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Showing posts from July, 2018

(213) 1 August : Proverbs 15v22 / Ecclesiastes 4-6 / Psalm 50v16-23

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 15:22
Understanding to grow in Reflections on the futility of life continue, but in the centre is a commendation of revering God. We're starting to see that given the uncertainties and difficulties of life under the sun, revering God is the way of wisdom. He governs our futures, and to him our spirits go when they die. As the parable of the rich fool demonstrates, toil and hoarding is pointless as God could demand our life at any time. Better to be rich towards him (Lk 12v13-21). As you read note the various lessons taught.
Ecclesiastes 4-6

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…

(212) 31 July : Proverbs 15v20-21 / Ecclesiastes 1-3 / Psalm 50v7-15

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 15:20-21
Understanding to grow in Ecclesiastes exposes the fact that the uncertainities of life render much of what we do pointless. The word translated "meaningless" picks up the idea of everything being transient like mist or vapour - "a chasing after the wind." Solomon writes of how he toiled at seeking pleasure, success and wisdom, yet considered it all meaningless because it all passes whilst the world remains the same, any benefits are passed on to those who live after us, and we have no control over whatever comes to us in life. This first section conludes two things from this: First, this sense that nothing we do can ultimately make a difference is intended to cause us to fear God who holds…

(211) 30 July : Proverbs 15v19 / Job 38-39 / Psalm 50v1-6

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 15:19
Understanding to grow in One response to the apparent injustice of life is to ponder whether God is just but unable to ensure justice. The Lord counters that idea here. Having been faced with God's wisdom and his own limited understanding Job accepts he cannot speak, but must remain silent. Yet the Lord continues in stressing his own mighty power displayed in the most mighty of animals. Job concludes "I know that you can do all things," accepting the answer to why he suffers is beyond his grasp, and repenting of his words, recognizing they have only proved his unworthiness before God (42v1-6). This is the godly response to suffering. Concern, of course. But with it humility and reverence before the…

(208) 27 July : Proverbs 15v18 / Job 38-39 / Psalm 49v16-20

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 15:18
Understanding to grow in The Lord begins his response, And it is rather simple. Job has never been in the business of being the creator, so how can he presume to understand what God might be doing or determine whether it is right or wrong. God then outlines the wisdom of his works throughout creation as proof enough, that although we may not grasp why things happen as they do in our lives, God is in control and he will have wise reasons. As you read note how the wisdom of God is displayed.
Job 38-39

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…

(207) 26 July : Proverbs 15v16-17 / Job 35-37 / Psalm 49v12-15

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 15:16-17
Understanding to grow in Evil, poverty, disaster? Predestination, hell? The Christian will often struggle to grasp why God does as he does. The wrong response is to reduce God to our limited understanding as Job's friends have, or claim he does wrong as Job seems to. Either way we will end up denying some truth about God, attempting to fashion him like an idol into someone he is not. The right response is to recognise our smallness before him, and his immensity. This is where Elihu leads us. God cares about how we live, but he is not changed by it (35v4-8). He is the unchanging one, who is as he is not as we would have him be. Indeed, in the simple everyday things of creation we see proof that he is beyo…

(206) 25 July : Proverbs 15v15 / Job 32-34 / Psalm 49v7-11

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 15:15
Understanding to grow in Elihu is regarded as wiser than the others. That doesn't mean his answer is entirely apt. But God does not express anger towards him in 42v7-9. And two things stand out in his reply. First, is a degree of humility and tenderness in seeking to counsel his friend. (33v6-7). Second, is a concern to counter any sense that God acts unjustly. That is where Job had gone wrong. Rightly confident he was not being punished for sin, he implied God was not doing what was just. But the mystery of suffering is that God remains just, even though the distribution of suffering seems to us so unjust and unfair. We must hold to this when we suffer. We may not know why we suffer. But the reason cannot …

(205) 24 July : Proverbs 15v14 / Job 29-31 / Psalm 49v1-6

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 15:14
Understanding to grow in Job makes his final defence to God, detailing the injustice he has suffered, whilst remaining upright before God. It helps us understand the sense of unfairness that can be only too real for those who suffer. And it looks us to Christ, who himself was mocked by those who should have revered him. We must remember Job is introduced in the book as a righteous man. As you read note the things that are the marks of the righteous person.
Job 29-31

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.
Devot…

(204) 23 July : Proverbs 15v13 / Job 25-28 / Psalm 48v12-14

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 15:13
Understanding to grow in One thing that marks the wise is knowing the limits to their own understanding. That's been the problem for Job's comforters throughout. They've assumed they can explain the realities of life with an easy formula where the wicked suffer and righteous prosper. And today, our culture is filled with human "wisdom" about why things are as they are here and how we should live. But Job reflects on the unfathomable nature of God, and the fact that he alone knows the way to wisdom as he alone is the creator. As for wisdom we should live by: It is to remain committed to what is good and true no matter what we face (27v2-4), knowing that even though the wicked may prosper, i…

