living ' Saviour (5).
15th April: John 20:19-31
'My Lord and my God!' (28). These words were spoken by Thomas. These five short words, fourteen letters in all, marked the turning-point in his life. He had been 'doubting Thomas' - 'Unless I see...I will not believe' (25). He became 'believing Thomas' - 'My Lord and my God!'. Never think, 'I'm just a "doubting Thomas". I'll never change. I'll always be a "doubting Thomas"'. You can be like 'believing Thomas'. He became a new man, a man of faith. God is calling us to make a new beginning with Him. He calls us to have faith. We are to 'believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God'. Through faith in Him, we receive new life - 'life in His Name' (31). Look to Jesus. Be changed by His love. 'Open our eyes, Lord. We want to see Jesus, to reach out and touch Him and say that we love Him...' (Mission Praise, 545).
16th April: Acts 2:22-36
'God raised Jesus from the dead...It was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him' (24). The proud unbeliever hears about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and says, 'Impossible!: 'Resurrection? - No way! Jesus died, and that's it! The end!'. The Word of God says something very different about our Lord's resurrection - 'Impossible!: "It was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him"'. Jesus is the perfect Son of God. He is the perfect Sacrifice for the sins of the world. It was impossible that He should remain dead! Don't listen to the voice of proud unbelief - 'Resurrection! This can't happen! It's impossible!'. Listen to the voice of the Gospel - 'Resurrection! This is what God has done! It's impossible! - God's perfect "plan" (23) couldn't possibly fail: the perfect Son, the perfect Sacrifice, the perfect Salvation'.
17th April: Isaiah 59:1-21
What are we to do 'when the enemy comes in like a flood'? We must look away from ourselves to Jesus Christ. He has 'come' as our 'Redeemer'. Trusting in Jesus Christ, we must pray that 'the Spirit of the the Lord will come like a rushing stream'. We must pray that 'the wind of the Lord' will come sweeping through us with much blessing (19-20). In ourselves, there is no blessing - 'salvation...is far from us'. 'Our sins have separated us from God'. We need to receive 'salvation' from the Lord (11,2,17). We must not delude ourselves. Satan is stronger than we are. We have no hope of victory over Satan - until we put our trust in Jesus Christ. Without Christ, we are helpless and hopeless. With Him, we shall be victorious. He is 'the Rock of our salvation' (Matthew 7:24-27; 2 Samuel 22:47; 1 Corinthians 10:4).
18th April: Isaiah 60:1-22
'Arise, shine; for your Light has come...the Lord will be your everlasting Light' (1,19-20). Jesus Christ is 'the Light of the world'. When we 'follow Him', we 'will not walk in darkness'. We 'will have the light of life' (John 8:12). We are living in difficult times. We are surrounded by much darkness. We must not be discouraged - 'the lamp of God has not yet gone out' (1 Samuel 3:3). When the darkness threatens to overcome the Light, we must take encouragement from God's Word - 'The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it' (John 1:5). When the darkness seems to be everywhere, put your trust in the Lord - The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear?' - and let 'His Word' be 'a lamp to your feet and a light to your path' (Psalms 27:1; 119:105).
19th April: Isaiah 61:1-11
'The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me...to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour' (1-2). Jesus has fulfilled these words (Luke 4:18-21). Jesus has come, 'proclaiming the Good News of God'. He tells us that 'the time has come'. This is the time of opportunity, the time for making our response to Jesus Christ. He calls for our response - 'Repent and believe the Good News!'. He calls us to make our response now - 'now is the acceptable time...now is the day of salvation' (Mark 1:14-15; 2 Corinthians 6:2). There will come a time when the time of opportunity comes to an end. When Christ returns 'with power and great glory', it will be 'the Day of vengeance of our God'. We do not know when Christ will return. Get 'ready' for His Return. Put your 'faith' in Him (2; Matthew 24:30,36,44; 25:13; Luke 18:8).
20th April: Isaiah 62:1-12
God has given us 'a new Name'. It is 'the Name which is above every name', the Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (2; Philippians 2:9-11). Christ loves us. He has given Himself for us. He calls us His 'Bride' (Ephesians 5:25-27; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 21:2,9). Through faith in Christ, we have become 'the Holy People'. Through Him, we are 'the Redeemed of the Lord'. We have been 'Sought After' by the Lord. In Him, we are 'the City No Longer Deserted' (12; 1 Peter 2:9-9-10; 1:18-19; Luke 19:10; John 14:18). 'There is a Name I love to hear...It tells me of a Saviour's love, who died to set me free. It tells me of His precious blood, the sinner's perfect plea...Jesus, the Name I love so well, the Name I love to hear!...O how I love the Saviour's Name, the sweetest Name on earth!' (Mission Praise, 672).
21st April: Psalms 96:1-97:12
'The Lord reigns' (96:10; 97:1). 'The Lord is King!'. He is not only 'the King all-glorious above'. He is 'the King of love'. He is 'our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend!'. He is not only 'the King of heaven'. He is 'the God of grace'. He is 'the King of mercy' (Church Hymnary, 35,36,388,360,86). His reign is not to be restricted to some faraway heaven. It is not to be a reign that is far removed from the practicalities of our everyday life. He is to reign in our hearts. He is to reign in every part of our life. Let His reign of love begin. Let His grace and mercy control all that you do. We must pray, 'Reign in me, Sovereign Lord, reign in me'. When we say, 'Let Your Kingdom come' and 'let Your will be done', we must pray, 'Captivate my heart. Establish there Your throne' (Mission Praise, 570).
22nd April: Psalms 98:1-100:5
'Exalt the Lord our God...Make a joyful noise to the Lord' (99:5,9; 98:4,6; 100:1). We are to worship the Lord with joy. We are to glorify God. We are to enjoy Him. In our worship, we must never forget the holiness of God: 'He is holy!...The Lord our God is holy!' (99:5,9). In our worship, we rejoice in the love of God: 'His steadfast love endures for ever...He has done marvellous things!' (100:5; 98:1). The God of 'awesome purity' loves us with the most perfect love of all: 'No earthly father loves like Thee...'. Let us worship Him with holy fear and heartfelt love: 'O how I fear Thee, living God, with deepest, tenderest fears...with trembling hope and penitential tears! Yet I may love Thee too, O Lord, Almighty as Thou art, for Thou hast stooped to ask of me the love of my poor heart' (Church Hymnary, 356).
23rd April: Psalms 101:1-102:28
'I will sing of Your love...I will walk with integrity of heart...' (101:1-2). These words were written many centuries ago. 'Things are very different now' - so we're told! Worshipping the Lord and walking with Him: Are these things out-of-date now? Are they to be forgotten? So many people have no time for the Lord. They feel that they can do without Him. They refuse to worship Him. They do not walk with Him. In our ever-changing world, there is something we must never forget: The Lord is 'enthroned for ever'. His 'Name endures to all generations'. In all the changes of life, the Lord 'remains the same'. His 'years go on through all generations'. His 'years will never end' (12,24,27). These words were 'written for a future generation'. They were written for us. We must not forget to 'praise the Lord' (18)!
24th April: Proverbs 19:1-29
'The fear of the Lord leads to life' (23). 'The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him' (Psalm 25:14). What a strange combination - friendship and fear! We ask, 'How can there be friendship where there is fear?'. Here, we have a special kind of friendship - 'the friendship of the Lord' - and a special kind of fear - 'the fear of the Lord'. Why is this friendship and fear so special? It's because the Lord is special! He is the God of perfect holiness - 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty'. We must come before Him in 'the fear of the Lord' - 'Woe is me! I am undone; I am a man of unclean lips...'. He is the God of perfect love. He calls us into friendship with Himself - 'Your guilt is taken away and your sin forgiven' (Isaiah 6:3,5,7). We rejoice in 'the friendship of the Lord'. Let us respect Him with 'the fear of the Lord'.
25th April: Isaiah 63:1-19
The Lord our God is 'mighty to save'. He has shown His 'steadfast love' to us. He has become our 'Saviour'. 'In His love', He has 'redeemed' us (1,7-9). We read here about the power of God - He is 'mighty to save' - and the love of God - 'In His love', He has 'redeemed' us. What love the Lord has for us - 'God so loved the world that He gave His only Son...' (John 3:16)! What power there is in the Gospel of love - 'The Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes' (Romans 1:16)! What a 'Saviour' we have - Our Lord Jesus Christ is 'able to save to the uttermost all who come to God through Him' (Hebrews 7:25)! Think of Jesus Christ. Think of His love, His power, His salvation. Thank Him for all He has done for you - 'Alleluia! What a Saviour!' (Church Hymnary, 380)
26th April: Isaiah 64:1-65:12
We confess our sins to God - 'We sinned...All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags'. We look to God for forgiveness - 'Do not remember our sins for ever' (64:5-6,9). We know that God hears and answers our prayer. Jesus Christ is God's Answer to our prayer. He has 'come down' from heaven to earth. 'The Son of the Most High' has been 'born' into our world. Jesus Christ is God's way of saying 'Here am I! Here am I!'. He is 'God with us' (64:1; 65:1; Luke 1:32,35; Matthew 1:23). 'The blood of Jesus, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin'. Let us 'confess our sins'. 'The blood of Jesus, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin' - Let us come to God with faith, believing that He 'will forgive our sins'. (1 John 1:7,9). Let us rejoice in Jesus, our Saviour!
27th April:Isaiah 65:13-66:4
What a contrast there is between those who belong to Christ - 'My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts' - and those who have refused to come to Christ for salvation - 'You will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit' (14)! God is preparing a great future 'for those who love Him' - 'I will create a new heaven and a new earth'. He is calling us away from our sins - 'Past things will not be remembered. They will not come to mind'. He is calling us to His 'holy mountain'. How can we enter into our full enjoyment of God's eternal salvation? God's Word tells us: 'I will pay attention to those who are humble and sorry for their sins and who termble at My Word' (65:17,25; 66:2; 1 Corinthians 2:9). Make sure that you belong to Christ. Put your faith in Him (John 3:18,36).
28th April: Isaiah 66:5-24
'Hear the Word of the Lord'. How are we to listen to God's Word? We are to 'tremble at His Word'. We are to 'drink deeply with delight' (5,10-11). There is to be the fear of the Lord. There is to be joy in the Lord. These are not opposites. They belong together - 'Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling...Rejoice in the Lord' (Philippians 2:12; 3:1). We hear God's warning, and we'tremble'. To those who 'sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth', God says this: 'It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God' (Hebrews 10:26,31). We hear God's promise, and we 'rejoice': 'The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms' (Deuteronomy 33:27). Let us 'hear the Word of the Lord' - the warning as well as the promise!
29th April: Proverbs 20:1-30
'Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler; whoever is led astray by it is not wise' (1). We need to learn the truth of these words - before it's too late! There is a better way than the way of drunkenness. It is the way of being filled with the Holy Spirit: 'Don't get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit' (Ephesians 5:18). We must not 'live according to the flesh'. God calls us to 'live according to the Spirit'. He warns us against making the wrong choice: 'To set the mind on the flesh is death'. He shows us the way of blessing: 'To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace'. 'Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth'. May God help us to turn from 'the works of the flesh' and seek 'the fruit of the Spirit' (Romans 8:5-6; Colossians 3:2; Galatians 5:19-23).
30th April: Psalm 103:1-22
'Praise the Lord' (1-2,20-22). Let's praise Him for His 'steadfast love'. He is 'abounding in steadfast love' (8). How are we to respond to His 'steadfast love'? Are we to say, 'God loves me. I can do what I like'? No! We must not think like this. We're not to say, 'I'll keep on sinning. God will keep on forgiving' (Romans 6:1-2). God's Word tells us something very different. Loved by God, we learn to love Him. When God's 'steadfast love' has really touched our hearts, it changes our lives. This is the great change which the Psalmist has in mind when he writes, 'As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him...The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him' (11,17). Let's thank God for His love - and live to please Him!



