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Showing posts from February, 2018

(60) 1 March : Proverbs 11v21 / Luke 21v5-22v38 / Psalm 18v25-26

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:21
Understanding to grow in The Christian is to live with a constant eye on Christ's return. That's the theme here. 21v5-38 is much dicussed. Verses 5-24 seem to predict the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple that took place in AD70. This was hugely significant in showing that God had removed his special favour from Israel because of her rejection of his Son. Verse 24 then spans the church age when Jerusalem will be dominated by non-Jews (Gentiles). Verses 25-28 describe Christ's return at the end of that period. The point is that as these various events take place (v5-24 within a generation) they mark the drawing close of the end, nudging people from then on to ensure they are ready. The Lord'…

(59) 28 February : Proverbs 11v20 / Luke 19v28-21v4 / Psalm 18v20-24

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:20
Understanding to grow in Jesus finally arrives in Jerusalem and enters the last week of his life. He intentionally enters on a colt - identifying himself as Israel's Messiah come to the capital from which his reign of righteousness and peace is to extend (Gen 49v10-11, Zech 9v9). But whereas some of the people recognize him as such, the Jewish leaders plot against him. They are the tenants tasked by God to grow fruit from the vineyard of Israel, but instead abuse his prophets and ultimately kill his son. The temple was the heart of the nation and the place of God's special presence amongst the people. How significant that the confrontion between Jesus and these leaders comes to a head there. The very Go…

(58) 27 February : Proverbs 11v19 / Luke 18v9-19v27 / Psalm 18v17-19

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:19
Understanding to grow in Little children are totally reliant. That's the only right response to Jesus. The tax collector and beggar see that, recognizing they can only call on him for mercy. The Pharisee and rich ruler, however, assume they are somehow worthy of God's favour. And we are probably intended to contrast the rich ruler and Zacchaeus. The point is that Jesus looks for those willing to put him first. And by asking the rich man to sell everything he exposes the fact that he is not willing to. By contrast, he doesn't need to ask Zacchaeus at all. Recgnizing Jesus and overwhealmed by his grace, Zacchaeus repents in turning from his past ways and embrace generosity for Jesus' sake. The par…

(57) 26 February : Proverbs 11v18 / Luke 16v19-18v8 / Psalm 18v7-16

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:18
Understanding to grow in Jesus doesn't do smallprint, hiding difficult truth away. The story of Lazarus and the rich man makes absolutely plain the terrible fate that awaits those who do not turn from sin to Christ. Jesus is a master to be rightly feared and served. And his readiness to show mercy should not be taken for granted but bring a response of real gratitude (17v1-19). We must remember that one day he will return in judgment - an event foreshadowed in the flood and the destruction of Sodom. This will mean justice for all, which should be a special comfort to those of his people who have been badly treated. As you read note the responses Jesus expects an awareness of his coming in judgment to bring …

(54) 23 February : Proverbs 11v16-17 / Luke 14v25-16v18 / Psalm 18v4-6

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:16-17
Understanding to grow in What repentance will mean is now spelled out. It's cost must be counted. But it is something God rejoices to see and that his people should rejoice over too. And it should show itself in righteous living - using one's money for the Lord and continuing to uphold the pinciples of the his law. It's difficult to know why the note on remarriage is included. It seems abrupt, but may be to stress the higher expectations placed upon those in the kingdom of God as in Matthew 19v1-12. Jesus' teaching in Matthew suggests Luke is assuming his readers are aware that remarriage is permissible in certain contexts (Matt 19v9, 1 Cor 7v15). As you read consider what true repentance mig…

(53) 22 February : Proverbs 11v15 / Luke 12v49-14v24 / Psalm 18v1-3

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:15
Understanding to grow in The implications of how one responds to Jesus are spelled out. He brings division between those who see his significance, repent and are saved, and those who don't, who therefore refuse and face judgment. In this light the hypocricy of many of his hearers is exposed and Jesus weeps at what this will mean for Jerusalem. The parables of chapter 14 show that whilst those who might assume God's acceptance reject the invitation to be part of his kingdom, the humble and despised are invited in. As you read note the things Jesus stresses to urge a right response. Luke 12:49-14:24
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purp…

(52) 21 February : Proverbs 11v14 / Luke 11v29-12v48 / Psalm 17v13-15

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:14
Understanding to grow in Having witnessed the authority of Jesus' words, we learn that we are to seek his teaching even more than people sought Solomon's wisdom. And we are to display lives lit up by its truth - the sort of life the Pharisees and religious leaders weren't leading, and even if it brings hostility. This life is one devoted not to what we might gain for ourselves, but to how we might serve Christ and his kingdom, desiring his pleasure and reward when he returns. As you read note the different things this life should involve and what most challenges you. Luke 11:29-12:48
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Ch…