(201) 20 July : Proverbs 15v12 / Job 22-24 / Psalm 48v8-11

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 15:12
Understanding to grow in The point is that the events of life are so often beyond us. Suffering and prosperity cannot be easily explained according to some karma-like principle of justice, as Job's so-called friends suggest. Job is confident that if he could argue his case with God, he would be established as innocent of the wickedness he is being charged with. But he has no way to God and so must settle with things as they are, recognizing God does as he pleases. Yet one thing he knows: He knows God knows. He knows the LORD sees his ways, and so his sufferings must be a test from which he will come forth as gold. And he knows too, that God knows the ways of the wicked. So although they may feel secure now,…

(200) 19 July : Proverbs 15v11 / Job 20-21 / Psalm 48v1-7

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 15:11
Understanding to grow in Zophar continues the assertion that it is the wicked who receive hardship in life in punishment from God. Job counters that this is nonesense. On the contrary, the wicked so often prosper and then share the same fate in death as everyone else. Yet, within his frustration Job again moves to that point of faith. It seems unjust to us, but none can teach God knowledge, and he judges all (21v22). Job doesn't have the clarity about what is to come that we have received through Christ. We know that it is on the judgment day that all the injustices of this world are righted - as the story of the wicked but wealthy man and the upright but impoverished Lazarus shows (Lk 16v19-31). As you rea…

(199) 18 July : Proverbs 15v10 / Job 18-19 / Psalm 47v5-9

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 15:10
Understanding to grow in There is perhaps no time we need friends more, than when we suffer. Job feels abandoned by family, servants, friends and strangers. Even God seems against him. And so he responds to Bildad's suggestion that only the wicked would suffer as he has, by pleading with him to let up and have pity. His description of his rejection foreshadows the immense heartache Jesus must have felt when abandoned on the cross. How comforting to have had at least John and the Marys with him (Jn 19v25-27). How comforting if you can make time to just stand with those you know who suffer. But there is an even greater comfort - that of faith. Despite feeling rejected by God, Job trusts him ultimately to rede…

(198) 17 July : Proverbs 15v8-9 / Job 15-17 / Psalm 47v1-4

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 15:8-9
Understanding to grow in The well meaning can get things very wrong. Eliphaz now get's angry, accusing Job of sinning in his desire to argue his case with God. He continues to assume Job is being punished, stating that Job's idea that he is suffering though innocent goes against all the wisdom of their culture and ancestry. It's a reminder of how much we need the Bible as God's word to give us wisdom, and how we must hold to it even if against all the so called wisdom of the world. Paul makes the point that "the wisdom of the cross" where the most innocent one suffered, is so much wiser than man's wisdom - yet considered foolish (1 Cor 1v18-21). Jesus is the supreme example that i…

(197) 16 July : Proverbs 15v7 / Job 11-14 / Psalm 46v8-11

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 15:7
Understanding to grow in Zophar now charges Job with sin, and Job again responds in seeking to put his case to God. But what he details is God's providential governance of all things, including the seemingly unjust fact that the wicked often prosper. Job voices how many feel when they suffer - powerless in the hands of God's purposes which they just cannot fathom. As you read, note what Job teaches about God.
Job 11-14

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…

(194) 13 July : Proverbs 15v6 / Job 8-10 / Psalm 46v1-7

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 15:6
Understanding to grow in One struggle we face when suffering seems so unjust, is having no-one to speak up for us with God. That's Job's feeling here. Bildad continues the blame-game, and Job can only respond that God is so great, wise and powerful, that Job cannot presume to argue his innocence with him and call God to withdraw the trials. Job longs for a "mediator" to enable him to speak to God without fear (9v33-35). Of course, we know that we now have such a one in Christ. He intercedes for us so that we stand under suffering, and through him we can speak to God with the respectful intimacy of a child to their Father. Our hardships may continue as they did for Jesus himself. But there is co…

(193) 12 July : Proverbs 15v5 / Job 4-7 / Psalm 45v9-17

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 15:5
Understanding to grow in Often when people counsel us, truth may be mixed with error. So it is with Eliphaz. He speaks much that is right about God, but assumes throughout that Job's sufferings must be God's discipline for some sin in his life. As readers we know different. As you read note the insights in Job's reply for how those who suffer feel.
Job 4-7

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 45:9-1…

(192) 11 July : Proverbs 15v4 / Job 1-3 / Psalm 45v6-9

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 15:4
Understanding to grow in We begin the famous book of Job - a book that may be quite ancient. It famously tackles the question of why some suffer so acutely. But an even higher theme is the limit to human wisdom when it comes to fathoming the realities of life. Job is a righteous man who has everything, yet looses it all as God allows Satan to test him. And it leaves Job wishing he was never born. One cannot but think of the greater righteousness of Christ who in glory had everything yet willingly gave it up, to suffer for our sakes. As you read note what we learn about suffering.
Job 1-3
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about God or his purposes in Christ? The…