1st May: Jeremiah 1:1-19
To understand Jeremiah's story, we must look 'behind the scenes': 'The Word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations"' (4-5). To understand our own story, we must go even further back - 'The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ...chose us in Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight'. We must never forget the words of Jesus: 'You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last' (Ephesians 1:3-4; John 15:16). We're not to be 'on the surface' people. We're to be people who have seen 'behind the scenes', people who have caught a glimpse of the eternal God and His eternal purpose for our lives.
2nd May: Jeremiah 2:1-19
Jeremiah's message was not popular. He spoke to the people about their 'sins'. They had turned away from the Lord. They had chosen to go their own way (13). He invited them to think about what their wrong choices were doing to them: 'Have you not brought this on yourselves by forsaking the Lord your God when He led you in the way?' (17). Jeremiah left the people in no doubt about where their wrong choices were leading them - '"Your own evil will punish you, and your turning from Me will condemn you. You will learn how bitter and wrong it is to abandon Me, the Lord your God, and no longer to remain faithful to Me", I, the Sovereign Lord Almighty, have spoken' (19). This was not what the people wanted to hear. It was what they needed to hear. It's still what we need to hear today!
3rd May: Jeremiah 2:20-37
'Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble!' (28). The man-made 'gods' cannot 'save'. They cannot even begin to compare with 'the Lord' - 'the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth' (Isaiah 40:28). There is no comparison between God and the gods - 'I am God, and there is no other'. The outcome of the conflict between God and the gods is never in doubt. For 'all the makers of idols', the future holds nothing but 'shame' and 'disgrace'. God calls us to a much better and brighter future. 'Saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation' - This is the great and glorious future which awaits all who obey God's call to salvation: 'Turn to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth' (Isaiah 45:15-17,22).
4th May: Jeremiah 3:1-25
God calls us to 'return' to Him (14,22). He calls us to make our response to Him. He invites us to say, 'Yes, we will come to You, for You are the Lord our God' (22). How are we to come to the Lord? We are to come to Him, confessing our sins - 'We have sinned against the Lord our God' (25). We are to come to Him, trusting Him to save us - 'Surely in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel' (23). 'Return' to the Lord - There is nothing more than important than this. Think of the blessings the Lord gives to those who return to Him - (a) He is 'merciful' to us - 'He does not treat us as our sins deserve' (12, Psalm 103:10); (b) We become His children, calling Him 'Father' (19; Galatians 4:6); (c) He 'cures us of our backsliding' - 'In Christ', we become 'a new creation' (22; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
5th May: Jeremiah 4:1-18
'If you will return, O Israel,...then the nations will be blessed...' (1-2). We are not only to seek blessing for ourselves. We are to pray that others will be blessed also. The blessing of God is not to be kept to ourselves. It is to be shared. We are not to be small-minded people - 'What will I get out of it?'. Jesus said to His first disciples, 'Go and make disciples of all nations'. This is still His Word to us today. We cannot rest content with being an inward-looking Church. Christ has given us a worldwide mission: 'You will be My witnesses...to the ends of the earth'. We are not left to face this great task on our own. Christ says, 'I am with you always'. We do not take up this great challenge in our own strength. Christ says to us, 'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you' (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).
6th May: Jeremiah 4:19-5:9
'One disaster follows another. The whole land is ruined...My people are fools. They don't know Me... They are experts in doing wrong, and they don't know how to good' (20,22). We read the daily news. We wonder, 'What's going to happen next?'. We ask, 'Where will it all end?'. Are we to give up hope? No! We must learn to look beyond the things that are happening in our world today. We must learn to look to the Lord - 'the God of hope'. He says to us, 'There is hope for your future'. Do you feel like things are just going from bad to worse? Remember God's Word: 'I know the plans I have for you...to give you a future and a hope'. 'May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit' (29:11; 31:17; Romans 15:13).
7th May: Hebrews 11:17-12:2
We read about many people who trusted the Lord. Their faith was real. It changed their lives. As you read of so many people who lived 'by faith', let God's Word challenge you. Bring your own weak faith to Him and ask Him to give you a stronger faith: 'I believe; help my unbelief!' (Mark 9:24). We learn from so many different people. We read about their faith. We are inspired by their faith. We do not, however, make too much of them. We must always be 'looking to Jesus' (2). We must learn the lesson of the transfiguration. We look at Moses. We look at Elijah. We learn from them. There comes a point where they - together with all God's faithful people - must step aside, leaving us to look up and see 'Jesus only' (Mark 9:2-8).
8th May: Jeremiah 5:10-6:8
'A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and My people love it this way' (31)! The people were happy to listen to the 'prophets' - so long as their preaching wasn't too challenging. They were happy to attend the services conducted by the 'priests' - so long as nobody expected them to change their way of life. The last thing they wanted was 'prophets' and 'priests' who took God's Word seriously. Jeremiah was exactly what they didn't want! He was serious about preaching the Word of God. He was serious about living in obedience to God's Word. He wasn't popular. He didn't give the people what they wanted. Jeremiah was exactly what the people needed - a prophet who would keep on challenging them to 'get real' with God.
9th May: Jeremiah 6:9-30
'Their ears are closed...The Word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it' (10). Jeremiah must have felt like he was 'hitting his head off a brick wall'. So few people showed any real interest in hearing and obeying the Word of the Lord. It seemed like God's Word was 'going in one ear and out the other'. It would have been so easy for Jeremiah just to 'settle down', to start 'taking it easy'. This was what so many of the 'prophets' and 'priests' had done: 'They dress the wound of My people as though it were not serious. "Peace, peace", they say, "when there is no peace"' (13-14). This was what Jeremiah refused to do. Jeremiah made his choice. We must make our choice. Will we choose to be faithful to God or will we settle for being popular with those whom 'the Lord has rejected' (30)?
10th May: Jeremiah 7:1-8:3
'Stop believing these deceitful words, "We are safe! This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!"' (4). For many, the place of worship has become more important than the Person we worship. They talk a lot about 'the Church' - but they never speak of Christ! They love to see 'the Church' looking good - but they're not so concerned about what 'the Lord sees' when He 'looks at the heart' (1 Samuel 16:7)! Their talk is so self-centred - 'I love my Church. I never miss my Church. I always support my Church'. There is a great deal of 'I' in this kind of talk - but Christ is conspicuous by His absence! 'Look at what I have done for my Church' - 'Stop believing these deceitful words'. Let Christ take the place of 'I': 'It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me' (Galatians 2:20).
11th May: Jeremiah 8:4-22
'Wise people are put to shame, confused, trapped. They have rejected the Word of the Lord. They don't really have any wisdom' (9). Some people think they're smart. They're wise in their own eyes. They 'know it all' - so they think! They've an answer for everything - except the most important question, the question of salvation: 'What must I do to be saved?'. They know so much - yet they know so little that really matters! 'The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved' (20) - Some people think they're smart. They're getting on in the world. They've no time for God. They're too busy enjoying all the pleasures of this world. When this world is 'past' and its pleasures have 'ended', where will we be? - 'What good will it do you if you gain the whole world - and lose eternal life?' (Matthew 16:22).
12th May: Jeremiah 9:1-26
Jeremiah speaks of those who are 'circumcised only in the flesh'. They remain 'uncircumcised in the heart' (25-26). Paul tells us that 'not all who are descended from Israel are Israel'. Salvation is not a matter of outward conformity to religious rituals. What we need is 'circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit' (Romans 9:6; 2:28-29). Jesus put it this way: 'You must be born again' (John 3:7). Many people have been 'brought up in the Church', but they've never opened their hearts to Christ. They've heard the Word of God preached many times, but they haven't been born again through the power of 'the Spirit of the living God' (2 Corinthians 3:3). Our religious rituals mean nothing if, in our hearts, we remain unconverted: 'Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation' (Galatians 6:15).
13th May: Psalm 104:1-35
'I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live' (33). Do you feel like giving up? Other things are becoming more important to you. Worshipping the Lord is being pushed out to the edge of your life. Wrong attitudes are creeping in. It starts with the idea, 'Worship's just an hour on a Sunday'. Then, it becomes, 'I'll worship the Lord when I feel like it'. It soon becomes, 'I'll worship the Lord when I've nothing better to do'. Before long, all desire for worshipping the Lord has gone! Little-by-little, you are drifting away from the Lord. It's time to start thinking about what's happening. It's time for a new beginning. It's time for an 'all my life' commitment to worshipping the Lord - not just on a Sunday, not only when I feel like it, not only 'when there's nothing better to do'!
14th May: Jeremiah 10:1-25
'The Lord is the true God; He is the living God, the eternal King' (10). Can there ever be anything more important than worshipping the Lord? We know the answer as soon as we ask the question! Very often, our lives gives a very different answer. We have taken our eyes off the Lord. We have forgotten that He is the true and living God. We sing the words, 'O Lord, Thou art my God and King...Each day I rise, I will Thee bless...' - but they have a hollow ring about them! Here's a prayer to help you to make a real commitment of your life to the Lord: 'Teach me to live, day by day, in Your presence, Lord...Teach me to praise, day by day, in Your Spirit, Lord...Teach me to love, day by day, in Your power, Lord...Teach me to give, day by day, from my wealth, O Lord...' (Church Hymnary, 346; Mission Praise, 627).
15th May: Hebrews 12:3-29
We are to seek 'the holiness without which no one will see the Lord' (14). This is not the 'holiness' of the Pharisee: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men...' (Luke 18:11-12). It is the holiness that grows in the hearts and lives of those who have received 'the grace of God', those who have prayed, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner' (15; Luke 18:13). We do not earn 'the grace of God' as a reward for our 'holiness'. Salvation is 'not our doing, it is the gift of God - not because of works, so that no one can boast'. There is a call to holiness. We are saved 'for good works'. Before we think about holiness, we must get first things first: 'By grace you have been saved through faith...for good works' (Ephesians 2:8-10). We must answer the call to salvation before we can answer the call to holiness.
16th May: Jeremiah 11:1-23
God speaks His Word to us. He calls us to obedience. He says to us, 'Obey My voice'. Sadly, however, the story of our life is often summed up in the words: 'They did not listen or pay attention. They did not obey' (7-8). God's Word is not just 'something to think about. When God calls us to obedience, we're not to say, 'I'll think about that later'. 'Now' is the time for obedience to God's Word: 'Obey now the voice of the Lord' (38:20). We must not put this off until tomorrow. God is looking for our obedience today: 'Today, when you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts' (Hebrews 4:7). To those who were deeply involved in religious ritual - 'burnt offerings and sacrifices' - , God said this, 'To obey is better than sacrifice' (1 Samuel 15:22). Obedience involves our whole life - not just 'never missing a service'!
17th May: Jeremiah 12:1-17
'"If any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy it", declares the Lord' (17). We must not look out to the world and say, 'That's what's happening "out there"'. We must look into our own hearts. We must ask, 'What's happening "in here"?'. We are to pray, 'Search me, O God, and know my heart' (Psalm 139:23). When the searchlight of God's Word begins to shine on our lives, it becomes clear that 'all is not as it seems': 'They speak well of You with their lips, but their hearts are far from You' (2). Our situation seems hopeless. We cannot change ourselves: 'Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil' (13:23). There is a Word of hope. We can be changed by the Lord: 'I will give you a new heart' (Ezekiel 36:26).
18th May: Jeremiah 13:1-27
'These wicked people, who refuse to listen to My words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them will be...completely useless' (10). Are you on the way to becoming 'completely useless'? Each of us must think about what's been happening in our lives? - 'Where is the blessedness I knew when first I saw the Lord? Where is the soul-refreshing view of Jesus and His Word? What peaceful hours I once enjoyed! How sweet their memory still! But they have left an aching void the world can never fill'. We need to pray for real change. We need to pray for 'a closer walk with God': 'Return, O Holy Dove!...The dearest idol I have known...Help me to tear it from Thy throne, and worship only Thee. So shall my walk be close with God...' (Church Hymnary, 663).
19th May: Jeremiah 14:1-22
In ourselves, there is sin - 'O Lord...we have sinned against You'. In the Lord, there is salvation - 'O Lord our God...our hope is in You' (20,22). In the Lord, there is no sin - 'You are too pure to look on evil' (Habakkuk 1:13). In ourselves , there is no salvation. We are 'spiritually dead because of our disobedience and sins'. We need to be 'made alive'. How can this happen? It is not something we can do for ourselves. The new birth can only be received as a gift from God. We must stop trying to save ourselves. It cannot be done. Salvation cannot be earned. It must be received as a gift from God. It must be received by 'faith'. We must look away from ourselves to Christ. In Christ, we see 'God's great love for us'. Through receiving Christ as Saviour, we are 'born of God' (Ephesians 2:1,4-5,8; John 1:12-13).
20th May: Jeremiah 15:1-21
Some of our problems come from outside of ourselves. Other people cause problems for us - 'This people will fight against you' (20). Some of our problems come from within our own hearts. Our own sins cause problems for us - 'Put to death what is earthly in you...' (Colossians 3:5). There are 'fightings and fears within'. There are 'fightings and fears without'. We are 'tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt'. Tell the Lord all about it. Tell Him how it really is. 'Just as I am' - This is how we must come to the Lord. Our 'fightings and fears' do not simply disappear the moment we pray, 'O Lamb of God, I come' (Church Hymnary, 79). We do, however, have God's promise: 'They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you' (20). He will lead us in the way of victory (Colossians 2:8-10).
21st May: Jeremiah 16:1-21
'O Lord, my Strength and my Stronghold, my Refuge in the day of trouble, to You the nations will come from the ends of the earth...They will know that My Name is the Lord' (19,21). Faith is to be personal - The Lord is my Strength, my Stronghold, my Refuge. Faith must not be private. It is not to be kept to ourselves. There is to be no 'us and them' attitude. We are not to have a 'we are the people' attitude. The Gospel is for the nations. We're not to say, 'I'm okay. That's all that matters'. The Gospel is to be taken to the ends of the earth. We are to reach out to others. We must share the Gospel with the people we meet. Tell the people what the Lord has done for you. Tell them what He can do for them. Let them know how much the Lord loves them. Let them know that our God can be their God too.
22nd May: Psalm 105:1-22
'Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. Remember the wonderful works that He has done...' (4-5). The Lord gives strength to those who put their trust in Him. Trusting in Christ, we have this great testimony: 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me' (Philippians 4:13). How do we receive the Lord's strength? We must 'seek His face always. We must not think we can face difficult circumstances in our strength. Without the strength of the Lord, we will be defeated. He has helped us in the past. Never forget this. Give thanks to Him for every victory won. As you face temptation, remember the Lord's promise of victory: 'God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength. With the temptation, He will also provide the way of escape...' (1 Corinthians 10:13).
23rd May: Psalm 105:23-45
'He brought His people out with joy' (43). When things are going badly and we feel like giving up, we must remember the Word of the Lord: 'The joy of the Lord is your strength' (Nehemiah 8:10). We are to 'rejoice in the Lord always'. The Lord does not leave us on our own when our time of testing comes. He is there for us in our time of need: 'My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus' (Philippians 4:4,19). When we are deeply conscious of our own weakness, the Lord comes to us with His Word of strength: 'My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness' (2 Corinthians 12:9). Through the Word of God, we receive strength. His Word brings joy to us. Let us sing 'glad songs of victory': 'The Lord is my Strength, my Song, my Saviour' (118:14-15).
24th May: Jeremiah 17:1-27
'The Lord' is 'the Fountain of living water' (13). He says to us, 'With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation' (Isaiah 12:3). We can be 'like a tree planted by water', a tree that 'does not cease to bear fruit' (8; Psalm 1:3). God speaks His Word to us: '"Where is the Word of the Lord?" Let it come!' (15; Psalm 1:2) He brings His salvation to us: 'Save me, and I will saved'(14; Psalm 1:6). He gives His blessing to us: ' Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord' (7: Psalm 1:1). We rejoice in God's 'eternal love', drinking from 'the streams of living waters' and discovering that 'grace,...like the Lord the Giver, never fails from age to age' (Church Hymnary, 421). Let us press on to our heavenly and eternal glory: 'In Your presence is fullness of joy. At Your right hand are pleasures for evermore' (Psalm 16:11).
25th May: Jeremiah 18:1-23
'The pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands, so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him' (4). This is what the Lord is doing in our lives. He is 'the Potter'. We are no more than 'jars of clay' (6; Isaiah 64:8; 2 Corinthians 4:7). Our lives are 'marred' by sin. It would be very easy to give up on ourselves. God hasn't given up on us. He looks beyond what we are now. He sees what we will become. He is preparing us for 'eternal glory'. 'We are being renewed day by day'. 'We are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory' (2 Corinthians 4:16-17:3:18). 'Jesus, You are changing me. By Your Spirit, You're making me like You...You are the Potter and I am the clay. Help me to be willing to let You have Your way...' (Mission Praise, 389).
26th May: Jeremiah 19:1-20:6
'Listen! I am going to bring on this city and the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stubborn and would not listen to My Word' (15). God is warning the people. He is calling them back from the way of sin and disobedience. He is calling them to return to Him. He is looking for people who will take Him seriously. He calls us to live in obedience to His Word. He calls us to worship Him with the dedication of our lives and not only the words of our lips. Sometimes, we wonder, 'Will God's blessing be lost forever? Is there a way of rediscovering His blessing in our lives?'. 'There's a way back to God from the dark paths of sin. There's a door that is open and you may go in. At Calvary's Cross is where you begin, when you come as a sinner to Jesus' (Mission Praise. 682).
27th May: Jeremiah 20:7-18
Jeremiah is deeply depressed - 'Cursed be the day I was born!...Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?' (14-18). He has been preaching God's Word. He's getting nothing but abuse in return: 'The Word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long' (8). Does he stop preaching ? No! He keeps on going. He feels like giving up: 'If I say, "I will not mention Him or speak any more in His Name"'. There is, however, a greater Power which drives him on - 'His Word is in my heart like a fire'. No matter how much Jeremiah tries to keep silent, he 'cannot' do it (9). He moves forward in triumphant faith: 'The Lord is with me like a mighty warrior' (11). He calls on the people to worship the Lord: 'Sing to the Lord! Give praise to the Lord!' (13).
28th May: Hebrews 13:1-25
'Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers' (1). If the love of Christ is to flow freely among us, there can be no place for 'us and them' thinking - 'He's not one of us. They're not our kind of people. They're strangers - they don't belong here'. This kind of attitude is a contradiction of the love of Christ. We must remember: 'Strangers are only friends we've never met'. We sing, 'What a Friend we have in Jesus' (Mission Praise, 746). Do we show His friendship to strangers? We must never underestimate the importance of a 'friendly welcome' (11:31). If there is no 'friendly welcome', word will soon get around - 'They're not very friendly'! This is not just a matter of saying the 'right words'. It's about being the right kind of people - people who care enough to be friendly!
29th May: Jeremiah 21:1-14
'Perhaps the Lord will perform wonders for us as in times past...' (2). That was then. What about now? We must not assume that God will always bless us. Yesterday's blessing belongs to the past. We must not live in the past. We must not say, 'He has blessed us in the past. He will keep on blessing us'. Do you want to keep on enjoying God's blessing? Keep on seeking His blessing. If we do not seek the Lord, there will be no promise of blessing. We will hear a very different Word from the Lord: 'I have determined to do this city harm and not good...I will punish as your deeds deserve' (10,14). Don't take God's blessing for granted. You could be 'in for a rude awakening' - if you do not start seeking the Lord. Start seeking Him today: 'You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart' (29:13).
30th May: Jeremiah 22:1-30
Jeremiah was speaking to people who had given up on worshipping the Lord (9). His message was clear: 'O land, land, land, hear the Word of the Lord?' (29). God is speaking His Word. Are we listening? God is looking for people who will listen to Him. He wants us to pay attention to His Word. God's Word is like 'the sound of a trumpet'. It demands our attention. Many people say, 'We will not listen'. God's Word shows us 'the good way' and calls us to 'walk in it'. Many people say, 'We will not walk in it'. What about you? What do you say? What is your response to the Word of the Lord? God is warning us: 'I am bringing disaster on this people...because they have not listened to My Word'. Don't bring this judgment on yourself. Listen to God's Word. Walk in His way (6:16-19).
31st May: Jeremiah 23:1-20
'Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!' (1). We are not to be like the false 'prophets': 'They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord'. What were the false 'prophets' saying? - 'They keep saying to those who despise Me, "The Lord says: You will have peace". To all those who follow the stubbornness of their hearts, they say, "No harm will come to you"' (16-17). God is calling us to be faithful. It will not be easy. Often, we will be tempted to 'take the easy way out'. We will feel the pull of the world: 'Just be the same as everybody else'. This may seem to be the 'easy' option. There is something else we must remember: It is also 'the broad road that leads to destruction'. Let us follow Christ on 'the narrow road which leads to life' (Matthew 7:13-14). 


1st June: Jeremiah 23:21-40
'I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied' (21). Before we can speak for God, we must take time to listen to Him. We dare not attempt to speak for God if we are not prepared to spend time listening to Him. Everything could have been so different - if 'these prophets' had taken time to listen to God: 'If they had stood in My council, they would have proclaimed My words to My people and would have turned them from their evil ways' (22). 'If' - God doesn't force us to listen to His Word. He invites us to listen. The choice is ours. You can allow other things to become more important than spending time with God. Don't be 'too busy' for the 'one thing' that is more important than anything else - listening to God's Word (Luke 10:41-42).
2nd June: Jeremiah 24:1-25:14
Can our lives be changed? Yes! They can be changed by God: 'I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord'. This is no superficial change. This is real change, change which makes a difference. This is a change of heart: 'they shall return to Me with their whole heart' (7). How are we changed? We are changed by God: 'I will put My Spirit within you, and you shall live' (Ezekiel 37:14). We become new people - 'alive to God in Christ Jesus' (Romans 6:11). This is the great change, the change that makes all the difference. It's not just a little change here and there. It's everywhere. No part of our life remains the same. Every part of life is changed. When there's a real change of heart, everything changes - 'all things have become new' (2 Corinthians 5:17). 'Change my heart, O God...' (Mission Praise, 69).
3rd June: Jeremiah 25:15-38
'I am beginning to bring disaster on the city that bears My Name' (29). With the privilege of being the Lord's people comes the responsibilty of living as the Lord's people. We are not to be His people in name only. We are to live the life of the people of God. We must not imagine that we can enjoy the privilege of being God's people if we are not prepared to bear the responsibility of living as His people. Privilege and resonsibility belong together: 'You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins' (Amos 3:2). We cannot say, 'I belong to the Lord' and then live whatever way we like. To those who have been 'raised with Christ', receiving new life through faith in Him, God says, 'Set your hearts and minds on things above, not on earthly things' (Colossians 3:1-2).
4th June: Jeremiah 26:1-24
'He has spoken to us in the Name of the Lord our God' (16). Jeremiah was a true servant of the Lord. We need people like him today. He was faithful. He was unashamed of his Lord. He was unafraid to speak up for his Lord. We see this same faithfulness in Christ's apostles: 'Day after day, in the temple and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and preaching the Good News that Jesus is the Christ' (Acts 5:42). We could do with people like that today, people who are enthusiastic about sharing the Gospel, people who are eager to win others for Christ. We can be people like that. God can make us like that - if we let Him! As you hear the Word of the Lord in Church, as you read His Word in your own home, pray that God will give you the strength to share with others the Word He has given to you.
5th June: Jeremiah 27:1-22
'They will be taken to Babylon and there they will remain until the day I come for them. Then I will bring them and restore them to this place' (22). God had a great purpose for His people - but they had to wait for His time. God has a great purpose for us. Christ is preparing a great 'place' for us: 'In My Father's House are many mansions...I am going there to prepare a place for you'. Christ has promised that He will return to take us to that great 'place': "I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also' (John 14:2-3). Christ is coming. We must wait for Him. We must be patient. We must wait for His time, the time of His Coming, the Day when He comes for us. The Lord has not forgotten His promise. He will come 'to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him' (Hebrews 9:28).
6th June: Jeremiah 28:1-17
'Listen, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie' (15). What a difference there is between those who wait on the Lord for His strength and those who rush ahead in their own strength! The Word of God warns us against trying to serve God in our own strength: 'Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted'. If we are to be true servants of the Lord, we must learn to wait upon the Lord and receive His strength: 'Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength'. What a difference the strength of the Lord makes - 'They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint' (Isaiah 40:30-31)! Let us exchange our weakness for God's strength - then we will truly be 'sent' by the Lord and will speak His truth.
7th June: Jeremiah 29:1-32
'I know the plans I have for you...to give you a future and a hope'. This was God's long-term purpose for His people. It was important that they did not lose sight of this. There would be 'seventy years' of captivity in Babylon (10-11). At times, they must have wondered, 'Will this ever end? Is there really something better still to come?'. Our life on earth may sometimes seem like the 'seventy years' in Babylon: 'The length of our days is seventy years...yet all they bring us is trouble and sorrow'! We wonder, 'Is there a glorious future still to come?'. In our times of 'suffering' and 'sorrow', we draw our 'strength' from God's Word. We look forward to 'the Day' when Christ 'comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be admired in all who believe' (Psalms 90:10; 119:28; 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5,10).
8th June: Jeremiah 30:1-24
'I am with you to save you'. This was God's Word to His people. Their 'captivity' in Babylon would not last forever. God had given His promise: 'I will restore the fortunes of My people...I will bring them back to the land which I gave to their fathers' (10-11,3). 'I am with you to save you'. This is still God's Word to us. Our 'captivity' will not last forever. Christ has died to 'free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death'. We look beyond our earthly life. We see our glorious future. 'Death' will be 'swallowed up in victory'. 'Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ'. Let us 'be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, our labour is not in vain' (Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:54,57-58).
9th June: Psalm 106:1-48
We read here about sin and salvation. There is a very realistic description of Israel's sin - 'They soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel...They despised the pleasant land; they did not believe His promise...They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord...They rebelled against the Spirit of God' (13,24-25,33). This is not only ancient history. It's the story of our life! We read this, and we must join in Israel's confession of sin: 'We have sinned, even as our fathers did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly' (6). The history of Israel is not only a history of sin. It is also a history of salvation: 'He saved them...' (8,10). As we read of God's salvation, we must echo the prayer of God's people - 'Save us, O Lord our God...' - and join with them in praising God - 'Praise be to the Lord...' (47-48).
10th June: Psalm 107:1-43
There are some things that are worth repeating! The story of God's amazing grace is worth repeating over and over again - 'Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress' (6,13,19,28). The call to praise the Lord is also something we need to hear again and again - 'Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men' (8,15,21,31). Let us 'consider the great love of the Lord'. Let us 'give thanks to the Lord' (43,1). 'The great love of God is revealed in the Son, who came to this earth to redeem every one. That love, like a stream flowing clear to the sea, makes clean every heart that from sin would be free...It's yours, it is ours, O how lavishly given! The pearl of great price, and the treasure of heaven!' (Church Hymnary, 415).
11th June: Jeremiah 31:1-20
'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness' (3). So often, we have been like 'the prodigal son' (Luke 15:11-24). We have walked away from our Father's House. We have wandered off into 'the far country'. We feel that we are far from God, yet still He draws near to us. The Lord is at work in our hearts. He is bringing us 'to our senses'. He is reminding us of His love. He is drawing us back to Himself. In love, He is calling us home again. He is speaking to our hearts. He is saying to us, 'I have loved you with an everlasting love'. As His love reaches our hearts, 'the prodigal son' becomes 'the returning son': 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son'. 'Bring me back, let me come back, for you are the Lord my God!' (18).
12th June: Jeremiah 31:21-40
'Set up road signs; put up guideposts. Take note of the highway, the road that you take' (21). It's so easy to take a wrong turning. You lose your sense of direction. You get confused. You're not sure which way to go. You are lost. You are getting more and more lost all the time. You can't find your way back home again. You need someone who knows the way to come and be your guide. Is there someone who can get us on the right road again? Is there someone who can guide us safely home? Yes! Jesus is 'the Way, the True Way, the Living Way'. 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. That's what Jesus said. Without the Way, there is no going, Without the Truth, there is no knowing. Without the Life, there is no living' (John 14:6; Junior Praise, 89). Let Jesus be your Guide. Let Him be your Saviour.
13th June: Jeremiah 32:1-25
'Nothing is too hard for You' (17). We face many difficult situations. What are you to do when you feel you can take no more? Remember the Lord. Nothing is too hard for Him. Remember His promise: 'The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one' (2 Thessalonians 3:3). Jesus calls us to follow Him. He calls us to follow Him. He warns us - 'the way is hard'. It is Jesus - our loving Saviour - who calls us to follow Him. He does not leave us to go it alone. He gives us His strength - 'My yoke is easy and my burden is light' (Matthew 4:19; 7:14; 11:30). 'When the road is rough and steep, fix your eyes upon Jesus. He alone has power to keep. Fix your eyes upon Him'. You can 'depend on' Jesus. He is your 'gracious Friend'. 'He is faithful to the end' (Junior Praise, 279).
14th June: Jeremiah 32:26-44
'I will bring them back to this place' (37). God is bringing us into His 'place'. He is bringing us close to Himself: 'They will be My people, and I will be their God' (38). He is bringing us into the 'place' of obedience: 'I will inspire them to fear Me, so that they will never turn away from Me' (40). He is leading us to the 'place' of blessing: 'I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear Me for their own good and the good of their children after them' (39). Sometimes, our life seems like 'a desolate waste'. We must not lose sight of the purpose of God: 'I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all My heart and soul' (43,41). God will not leave us in our 'desolate waste'. He will lead us to a better 'place' - the 'place' of obedience and blessing.
15th June: James 1:1-27
Even the most difficult times can have a godly effect on us - when we ask God for wisdom: 'Lord, what are You teaching me in this?' (2-5). Humanly speaking, we may be 'in humble circumstances'. Spiritually speaking, we are in a 'high position' (9). Our position is to become even higher - 'the crown of life' (12). Before that happens, there will be many temptations (13-15). We can face these temptations with confidence in the God of faithfulness and His 'Word of truth' (16-18). God's 'Word' is 'planted in us' so that we may become 'doers of the Word, and not hearers only' (21-22). Don't let God's Word 'go in one ear and out the other' - 'like water off a duck's back'. Let there be His controlling - 'a tight rein on the tongue', caring - looking after the needy, and cleansing - 'unstained from the world' (26-27).
16th June: James 2:1-26
The Gospel turns the world's values upside down - the 'poor in the world' are 'rich in faith' (5). We are to live according to the Gospel. We are not to be controlled by the world's way of thinking. If we 'show favouritism', we place ourselves in a dangerous position - 'judgment without mercy'. Even where there is the threat of judgment, there is the promise of mercy - 'mercy triumphs over judgment' (9,13). God is calling us back from the brink. He is saying, 'It's not too late'. Even at 'the eleventh hour', God is calling us to receive His mercy (Matthew 20:6-9). He wants to change us. He wants us to put Him first. For Abraham and Rahab, God came first - not Abraham's son, not Rahab's country (20-26; Genesis 22:12; Joshua 2:9). Don't let anyone or anything come before Him. He must come first - every time.
17th June: James 3:1-4:12
So much harm can be done by a hurtful word. so much good can be done by a word of witness. An evil 'fire' can be turned into a godly fire: 'It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up in its glowing. That's how it is with God's love, once you've experienced it. You spread His love to everyone. You want to pass it on (3:5; Mission Praise, 348). Use your words with wisdom - 'the wisdom that comes from heaven' (17-18). Don't fight to get your own way. Ask God to show you His way (4:2). Be careful how you speak: 'Do not slander one another...Who are you to judge your neighbour?' (4:11-12). May God deliver us from hypocrisy - 'out of the same mouth come praise and cursing' (3:10). May He give us 'more grace' - to be 'humble' and not 'proud', submitting to God and resisting the devil (4:6-7).
18th June: James 4:13-5:20
Don't worry about 'what will happen tomorrow'. It's in the Lord's hands (4:14-15). We must not lose sight of 'the purpose of the Lord'. We must remember that 'the Lord is full of compassion and mercy' (11). We look forward to 'the Lord's Coming' as the great Day of our salvation (7-8). We must not, however, forget God's words of warning: 'The Judge is standing at the door'. God speaks to us concerning 'the misery that is coming upon you'. What is He saying to us here? - He is warning us: Be careful how you live - Don't trust in riches. 'Don't grumble against each other' (1-3,9). The warning and the promise belong together. Those who are facing judgment can be brought to the Saviour. May God help us to speak His Word - the warning as well as the promise - , always praying that sinners will be saved (16,19-20).
19th June: Jeremiah 33:1-26
'I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against Me...Then this city will bring Me renown, joy, praise, and honour before all nations on earth...' (7-9). What great blessing lay ahead of God's people! God was pointing His people to the place of blessing: Jesus Christ - 'the righteous Branch from David's line' (15-16). 'In Christ', we have 'every spiritual blessing': 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him' (Ephesians 1:3; 1 Corinthians 2:9). God has so much blessing to give to us. Come to Him and receive His blessing: 'Call to Me, and I will answer you; I will show you wonderful and marvellous things that you know nothing about' (3).
20th June: Jeremiah 34:1-22
'Freedom for the slaves' - What a good idea! 'Everyone agreed'. The slaves were 'set free'. So far, so good! Then things went wrong - 'Afterwards they changed their minds and took back the slaves...and enslaved them again' (8-11). What did God have to say about this? - 'You have turned round and dishonoured Me...You took back the slaves...You forced them into slavery again...You have not obeyed Me' (16-17). Jesus Christ isn't like these slavemasters! He doesn't only promise us freedom. He gives us our freedom: 'If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed'. He doesn't come to us with 'a pack of lies' - promising this, that and the other, and then breaking every promise. He sets us free with His Word of truth - 'You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free' (John 8:36,32; Psalm 119:45).
21st June: Jeremiah 35:1-19
'Will you not learn a lesson and obey My words?' (13) - 'Jonadab, son of Rechab, ordered his sons not to drink wine and this command has been kept...I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed Me' (14). We are not to say, 'I will follow You' and then change our mind (Luke 9:57). We are not to sing, 'Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee', and then live a life which contradicts our prayer of commitment to the Lord (Church Hymnary, 462). We are to mean what we say. We are to follow through our words of commitment with a life of obedience, a life that is pleasing to the Lord. The Rechabites were obedient to Jonadaab's command - and they were blessed by God (18-19). Obedient and blessed - That's what God wants us to be. Let's obey the Lord - and look to Him for the blessing.
22nd June: Psalm 108:1-13
'With God we shall gain the victory. He will trample down our enemies' (13). In ourselves, there is only defeat. We are no match for 'our enemies' - the world, the flesh and the devil. We are surrounded by the world - 'The world is ever near. I see the sights that dazzle. The tempting sounds I hear'. We live with the constant problem of the flesh - 'the storms of passion, the murmurs of self-will' (Church Hymnary, 434). Behind the world and the flesh, there is an even stronger enemy - the devil: 'Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against...the spiritual forces of evil...' (Ephesians 6:12). Our situation seems to be utterly hopeless. How can we possibly win the victory? The simple truth is: We cannot. There is, however, a deeper truth: God is with us - and 'with God we shall win the victory'!
23rd June: Psalm 109:1-31
We must come to the Lord, recognizing that, without Him, our situation is hopeless - 'I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I fade away like an evening shadow' (22). When our enemies are on the attack, we are no match for them. What are we to do when the world, the flesh and the devil are threatening to overwhelm us? We must come to the Lord, praying for His help, asking Him to save us - 'Help me, O Lord my God; save me in accordance with Your love' (26). Let us look away from ourselves and our own weakness. Let us put our trust in the Lord and His strength. The Lord will not fail us. He 'stands beside' us in our time of testing. He 'saves' us from our enemies. Let us praise Him: 'I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth. I will praise Him among many people...' (30-31).
24th June: Jeremiah 36:1-32
'The king cut it with the penknife, and threw it into the fire' (23). The king didn't like God's Word. He thought he could get rid of God's Word. What a fool he was! God saw what was going on. The king's attempt to silence God was utterly futile. God would not be silenced. He continued to speak His Word. Soon, the king was hearing another Word from the Lord: 'You burned that scroll...' (29)! God is still speaking to us today. He calls us to listen to Him. He calls us back from the way of 'wickedness', back from the brink of 'disaster' (31). He calls us back from the way of unbelief, the way that leads to 'the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels'. He calls us to be 'blessed'. Have faith in the Saviour. Receive 'the Kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world' (Matthew 25:41,34).
25th June: Jeremiah 37:1-21
'Is there any Word from the Lord?' - 'Yes! There is a Word from the Lord'. The Word from the Lord wasn't exactly what the king wanted to hear - 'You will be handed over to the king of Babylon' (17). God was going to bless His people - but they would have to be patient: Things were going to get an awful lot worse before they would get much better! Before their restoration - "I will bring them back and restore them to this place' - , God's people faced captivity - 'They will be taken to Babylon'. There was bad news - a captivity of 'seventy years'. There was good news - the captivity wouldn't last forever (27:22; 29:10-11)! God speaks of His blessing - 'It will certainly come' - , but He also says, 'Wait for it' (Habakkuk 2:3). Let's listen to all that He says to us - and not 'only hear what we want to hear'!
26th June: Jeremiah 38:1-28
'No Surrender' - Was this the way forward for God's people? 'No Surrender' - What would happen if God's people adopted this attitude? Jeremiah speaks God's Word to the people. He calls them to make their choice. They can 'surrender' and 'live'. They can say, 'No Surrender' - and face certain death (17-18). Captivity in Babylon would not be easy. They would be heartbroken as they recalled happier times - 'By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion'. It would be so difficult to keep on praising the Lord - 'How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?' (Psalm 137:1,4). Life in Babylon would be difficult - but 'it would not be the end of the world'! They could still look forward to the fulfilment of God's 'gracious promise': 'I will come to you and bring you back to this place' (29:10).
27th June: Proverbs 21:1-31
'The victory belongs to the Lord' (31). When defeat seems inevitable, God comes to us with His Word of encouragement: 'The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save, a Warrior who gives victory. He will take great delight in you. He will renew you in His love. He will rejoice over you with singing' (Zephaniah 3:17). God's Word shows us the way of victory. It is the way of faith in our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 'This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?' (1 John 5:4). God 'gives victory' to us. We must receive His victory by 'faith'. Living for Christ is never easy - 'In this world you will have trouble'. Don't let this get you down. Jesus says, 'Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world' (John 16:33).
28th June: Psalm 110:1-7
'The Lord says to my Lord: 'Sit at My right hand...' (1). These words direct our attention to our Lord Jesus Christ: When 'He was taken up into heaven, He sat at the right hand of God' (Mark 16:19). When Jesus ascended to the Father's right hand, the Holy Spirit was sent down from heaven to fill our lives with God's blessing (John 7:37-39). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, our lives are changed: 'In the Day of Your power, Your people will come to You willingly...' . We come to the Lord in our weakness, and He 'renews our strength'. We come to Him in our weariness, and we are 'refreshed' by His 'streams of living water' (3,7). 'Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace. Streams of mercy never ceasing call for songs of loudest praise' (Revised Church Hymnary, 435).
29th June: Psalms 111:1-112:10
'Praise the Lord...To Him belong eternal praise...Blessed is the man who fears the Lord...His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes...' (111:1,10; 112:1,8). Those who 'fear the Lord' have no need to live in fear of man. Those who know that 'eternal praise belongs to the Lord' can face their enemies with confidence. Our confidence is not in ourselves. Our confidence is in the Lord. We know how good the Lord has been to us - 'He provided redemption for His people'. We have heard and believed the Good News of Christ. We need not 'fear' any 'bad news' which the devil sends our way. We 'trust in the Lord', confident that the 'light ' will triumph over the 'darkness'. The Good News of Christ will triumph over the devil's bad news (111:9; 112:4,7).
30th June: Psalms 113:1-114:8
'The Lord is high above all nations...Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high?...Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, who turns the hard rock into springs of water' (113:4-5; 114:7-8). The Lord is greater than we could ever imagine. There is no greatness like the greatness of the Lord. All human greatness cannot even begin to compare with the greatness of God. His greatness is not only the greatness of His power. It is also the greatness of His love. When we sing, 'How great Thou art', we sing not only of His power - 'Thy power throughout the universe displayed'. We sing also of His love - 'And when I think that God His Son not sparing, sent Him to die - I scarce can take it in, that on the Cross my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin...' (Mission Praise, 506).