(51) 20 February : Proverbs 11v12-13 / Luke 10v1-11v28 / Psalm 17v6-12

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:12-13
Understanding to grow in We need to think carefully as we read Jesus' instructions to particular disciples. We cannot just assume what he requires of them he requires of us - nor that we are somehow lacking if we don't see the same results. Neverthless there are principles in their ministry that challenge our own evangelism, and in the responses that challenge how we respond to the gospel and its preachers. But behind all this stands Jesus. He is the one we should give time to listen to, and the one who must reveal his truth so that we can understand it. He is the one casting out evil in order to establish his kingdom in the heart of those who don't just hear, but obey. And he is the one who give…

(50) 19 February : Proverbs 11v10-11 / Luke 9 / Psalm 17v1-5

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:10-11
Understanding to grow in As the disciples are sent out the cost of following Jesus becomes increasingly apparent. It is to follow the way of the cross. But we also see just how worthy Jesus is of our all. He miraculously feeds the people like God fed Israel in the desert. He is listened to even by Moses and Elijah, God's two greatest spokesmen from the Old Testament. He is able to cast out evil, and will one day return in glory to judge all people and fully establish his kingdom. As you read note what Jesus teaches about the cost of following him and consider its implications for you. Luke 9
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in…

(47) 16 February : Proverbs 11v9 / Luke 7v36-8v56 / Psalm 16v5-11

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:9
Understanding to grow in The emphasis on faith in Jesus as Messiah continues. Here he shows himself as one with authority to forgive, to teach, to control nature, cast our demons and raise the dead. In being a sort of second Adam, he is able to reverse all that resulted from Adam's sin. What encouragement. It proves his ability to bring about the kingdom he has promised. As you read note the different ways faith in him should therefore be disiplayed. Luke 7:36-8:56
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this. 2) What’s the main thing it teaches me about his will for me or the world? Then pray that home.
Dev…

(46) 15 February : Proverbs 11v8 / Luke 6v17-7v35 / Psalm 16v1-4

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:8
Understanding to grow in This sermon by Jesus is given "on a level place" but repeats much of the material from the "sermon on the mount" (Matt 5-7). It gives persepective to disciples who suffer whilst the wealthy who ignore Christ seem to do so well. It is the former who are blessed as they will receive the good things of the kingdom. The characteristics of that kingdom are then outlined as love even of enemies, a lack of judgmentalism in acknowleding one's own faults, and a general obedience to Christ's words that flows from a new heart that only he can give. All this is to express faith in Jesus as the Messiah his miracles prove him to be - a faith exemplified by the centurion, wh…

(45) 14 February : Proverbs 11v7 / Luke 5v1-6v16 / Psalm 15

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:7
Understanding to grow in The calling of the disciples brackets this reading. And it's detail stresses the implications for all: Jesus has come to call, forgive, cleanse and spiritual heal sinners. 5v33-6v11 notes that there is something new and worth celebrating about this. The long-awaited bridegroom for God's people has arrived. Forgiveness was possible for Israel under the Mosaic law as people made sacrifices looking to God for mercy. The difference now is that full forgiveness is promised without the need of the sacrifical system - and with that forgiveness, assurance that we are fully cleansed before God, and healed in the sense of being enabled to do good by the Spirit. This "new wine" (a…

(44) 13 February : Proverbs 11v5-6 / Luke 3v23-4v44 / Psalm 14v4-7

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:5-6
Understanding to grow in Here Jesus proves himself the Messiah. Israel fell into temptation and disobeyed God's law when in the desert for 40 years. Jesus resists the devil by obeying God's law when in the desert for 40 days. He is achieving where Israel failed - earning a righteous standing for those who would follow him. And in quoting from Isaiah he proclaims himself the long awaited Spirit-anointed king, sent to govern in all wisdom and justice (4v18-19 with Isaiah 61v1-3). As such he shows his authority to cast out evil and rebuke sickness. It should encourage our prayers and strengthen our allegiance to him. But the point is that Jesus is able to deal with the consequences of Adam's sin. That…