(191) 10 July : Proverbs 15v3 / Romans 15v14-16v27 / Psalm 45v1-5

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 15:3
Understanding to grow in How do you prioritise? Here Paul reveals how he does. He prioitises according to the calling God has given him. He is an apostle so he has given time to writing so that the Roman Christians might, through the gospel, be acceptable to God. And it is Paul's gospel concern that has governed everything for him. It is why he has travelled the world preaching and so been kept from coming to Rome. It is why he wants to come, not just to encourage the believers, but find help for his trip to preach in Spain. It is why he is collecting money for the Jerusalem church - to display the unity the gospel has brought between Jews and Gentiles. And something of that unity is displayed in the list of…

(190) 9 July : Proverbs 15v2 / Romans 12v1-15v13 / Psalm 44v20-26

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 15:2
Understanding to grow in God has saved us not just for heaven, but for holiness. The whole letter has been leading to this point. Paul's concern is to preach in such a way that causes people to be an acceptable offering to God (15v16). And so in view of the undeserved mercy we have received, we are to live lives of Christian service, love, civic duty, and accommodation to other's scruples in the church. As you read note and pray over the exhortations that most challenge you.
Romans 12:1-15:13
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 th…

(187) 6 July : Proverbs 15v1 / Romans 9v1-11v36 / Psalm 45v6-19

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 15:1
Understanding to grow in These are some of the hardest ideas the Lord puts before us. But they matter. Paul was anticipating the question: "Why if its so true aren't more Jews saved?" We might wonder why more of any nation aren't. And the answer is that for his own reasons God has decided it will be as it is. He shows mercy to whom he chooses, and hardens who he wants to harden (9v18). The point is that the lack of response in our own day doesn't suggest God's purposes have somehow failed. Indeed, the fact that he is ultimately in charge of who does respond gives hope, as it means that none are beyond his grace and so we can pray for him to open their eyes. And we must share the gospel …

(186) 5 July : Proverbs 14v35 / Romans 7v1-8v39 / Psalm 44v1-5

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 14:35
Understanding to grow in If you've broken your leg and want to cross the room, setting out and focusing on the far wall won't help. It will just highlight your injury. Instead your need is for a companion to lean on. This is Paul's point today. Focusing on the system of Old Testament laws won't make the Christian godly. They will just show how unable to live by God's standards we are because of sin. Rather, we need to lean on the Spirit, thinking on his desires at work within us, and then acting on them. And what reassurance for those who do. They prove they are children of God and so will one day be raised to rule over a renewed creation with all God's people, giving perspective to what…

(185) 4 July : Proverbs 14v34 / Romans 5v12-6v23 / Psalm 43

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 14:34
Understanding to grow in A non-Christian asked me once: "If God forgives all your sin, why seek to be godly?" Paul's answers: "Because of who we now are." He begins contrasting Adam and Christ. Adam represented all humanity so that his sin was counted as theirs. That's why we all die. We share in Adam's punishment not just in physical death, but the moral death of being unable to live for God. We're responsible for the degree to which we sin, but Adam is the reason for sin itself. However, the good news is this: Christ represents all who trust him. He takes their punishment, satisfying God's justice so that his righteousness can be counted as theirs. That means they are f…

(184) 3 July : Proverbs 14v33 / Romans 3v21-5v11 / Psalm 42v6-11

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 14:33
Understanding to grow in So why is the gospel the most important and most precious thing? Because of what results from it. We've seen people could never attain God's righteous standard by obeying the law. Instead, the law displayed his righteous standard by provoking his justice at sin. But what today's passage teaches, is that in the gospel that righteous commitment to justice is now seen in Jesus having to satisfy it in his death. And by removing the need for punishment on the believer, this makes it possible for God to declare them to have fully met his righteous standard even though they haven't. This is justification. It is the heart of the gospel in which God's righteousness - his stan…

(183) 2 July : Proverbs 14v32 / Romans 1v1-3v20 / Psalm 42v1-5

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 14:32
Understanding to grow in What is the most important thing in life for you? Surely it must be the gospel. Today we begin Romans, a letter from the apostle Paul to the church in Rome, written around 56-57AD. We immediately see that the gospel is his concern, as he has been especially commission to preach it to Gentiles (non-Jews) so they would not just believe, but obey in response (1v5). We learn it is all about Jesus as God's promised Messiah who rose from the dead proving he is the Son of God (1v1-6). But it is also about "the righteousness of God" - that's God's own standard of doing right displayed both in his justice and his perfection. And the wonder is that this is received by those …