1st July: Jeremiah 39:1-18
You can take the man out of Babylon, but you can't take Babylon out of the man! We may have never set foot in the ancient city of Babylon, but we know all about the spirit of Babylon! 'The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt' (17:9) - This is the spirit of Babylon, 'the spirit of disobedience', the spirit which is 'at work' in every one of us: 'All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God' (Ephesians 2:2; Romans 3:23). Is there any hope for us? We cannot change ourselves: 'Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil' (13:23). We can be changed by God. To those who 'trust' in Him, the Lord says, 'I will save you' (18). God wants to bless you. Put your trust in Him. Let His blessing flow into your heart (17:7).
2nd July: Jeremiah 40:1-16
'The Lord your God pronounced this evil against this place; the Lord has brought it about, and has done as He said. Because you sinned against the Lord, and did not obey His voice, this thing has come upon you' (3). We hear a great deal today about 'the feel good factor'. People need to get a good feeling: 'Give them a pat on the back. Make them feel good about themselves'. There's not much of a 'feel good factor' in Jeremiah's preaching! The people must have been wondering, 'Where did they dig him up from? He has nothing good to say about anyone or anything'. We must rise above the sarcasm of those who have no time for the Word of the Lord. We must ask, 'Where did Jeremiah's message really come from?'. This is what the Word of the Lord says: 'The Word came to Jeremiah from the Lord' (1).
3rd July: Jeremiah 41:1-42:6
Terrible things were happening! Things were going from bad to worse. 'What next?' - The people were wondering where it would all end. What are we to do when everything seems to be getting totally out of control? There is one thing we must never forget. It is the most important thing of all. We must 'pray to the Lord our God'. We must ask Him to 'show us the way we should go'. He will 'show us the thing that we should do' (42:2-3). It's time to stop complaining and start praying. 'What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!...Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer!...Jesus knows our every weakness. Take it to the Lord in prayer!' (Mission Praise, 746).
4th July: Jeremiah 42:7-43:7
'Do not go to Egypt' (19). We may never set foot in the country known as 'Egypt' - but the spirit of 'Egypt' may be in our hearts: 'Who is the Lord, that I should obey Him...?' (Exodus 5:2). 'Egypt' is an attitude of the heart. It is an attitude of rebellion against God. We must say 'No' to 'Egypt'. We must say 'No' to the spirit of rebellion against God. For God's people, 'Egypt' was a place of slavery, a place from which they needed to be set free by God (Exodus 2:23-25; 3:7-10). Each of us must choose how we will live. We can remain in the place of slavery - 'slaves of sin' - , or we can be 'obedient from the heart', stepping out from that place into the place of freedom, 'the new life of the Spirit' - '`the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death' (Romans 6:17-18; 7:6; 8:2).
5th July: Psalm 115:1-18
'Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to Your Name be the glory because of Your love and faithfulness' (1). God loves us. He loves us with a faithful love, 'an evelasting love', a 'love that will not let us go'. His love 'never comes to an end'. Nothing can separate us from His love (Jeremiah 31:3; Lamentations 3:22-23; Romans 8:38-39; Church Hymnary, 677). What have we done to deserve such love? Absolutely nothing! We are 'sinners'. We do not deserve to be loved by God. We have done nothing to earn His love. Love begins with God. It comes from Him. How do we know that He loves us? Have we proved ourselves worthy of His love? No! - 'God shows His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us'. 'To God be the glory!' (Romans 5:8; Church Hymnary, 374).
6th July: Psalms 116:1-117:2
'I love the Lord...I will call on Him as long as I live' (116:1-2). Our love for God is to be a lifelong life. It is to be the love of our life. What are we to do when our love for God grows weak? We must remember His love for us - 'Great is His love towards us. The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever' (117:2). When we we find it difficult to keep on loving God, we must remember how much He loves us. When we feel live giving up on loving God, we must remember that He never gives up on loving us. He loves us when our love for Him is strong. He loves us when our love for Him is weak. In love, He reaches out to us. He brings us out of our weakness and into His strength. Let His strong love reach you in your weakness and give you His strength: 'Loving Him who first loved me' (Church Hymnary, 450).
7th July: Jeremiah 43:8-44:14
'The Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah' (43:8). The Lord speaks His Word to those who are prepared to make time for listening to Him. Come to God's Word, praying that it will be 'a lamp to your feet and a light to your path'. Come with the prayer, 'Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Word'. See that you 'live according to His Word': 'I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You' (Psalm 119:105,18,9,11). Pray that God will 'speak' to you. 'Listen' to what He says to you (1 Samuel 3:10). 'Say to them, "This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel says..."' (43:10). Don't keep God's Word to yourself. Share His Word. We are not to listen to God without also speaking for Him. We must remember that we cannot really speak for Him unless we are also listening to Him.
8th July: Jeremiah 44:15-45:5
'Egypt' was to be a place of punishment. To those who remain in the the place of rebellion, God says, 'I will punish you in this place'. This is His Word of warning. We don't need to remain in the place of rebellion and punishment. We can 'return' to 'Judah', the place of obedience and blessing (28-29). This is not about places we will find on a map of the world. It's a call to look into the secret places of our hearts. We must ask God to search our hearts. What will He find when He looks into our hearts? Will He find rebellion? Will He find obedience? God wants us to leave the place of rebellion and punishment. He wants us to return to the place of obedience and blessing. 'Search me, O God, and know my heart!...See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!' (Psalm 139:23-24).
9th July: Jeremiah 46:1-28
'Egypt rises like the Nile, like rivers whose waters surge. He said, "I will rise, I will cover the earth, I will destroy cities and their inhabitants"' (8). The spirit of rebellion against God is very powerful. Many lives have been destroyed by the attitude of proud unbelief: 'Who is the Lord, that I should obey Him...?' (Exodus 5:2). We must take our stand against this attitude. We must stand up for the Lord. We see the world going from bad and worse. We must continue to believe the Word of God. When we are filled with fear, He comes to us with His Word, 'Do not fear...Do not be dismayed...'. When we feel the spirit of rebellion sweeping over us, God comes to us with His promise: 'I will surely save you out of a distant place'. He gives us 'peace and security' - 'Do not fear...I am with you' (27-28).
10th July: Jeremiah 47:1-48:17
'The day has come to destroy all the Philistines...The Lord is about to destroy the Philistines ...Woe to you, O Moab! The people of Chemosh are destroyed' (47:4). That seems like ancient history - nothing to do with us! What about this? - 'A curse on him who is lax in doing the Lord's work!' (48:17). The Bible may have been written many centuries ago - but it still has a great deal to do with us! We miss the point if we read the Bible as no more than a book of ancient history. God is still speaking to us through His Word. He is still calling us to sit up and take notice. He is still demanding our attention. We must not be lazy in the work of the Lord. We are to be faithful servants of the Lord. 'Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord...your labour in the Lord is not in vain' (1 Corinthians 15:58).
11th July: 1 Peter 1:1-25
On earth, we have 'trials'. In 'heaven', we will have 'salvation' (3-9). In our journey from trials to salvation, from earth to heaven, we are to live a life of holiness and love. In this life of 'obedience to the truth', we must never forget that we have been 'redeemed with the precious blood of Christ' (15,22,18-19). We must never take pride in our obedience - 'boasting is excluded'. All that can be said about ourselves is this: 'all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God'. What makes the difference? What is it that changes us? What is it that sets us on the pathway of holiness and love? We have received 'the redemption which is in Christ Jesus'. Our 'faith' is in Him (Romans 3:27,23-25). He makes the difference. He changes us. He makes us holy. He fills us with His love.
12th July: 1 Peter 2:1-25
Being 'God's own people' is a great privilege - 'you have received mercy'. It is also a great responsibility - 'declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light' (9-10). God's people are described as 'strangers in the world' (11). We must not think of ourselves as 'superior' - 'a cut above the rest'. We are not! In ourselves, we are 'strangers' - 'without God in the world'. There's nothing 'special' about us, There's something very special about what God has done for us: 'In Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ' (Ephesians 2:12-13). As those who 'have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls', let's point others to Him who 'bore our sins...that we might die to sin and live to righteousness' (24-25).
13th July: 1 Peter 3:1-4:6
The world is preoccupied with outward appearances. As Christians, we should be more concerned with our inward attitude. 'In your hearts reverence Christ as Lord'. Pray for His 'attitude' - 'a tender heart and a humble mind' (8,15; 4:1). We believe the Gospel - 'Christ died for our sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God'. Let's share the Gospel - 'Be always ready to give...a reason for the hope that is in you'. How are we to share the Gospel? - 'with gentleness and respect' (18,15). We must get the attitude right - 'so that nothing will hinder our prayers' (7). We need more than the 'right' prayers - words that sound good. We need the right attitude. The blessing will not come because our words sound good. It will only come when our attitude is right.
14th July: 1 Peter 4:7-5:14
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' (4:11; 5:11). We will not learn to serve God unless we are learning to worship Him. There is a 'form of religion' which 'denies the power' of God - 'These people honour Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me' (2 Timothy 3:5; Matthew 15:8). They go through the motions - but their hearts are not in it! We must pray that God will deliver us from this kind of thing: 'O for a heart to praise my God! A heart from sin set free; A heart that always feels Thy blood, so freely shed for me' (Church Hymnary, 85). 'Religion' is about respectability. Salvation is about renewal: 'Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me' (Psalm 51:10).
15th July: Jeremiah 49:1-22
'Afterwards I will restore the fortunes...' (6). Sometimes, when you're going through a particularly difficult time, you may wonder, 'Will this ever end?'. God speaks to us His Word of encouragement. There will be an 'afterwards'. There will be a 'restoration of our fortunes'. 'The Lord will not cast us off for ever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion according to His steadfast love. He does not willingly bring suffering or grief to anyone' (Lamentations 3:31-33). There will come a time when we will be able to look back at our most distressing circumstances and say from the heart, 'God meant it for good' (Genesis 50:20). In our most testing and trying times, God is teaching us to say, with confidence in Him, 'We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him' (Romans 8:28).
16th July: Jeremiah 49:23-39
'I will restore the fortunes...in days to come' (39). God is calling us on to His future, a glorious future, a future full of heavenly and eternal glory. We look ahead to 'days to come'. We look ahead to the greatest Day of all - the Day of Christ's Return. It will be a glorious Day - 'the Day He comes to be glorified...in all who have believed'. What a glorious Day it will be - the Day of 'the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ', the Day of 'our being gathered to Him': 'The Lord Himself will come down from heaven...We will be with the Lord for ever'. Get ready for Christ's Return. Don't be like those who 'perish'. They 'do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus'. They 'refuse to love the truth and be saved'. Have 'faith' in Christ and be 'saved' (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; 2:1,10,13-14; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
17th July: Jeremiah 50:1-28
'The people...will go in tears to seek the Lord their God...They will come and bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten' (4-5). God is calling us to come to Him. He is calling us to commit ourselves to Him. We are to come to the Lord with 'tears': 'Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation' (2 Corinthians 7:10). Our commitment to the Lord is not to be a half-hearted thing. It is to be a whole-hearted dedication of our lives to Him. God loves us. He has blessed us so much. He has drawn us to Himself. He has heard and answered our prayer for salvation. How are we to respond to such love? We must give ourselves to Him as 'a living sacrifice'. This is our 'spiritual worship'. It is 'holy and pleasing to God' (Romans 12:1).
18th July: Jeremiah 50:29-46
'The arrogant one will stumble and fall' (32). God's Word warns us - 'Pride goes before...a fall'; 'Arrogance will bring your downfall' (Proverbs 16:18; 29:23). We must not trust in ourselves. We must put our trust in the Lord - Our 'Redeemer is strong. The Lord Almighty is His Name' (34). We must not boast of ourselves. Salvation is 'not our own doing'. We must 'boast of the Lord'. Salvation is 'the gift of God' (1 Corinthians 1:31; Ephesians 2:8-9). When we are tempted to take pride in ourselves - 'Lord, I thank You that I am not like other men...' (Luke 18:11-12), we must come to the Cross of Christ, praying the sinner's prayer - 'Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner' (Luke 18:13) - and boasting only of the Lord - 'God forbid that I should glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ' (Galatians 6:14).
19th July: Psalm 118:1-29
'The Lord is my Strength and my Song. He is my Saviour' (14). Knowing that Jesus Christ is our Saviour gives us a song to sing: 'Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine...This is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour all the day long'. Knowing that Jesus Christ is our Saviour, we sing His song with strength, committing ourselves to His service, earnestly seeking to win others for Him: 'We've a story to tell to the nations, that shall turn their hearts to the right ...We've a song to be sung to the nations, that shall lift their hearts to the Lord...We've a message to give to the nations, that the Lord, who reigneth above, hath sent us His Son to save us...We've a Saviour to show to the nations...' (Mission Praise, 59,744). Don't keep your Saviour to yourself. Share Him with others. Win others for Him.
20th July: Psalm 119:1-24
The way of blessing is the way of obedience (1,9,11,17). Many will choose the way of disobedience - 'influential people sit together and slander me'. We must choose the way of obedience - 'Your servant will meditate on Your teachings' (23). Following Jesus Christ will not be easy. We see many people turning back from following Him. We are tempted to join them. We feel the pull of the world. We must not take our eyes off Jesus. We must not return to the world's way of living. We must remember all that Jesus has done for us - 'He loved us and gave Himself for us' (Galatians 2:20) - and recommit ourselves to following Him: 'I have decided to follow Jesus...The world behind me, the Cross before me...Though none go with me, I still will follow...No turning back, no turning back' (Mission Praise, 272).
21st July: Psalm 119: 25-48
'Revive me according to Your Word' (25). How does God revive us according to His Word? He gives us His salvation: 'Let Your unfailing love come to me, O Lord - Your salvation according to Your Word' (41). He gives us His strength: 'My soul is weary with sorrow. Strengthen me according to Your Word' (28). He gives us a change of heart: 'I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on Your laws...I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free...Give me understanding, and I will keep Your law and obey it with my whole heart...Turn my heart to Your testimonies...' (30,32,34,36). He gives us 'new life': 'When someone becomes a Christian he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!' (40; 2 Corinthians 5:17).
22nd July: Psalm 119:49-72
God's Word makes such a difference! When everything seems so hopeless, we turn to God's Word and we find that there is 'hope' (49). When we are going through a time of terrible 'suffering', we turn to God's Word and we find 'comfort' (50,52). When everything seems to be going so badly, we must keep on reading the Word of the Lord: 'The wicked have laid a trap for me, but I do not forget Your law' (61). Through His Word, God is teaching us to see His purpose in our sufferings: 'The punishment You gave me was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to Your laws' (71). God is showing us what is really important: 'The law that You gave means more to me than all the money in the world' (72). He is teaching us to see His 'love' in every part of our life (64).
23rd July: Psalm 119:73-96
We rejoice in God's 'constant love'. This is our 'comfort' - God keeps on loving us no matter what's going on in our lives. We may be going through really hard times - 'Men persecute me with lies...They have almost succeeded in killing me'. There's one thing that never changes - God's 'constant love'. He loves us in the hard times as well as in the happy times. His love inspires us to keep on loving Him when we feel like giving up in despair (76,86-88). We see many changes taking place in our world. Sometimes, we wonder, 'Where is God in all of this? Has He abandoned us? Can we keep on trusting Him and rejoicing in His Word?'. When our minds are full of negative thoughts, we must remember God's Word - 'Your Word, O Lord, will last for ever...Your faithfulness endures through all the ages' (89-90).
24th July: Psalm 119:97-120
Throughout life, we have to make choices. Some choices are relatively straightforward. Others are very much more difficult. Some choices don't affect the rest of our life very much. There are, however, choices which affect the whole of our life. There is one choice which is more important than any other - Choosing the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour. Those who refuse to choose are 'double-minded'(113). They can't make up their mind. They know that they should be following Christ - but they are still 'in love with the world'. They are 'lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God' (I John 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:4). Make your choice. Say to the world, 'Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God'. Say to God, 'I have decided to obey Your laws until the day I die' (115,112).
25th July: Psalm 119:121-144
'The entrance of Your words gives light' (130). The Word of God brings light into our lives. Sadly, many people 'love darkness rather than light'. They refuse to 'come to the light'. They prefer to remain in the darkness. They refuse to listen to what God is saying to them through His Word. Then, when things are not going so well for them, they blame God. They say, 'It's all Your fault'! Things could have been so different. They could have learned to spend time with God. They could have learned the lessons of faith which are found in God's Word. They could have learned to cope with life's difficulties. They could have been filled with the strength of the Lord. They would not be complaining against Him. They would be rejoicing in Him: He has 'called us out of darkness into His marvellous light' (1 Peter 2:10).
26th July: Psalm 119:145-176
'With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!' (145). God is calling us to pray. There is nothing more important than this. If other things have become more important in our lives, we need to think about the way we are living. God wants to send His blessing into our lives: 'Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you' (Matthew 7:7). His blessing will come to those who seek him with their whole heart: 'You will seek Me and find Me when you seek me with all your heart' (Jeremiah 29:13). If we do not ask, we will not receive: 'You do not have, because you do not ask' (James 4:2). God's blessing is not given to those who are half-hearted. God is calling us to love Him with our whole heart: 'I long for Your salvation, O Lord, and Your law is my delight' (174).
27th July: Jeremiah 51:1-33
'Lift up a banner in the land! Blow the trumpet among the nations!' (27). God calls us to be His witnesses. If we are growing in our fellowship with the Lord, we will want others to know what they're missing. We will want them to know how much blessing they could know - if they put their faith in Christ and began to walk with Him day-by-day. Let us give our testimony: 'The Lord is my Banner', 'His banner over me is love' (Exodus 17:15; Song of Solomon 2:4). Let us make sure that our 'trumpet' gives out 'a clear call', calling people to come to Christ. We must point them to Christ, calling them to trust Him as Saviour and obey Him as Lord. We must show them the way to true happiness: 'Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey' (Mission Praise, 760).
28th July: Jeremiah 51:34-64
'When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud' (61). God's Word is not to be kept within the place of worship. We are to take His Word to 'Babylon'. We must speak His Word in the places where He is not worshipped. We are to call people to turn from their sinful ways. We are to call them to return to the Lord. This will not be an easy message to speak. Many people won't want to hear it. We must warn people that by neglecting God's salvation, they are placing themselves in danger of His judgment. We must speak of the Day when everyone of us must 'answer' to God concerning the way we have lived our lives (Hebrews 2:3; 4:13). We must call on people to 'believe in the Lord Jesus' and 'be saved' (Acts 16:31).
29th July: Jeremiah 52:1-34
We need 'a portion for each day...all the days of our life' (34). When we pray, 'Give us this day our daily bread', we must look beynd our physical need for food. We must remember our spiritual need for 'the Bread of life': 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word of God' (Matthew 6:11; John 6:35; Luke 4:4). Day-by day, we should pray for spiritual feeding: 'Break Thou the Bread of life, dear Lord to me, as Thou didst break the bread beside the sea. Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord. My spirit longs for Thee, Thou living Word! Thou art the Bread of life, O Lord, to me, Thy holy Word the truth that saveth me. Give me to eat and live with Thee above. Teach me to love Thy truth, for Thou art love' (Mission Praise, 64).
30th July: Psalm 120:1-121:8
'Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips' (120:2). God calls us to 'believe the truth', 'love the truth' and 'follow the truth'. We are to be people who 'do what is true' (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11; 3 John 3-4; John 3:21). How can we be such people? We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. He is 'the Truth' (Hebrews 12:2; John 14:6). When we are tempted to turn away from the pathway of truth, we must remember this: 'My help comes from the Lord'. We must remember God's promise: 'The Lord is your Keeper...The Lord will keep you from all evil'. God's promise is not only for 'this time'. It's 'for evermore'(121:2,5,7-8). This gives us glorious hope as we keep on looking to Christ,'eagerly awaiting' His Return ( Hebrews 9:28).
31st July: Psalm 122:1-124:8
'I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go into the House of the Lord"' (122:2). Why do we go to the House of the Lord? We go 'to give thanks to the Name of the Lord' (122:4). We seek His mercy for our past sins: 'Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us!' (123:3). We seek His help for our future temptations: 'Our help is in the Name of the Lord...' (124:8). As we receive mercy and help from the Lord, we worship Him: 'Blessed be the Lord' (124:6). In our worship, we 'look to the Lord of our God', drawing encouragement from His Word: 'The Lord is on our side' - In Him we have the victory (123:2; 124:1-5). Rejoicing in God's blessing, we pray for others: 'May they prosper who love You' (122:6).