(43) 12 February : Proverbs 11v4 / Luke 2v1-3v22 / Psalm 14v1-3

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:4
Understanding to grow in The word "Messiah" is the Hebrew version of the greek word "Christ" meaning "anointed one." In today's reading we see Jesus' identity as the Christ develop as he grows up. As you read, note the things we are told about him that should give us hope, and those that should challenge us. Luke 2:1-3:22
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this. 2) What’s the main thing it teaches me about his will for me or the world? Then pray that home.
Devotion to offer up You could read this aloud and perhaps as a springboard to further prayer. Psalm 14:1-3
·For intr…

(40) 9 February : Proverbs 11v3 / Luke 1 / Psalm 13

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:3
Understanding to grow in The wider New Testament tells us that Luke was a doctor and so concerned with facts (Col 4v14). His introduction therefore builds our faith, confident that what he recorded is accurate. Otherwise it would have no persuasive power for Theophilus, its recipient. The first chapter resonates with much we've seen in Genesis. Miracle births (like Sarah's) signalling momentous events, and God fulfilling his promises to Abraham (through king David's line) by finally bringing the offspring who will save and transform his descendents into the great nation they were always to be. The promise of God coming to his people that ended the Old Testament is being fulfilled (compare Mal 4v5-6, …

(39) 8 February : Proverbs 11v2 / Genesis 49v29-v1-50v26 / Psalm 12v5-8

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:2
Understanding to grow in Congratulations on rcompleting Genesis! Faith in God's promise is still expressed as Jacob and then Joseph in death look to be buried in Caanan, with Joseph voicing confidence that God would bring his people there (50v24). No matter how long Christ's return is, we like them know that even our own death won't keep God from proving faithful to us. A second theme is God's governance of all that happens. What Joseph's brothers intended for evil, God intended too - but for good (50v20). And this helped Joseph to forgive them. The same divine hand behind even evil is seen at the cross (Acts 4v27-28). How encouraging when we see the evils of our world, to know that somehow G…

(38) 7 February : Proverbs 11v1 / Genesis 48v1-49v28 / Psalm 12v1-4

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 11:1
Understanding to grow in Under God's inspiration Jacob's actions and words towards his sons predict the future history of the tribes descended from them. So rather than become a tribe of Joseph, Jospeh's descdents will become the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh - Ephraim being the most dominant. And whereas the future for Reuben, Simeon and Levi is limited because of their particular sins (49v3-7, see 34v25-26, 35v22), Judah becomes the head tribe because of how he eventually proved so faithful (49v8-12). It is here we find the third great prediction of the promised serpent-crusher. With increasing focus we've seen he will be one of humanity descended from Eve. One of the nation of Israel desc…

(37) 6 February : Proverbs 10v32 / Genesis 46-47 / Psalm 11

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:32
Understanding to grow in This lists of descendents show that God has brought about something of the great nation promised to Abraham. And he has ensured their protection under the power of Pharoah and in the best of the land of Egypt. Moreover he has blessed Pharoah and Egypt with wealth and supremacy because they blessed his people (Gen 12v3) - an encouragement to all peoples and nations to treat his people well. Yet still Jacob looks to the fulfilment of God's promise in the gift of Canaan. 47v27 is important (see also Ex 1v7). It's the language of Genesis 1v28. What Adam failed to achieve because of his sin, God is starting to achieve through his people. They are like a new humanity, promised a new E…

(36) 5 February : Proverbs 10v31 / Genesis 44-45 / Psalm 10v16-18

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:31
Understanding to grow in So what is Joseph up to with the silver cup? He's testing his brothers. The brother that stands out is once again Judah - but for better reasons. The one who was once ready to kill his younger brother is now ready to substitute himself for Benjamin so that Benjamin might be safe. And by this means this fledgling people of God are reconciled to one-another. It was of course a Christ-like thing to do. God transforms those he calls to be his people, shaping them into his image. As you read note how Judah has changed. Genesis 44-45
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this. 2) What’…

(33) 2 February : Proverbs 10v30 / Genesis 42-43 / Psalm 10v13-15

BEGIN WITH PRAYER "Lord open my eyes and my heart."

Read slowly so that you take in. And as you do, turn your heart to God, thanking him for the good you discover and praying his will home for you, your family, your church and the world. 
Wisdom to chew on Proverbs 10:30
Understanding to grow in Yesterday we saw how the world was to come to Joseph, here we see his brothers coming - the people of God. The parallel's to Christ are continually striking. He was also rejected by his fellow Israelites who sought his death. He also suffered unjustly before being exalted to the highest place. He too is the one we must bow before and who dispenses salvation. He is the one who knows us even when we don't know him. As you read consider what is learnt here of a right response to Christ. Genesis 42-43
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? Then praise him for this. 2) What’s the main thing it teaches…