1st August: Lamentations 1:1-22

Jerusalem had fallen into hard times - 'she who once was great among the nations...has now become a slave' (1). The explanation for this sad situation was not hard to find - 'Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean...' (8-9). Could things be turned around? Could there once again be blessing? There was a way back to God - the way of being honest before Him. They needed to look seriously at their way of life and think seriously about their attitude towards the Lord. They were not to adopt an arrogant attitude - 'There's really nothing wrong with us. We're doing all right'. They were to come to God with a real confession of sin: 'The Lord is righteous, yet I rebelled against His command...O Lord,...I have been most rebellious' (18,20). God's blessing will begin again when we confess our sin.

2nd August: Lamentations 2:1-22

Jerusalem's fall into hard times was not 'just one of those things that happens'. God's people brought it on themselves. They did not take God seriously - but God continued to take them seriously. They ignored God - but God did not ignore their disobedience to Him. They sinned against God - and He was angry with them: 'How the Lord in His anger has set the daughter of Zion under a cloud!' (1). This was not just a case of glibly saying, 'The good times will come again'. They needed to recognize why the bad times had come: 'The Lord has...carried out His threat' (17). The Lord had warned His sinful people. Judgment was on its way - if they refused to listen to Him. Now, in the time of His judgment, God is still calling us back to Himself: 'Cry aloud to the Lord!...' (18-19). Will we return to Him?

3rd August: Lamentations 3:1-24

There are times when it seems nothing is going right for us: 'I am the man who has seen affliction...' (1-3). In such times, we must remember this: 'The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end'. When we find ourselves in circumstances of great distress, we must learn to look beyond the things that are happening to us. We must learn to look to the Lord and say, 'Great is Your faithfulness'. It will not be easy to see God at work in our lives when everything seems to be going wrong. We must be patient as we wait for the blessing of the Lord to return to our lives. We must put all our hope in the Lord, trusting in His precious promise: 'The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord' (22-26).

4th August: Lamentations 3:25-42

In our 'grief', we must not forget the 'compassion' of God (32). He understands us. He cares for us. How do we know that God loves us? 'Christ died for us' (Romans 5:8). This is the greatest demonstration of God's love for us. How can we doubt God's love for us when we think of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, dying on the Cross for us as our Saviour? When we think of God's love for us, we must remember that He calls us to love Him. We are not to take God's love for granted - 'God loves me. I can do what I like'. We are to appreciate God's love - 'God loves me. I will love Him'. God loves us. Christ died for us. How can we say, 'I'll do what I like'? How can we refuse to be changed by His love? 'Let us examine our ways and turn back to the Lord. Let us open our hearts to God' (40-41).

5th August: Lamentations 3:43-66

'You came near when I called You...O Lord...You redeemed my life' (57-58). We wonder, 'Will God answer my prayer for salvation?'. Yes! At the Cross of Christ, we learn that God loves us and answers our prayer. 'You did not wait for me to draw near to You, but You clothed yourself in frail humanity. You did not wait for me to cry out to You, but You let me hear Your voice calling me. And I'm forever grateful to You, I'm forever grateful for the Cross; I'm forever grateful to You that You came to seek and save the lost'. 'Thank You for the Cross, the price You paid for us, how You gave Yourself so completely, precious Lord, precious Lord. Now our sins are gone, all forgiven, covered by Your blood, all forgotten, thank You Lord, thank You Lord' (Songs of Fellowship, 631; Mission Praise, 632).

6th August: Lamentations 4:1-22

No human king can even begin to compare with our Lord Jesus Christ, 'the King of kings' (Revelation 19:16). The people of Jerusalem were full of confidence. They 'trusted their king to protect them from every invader'. They thought Jerusalem was invincible: 'No one anywhere, not even rulers of foreign nations, believed that any invader could enter Jerusalem's gates'. They were wrong. They thought it would never happen - but it did! The unthinkable happened! 'They captured the source of our life, the king the Lord had chosen'. Why did it happen? God's Word gives us the reason: 'It happened because of the sins of her prophets and...priests'. The king - 'the Lord's anointed' - was unable to prevent Jerusalem's defeat (12-13,20). Praise God - We have a greater King: our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ!

7th August: Lamentations 5:1-22

'You, O Lord, reign for ever; Your throne endures from generation to generation'. We must remember this when we feel like we have been 'forgotten' by God. When we feel like God has 'abandoned' us, we must remember this: 'You, O Lord, are King for ever, and will rule to the end of time' (19-20). We are not only to pay lip-service to the Lord our King. We are to crown Him as King of our heart and life. How are we to do this? We must pray, 'Bring us back to You, Lord!' (21). God is looking for a real return to Him and a real difference in our lives. 'In your hearts enthrone Him. There let Him subdue all that is not holy, all that is not true...'; 'So let us learn how to serve and in our lives enthrone Him, each other's needs to prefer, for it is Christ we're serving' (Church Hymnary, 300; Mission Praise, 162).

8th August: Proverbs 22:1-29

'So that your trust may be in the Lord, I teach you today, even you' (19). Many people say, 'It's not for me'. They know that others have been greatly blessed through reading God's Word. Still, they do not take the trouble to read God's Word for themselves. They can't be bothered. Receiving God's blessing doesn't really matter that much to them. Don't miss out on God's blessing. God's Word is for 'you'. It's not just for somebody else. It's for you - 'even you'. Some people say, 'I'll read God's Word tomorrow'. When 'tomorrow' comes around, they're still saying the same thing - 'I'll read God's Word tomorrow'! Sadly, their 'tomorrow' never comes. They never get round to reading God's Word. They're missing out on so much. Don't say, 'I'll leave it till tomorrow'. Read God's Word 'today'.

9th August: Proverbs 23:1-18

'Continue in the fear of the Lord all day long. Let reverence for the Lord be the concern of your life'. To those who put Him first in their lives, God gives His great promise of blessing, 'There is surely a future hope for you. You have a bright future. Surely you have a wonderful future ahead of you' (17-18). What a glorious future lies ahead of those who love the Lord: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him' (1 Corinthians 2:9)! We must not become 'short-sighted'. We must look ahead to 'the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ'. God has given us 'His very great and precious promises'. Let us press on in 'faith', becoming more and more 'active and effective in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ' (2 Peter 1:3-11).

10th August: Ezekiel 1:1-2:10

'The heavens were opened and I saw visions of God...The Word of the Lord came to Ezekiel'(1:1-2). The Lord opens our eyes to 'see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ' (2 Corinthians 4:4). The Lord speaks to us and we must listen to Him: 'Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening' (1 Samuel 3:9-10). 'The Spirit came into me...Do not be afraid of them or their words' (2:2,6). Through the Spirit, we receive wisdom - 'We have received the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand what God has freely given us' - and strength - 'God strengthens us with power through His Spirit in our inner being' (1 Corinthians 2::12; Ephesians 3:16). 'Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart...Be Thou my Wisdom, Thou my true Word...Be Thou my Battleshield, sword for the fight' (Church Hymnary, 87).

11th August: Ezekiel 3:1-4:17

God speaks to us: 'The Word of the Lord came to me' (3:16). We speak to God: "Ah, Lord God!' (4:14). We speak for God: "When I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you shall say to them, "This is what the Lord God says, Whoever will listen, let him listen...' (3:27). How can we keep on listening to God, speaking to God and speaking for God? We need to be strengthened with the power of the Holy Spirit: 'The Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet' (3:24). The Spirit is our 'Helper'. He helps us to listen to God: 'The Holy Spirit will teach you all things' (John 14:26). He helps us to speak to God: 'The Spirit helps us in our weakness' (Romans 8:26). He helps us to speak for God: 'You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses' (Acts 1:8).

12th August: Ezekiel 5:1-6:14

'Because you have defiled My sanctuary...I Myself will withdraw My favour' (5:11). To those who despise His Word and treat the place of prayer with contempt, Jesus still speaks His Word of judgment: 'My House will be called a House of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves' (Matthew 21:13). God is warning us: "You have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Return to Me and change the way you think and act. If you don't change, I will come to you and remove your lamp from its place' (Revelation 2:4-5). When God removes His blessing, there is nothing left but 'a desolate waste' (6:14). Make sure you don't become like Samson - '"I will go out as at other times, and shake myself free". He did not know that the Lord had left him' (Judges 16:20).

13th August: 2 Peter 1:1-2:10a

God 'has given us His very great and precious promises' (1:4). God has a great purpose for us. He is preparing for us 'a rich welcome into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ' (11). The pathway to heavenly and eternal glory is not an easy one. Often, we will be tempted to settle for being 'ineffective and unproductive in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ'. There will be many distractions, drawing our attention away from Christ. We must keep our eyes on Him if we are not to become 'blind and short-sighted'. We can so easily forget the most important thing - we have been 'cleansed from our old sins'. It is so important that we keep looking to Christ, remembering what He has done for us and giving thanks to Him (1:8-9). 'The Lord' will not fail us in our 'trials' (2:9). Let's not fail Him!

14th August: 2 Peter 2:10b-3:18

'Grow' in Christ and give 'glory' to Him. Centred on 'our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ', our life is filled with 'grace' and 'glory'. From Him, we receive 'grace' - 'From the fulness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another'. From Him, we receive 'glory' - 'I have given them the glory that You gave Me' (3:18; John 1:16; 17:22). Where does this life of grace and glory begin? It begins with God. In ourselves, there is sin. In Him, there is salvation. 'He is patient with us'. He waits for us to 'come to repentance'. He shows us our sin so that we might learn to look to our Saviour - 'Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation' (3:9; 2 Corinthians 7:10). Turn to the Lord. Let it be real. Let Him lead you in His pathway - the pathway of grace and glory.

15th August: Psalms 125:1-127:5

'Those who trust in the Lord...cannot be moved...'. When we put our trust in the Lord, we are like the 'wise man who built his house on the rock'. His house 'did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock'. When we do not put our trust in the Lord, we are like the'foolish man who built his house on sand'. His house 'fell with a great crash'. 'Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain' (125:1; 127:1; Matthew 7:24-27). 'Jesus Christ' is the 'sure Foundation' upon which our faith is built. He is 'the solid Rock', our 'mighty Rock of spiritual refreshment' (1 Corinthians 3:11; 10:3-4; Church Hymnary, 10,411). 'Christ died for our sins...He was raised on the third day'. Let us rejoice in Him: 'The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy' (126:3; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

16th August: Ezekiel 7:1-8:18

'This is what the Sovereign Lord says to the land of Israel: The end!' (7:2). Why did God say, 'This is "the end"'? He had been taking a good look at what was going on among His people: 'the utterly detestable things the house of Israel is doing here, things that will drive Me far from My sanctuary' (8:6). He came to this conclusion - 'This is the end of the road. It's the end of the time of blessing. It's now time for judgment': "The end is now upon you and I will unleash My anger against you. I will judge you according to...all your detestable practices...' (7:3-4). Why did God say, 'This is "the end"' - the end of a time of blessing, the beginning of a time of judgment? The answer is clear: If there is no obedience, there can be no blessing. Disobedience can lead to only one thing - judgment.

17th August: Ezekiel 9:1-10:22

For many people, the time of blessing had come to an end and the time of judgment had begun. Some, however, would escape the judgment, They had been obedient to God. He protected them in the time of judgment: 'Put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done...Do not touch anyone who has the mark' (9:4,6). They were marked out as God's faithful people. They had continued to worship the Lord when so many others were turning away from Him. For many people, life can be summed up in these sad words: 'The glory of the Lord departed'(10:18). 'I looked and I saw...' (10:1,9): In a time when many show no interest in the Lord, there are those who look to Him and catch a glimpse of His glory - 'the glory of the God of Israel was above them' (10:19).

18th August: Psalms 128:1-129:8

'Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways' (128:1). If we are to enjoy the Lord's blessing, we must fear Him and walk in His ways. Many people despise the place of worship. They 'pass by'. They have no desire to know 'the blessing of the Lord'. God warns us that we must not allow this attitude to grow in us: 'May all who hate Zion be put to shame'. We must take care that our love for the Lord doesn't 'wither' away. We must keep on praying that our love for Him will 'grow'. If we place no value on the Lord's blessing, our lives will be empty. Come to the Lord with this prayer: 'The greatest thing in all my life is knowing You, loving You, serving You. I want to know You more, love You more, serve You more'. He will 'fill' your life with His blessing (129:5-8; Mission Praise, 646).

19th August: Ezekiel 11:1-12:16

God speaks to us about our sin - 'Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people' - and His salvation - 'I will...put a new spirit in them...' (12:2; 11:19-20). We must receive' with humility, the bad news concerning our sin - 'The wages of sin is death' - before we can receive, with gladness, the Good News concerning God's salvation - 'The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord' (Romans 6:23). God wants each of us to be saved: 'The Lord ...does not want anyone to perish; He wants everyone to turn away from their sins' (2 Peter 3:9). To those who refuse to be saved, dismissing the bad news concerning their sin and closing their hearts to the Good News concerning God's salvation, God speaks His Word or warning: '...I will punish them for what they have done' (11:21).

20th August: Ezekiel 12:17-13:23

'Hear the Word of the Lord!' (13:2). God's Word warns us: 'The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths'. When we see this happening, we must commit ourselves to the Lord, living as His faithful servants: 'As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry' (2 Timothy 4:3-5). When people are looking for a 'feel good' type of message, a message with plenty of entertainment and no real challenge, we must remember this: God's Word is to be used for 'teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness...' (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

21st August: 1 John 1:1-2:17

'Jesus Christ' died 'for our sins'. This is Good News. It is not to be kept to ourselves - He died 'for the sins of the whole world'. We have 'fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ'. 'We have fellowship with one another'. These blessings are not to be kept to ourselves. We must share the Good News - 'the blood of Jesus, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin'. We must seek to bring others into 'fellowship' - not only 'with us' but, 'with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ' (2:1-2; 1:3,7). We are called to a life of obedience - 'he who does the will of God lives for ever'. This obedience comes from our experience of God's love. 'The love of the Father' leads to 'love for the Father': 'We love' God 'because He first loved us' (15-17; 4:19). Let's love the Lord - and do His will.

22nd August: Ezekiel 14:1-15:8

'Some of the elders of Israel came to' Ezekiel. He spoke the Word of the Lord to them: 'Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!' (14:1,8). This may not have been what they wanted to hear. It was what God wanted them to hear. They did not want to hear this, but they needed to hear it. God was warning them what would happen if they did not make a real return to Him: 'I will make the land desolate because they have been unfaithful' (15:8). God's Word demands a response. What will our response be? Will we say, 'We don't want the Lord "to reign over us"' (Luke 19:14)? Will we be, like Peter, who 'took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him...' (Matthew 16:22)? Don't be like those who dismiss God's Word with arrogant pride. Listen to His Word, and let Him change you.

23rd August: Ezekiel 16:1-34

Without Christ, we are naked and dirty. He covers our nakedness and washes away our dirtiness (8-9). He is our Saviour. We must come to Him with this prayer: 'Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy Cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Saviour, I die' (Church Hymnary, 83). God hears and answers this prayer. He has given us His promise: 'Whoever comes to Me, I will never drive away' (John 6:37). When God has heard and answered our prayer for salvation, we have this joyful testimony: 'I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness' (Isaiah 61:10). We rejoice in this: 'He saved us by washing away our sins' (Titus 3:5).

24th August: Ezekiel 16:35-63

God calls His unfaithful people to listen to His Word: 'You prostitute, hear the Word of the Lord!' (35). He speaks to them of 'sin, righteousness and judgment' (John 16:8). He shows them their sin - 'your filthiness and your nakedness' (36). He speaks to them as the righteous God, the God of perfect holiness - 'Your eyes are too holy to look at evil. You cannot stand the sight of people doing wrong' (Habakkuk 1:13). He warns them that there will be judgment: 'I will judge you" (38). Why does God speak to us of sin, righteousness and judgment? This is His way of bringing us to repentance - 'I will make you stop being a prostitute' - and salvation - "My anger will be over, and I will be calm' (41-42). Our sin is great, but our Saviour is greater - 'Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin...Praise His Name!'.

25th August: Psalms 130:1-131:3

We are not to pray to God with superficial words that don't mean very much to us. Our prayer is to be a real cry from the heart: 'Out of depths I cry to You, O Lord' (130:1). We are to 'cry for mercy' with a deep awareness of how sinful we really are: 'If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?' (130:3). We must come to God with deep humility - 'My heart is not proud, O Lord' (131:1). When we truly confess our sin, we recive God's 'unfailing love' and 'forgiveness' (4). 'In the Lord' we have 'full redemption' (7). It is for 'now' - 'The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives'. It is 'for evermore' - 'But purer and higher and greater will be our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see!'. 'Praise the Lord!...Give Him the glory!' (131:3; Church Hymnary, 374).

26th August: Ezekiel 17:1-24

To those who adopt a 'rebellious' attitude to Him, God speaks His Word of warning. They shall 'not escape' His judgment (12,18). To those who abandon this attitude of rebellion, there is a way of salvation. In verses 22 to 24, we have a prophecy which looks forward to the coming of the Messiah, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This prophecy ends with God's promise: 'I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it'. God has fulfilled His promise. He has sent His Son to be our Saviour (Matthew1:22-23). We now await the fulfilment of prophecy concerning Christ's Return: 'I will come again'; 'This same Jesus...will come back'; 'The Lord Himself will come down from heaven'. He says, "I am coming soon'. We say, 'Come, Lord Jesus' (John 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonoians 4:16; Revelation 22:20).

27th August: Ezekiel 18:1-32

'The soul that sins shall die' (4). 'If a man is righteous...he shall surely live' (5-9) What hope is there for us? If we look with honesty into our own hearts, we discover this dark truth concerning ourselves: 'None is righteous...All have sinned' (Romans 3:10,23). Is there any Good News for us? Is there a way that leads to eternal life? 'Suppose there is a truly good man, righteous and honest...' (4). Is there such a man? Is there a man concerning whom God says, 'That man is righteous; he will surely live' (9). Yes! There is! Who is this man? What does the Word of God tell us about him? He is Jesus Christ, our Saviour. He 'died for our sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God' (1 Peter 3:18). We put our faith in Him. He gives us 'eternal life'. We 'pass from death to life' (1 John 5:11-13; John 5:24).

28th August: 1 John 2:18-3:18

Through faith in Jesus Christ, 'the Son of God', we receive 'eternal life' (22-25; John 20:31). Our enjoyment of eternal life has already begun - 'we are God's children now'. Our full enjoyment of eternal life is still to come: 'It does not yet appear what we shall be...'. We have begun to experience Christ's victory: 'The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil'. We look forward to our full enjoyment of His victory: 'When He appears, we shall be like Him...' (2,8). Some will try to 'deceive' us. We must keep our eyes on Christ - 'He laid down His life for us'. We have received His 'love'. We must show His love - 'Let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth' (7,16,18). Do you believe in Christ? Live the life. Be a believer - in deed'!

29th August: Ezekiel 19:1-14

There is real sadness here. It is the sadness of God - as He looks upon the sinfulness of His people. If we truly love the Lord, we will have great sadness when we see people turning away from the Lord and ruining their lives. We have joy in the Lord - 'Rejoice in the Lord always' (Philippians 4:4). There is also 'great sorrow' in our hearts when we think of those who refuse to come to Christ for salvation. This 'sorrow' leads us to pray: 'My heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved' (1,14; Romans 9:2; 10:1). Let us pray for our 'dry and thirsty land'. Pray that God will come to our 'wilderness': 'He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth'. Pray that people will 'return to the Lord'. Pray that they will 'press on to know the Lord' (13; Hosea 6:1-3).

30th August: Ezekiel 20:1-26

What great things God did for His people, Israel. He 'brought them out of the land of Egypt'. He led them to 'a land flowing with milk and honey' (6). Think of what God has done for us. He has brought us out of our sin and into His salvation: 'He called you out of darkness into His marvellous light' (1 Peter 2:9). Saved by the Lord, Israel was to live for the Lord: 'I am the Lord your God. Obey My laws and My commands' (19). We have been saved by the Lord: 'You have been saved by grace through faith. This is not your own doing. It is the gift of God'. He calls us to live for Him. We have been 'saved...for good works'. Our 'good works' are to 'bring glory to our Father in heaven' (Matthew 5:16). Let us 'walk in the light', rejoicing in our Saviour - 'the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin' (1 John 1:7).

31st August: Ezekiel 20:27-49

Here, we have a clear statement of God's purpose for our lives: 'Through you I intend to display My holiness for all the nations to see' (41). He wants other people to notice that we are different. He wants them to see that we have been changed by Him: 'As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him' (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is to be our testimony: 'What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart!...I have ceased from my wandering and going astray since Jesus came into my heart! And my sins which were many are all washed away since Jesus came into my heart!' (Mission Praise, 748). May God help us to live as 'a new creation', being 'renewed every day'. Make it 'your aim' to 'live for Him' and 'please Him' (2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 5:9,15,17).



1st September: Proverbs 23:19-35
'Keep your heart on the right path' (19). How are we to do this? We must seek 'truth, wisdom, instruction and understanding' (23). We must give our hearts to Christ. He is 'the Truth' (John 14:6). We must open our hearts to Christ. He is 'our Wisdom' (1 Corinthians 1:30). Opening our hearts will mean opening our Bibles. Giving our hearts to Christ will mean giving time to reading God's Word. As we read 'the Scriptures', we will receive 'instruction'. We will learn about 'salvation through faith in Christ Jesus'. We will receive 'instruction for right living' (2 Timothy 3:14-17). As we read God's Word, we must pray that the Holy Spirit will give us 'understanding' (1 Corinthians 2:9-13). 'Be filled with the Spirit'. 'Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly' (Ephesians 5:18; Colossians 3:16).

2nd September: Ezekiel 21:1-32
We read here about 'the time of final punishment' (25,29). God's Word speaks to us about 'eternal punishment' as well as 'eternal life': 'Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not have life, but will remain under God's punishment' (Matthew 25:46; John 3:36). God loves us. He sent His Son to be our Saviour. He calls us to put our faith in Christ (John 3:16-18). He speaks to us His Word of promise - 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved' - and His Word of warning - 'How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?' (Hebrews 2:3). God is calling us to 'flee from the wrath to come' (Luke 3:7). We must turn from sin - 'Turn away from your sins and live' - and turn to Him - 'Turn to Me and be saved' (18:32; Isaiah 45:22).

3rd September: Ezekiel 22:1-31
'I looked for a man..., but I found none' (30). God is looking for people who will be faithful in prayer. What happens when God's people refuse to pray? God's Word leaves us in no doubt - 'I will pour out My anger on them..., bringing down on their own heads all they have done' (31). What a tragedy! The people refused to pray - and there was no blessing from the Lord: 'You do not have, because you do not ask God' (James 4:2). Things could have been so different: 'If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land' (2 Chronicles 7:14). God wants to bless us. We must pray for His blessing. 'Ask and it will be given to you...' (Matthew 7:7-8).

4th September: Ezekiel 23:1-49
'Because you have forgotten Me and turned your back on Me, you will be punished for all your sin' (35). We are to remember the Lord. We must not forget Him. We must not let the Word of God 'go in one ear and out the other'. We must be 'doers of the Word' as well as 'hearers of the Word' (James 1:22-25). Let's put the past behind us and make a new beginning with God: 'Return to Me, and I will return to you' (Malachi 3:7). 'Have mercy on me, O God... Cleanse me from my sin...Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation' (Psalm 51:1-2,10-12). Let this be the prayer of your heart and the blessing of God will flow into your life.

5th September: 1 John 3:19-4:21
'God is greater than our hearts'. When you are deeply aware of your sinfulness, remember - God loves you. God's Word is brutally honest - about us: 'The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?' God's Word is wonderfully encouraging - about His love for us. He 'knows everything' about us - and He still loves us: 'God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us' (3:20; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 5:8). What a great Saviour we have. He is 'without sin' - yet He is the Friend of sinners. He 'receives sinners'. He 'came into the world to save sinners' (Hebrews 4:15; Luke 15:2; 1 Timothy 1:15). Whenever we start getting too full of ourselves, too full of our own importance, we must remember: 'He first loved us' (4:19) - before we ever thought of loving Him!

6th September: Ezekiel 24:1-27
'I will punish you because of the way you lived' (14). God is calling us to think about the way we are living. He wants us to leave behind the old, self-centred way of living. He wants us to begin a new life, a life that is centred on Him. Real change comes from God. We must pray that He will change us - 'Change my heart, O God. Make it ever true. Change my heart, O God. May I be like You'. We must pray for a deep work of the Spirit of God in our hearts - 'Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me...Break me, melt me, mould me, fill me...'. We must pray that we will become more like Jesus - 'Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, all His wondrous compassion and purity. Oh, Thou Spririt divine, all my nature refine, till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me' (Mission Praise, 69,613,410).

7th September: Ezekiel 25:1-17
We read here about God's judgment upon sinful nations - Ammon (1-7), Moab (8-11), Edom (12-14) and Philistia (15-17). God speaks to us. He says to us, 'You will know that I am the Lord' (5,7,11,17). He speaks to us as our Judge. He speaks to us about 'sin, righteousness and judgment' (John 16:8-11). We are sinners. God is righteous. There will be a Judgment. This is God's way of showing us how much we need His love. He shows us how much we need to be saved so that we might learn to be truly thankful to Him for the Good News of His love, the Gospel of our salvation - 'God so loved the world that He gave His only Son...'; 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners'; 'Christ died for our sins' (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:3). Let us 'rejoice in God our Saviour' (Luke 2:47).

8th September: Ezekiel 26:1-21
'I am against you, O Tyre...You will be no more...You will never again be found...' (3,21). God's Word is spoken against us: 'There is no-one righteous...All have turned away...There is no-one who does good...All have sinned...' (Romans 3:10,12.23). God speaks His Word against us 'so that every mouth may be silenced' (Romans 3:19). He wants us to to stop making excuses for ourselves. He wants us to start listening to what He has to say to us. For the city of Tyre, the situation was hopeleess. For us, there is a Word of hope. Jesus Christ has come 'to seek and to save the lost'. Jesus Christ has 'died for our sins' (Luke 19:10; 1 Peter 3:18). 'Through faith in Jesus Christ', we hear God's Word of forgiveness: 'I will remember their sins no more' (Romans 3:22; Hebrews 8:12; 10:17).

9th September: Psalm 132:1-18
'Let us go to the Lord's House; let us worship before His throne' (7). God is calling us to worship Him. We are to gather together as His worshipping people. As we gather for worship, we remember that 'the Lord is King'. We do not only give Him the praise of our lips. We give Him the praise of our lives. We do not only sing to Him. We live for Him. We come 'before His throne' with this prayer, 'Take my heart - it is Thine own; It shall be Thy royal throne'. God hears and answers our prayer. He gives us His strength. We rise to His challenge: 'Rise up, O Church of God! Have done with lesser things; Give heart and soul and mind and strength to serve the King of kings' (Church Hymnary, 36,462,477). The service of worship comes to an end. Let our service of living begin - and never end!

10th September: Ezekiel 27:1-36
'Your wealth...will sink into the heart of the sea on the day of your shipwreck' (27). We will sink if we don't 'keep our eyes fixed on Jesus'. We must not allow ourselves to get weighed down. We must not become 'entangled' in the world's way of living. We must 'throw off everything that hinders' our spiritual growth. Jesus is 'the sure and strong Anchor for our lives'. He will keep us from sinking. Let us look to Him and learn from Him: 'Do not lay up treasures on earth...Lay up treasures in heaven' (Hebrews 12:1-2; 6:19; 2 Timothy 2:4; Matthew 6:19-20). 'Will your anchor hold in the storms of life...? We have an Anchor that keeps the soul , steadfast and sure while the billows roll, fastened to the Rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Saviour's love!' (Church Hymnary, 412).

11th September: Ezekiel 28:1-26
'You were on the holy mount of God...You were blameless in your ways...You sinned...I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God' (14-16). This is much more than the 'long time ago' story of 'the king of Tyre' (12). Here, we catch a glimpse of 'the spiritual forces in the heavenly realms'. We read about 'war in heaven'. We read about the downfall of 'Satan'. God's Word is warning us: 'Our struggle is not against flesh and blood'. We face a much more poweful 'enemy' - 'Satan'. He 'disguises himself as an angel of light'. We must not be fooled. He is no 'angel of light'. He is 'a roaring lion'. He is 'prowling about, looking for someone to devour'. We shall overcome him 'by the blood of the Lamb...' (Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 12:7-9,11; 2 Corinthians 11:14; 1 Peter 5:8).

12th September: Ezekiel 29:1-21
In God's dealings with Egypt, we see both His wrath - 'Egypt will become a desolate wasteland' - and His mercy - 'At the end of forty years...I will restore the fortunes of Egypt' (9,13-14). God's wrath is His response to Egypt's pride - 'Because you said, "The Nile is mine; I made it", therefore I am against you' (9-10). In His merciful restoration, God places His restraint on Egypt's pride - 'It shall be the most lowly of the kingdoms, and will never again exalt itself above the other nations' (15). We come to God as sinners. We confess our sins, praying, 'In wrath, remember mercy'. He saves us by 'His mercy'. His way of salvation - 'through Jesus Christ our Saviour' - is a constant rebuke to our pride: 'This is not your own doing. It is the gift of God' (Habakkuk 3:2; Titus 3:4-6; Ephesians 2:8).

13th September: 1 John 5:1-21
What a great blessing we receive through faith in Christ - 'Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God' (1). Our life as God's children is not a life of tranquility. We face conflict, real conflict - a battle. In this spiritual warfare, we have God's promise of victory. In verse 5, we have a question: 'Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?'. The answer is contained in the question. Our victory is in Christ. We are not victorious because our faith is so strong that we couldn't possibly fail. Many times, we fail. We take our eyes off Christ - and we are defeated. What are we to do? - when temptations seem to be so many and so powerful. When you feel so weak, let Christ be your Strength. 'With Christ within, the fight we'll win'.

14th September: Psalms 133:1-134:3
God sends 'His blessing' when His people gather together for worship: 'How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!' (133:1,3). Many people like to think of themselves as 'believers', yet they show no interest in worshipping together with God's people. What does God's Word say about this? - 'Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another...' (Hebrews 10:25). 'Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minister by night in the House of the Lord' (133:1; 134:1). Some people never miss a Sunday morning service - but they always miss the Sunday evening services! They are missing out on so much of God's blessing. 'May the Lord...bless you...' on Sunday evenings as well as Sunday mornings (134:2)!

15th September: Psalm 135:1-21
'Praise the Lord' (1-3,19-21). 'The Lord is good...The Lord is great' (3,5). In our worship, we focus on both God's greatness and His goodness. God is great in power: 'Great is our Lord and mighty in power' (147:5). He is also great in love: 'How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!' (1 John 3:1). When we praise the Lord, singing of His greatness, let us not think only of the greatness of His power: 'I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed'. Let us think also of His goodness, the greatness of His love: 'And when I think that God His Son not sparing, sent Him to die - I scarce can take it in, that on the Cross my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin' (Mission Praise, 506).

16th September: Psalm 136:1-26
'His love endures for ever'. This is the great message contained in every single verse of this Psalm. It's a message worth repeating - over and over again! God's love is an everlasting love - 'I have loved you with an everlasting love' (Jeremiah 31:3). God's love is an unfailing love - 'My unfailing love for you will not be shaken' (Isaiah 54:10). Let us 'give thanks' to God for His love (1-3,26). In His love, the Lord has provided for us 'an everlasting salvation'. His 'salvation will last for ever' (Isaiah 45:17; 51:6). We must not be like those who refuse to love the Lord - 'Pharaoh...great kings...mighty kings ...' (15,17-20). Those who reject God's love will not receive 'eternal life'. Their future will be very different - the 'raging fire that will consume the enemies of God' (John 3:16-18; Hebrews 10:26-27).

17th September: Psalms 137:1-138:8
'How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?' (137:4). It is not easy to keep on worshipping the Lord when so many show no interest in worshipping Him. What are we to do when our faith seems so weak and we are on the verge of giving up? 'Ask the Saviour to help you, comfort, strengthen and keep you'. What will we find when we come to the Lord, looking to Him for strength? 'He is willing to aid you. He will carry you through'. God gives us strength - 'You answered me when I called to You. With Your strength, You strengthened me' (138:3). "To him that o'ercometh, God giveth a crown. Through faith we shall conquer, though often cast down. He who is our Saviour, our strength will renew. Look ever to Jesus. He will carry you through' (Church Hymnary, 482).

18th September: Ezekiel 30:1-26
'The day of the Lord is near...A sword will come against Egypt...The day of Egypt's doom is sure to come' (3-4,9). We must not take God lightly. We can't do what we like and get away with it. We must not 'trample the Son of God under foot'. We must not 'treat Christ's blood as an unholy thing'. We must not 'insult the Spirit of grace'. We must not forget: 'It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God'. God is speaking to us concerning 'the Day of the Lord', the Return of Christ: 'He who is coming will come...'. He speaks His Word of warning: 'Those who shrink back are destroyed'. He speaks His Word of promise: 'Those who believe are saved' (Hebrews 10:29,31,37-39). 'When Christ comes, will He find faith...?'. 'Search my heart, O God...' (Luke 18:8; Psalm 139:23-24).

19th September: Ezekiel 31:1-18
'Pharaoh, king of Egypt' had the appearance of 'majesty' - 'Who can be compared with you in majesty?' - yet he was 'brought down' (2,18). There is one Majesty who will never be brought down - Our Lord Jesus Christ. He is 'the same yesterday and today and for ever'. He will receive 'glory for ever and ever'. To Him alone, the Father says, 'Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever' (Hebrews 13:8,21; 1:8). This is real Majesty! 'Majesty, worship His Majesty. Unto Jesus be glory, honour and praise. Majesty, Kingdom authority, flows from His throne unto His own. His anthem raise. So exalt, lift up on high the Name of Jesus. Magnify, come glorify, Christ Jesus the King. Majesty, worship His Majesty, Jesus who died, now glorified, King of all kings' (Mission Praise, 454).

20th September: Ezekiel 32:1-32
'Pride goes before destruction' (Proverbs 16:18). 'Pharaoh, king of Egypt' was arrogant and ruthless: 'You are like a lion among the nations;you are like a monster in the seas, thrashing about in your streams, churning the water with your feet and muddying the streams' (2). Soon, it would be 'the day of his downfall': 'The sword of Babylon will come against you...Pharaoh and all his hordes will be killed by the sword' (10-11,32). Don't be like the rich fool - 'You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry'. He couldn't have been more wrong! - 'God said to him, 'You fool! I will demand your life from you tonight!"' God is warning us: 'This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God' (Luke 12:19-21).

21st September: 2 John
'Look to yourselves, that you may not lose what you have worked for, but may win a full reward' (8). Don't let things slip. Build on the work that has already been done. This will not be easy - 'many deceivers have already gone out into the world'. Such people do nothing but harm. They are wreckers. They will destroy the work of God - and think nothing of it. They are 'antichrist'. They are doing 'wicked work' (7,10). When God's work and God's glory are at stake, we dare not be too 'easy-going'. The 'anything goes' attitude will undermine the work of God - if we're not careful. 'A charge to keep I have, a God to glorify...To serve the present age, my calling to fulfil...Arm me with jealous care, as in Thy sight to live; and O, Thy servant, Lord, prepare, a strict account to give' (Revised Church Hymnary, 518).

22nd September: Proverbs 24:1-14
'Wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, there is a future hope for you' (14). How do we find wisdom? We read the written Word of God, seeking God's promised blessing: 'The law of the Lord is perfect and revives the soul. The Lord's instruction never fails. and makes the simple wise'. As we read God's written Word, keeping our eyes fixed on Christ, the living 'Word' of God, we discover that He is the 'Wisdom' which is 'sweeter than honey'and we rejoice in Him, our 'Hope of glory' - 'You believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls' (John 1:1-2,14; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Psalm 19:7,10; Colossians 1:27; 1 Peter 1:8). 'Ask God' for 'wisdom'.'Seek and you will find' (James 1:5-8; Matthew 7:7).

23rd September: Proverbs 24:15-34
'Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again' (15). We are 'kept by the power of God'. We do not raise ourselves. It is the Lord who is 'able to keep us from falling'. He 'knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations' (1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24; 2 Peter 2:9). When our 'faith' is 'tested by fire', we must pray that God will give us His victory: 'Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace' (1 Peter 1:6-7;Daniel 3:17). When our strength is almost gone, the Lord comes with His Word: 'My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness' (2 Corinthians 12:9), 'Amazing grace!...Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come. 'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home' (Mission Praise, 31).

24th September: Ezekiel 33:1-33
Ezekiel was to be 'a watchman for the house of Israel': 'whenever you hear a Word from My mouth, you shall give them warning from Me'. He was to 'warn the wicked to turn from his way' (7-9). This is the warning of love. God loves us. It is because He loves that He 'has no pleasure in the death of the wicked'. In His love, He shows us our sin so that we might come to Him with a real confession of sin: 'Our sins are upon us'. In His love, He creates in us a desire for His salvation: 'How then can we live?'. In His love, He calls us to return to Him: 'Turn back from your evil ways'. He loves us. He does not want us to 'die': 'Why will you die?' (10-11). In love, God shows us our sin - 'The wages of sin is death' - and calls us to receive His 'free gift' - 'eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord' (Romans 6:23).

25th September: Ezekiel 34:1-31
God speaks to us in love. He says, 'I Myself will be the Shepherd of My sheep' (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'. He laid down His life for us that we might receive the forgiveness of our sins. 'Christ died for our sins'. He - 'the Righteous' - died for us - 'the unrighteous' - 'to bring us to God' (John 10:11; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 3:18). He is 'the great Shepherd'. He was 'raised' from the dead'. Through His resurrection, we receive eternal life. He says to us, 'Because I live you will live also' (Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:4; John 14:19). He is 'the chief Shepherd'. He will come again with 'the unfading crown of glory' for His 'good and faithful servants' (1 Peter 5:4; Matthew 25:21).

26th September: Ezekiel 35:1-15
'You will be desolate, O Mount Seir, you and all of Edom. Then they will know that I am the Lord' (15). The people of Edom knew the Lord as their Judge. There is a much better way of knowing the Lord. We can know Him as our Saviour. Those who refuse to come to Jesus Christ, trusting in Him as Saviour, place themselves under God's judgment. They are 'condemned already because they have not believed in the Name of God's one and only Son'. They will know the Lord as their Judge - but they could have known Him as their Saviour if they had submitted to God's saving purpose for their lives: 'God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him' (John 3:17-18). Each of us must choose. Do you know Christ as Saviour, or will you face Him as Judge?

27th September: Ezekiel 36:1-38
'I will look on you with favour' (9). Through Christ our Saviour, God looks upon us with favour. Here are some words which will help you to rejoice in the 'wonderful grace of Jesus' which is 'greater than all my sin', the 'wonderful grace of Jesus' which 'reaches me'. 'Let me introduce you to a friend called Grace. Doesn't care about your past or your many mistakes. He'll cover your sins in a warm embrace. Let me introduce to a friend called Grace'. 'His grace reaches lower than your worst mistake and His love will run further than you can run away'. 'He believes in lost causes when common sense would just give up. He believes in lost causes and changes people with His love. There's nobody too far gone, no one beyond His reach. He believes in lost causes 'cause He believed in me'. Let Jesus be your Joy!

28th September: Ezekiel 37:1-28
It was 'a valley of dry bones' (1-2). Then, the Lord changed everything - 'I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live' (5). What a difference the Lord makes! 'Breathe on me, Breath of God. Fill me with life anew' (Church Hymnary, 103). What happens when the Spirt of the Lord breathes new life into the Church of God? - 'The Church that seemed in slumber has now risen from its knees and dry bones are responding with the fruits of new birth'. 'Holy Spirit, we welcome You. Let the breeze of Your presence flow that Your children here might truly know how to move in the Spirit's flow...Holy Spirit, we welcome You. Please accomplish in us today some new work of loving grace, we pray. Unreservedly, have Your way. Holy Spirit, we welcome You' (Mission Praise, 274,241).

29th September: Psalm 139:1-24
Through Christ our Saviour, we are led 'in the way everlasting': 'God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son' (24; 1 John 5:11). God's great pupose of eternal salvation seems 'too wonderful' - 'too good to be true'! 'It is a thing most wonderful, almost too wonderful to be, that God's own Son should come from heaven and die to save a child like me, and yet I know that it is true...' (6; Church Hymnary, 385). God has a glorious future planned for us. We can hardly even begin to take it in: 'Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain'. We know that 'no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him' yet we rejoice in this: 'God has revealed it to us by His Spirit' (6; 1 Corinthians 2:9-10). 'Lead me in the way everlasting!'(24).

30th September: 3 John
Some people do a lot of good. Others do a great deal of harm. Diotrephes thought he was a big 'star'. He 'loves to be first'. He 'likes to put himself first'. He wasn't a star. He was a disaster! He took 'nothing to do with' God's servants. He did 'not acknowledge' the authority' of Christ's apostle. He was 'gossiping maliciosly about' God's servants. He did not make people feel 'welcome'. He drove people 'out of the church' (9-10). Demetrius was very different. He was 'well spoken of by eveeryone - and even by the truth itself'. He wasn't just popular. He was real, genuine, true. There was a ring of truth about him. These were no empty words of flattery. God's 'true' servants said, 'We also speak well of him' (12). What kind of person are you?


1st October: Ezekiel 38:1-23
We read here of God's judgment upon 'Gog from the land of Magog': 'When Gog attacks the land of Israel, My hot anger will be aroused...I will execute judgment upon him...' (1,18,22). The names 'Gog and Magog' are also found in Revelation 20:7-10. There, we read of rebellion against God - 'They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people...' - and God's judgment - 'Fire came down from heaven and consumed them'. In this divine judgment upon 'Gog and Magog', we see the Lord's final triumph over 'Satan': 'The devil who had deceived Gog and Magog was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur' to be 'tormented day and night for ever and ever'. 'Hallelujah! Our Lord God Almighty reigns' (Revelation 19:6).
2nd October: Ezekiel 39:1-29
Gog's defeat points forward to Satan's final defeat (1-6; Revelation 20:10). We look ahead to God's final victory over Satan. While we're here on earth, we must never forget that Satan is a very powerful enemy. He will do all that he can to make us sin against the Lord. We see this in the life of God's people, Israel. They allowed Satan to get the upper hand - and God was not pleased with them: 'The nations shall know that the people of Israel went into captivity for their sin, because they were unfaithful to Me'(23). God's Word assures us that - even when Satan has gained the upper hand - , we can be 'brought back' to the place of blessing. God will 'have mercy' on us. He will 'pour out His Spirit' upon us (25,29). 'Restore us, O God...' (Psalm 85:4).
3rd October: Psalm 140:1-13
When we are threatened by 'men of violence', we must must put our trust in the Lord, our 'strong Deliverer'. We must pray that the 'men of violence' will not succeed in their 'evil plans': 'Do not let their plans succeed...May disaster hunt down the men of violence' (1-2,7-8,11). The 'men of violence' may seem to be getting things all their own way. We must not allow ourselves to be brought down to their level. In our battle against the 'men of violence', we must use God's 'weapons': 'truth...righteousness...peace...faith ...salvation...prayer'. These 'weapons' have 'divine power to demolish the strongholds' of Satan (Ephesians 6:13-18; 2 Corinthians 10:4). Never forget this: 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord' (Romans 12:19).
4th October: Psalms 141:1-142:7
The Psalmist continues to emphasize the importance of 'prayer' in our battle against 'evildoers': 'My prayer is ever against the deeds of evildoers' (141:5). We pray that their 'wicked deeds' will not succeed. We pray that they will see 'the error of their way', returning to the Lord and being 'led in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake' (141:5; 23:3; James 5:19-20). We may feel that our 'persecutors' are 'too strong' for us. We must never think that 'no one cares'. We must bring our fear to God, praying, 'Set me free from my prison, that I may praise Your Name'. Faced with powerful enemies, we must remember this: The Lord is our 'portion in the land of the living'. In the face of fierce opposition, we must learn to say, 'Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord for ever' (142:4-7; 23:6).
5th October: Ezekiel 40:1-49
God was revealing Himself to Ezekiel. 'The hand of the Lord was upon' him. He received 'visions of God' (1-2). Ezekiel was not to keep this revelation to himself: 'Tell the house of Israel everything you see' (4). We are to learn from 'the prophets who spoke in the Name of the Lord'. Like them, we are to seek to bring 'sinners' back to the Lord, showing them 'the error of their ways' and pointing them to God's way of salvation. This work is to be done prayerfully, never forgetting that 'the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective' (James 5:10,16,19-20). God promises great blessing to those who are faithful in this work of winning others for Him: 'Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars for ever and ever' (Daniel 12:3).
6th October: Ezekiel 41:1-42:20
'This is the Most Holy Place' (41:4). Here, God is speaking about the Temple. The Temple was the place where God's people were to gather together to worship Him. There is another 'holy place', another place where God is to be glorified: 'Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit ...Glorify God in your body' (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We worship God when we are in the place of worship. That is only a part of our worship. Our heart is to be a 'holy place' where God alone is worshipped. We are to worship Him in everything we do: 'Be holy in all you do'. At the heart of our worship, there is thanksgiving for God's love. At the heart of the holy life, there is love. We 'obey the truth' when we 'love one another deeply from the heart' (1 Peter 1:15-16,22).
7th October: Ezekiel 43:1-27
This is not only about the glory of the Temple. It's about 'the glory of the God of Israel'. This is the greater glory - 'the glory of the Lord filled the Temple' (1,5). God is not only concerned about the creation of a beautiful place of worship. He wants our lives to be 'radiant with His glory'. This happens when 'the Spirit lifts us up' and brings us close to God - 'into the inner court' (2,5). We pray that the glory of the Lord will fill the place of worship: 'May the fragrance of Jesus fill this place'. We pray that 'the glory of Jesus' will 'fill His Church'. We are not only praying for God's glory in the place of worship. We are praying for His glory in our lives: 'May the beauty of Jesus fill my life...Fill my thoughts, my words, my deeds' (Mission Praise, 462).
8th October: Jude
The wrong kind of people had come among God's people: 'certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you...godless men...' (4). Such people do not like to hear the words, 'The Lord rebuke you'. They 'speak abusively against' those who speak the Word of the Lord to them (9-10). God's Word warns us against such people: 'In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit' (18-19). With people like this around - life gets like a 'minefield'. You never know where the next "explosion' is going to come from! How can we 'stand tall' and not be dragged down by this kind of thing? 'Keep yourselves in the love of God' - He 'is able to keep you from falling' (21,24).
9th October: Ezekiel 44:1-31
'I looked and saw the glory of the Lord filling the Temple of the Lord...' (4). We look to the Lord and, catching a glimpse of His glory, 'we become more and more like Him'. He is leading us out of our life of sin, a life that 'falls short of His glory', and into His life of salvation, a life of 'being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory' (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 3:23). We have not yet arrived at our full deliverance from sin: 'When He appears, we shall be like Him' (1 John 3:2). As we await our Lord's return, let us keep on praying: 'Change my heart, O God ...May I be like You'.'Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full on His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace'. (Mission Praise, 69,712).
10th October: Ezekiel 45:1-25
We read here of 'the sin offerings, cereal offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement for the house of Israel' (17). All of this points forward to the single Sacrifice for sin made by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: 'Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God' (1 Peter 3:18). 'We have been forgiven and made clean through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all' (Hebrews 10:10). This is what we must see here. We must learn to look beyond the many sacrifices to the one Sacrifice: 'Christ has offered one Sacrifice for sins, an offering that is effective for ever'. Let us rejoice in our Saviour: 'He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him' (Hebrews 10:12; 7:25).
11th October: Psalm 143:1-12
The Psalmist prays, 'Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord' (9). He is not concerned only about his own welfare. He is concerned about the glory of God: 'For Your Name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life' (11). How does God lead us in victory? How is He glorified in our lives? He brings to us the teaching of His Word - 'Let the morning bring me Word of Your unfailing love' (8). He gives to us the strength of His Spirit - 'May Your good Spirit lead me in good paths' (10). Through His Word and Spirit, God shows us His 'unfailing love'. He enables us to say, 'You are my God', 'I have put my trust in You' and 'I am Your servant'. He 'shows us the way we should go'. He 'teaches us to do His will'. He gives us victory over our 'enemies' (8,10,12).
12th October: Ezekiel 46:1-24
We read here about the 'offering' of 'a lamb without defect'. This was to happen 'morning by morning' (13). From these offerings , we look on to another Offering, 'a single Offfering', the 'once for all' Offering of Jesus Christ as 'the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world'. Jesus Christ - the Lamb of God - has 'offered for all time a single Sacrifice for sins' (John 1:29; Hebrews 10:10,12,14). As we read about the many lambs, we hear God's voice calling out to us, directing our attention to our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world' (John 1:36). 'Christ' is 'our Passover Lamb'. He 'has been sacrificed' for us. Through His 'precious blood', we are 'redeemed' (1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
13th October: Ezekiel 47:1-23
Here, we see the rising of the 'river' of God's blessing - 'ankle-deep...knee-deep...up to the waist ...deep enough to swim in - a river that no-one could cross' (3-5). This is the river of 'life' - 'a great number of trees ....Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows...large numbers of fish because...where the river flows everything will live' (7-9). 'The Spirit' brings 'rivers of living water' into our lives (John 7:38-39). Don't settle for a shallow experience of God's blessing - 'ankle-deep', 'knee-deep'. 'Deep calls to deep'. Let 'the Spirit' lead you into 'the deep things of God'. 'Launch out into the deep'. 'Swim' in God's mighty 'river' of blessing. 'Be filled with the Spirit' (3-5; Psalm 42:7; Luke 5:4; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Ephesians 5:18).
14th October: Ezekiel 48:1-35
'The Lord is there' (35). He is with us when we gather for worship: 'Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them' (Matthew 18:20). He loves to be among us when we are worshipping Him: 'He looks down upon us, delight in His face, enjoying His children's love, enthralled by our praise'. We are to come into the Lord's presence with joyful praise - 'The King is among us. His Spirit is near. Let's draw near and worship. Let songs fill the air!' - and reverent fear - 'Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here. Come bow before Him now with reverence and fear' (Mission Praise, 650,50). When we leave the place of worship, let us take His promise with us: 'I am with you always' (Matthew 28:20).
15th October: Revelation 1:1-20
This is 'the revelation of Jesus Christ' (1). It comes from Him and it speaks of Him. Christ 'loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood' (5). We rejoice in Him. Christ is 'coming with the clouds' (7). We must get ready for Him. 'The revelation of Jesus Christ' calls for our response. It is not 'for information only'. We are to 'pay attention to what is written in it'. We are to 'take it to heart'. We are to 'do what it says' (3). Christ reveals Himself to us. Is it for our benefit only? Is it just to make us 'feel good'? No! We are to share with others what the Lord is teaching us. Christ said to John, 'Write what you see' (19). Don't keep it to yourself. Share Christ. Tell others about Him. Tell them what the Lord has done for you. Speak His words of love: 'Come...and learn from Me' (Matthew 11:28-30).
16th October:Daniel 1:1-2:16
'Daniel resolved not to defile himself' (8). Daniel was devoted to the Lord. It was not easy to live as the Lord's faithful servant. His dedication to the Lord was put to the test - 'Test your servants' (12). Our faith is put to the test. We 'suffer many trials'. Why does God allow our faith to be tested by 'all kinds of trials? - 'The testing of your faith produces steadfastness'.'These have come so that your faith, which is much more precious than gold, may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed' (1 Peter 1:6-7; James 1:2-3). Knowing that 'every trial falls from above, traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love', may we learn to 'trust God fully' and 'find Him wholly true' (Mission Praise, 421).
17th October: Daniel 2:17-49
'In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom that will never be destroyed' (44). There is only one Kingdom which stands forever - the Kingdom of God. His Kingdom is eternal. Through Christ, 'the Kingdom of God has come near to us' (Luke 10:9). Christ is the 'King of kings' (Revelation 17:14;19:16). 'His throne will last for ever and ever'. 'His Kingdom will never end'. 'He will reign for ever and ever' (Hebrews 1:8; Luke 1:33; Revelation 11:15). Christ is 'triumphant...ever reigning...enthroned for ever': 'Sin and death and hell shall never stifle hymns of love. So, our hearts and voices raising through the ages long...this shall be our song: Yours the glory and the crown...' (Mission Praise, 77).
18th October: Daniel 3:1-30
'We want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up' (18). We have no other king but the Lord. He alone is King. He alone is to be worshipped. We are to 'have no other gods before Him'. We are 'not to make for ourselves an idol' which takes the place of the Lord (Exodus 20:3-4). The Lord must come first in our lives. He is to be our 'first love' - 'the love of our heart: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart...' (Revelation 2:4; Mark 12:30). Jesus asks us, 'Do you love me?'. He waits for our reply: 'I love You' (John 21:15-17). 'I love the Name of Jesus. King of my heart, He is everything to me'. 'I love You, O Lord, You alone...my God who shall have all my praise'. (Mission Praise, 285,286).
19th October: Daniel 4:1-37
'His Kingdom is an eternal Kingdom; His dominion endures from generation to generation' (3). The generations rise and fall - 'You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning...by evening it is dry and withered'; 'As for man, his days are like grass ...the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more' (Psalms 90:5-6; 103-15-16). The Lord is 'the everlasting God': 'From everlasting to everlasting You are God'. His love is an 'everlasting' love: 'From everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear Him'. The Lord 'has established His throne in heaven, and His Kingdom rules over all'. He is 'our dwelling-place throughout all generations' (Isaiah 40:28; Psalms 90:1-2; 103:17,19).
20th October: Daniel 5:1-31
We are not to 'praise the gods of gold and silver...' (4). Material possessions must never take the place of God. Seeking material prosperity is not to be the most important thing in our lives. We are to 'seek first His Kingdom...'. We are to 'grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ' (Matthew 6:33; 2 Peter 3:18). 'I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold, I'd rather be His than have riches untold...I'd rather have Jesus...than to be the king of a vast domain and be held in sin's dread sway. I'd rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today. I'd rather have Jesus than men's applause, I'd rather be faithful to His dear cause; I'd rather have Jesus than world-wide fame, I'd rather be true to His holy Name' (Mission Praise, 319).
21st October: Daniel 6:1-28
'He is the living God and He endures for ever; His Kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end' (26). He is the living God. He is also the loving God - 'His love endures forever' (Psalm 136). He is the King. He is a very special kind of king. He is 'the King of Love'. The coming of God's Kingdom will be the victory of His love: 'Kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of the Lord: Love has the victory for ever!'. We enjoy the victory of His love as we lift our hearts to Him in worship: 'Who can see Your greatest Gift and fail to worship You?'. We enjoy the victory of His love as we give our lives to Him in service: 'Let us labour for the Master ...Let us talk of all His wondrous love...' (Church Hymnary, 388; Mission Praise, 86,759).
22nd October: Proverbs 25:1-28
'The Lord will reward you' (22). The work done by God's servants is tested by fire: 'the fire will test what sort of work each one has done'. There is work of real 'quality' - 'gold, silver, precious stones'. There is work which has no real value - 'wood, hay, straw'. God wants us to think about the work we do in His Name. We are to 'remove the dross from the silver' (4). We are not to be content with superficial work which does not lead to changed lives. Our words are to be 'apples of gold in a setting of silver'. They are to be words of wisdom, words which are 'better than fine gold', words which 'surpass choice silver' (11; 8:19). We are to bring God's Word -'good news' - and God's Spirit -'rivers of living water' - to our hearers (25; 1 Peter 1:12,23-25; John 7:37-39).
23rd October: Daniel 7:1-28
'There before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven...His Kingdom is one that will never be destroyed' (13-14). These words point us to Christ's description of His Second Coming, the Coming of His Kingdom: 'They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory' (Matthew 24:30). In Revelation 1:7, we have another echo of Daniel's 'vision': 'Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him'. 'Lo! He comes, with clouds descending...Yea, Amen! let all adore Thee, high on Thine eternal throne; Saviour, take the power and glory, claim the Kingdom for Thine own. O come quickly! O come quickly! O come quickly! Alleluia! Come, Lord, come!' (Church Hymnary, 316).
24th October: Daniel 8:1-27
Here, we have a 'vision' concerning 'the distant future', 'the time of the end' (26,17). Here, we catch a glimpse of Satan, the very powerful enemy of God's people. Satan's power is very frightening - 'His power shall be great, and he shall cause fearful destruction...'. It was the power of Satan which lay behind the 'stern-faced king': 'He will become very strong, but not by his own power' (23-24). Satan's power will be broken. Satan faces certain defeat - 'He will be defeated'. How will he be defeated? We will not defeat him - 'He will not be destroyed by human power'. There is only one Power able to destroy the power of Satan: 'He shall be broken by the hand of God'. 'Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ' (1 Corinthians 15:57).
25th October: Revelation 2:1-29
Every church in every nation and every generation has so much to learn from 'what the Spirit says to the churches' (7,11,17,29). Christ is to be our 'first love'. We are not to 'abandon' Him. We are to 'keep right on to the end of the road' - 'faithful until death' (4,10). We are to 'remain true' to Christ, pressing on with Him to a life of real spiritual growth (13,19). Living for Christ will not be easy. There are always those who make things difficult for God's people (14-15,20). Let your commitment to Christ be very definite: 'I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. The world behind me, the Cross before me. No turning back. Tho' none go with me, I still will follow. No turning back'. 'Will you decide now to follow Jesus?': Say 'Yes' - and let there be 'no turning back' (Mission Praise, 272).
26th October: Daniel 9:1-27
'O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act!' (19). How do we know God will hear and answer our prayer as we look to Him for salvation? - 'The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him' (9). We come to God with our sin - We are 'dead in our sins and wickedness'. He comes to us with His grace - 'By grace you have been saved through faith'. We come to God, deeply conscious of our sin. We know in our hearts that we can do nothing to save ourselves. The way of salvation can never begin with the word, 'I'. It always begins with God. It begins with His love - 'His great love for us': 'God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our sins' (Ephesians 2:1,4-5,8).
27th October: Daniel 10:1-11:13
Daniel came to God in great weakness - 'I am helpless...My strength is gone...' (16-17). From the Lord, Daniel received great strength - 'The One who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength...When He spoke to me, I was strengthened...'. Daniel's strength came from the love of God and the peace of God. God assured Daniel of His love for him. He called Daniel a 'man greatly beloved'. God spoke His Word of peace to Daniel: 'Peace be with you'. As God revealed His love and peace to him, Daniel came to realize that there was no need to be afraid. He could 'be strong' in the Lord (18-19). When we are weak, let us come to God and receive His strength - 'His grace is sufficient for us. His strength is made perfect in weakness' (2 Corinthians 12:9).
28th October: Proverbs 26:1-28
'There is a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!' (13). This is the voice of fear speaking. We need to speak with the voice of faith - 'I believed, and so I spoke' (2 Corinthians 4:13). We know that 'the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour'. The devil can fill us with fear. We must not let him do this. We must face him with faith - 'Resist him, standing firm in the faith' (1 Peter 5:8-9). When we 'resist the devil', standing firm in the faith, 'he will flee from us' (James 4:7). Let us face the 'roaring lion' with faith in an even more powerful 'Lion'. Jesus Christ - 'the Lion of Judah' - 'has conquered' Satan. He 'has triumphed' over him (Revelation 5:5). May Christ's 'perfect love drive out our fear' (1 John 4:18).
29th October: Daniel 11:14-45
We are to live for God - 'The people who know their God shall be strong and do great things'. We are to stand against Satan - 'The people who know their God will firmly resist him' (32). Living for God and standing against Satan, we must 'put on the whole armour of God'. 'Strong in the Lord', we 'take our stand against the devil's schemes' (Ephesians 6:10-11). 'Soldiers of Christ, arise and put your armour on, strong in the strength which God supplies through His eternal Son...From strength to strength go on, wrestle and fight and pray, tread all the powers of darkness down and win the well-fought day that, having all things done and all your conflicts past, ye may o'ercome through Christ alone and stand complete at last' (Church Hymnary, 441).
30th October: Daniel 12:1-13
We read of two very different futures - 'everlasting life' and 'everlasting contempt' (2). We receive 'eternal life' through 'believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God'. Through faith in Him, we 'know that we have eternal life'. God gives us His promise: 'He who has the Son has life'. To those who 'overcome', through 'believing that Jesus is the Son of God', God gives this promise: 'I will never blot his name out of the Book of Life'. Alongside His promise, there is His warning: 'He who does not have the Son of God does not have life'. To those who refuse to come to Christ for salvation, God gives this warning: 'If anyone's name was not written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire' (John 20:31; 1 John 5:5,11-13; Revelation 3:5; 20:15).
31st October: Proverbs 27:1-27
'Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring' (1). God speaks to us about today. He says, 'Now is the day of salvation'. Today, we are in 'the valley of decision'. We must make up our mind about Jesus Christ. Today may be your last opportunity to act on God's precious promise: 'Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved' (Joel 3:14; 2:32; Acts 2:21). Tomorrow may be too late. Your life may be over before tomorrow comes. Tomorrow, you may hear God's Word of judgment: 'I never knew you. Depart from Me, you evildoers!'. Tomorrow, you may face 'eternal punishment' (Matthew 7:23; 25:46). Tomorrow need not be a day of judgment. Choose Christ today. Let today be your 'day of salvation'.


1st November: Hosea 1:1-3:5
'Hosea' means 'salvation'. Married to 'an adulterous wife', Hosea spoke with great compassion to 'the land' which was 'guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord' (1:2). He brought God's Word of love to the people: 'I will show My love to the one I called, "Not My loved one"'. He spoke to them of the life-changing power of God's love: 'I will say to those called, "Not My people", and they will say, "You are My God"' (2:23). He brought a Word of hope to God's people: 'The Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God...They will come trembling to the Lord and to His blessings in the last days' (3:5). His words of hope point us to our Saviour, Jesus Christ - 'In these last days, God has spoken to us by His Son' (Hebrews 1:2).
2nd November: Hosea 4:1-5:14
We read here of Israel's rebellion against God: 'A spirit of prostitution leads them astray. They are unfaithful to their God...A spirit of prostitution is in their heart. They do not acknowledge the Lord' (4:12; 5:4). God is not pleased with them. He speaks His Word of 'judgment against' them (5:1). We must look closely at our lives. What kind of people are we becoming? Are we becoming 'slaves of sin'? God is calling us to be changed by His love and power: 'Now that you have been set free from sin, and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap is holiness, and the result is eternal life' (Romans 6:16,22). Let His love show you that He has not abandoned you because of your sin. Let His power assure you that He can make you 'a new person' (2 Corinthians 5:17).
3rd November: Hosea 5:15-7:16
We are to leave the old way of sinful disobedience and follow the new way of faith and obedience: 'Come, let us return to the Lord...Let us press on to know the Lord'. As we return to the Lord, pressing on to know Him, His blessing returns to us. He leads us in the way of fruitfulness: 'He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth' (6:1,3). We must not be like those who react to God's Word with 'pride': 'They do not return to the Lord their God'. God longs to 'redeem' them, yet they 'rebel against' Him: 'They do not turn to the Most High God' (7:10,13,16). Our 'love' for God is not to be 'like the early dew that disappears'. Let us 'acknowledge our guilt and seek His face'. Let us love Him with a 'steadfast love' (5:15; 6:4,6).
4th November: Hosea 8:1-9:17
'Israel' had 'forgotten' and 'forsaken' the Lord (8:14). We have not remembered the Lord. We have turned away from Him. We have forgotten Him. We have been 'unfaithful' to Him. This is the sad story of our life - a story of forgetting and forsaking the Lord. God is very different from us. He has not forgotten us. He has not forsaken us. He has 'remembered' us. He has been 'faithful' to us. He has shown us His 'salvation' (Psalm 98:3). How do we know that God remembers us? How do we know that God is faithful to us? - 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners'; 'While we were still sinners, Christ died for us' (1 Timothy 1:15; Romans 5:8). 'If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot be false to Himself' (2 Timothy 2:13).
5th November: Hosea 10:1-12:9
God's love for us is much greater than our love for Him. So often, we are like 'Israel' - 'they did not fear the Lord'. Our love for God grows weak. His love for us remains strong. He refuses to give up on us. We wander away from the Lord. He calls us back to Himself - 'It is time to seek the Lord'; 'You must return to your God' (10:3,12; 11:1,8; 12:6). When we return to the Lord, He leads us in the way of His 'love'. He teaches us to 'walk in the Spirit'. He produces in us 'the fruit of the Spirit' (10:1; 11:3-4; Galatians 5:16-18,22-25). God will help us to grow strong in our love for Him - 'the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We must 'not quench the Spirit'. We must 'not grieve the Holy Spirit of God' (Romans 8:26; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30).
6th November: Hosea 12:10-14:9
The Lord loves us. He invites us to come to 'know' Him as our 'Saviour'. We are to 'return' to Him and receive the blessings of His salvation. He 'forgives all our sins'. He leads us in the way of 'fruitfulness'. He gives us eternal life - 'I will ransom them from the power of the grave. I will redeem them from death ...' (13:4,14; 14:1-2,4,8). The call to receive salvation from the Lord is a call to choose which way we will live. We must choose to be 'righteous' rather than 'rebellious'. We are to acknowledge that 'the ways of the Lord are right'. We are to choose the way of 'the righteous' who 'walk in the Lord's ways'. We are to reject the way of 'the rebellious' who 'stumble over the Lord's ways'. Let us walk in the light of the Lord' (14:9; Isaiah 2:5).
7th November: Psalm 144:1-15
'Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle'(1). The Lord is 'the One who gives victory' to His people (10). What a great God we have! He is 'our loving God, our Fortress, our Stronghold, our Deliverer, our Shield' (2). What great blessing the Lord sends into our lives! He fights for us (Exodus 14:14; Deuteronomy 1:30; 3: 22; Nehemiah 4:20). He is 'our Strength' (28:7-8; 59:17). 'With God we shall gain the victory' (60:12). Let us pray that God will pour out His blessing upon us: 'Part Your heavens, O Lord, and come down... Reach down Your hand from on high...' (5,7). Let us think of how much the Lord has blessed us. Let us sing our song of praise to Him: 'I will sing a new song to You, O God' (9).
8th November: Joel 1:1-2:17
'Joel' means 'the Lord is God'. The Lord is our God. He is 'gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love...'. Let us 'return to the Lord our God'. Let us 'return to Him with all our heart'. Let us look to Him for His 'blessing' (2:12-14). Alongside God's promise of blessing for those who return to Him, there is His Word of warning for those who take no notice of Him and pay no attention to His Word: 'The Day of the Lord is near. It will come like destruction from the Almighty...Let all who live in the land tremble, for the Day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand - a Day of darkness and gloom...'(1:15; 2:1-2). God wants to bless us. Let us 'cry out' to Him for His blessing: 'To You, O Lord, I call' (1:14,19).
9th November: Joel 2:18-3:21
Each of us is 'in the valley of decision'. We must make sure that we are prepared for 'the coming of the great and dreadful Day of the Lord'. God has given us His promise: 'Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved' (2:31-32; 3:14). The Lord promises great blessing to those who call upon Him. He 'will pour out His Spirit'upon us. He will do 'great things' for us. He will be our 'Refuge' and 'Stronghold'. He will fill us with 'joy and gladness'. He will fill our hearts with 'praise' (2:20-21,23,26,28-29; 3:16). Make sure that you 'call on the Name of the Lord'. Make sure that you do not miss out on the great blessings the Lord gives to those who call on His Name. Make your decision now - 'I will call on the Name of the Lord' (1 Kings 18:24).
10th November: Amos 1:1-2:16
'The Lord roars'. 'The Lord thunders' (1:2). God's Word comes to us from above - 'The Lord will roar from on high'. He speaks to us from heaven - 'He will thunder from His holy dwelling'. We dare not ignore the Word of the Lord. His Word comes to us as a Word of warning - 'He will shout against all who live on the earth' - and a Word of judgment - 'He will bring judgment on all mankind'. God is calling for our attention: 'Look! Disaster is spreading from nation to nation; a mighty storm is rising from the ends of the earth'. God speaks to us about His 'fierce anger'. He calls us to turn from our sin. Let us return to the Lord and hear His Word of salvation: 'I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more (Jeremiah 25:30-32,37; 31:34).
11th November: Amos 3:1-5:5
'You only have I chosen...therefore I will punish you for all your sins' (3:2). Along with the privilege of being 'chosen' to belong to the Lord comes the responsibility of living as the servants of the Lord. God's Word is not to be taken lightly - 'The lion has roared - who will not fear?' (3:8). God speaks to us very directly about the way we are living - 'You have not returned to Me' (4:6,8-11). We must take Him seriously: 'Prepare to meet your God' (4:12). God calls us to 'seek Him and live': 'Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake His way and the evil man his thoughts, Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon' (5:4; Isaiah 55:6-7).
12th November: Amos 5:6-6:14
'Seek the Lord and live'. 'Seek good, not evil...' (5:6,14). Those who truly seek the Lord are to live a godly life. God sees right through hypocritical religion. He is not pleased with it: 'I hate your show and pretence - your hypocrisy of 'honouring' Me with your religious feasts and solemn assemblies...Away with your hymns of praise - they are mere noise to My ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is' (21,23). God is looking for true obedience: 'a mighty flood of justice - a torrent of doing good' - 'Let justice flow like a river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream' (24). God speaks to us about our sins - 'Many and great are your sins. I know them so well' - so that we might learn to 'hate evil' and 'love good' (5:12,15).
13th November: Revelation 3:1-22
There are some doors which the Lord must open - 'I have placed before you an open door that no-one can shut' (8). There is a door which we must open - 'Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone opens the door, I will come in...' (20). Christ is waiting for you to open the door of your heart to Him. He waits with great patience. He keeps on knocking. He waits to hear your prayer: 'Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today. Come in to stay'. This must be your own prayer. No one else can pray this prayer for you. Open your heart to the Lord, and remember where your prayer really came from: 'The Lord opened my heart...' (Acts 16:14). Open your heart to the Lord. He will open new doors: 'a great door for effective work has opened to me' (1 Corinthians 16:19).
14th November: Amos 7:1-9:15
'That's enough, prophet! Go back to Judah and do your preaching there...Don't prophesy here at Bethel any more' (7:12-13). Amos was a faithful preacher of God's Word - but his hearers wanted to get rid of him! This was the beginning of a time of great darkness: 'The days are coming when I will send a famine through the land - not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the Word of the Lord, but they will not find it' (8:11-12). There were dark times ahead - but God was looking beyond them to a brighter future: 'I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel' (9:14). 'Restore us again, O God of our salvation...' (Psalm 85:4-7).
15th November: Obadiah
'The Kingdom will be the Lord's' (21). When God's Kingdom comes, there will be both salvation - 'The house of Jacob will possess its inheritance' - and judgment - 'There will be no survivors from the house of Esau' (17-18). 'Not by works but by Him who calls' - This is the great contrast between 'Jacob' and 'Esau'. We have not been saved 'because of any good deeds that we have done'. We have been saved 'by grace'. We can never be saved 'by works'. We can never receive His grace 'by works'. We receive His grace 'by faith'. We look away from ourselves to the Lord and say, 'He saved us'. 'It is by grace that you have been saved through faith...not by works, so that no-one can boast' (Romans 9:10-13, 30-32; 11:6; Titus 3:4-7; Ephesians 2:8-9).
16th November: Jonah 1:1-2:10
'Salvation comes from the Lord' (2:9). We can never save ourselves. We can only be saved - by the Lord. Left to our own devices, we 'flee from the presence of the Lord'. We 'run away from the Lord' (1:3). Sin - This is the story of our life. Salvation - This is the story of what the Lord has done for us. We are sinners. We need to be saved. How can our life be turned around? How can we turn from the way of sin and seek the way of salvation? We cannot change ourselves. We need to be changed by God. We cannot forgive our own sins. We need to to be forgiven by the Lord. Where does the desire for forgiveness and change come from? Does it come from ourselves? No! It comes from the Lord: 'He drew me, and I followed on...' (Mission Praise, 499).
17th November: Jonah 3:1-4:11
The people of Nineveh 'believed God' and 'turned from their evil ways'. God had shown Himself to be 'a gracious and compassionate God...'. How did Jonah react? Was he rejoicing in the Lord? No! He was complaining - 'Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry'. Jonah was a proud Jew. He despised the Ninevites. He didn't want them to be saved. That's why he was 'so quick to flee to Tarshish' (3:5,10; 4:1-2). What does God's Word say about Jonah's attitude? - 'You have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else'. We must not 'show contempt for the riches of His kindness'. We must not say, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men'. We must pray, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner' (Romans 2:1,4; Luke 18:11-14).
18th November: Psalm 145:1-21
'Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. His greatness is beyond understanding'. Let us worship our great God: 'I will exalt You, my God the King. I will praise Your Name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise You and extol Your Name for ever and ever' (1-3). The God whom we worship is so much greater than the worship we bring to Him. Our worship is to be a 'joyful celebration'. We celebrate His great love: 'The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love'. We rejoice in His great faithfulness: 'The Lord is faithful to all His promises'. Here on earth, we have only begun to worship our great God. Our worship will continue in His 'everlasting Kingdom'. There, we will 'praise His Name for ever and ever' (7-8, 13,21).
19th November: Micah 1:1-2:13
Micah was a fearless preacher of God's Word. His message was not popular: 'Let the Lord God be a witness against you'. He was a forthright preacher of God's Word. He knew that the people wouldn't want to hear what he had to say to them. He demanded that they listen to him. This wasn't only Micah's word. It was the Word of the Lord. That's why Micah said, 'Hear, O peoples, all of you. Listen, O earth and all who are in it' (2:2). We cannot afford to ignore the Word of the Lord. We must listen to His Word. He speaks His Word against us. He says, 'You cannot save yourselves' (2:3). He speaks His Word against us so that we might learn to rejoice in His Word of salvation: 'I will bring you together like sheep returning to the fold' (2:12).
20th November: Micah 3:1-5:1
Micah speaks to those 'who hate good and love evil' (3:2). He calls upon them to change their way of living. He calls upon them to worship the Lord - 'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord' - and walk with Him - 'We will walk in the Name of the Lord our God for ever and ever'. How do we learn to 'walk in His paths'? We come to His 'House'. We listen to His 'Word'. We pray that His Word will come to us 'with power'. We ask Him to 'teach us His ways'. We pray that we will be 'filled with the Spirit of the Lord' (4:2,5; 3:8). We worship the Lord in His House. Gathered in His House for worship, we 'receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on us'. Through His power, we are equipped for witness: 'you will be My witnesses...' (Acts 1:8).
21st November: Micah 5:2-6:16
In 5:2, we have a prophecy concerning the birth of Jesus at 'Bethlehem'. This prophecy invites us to 'go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about'. At 'Bethlehem', we see 'shepherds, glorifying and praising God' (Luke 2:15,20). We also see Jesus our Shepherd. He is the One whom the shepherds worshipped. He is the One who 'will stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord...'. He is 'the Good Shepherd'. He 'laid down His life' for us. He is 'the Great Shepherd'. He 'was raised from the dead' for us. He is 'the Chief Shepherd'. He will 'come' again for us (5:4; John 10:14; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 5:4). Jesus our 'Shepherd' gives us 'strength' to 'do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God' (6:8).
22nd November: Micah 7:1-20
'Who is a God like You? You forgive sin...You love to be merciful.You will again have compassion on us...You will throw all our sins into the depths of the ocean!...You will bless us...You will set Your love upon us...' (7:18-20) - 'I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene and wonder how He could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean. He took my sins and my sorrows. He made them His very own. He bore the burden to Calvary, and suffered and died alone. When with the ransomed in glory His face I at last shall see, 'twill be my joy through the ages to sing of His love for me. How marvellous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be: How marvellous, how wonderful is my Saviour's love for me!' (Mission Praise, 296).
23rd November: Revelation 4:1-5:14
'In heaven', there's 'an open door' (4:1). Who has opened heaven's door for us? - Jesus Christ: 'He only could unlock the gate of heaven, and let us in', 'Jesus loves me! He who died heaven's gate to open wide; He will wash away my sin, let His little child come in' (Church Hymnary, 241,418). From heaven's open door, we hear the voice of love. Jesus calls us - 'Come up here' (4:2). What happens when we respond to Christ's call? - 'At once I was in the Spirit': 'God sends the Spirit into our hearts' (4:2; Galatians 4:6). The Spirit fills our hearts with worship: 'You are worthy, our Lord and God...'. 'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain...' (4:11; 5:12). Jesus invites us to catch a glimpse of heaven, to catch the Spirit of worship, to be filled with the 'glory' of God (4:8,11; 5:12-13).
24th November: Nahum 1:1-2:9
'Fulfil your vows' (1:15). God is calling us to be faithful to Him. We are to be faithful in worship. We are to be faithful in reading His Word. We are to be faithful in prayer. We are to be faithful in giving. We are to be faithful in witness. Our faith is to be real. Our faith is to make a difference. It's to change the way we live. It's not to be a case of 'faith without works'. That kind of 'faith' is 'dead' (James 2:17). Our whole life is to be a life of faith. It is to be a life of 'love'. We are to live 'for the glory of God' (Romans 14:23; 1 Corinthians 16:14; 10:31). 'Fill Thou our life, O Lord our God, in every part with praise...Not for the lip of praise alone, nor even the praising heart we ask, but for a life made up of praise in every part' (Church Hymnary, 457).
25th November: Nahum 2:10-3:19
To those who refuse to live in obedience to Him, God speaks His Word of judgment: 'I am against you' (2:13; 3:5). Those who refuse to listen to God's Word of salvation - 'The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him' - will hear a very different Word from the Lord. It will be a Word of judgment. God's Word will come like 'an overwhelming flood': 'He will pursue His foes into darkness' (1:7-8). None of us needs to face this 'overwhelming flood' and hear the words, 'I am against you'. Each of us can come to Christ and hear His Word of 'overwhelming victory': 'If God is for us, who can be against us?...Nothing wiIl be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord' (Romans 8:31,37-39).
26th November: Habakkuk 1:1-2:14
'How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but You do not listen?' (1:2). There are times when it seems that God is not listening to us. What are we to do when we feel like this? Are we to give up on God? Are we to stop praying? No! We must wait patiently for the Lord's answer - 'I will look to see what He will say to me'. We must not forget His promise: 'The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord' (2:1; Lamentations 3:25-26). 'The vision awaits its time...If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay'. Let us 'live by faith', awaiting the Day when 'the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea' (2:3-4,14).
27th November: Habakkuk 2:15-3:19
We are to 'be silent' before God. We are to 'stand in awe' of Him. In his holy presence, we become deeply conscious of our sin which separates us from Him: 'Your eyes are too pure to look on evil'. Confessing our sin to God, we pray that 'in wrath' He will 'remember mercy'. We pray that He will 'renew' us with His blessing. God answers our prayer. He sends His 'glory' into our lives. He fills our hearts with His 'praise': 'I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Lord God is my Strength. He makes my feet like the feet of the deer. He enables me to go on the heights'. 'Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles...' (2:20; 3:2; 1:13; 3:18-19; Isaiah 40:31).
28th November: Zephaniah 1:1-2:7
'The great Day of the Lord is near - near and coming quickly...That Day will be a Day of wrath...I will bring distress upon the people ...because they have sinned against the Lord' (1:14-17). This is God's Word of warning. He is calling us back to Himself: 'Seek the Lord - before the fierce anger of the Lord comes upon you, before the Day of the Lord's wrath comes upon you'. We are to seek the Lord in 'righteousness' and 'humility'. This is the way of being 'sheltered on the Day of the Lord's anger' (2:2-3). God is calling us to 'worship Him in Spirit and in truth': 'Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to His service and pleasing to Him. This is the true worship that you should offer' (John 4:24; Romans 12:1).
29th November: Zephaniah 2:8-3:20
Here, we have a story of sin - Woe to the city of oppressors, rebellious and defiled! She has not obeyed His voice. She has not accepted correction. She has not trusted in the Lord. She has not drawn near to her God' - and a story of salvation - 'Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment. He has turned back your enemy...The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will renew you in His love. He will rejoice over you with singing' (3:1-2,14-17). The story of our sin is full of sadness. The story of God's salvation fills us with gladness - 'Rejoice and be glad! The Redeemer has come' (Mission Praise, 573).
30th November: Proverbs 28:1-28
'Blessed is the one who always fears the Lord. If you harden your heart, you will be ruined' (14). The blessing of God comes to us through the Gospel of Jesus Christ our Saviour: 'The Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes'. To those who refuse to come to Christ and receive His salvation, God issues His solemn warning: 'Because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the Day of God's wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed' (Romans 1:16; 2:5). We receive 'salvation' through faith in Christ, 'the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world'. Those who reject Christ and His salvation must face 'the wrath of the Lamb' (John 1:29; Revelation 7:10; 6:16).

 1st December: Haggai 1:1-15
'"Why is everyone saying it is not the right time for rebuilding My Temple?" asks the Lord. His reply to them is this: "Is it then the right time for you to live in luxurious homes, when the Temple lies in ruins?"' (2-4). God's people had forgotten about God. They were pleasing themselves - but they were not pleasing God! God is challenging us to think about our way of living - 'Consider your way of life' (5,7). We are to 'obey the voice of the Lord our God'. We are to change our way of thinking - 'the people feared the Lord' - and living - 'They came and began work on the House of the Lord Almighty, their God'. Let us obey God's voice. Let us trust in His promise - 'I am with you'(12-14).
2nd December: Haggai 2:1-23
'"Be strong , all you people of the land", declares the Lord, "and work. For I am with you", declares the Lord Almighty' (4). We are to work for God. When we commit ourselves to serving Him, the Lord promises His blessing: 'From this day on I will bless you' (19). To His faithful servants, God promises great blessing: 'I will fill this House with glory' (7). 'Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that, in the Lord, your labour is not in vain' (1 Corinthians 15:58). 'Who is on the Lord's side? Who will serve the King?...We are on the Lord's side, Saviour, we are Thine...Always on the Lord's side, Saviour, always Thine' (Church Hymnary, 479).
3rd December: Revelation 6:1-7:17
Christ invites us to 'come' (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 Lord jesus Christ. Our world is deeply troubled. Heaven's worship is absolutely tremendous. Of all our many 'troubles', the greatest is this: We are sinners, and none of us 'can stand' before 'the face of Him who sits on the throne'. Our earthly 'troubles' are nothing compared with this! There is hope. There is a way of 'salvation'. We can be saved through 'the blood of the Lamb'. If, however, we turn from Him - 'the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world' - there will be no hope. We will face 'the wrath of the Lamb' (4:16-17; 5:10,14; John 1:29). Will you be saved - or lost?
4th December: Zechariah 1:1-2:13
God promises to bless His faithful people: 'I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there My House will be rebuilt' (16). God looks upon His House, and He sees His glory - 'I will be the glory within it' (2:5). He sees the glory of His presence - 'I will live among you' (2:10). We read here about the Temple at Jerusalem. We read about its glory. God's Word speaks about another 'temple' and another 'glory'. Through 'faith' in 'Christ', we have become 'a holy temple in the Lord' - 'a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit' (Ephesians 2:21-22; 3:16-17). To every believer, God says, 'Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you...Glorify God in your body' (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
5th December: Zechariah 3:1-4:14
'"Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit", says the Lord Almighty' (4:6). There is only one Power by which the work of the Lord can be done. It is the power of the Holy Spirit. We must not try to do God's work in our own strength. We must exchange our weakness for His strength. We must 'wait for the promise of the Father' - 'You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you'. Great things happen when God's people are 'filled with the Holy Spirit' - 'About three thousand were added to their number that day...The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved'! Let us pray that God will 'pour out' His Spirit upon us (Acts 1:4,8; 2:4,17-18,41,47).
6th December: Zechariah 5:1-6:15
'Here is the Man whose Name is the Branch...It is He who will build the Temple of the Lord...' (12-13). These words point us to our Lord Jesus Christ: 'I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it' (Matthew 16:18). How does Christ build His Church? He sends His blessing when His people are obedient to Him: 'Those who are far away will come and help to build the Temple of the Lord...This will happen if you diligently obey the Lord your God'(15). Christ is 'building a people of power'. He calls us to 'move through this land by His Spirit and glorify His precious Name'. Let us pray, 'Here I am, wholly available - as for me, I will serve the Lord' (Mission Praise, 151,229).
7th December: Proverbs 29:1-27
'The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern'. So many people have a 'couldn't care less' attitude. They have stopped listening to God's Word and they have lost interest in living God's way - 'Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint'. For those who are ignoring God, refusing to listen to His Word and turning away from the pathway of obedience, God has a stern Word of warning: 'If you get more stubborn every time you are corrected, one day you will be crushed and never recover'. God is calling us to leave the pathway of disobedience and disaster and walk in the way of obedience and blessing: 'Blessed is he who keeps the law' (7,1,18).
8th December: Revelation 8:1-9:21
Real gold and fool's gold - What a difference there is between the two! In 8:3, we read about real gold. In 9:7, we read about something which 'looked like crowns of gold'. There is a difference between the real thing and the counterfeit. There is a challenge for us here - in connection with both salvation and service. In Matthew 7:21, Jesus warns us, 'Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord", will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven'. In 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, Paul invites us to think seriously about the 'quality' of the 'work' we're doing for Christ. Is it work which will prove to be of real, lasting value? - 'gold, silver, costly stones'. Is our work superficial? Does it lack any real depth? - 'wood, hay, straw'? Build on Christ: 'Be careful how you build on Him'.
9th December: Zechariah 7:1-8:23
When people stop listening to God's Word, their life becomes 'a desolate wasteland' (7:11-14). What are we to do when we see this happening? - 'Do not be afraid...Be strong'. We must keep on believing God's promise: 'I will save you, and you will be a blessing'. We must keep on praying that our faithful witness will bring others to the Lord: 'Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you' (8:13,23). We must pray that 'the Spirit will be poured upon us from on high and the desert will become a fertile field'. 'Don't hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father' (Isaiah 32:15; Matthew 5:15-16).
10th December: Zechariah 9:1-10:12
'...See your King comes to you...gentle and riding on a donkey...' (9:9). These words point us to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Jesus is our King. Jesus comes to us. How are we to welcome our King? We are to welcome Him with joyful praise - 'Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord' (Matthew 21:1-9; John 12:12-16). Jesus our King has come to us from God the Father: 'When the time had fully come, God sent His Son...'. Jesus our King has come to us to be our Saviour: 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners' (Galatians 4:4; 1 Timothy 1:15). Christ will come again - 'with power and great glory'. 'Come, Lord Jesus' (Matthew 24:30; Revelation 22:20).
11th December: Proverbs 30:1-33
In verse 5, we learn about God's Word. His Word is 'true'. His Word is 'pure'. His Word is full of blessing for those who 'put their trust in Him'. Trusting in Him , we learn that 'His Word is truth'. God's Word is full of blessing for those who 'live according to His Word'. Living in obedience to His Word, we find that His Word makes us 'pure'. Through His Word of truth, God leads us in the pathway of holiness, Jesus prays for us: 'Make them pure and holy through teaching them Your Words of truth'. God's Word is 'more precious than gold'.May God help us to 'hide His Word in our hearts that we might not sin against Him' (John 17:17; Psalms 19:10; 119:9,11).
12th December: Revelation 10:1-11:19
'Take the little scroll and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey' (10:9). We are to feed on God's Word - the difficult parts as well as those passages which make us feel good. God's Word speaks about judgment as well as salvation. Before we can rejoice in 'the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ', we must hear about His 'wrath': 'The time has come for judging the dead' (15,18). 'Sweet and sour': We need both for a balanced diet of God's Word. We need the 'sour' - 'It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God' - as well as the 'sweet' - 'God so loved the world...' (Hebrews 10:31; John 3:16). The 'sour' - 'Flee from the wrath to come' - creates a hunger for the 'sweet' - 'the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world' (Matthew 3:7; John 1:29).
13th December: Zechariah 11:1-12:14
'They will look on Him whom they have pierced...' (12:10). These words point us to Christ's crucifixion. In Psalm 22:1, we read Christ's prayer from the Cross: 'My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?' (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34). In the same Psalm, we read these words: 'They have pierced My hands and My feet' (16). In Isaiah 53:5, we learn that Christ 'was pierced for our sins' (53:5). In Revelation 1:7, the words of Zechariah 12:10 form part of a prophecy concerning Christ's Return: 'Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him ...'. In His heavenly glory, Christ will always be 'the Lamb' who was 'slain' (Revelation 5:6,9).
14th December: Zechariah 13:1-14:21
We 'call on the Lord's Name'. He 'answers' our prayer - 'I will say, "They are My people", and they will say, "The Lord is our God' (13:9). We confess our faith in 'the Lord'. He is 'Lord of lords'. The Lord is King. He is 'King of kings'. 'His Name is 'the only Name' of our salvation. His Name is 'the Name that is above every name' (14:9; Revelation 19:16; Acts 4:12; Philippians 2:9-11). We 'worship the King, the Lord Almighty'. We sing 'Holy to the Lord': 'Holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come! Worthy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come! Glory to the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come! (16,20; Mission Praise, 239).
15th December: Malachi 1:1-2:17
God looks upon us in our sin. What does He see? He sees 'the Wicked Land. He sees 'a people always under the wrath of the Lord' (1:4). He looks at what Christ has done for us - 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners'; 'While we were still sinners, Christ died for us'; 'Christ died for our sins' (1 Timothy 1:15; Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3). God looks upon us in Christ - and everything is so very different: 'God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God' (2 Corinthians 5:21). There, at the Cross of Christ, we hear God's Word of love - 'I have loved you'; 'I have loved you with an everlasting love' (1:2; Jeremiah 31:3).
16th December: Malachi 3:1-4:6
God calls us to be His faithful people. He says, 'Return to Me'. He promises to bless those who return to Him: 'I will return to you'. God calls us to honour Him with our 'tithes and offerings: 'Bring the whole tithe (tenth) into the storehouse...'. When we honour the Lord, He has promised that He will honour us: 'Those who honour Me, I will honour'. When we honour the Lord with our obedience, He promises that He will honour us with His blessing. He promises to 'open the windows of heaven and pour down for us an overflowing blessing'. Satan - 'the devourer' - will be defeated. We will 'serve God'. He will take 'delight' in us. We will be His 'treasured possession' (3:8-12,17-19; 1 Samuel 2:30).
17th December: Revelation 12:1-13:18
In Genesis 3:1, we read of 'the serpent'. Here he is again - 'that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan'. He is a powerful enemy. He 'leads the whole world astray'. He is a determined enemy. 'Day and night', he is busy, accusing God's children. He is a defeated enemy. 'They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb...'. This is not only Christ's victory over Satan. This is our victory in Christ, the victory Christ has won for us. Why is Satan so busy? It's because 'he knows his time is short' (12:9-12). How are we to take our stand against Satan? We must listen to the Word of God: 'He who has an ear, let him hear'. We must obey the Word of God: 'This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness...' (13:9). Christ has won the victory for us. Let us claim His victory by faith.
18th December: Revelation 14:1-15:8
With 'patient endurance', we are to 'obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus' (12), This will not be easy. Satan will do all that he can to defeat us. How can we be 'victorious' over him? We must rejoice in all that God has done for His people, Israel. He delivered them from their bondage in Egypt. We sing 'the song of Moses'. Beyond the great event of the Exodus, there is something even more wonderful. We rejoice in what God has done for us - 'In Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself'. We sing 'the song of the Lamb' (15:2-3; Deuteronomy 7:7-8; 2 Corinthians 5:19). we hear God's call - 'Fear God and give Him glory'. We consider His 'great and marvellous deeds'. In our hearts, we say, 'Who will not fear You, O Lord, and bring glory to Your Name' (14:7; 15:3-4).
19th December: Psalm 146:1-10 
'I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live' (2). Praising the Lord our God: This is a lifelong commitment. We cannot maintain this lifelong commitment in our own strength. We need the Lord's help. We must never forget this: 'Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain' (127:1). We are not expected to maintain this lifelong commitment in our own strength. We have the Lord's help. We must always remember this: 'Our help is in the Name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth' (124:8). 'Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, the Lord who remains faithful for ever' (5-6).
20th December: Psalm 147:1-20
'The Lord builds up Jerusalem. He gathers the exiles of Israel. he heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds' (2-3). This is much more than the building of the city of Jerusalem with bricks and mortar. This is God building up His people in their 'most holy faith' (Jude 20). This is God blessing His people as they gather together to worship Him. In Christ, we are 'being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit' (Ephesians 2:22). The Lord draws us to Himself. He brings us into fellowship with His people. He calls us to worship Him: 'Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving'. He 'blesses' us through 'His Word'. He 'blesses' us in 'the Spirit': 'He sends His Word...and the waters flow' (7,12-13,18; John 7:37-39).
21st December: John 1:1-34
Jesus Christ is the Word of God. He is the Beginning. He is also the End (1-3; Revelation 21:6). He is 'the Word...made flesh. 'We have seen His glory' (14). This is only the beginning. When He returns, we shall see His glory - 'we shall see Him as He is' (1 John 3:2). From Him, there is creation (1-3). From Him, there is salvation (12-13). In Him, we receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (29,32-34). He is the Word of God, the Lamb of God and the Son of God (1,29,34). When we look at Jesus Christ, we see God - 'the Word was God' (1), 'No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known' (18). Do you want to know what God is like? - Look at Jesus (14:9). What do we see when we look at Him? - 'the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world' (29).
22nd December: Matthew 1:18-25
The birth of Christ is a fulfilment of prophecy: 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel' (23; Isaiah 7:14). Christ is 'God with us'. He was born through the power of the Holy Spirit (18,20). He is still 'God with us', when we are 'born of the Spirit' (John 3:5). Some people do not believe what the Bible says here. They do not like the idea of a 'virgin birth'. The Bible gives no encouragement to such unbelief. Matthew simply says, 'This is the way it happened' (18). In view of the amazing thing God was doing - sending His Son to be the Saviour of the world - why should we doubt that God took things out of man's hands and worked in His own miraculous way? We rejoice not only in the miracle but also in its saving purpose: 'He will save His people from their sins' (21).
23rd December: Matthew 2:1-6
We think of this chapter as 'the story of the wise men'. It is not so much about the wise men. It is about Jesus. He is the central Character. We are not told how many wise men there were. The word, 'three', does not appear (1). We are not told their names. We wre not told exactly where they came from - just, they came 'from the East' (1). The important thing is that they made their journey. They came, seeking Jesus: 'Where is He...?'. They came 'to worship Him' (2). The wise men were led to Jesus not only by 'His star' (2) but also by the Scriptures. When asked where the Child was to be born, they answered by quoting from the Scriptures. Reading the Scriptures, we become wise for salvation as we find Christ who is 'our Wisdom' (2 Timothy 3:15; 1 Corinthians 1:30).
24th December: Matthew 2:7-12
Bethlehem was a 'little town'. Humanly speaking, it did not have any great importance. Its importance is derived from the fact that it was the birth place of our Saviour. when we think of Bethlehem, we do not think so much of the place as the Saviour who was born there. Herod says that he wants to go to Bethlehem to worship Jesus (8). Satan was speaking through Herod. Satan 'comes only to steal and kill and destroy'. Christ comes to give 'life...to the full' (John 10:10). As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Herod was not a worshipper of Christ but a servant of Satan. The wise men worship Jesus, then they return to their own country. Their whole purpose was to point away from themselves to Jesus.
25th December: Luke 2:1-20
God is in control! Jesus was born at Bethlehem - Long before it happened, God had it planned (1-7; Micah 5:2-3). As we approach Christ's Return, God still has His plan. He is still in control. The birth of Christ is not merely an event from the past. It is also a message for the future. We look back so that we can move forward. We are fearful about many things. 'What's the world coming to?', we ask. God turns our question on its head: 'Christ is coming to the world'. From His first coming, we look on to His Second Coming - He 'will come to all the people' (10): 'Every eye will see Him' (Revelation 1:7). His Return invites us to ask another question: 'When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?' (18:8). For you, is it still 'before Christ'? Let the 'new age' begin: Let Christ be 'born this day' (11) - in your heart!
26th December: Proverbs 31:1-31
'A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies...Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised' (10,30). We are to seek 'treasures in heaven' rather than 'treasures on earth' (Matthew 6:19-21). The riches of this world will not last for ever: 'All your riches and splendour have vanished, never to be recovered... "Woe! Woe, O great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls! In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!"'. There is one treasure which lasts forever - the treasure of salvation. Let us praise our Saviour: 'Hallelujah! Salvation and power and glory belong to our God' (Revelation 18:14-17; 19:1).
27th December: Revelation 16:1-17:8
We live in an unbelieving and rebellious world - 'they refused to repent and glorify Him'. In an increasingly hostile environment, we must seek to maintain our faithful'testimony'. There are many who take delight in sin. They rebel against God. They take pleasure in persecuting the people of God: 'They will make war against the Lamb'. What are we to do when we face such determined opposition? - We must remind our enemies that they will be defeated by Christ: 'the Lamb will overcome them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings'. We must remind them that Christ has given us the victory: 'with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers'. 'We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Nothing will be able to separate us from' His love (16:9,11; 17:5-6,14; Romans 8:37-39).
28th December: Revelation 18:1-19:10
We read of the fall of Babylon (18:2,10,16-17,19,21). We live in a time of sinful rebellion against God. This will be followed by the time of God's holy judgment. What is God saying to His own people at this time? - 'Come out of her, My people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues' (18:4). God is calling us to be 'holy', 'a people belonging to Him'. Why does He call us to be holy? Does He want us to go around, feeling 'superior' - better than the rest? No! - He wants us to 'declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light' (1 Peter 1:15-16; 2:9-10). We look away from ourselves. We look to the Lord, and we say, 'Hallelujah!' (19:1,3,4,6). 'Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory' (19:7).
29th December: Revelation 19:11-21:8
Our Saviour is 'Faithful and True'. He is 'the Word of God'. He is our 'Lord' and 'King' (19:11,13,16). We are invited to 'come' to Him. The invitation - 'Come, gather together for the great supper of God' - is a call to come to Christ (19:17). We come to Christ so that we might 'reign with Him' (20:6). Coming to Christ is only the beginning. God is preparing us for something even better - reigning with Him. This is a great future - 'no more death or mourning or crying or pain' (21:4). There is, however, a Word of warning for those who refuse to come to Christ for salvation - 'If anyone's name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire'; 'Their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur' (20:15; 21:8). 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved' (Acts 16:31).
30th December: Revelation 21:9-22:21
God has given us a glimpse of a future which is heavenly, eternal and glorious: 'the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God - It shone with the glory of God'. Is this 'eternal life' for everyone? Will all people 'dwell in the House of the Lord for ever'? Will everyone be saved. Is this what the Word of God teaches? 'God wants everyone to be saved'. He wants everyone to 'come to the knowledge of the truth', to 'come to repentance'. Sadly, there are many who 'refuse to love the truth and so be saved' (21:10-11; John 3:16; Psalm 23:6; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:10). Who will be saved? - 'only those, whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life'. 'Come' to Christ - 'Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they...may go through the gates into the city' (27; 22:17,14).
31st December: Psalms 148:1-150:6
'Praise the Lord'. Psalms 146 and 147 began and ended with these words. Now, we find the same beginning and ending in each of these three Psalms - 'Praise the Lord'. Our personal song of praise to God - 'Praise be to the Lord my Rock...I will sing a new song to You, O God...I will exalt You, my God the King; I will praise Your Name for ever and ever; Every day I will praise You...My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord...I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live' (144:1,9; 145:1-2,21; 146:2) - is just a small part of something so much richer and fuller - 'Let everything that has breath praise the Lord' (150:6). May these great Psalms of praise inspire us to praise the Lord more truly and more fully.