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Showing posts from August, 2018

(243) 31 August : Proverbs 16v12-13 / Joshua 10v29-12v24 / Psalm 57v9-11

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 16:12-13
Understanding to grow in The themes here are clear: In destroying the Canaanite peoples Joshua did everything as the LORD had commanded through Moses. Because of that, the LORD fought for Israel giving the land as their inheritance. And because of that, Israel were wholly victorious. God's instructions can be found in Deuteronomy 7-9 where it is stressed the reason for such complete destruction is because of the "wickedness of these nations" (Deut 9v5). Their depravity and evil, including child sacrifice, is well documented by archaeology. And we should note that Israel are not instructed to destroy nations that are further afield. So there is no justification here for waging war in the name of …

(242) 30 August : Proverbs 16v11 / Joshua 8v30-10v28 / Psalm 57v4-8

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 16:11
Understanding to grow in It's one thing to obey the Lord, but quite another to actually walk with him. Israel commit to obedience but fail to enquire of God when the Gibeonites seek a treaty. And so they agree a peace with those they should have driven out of the land. It's a reminder that God's people are not just to live rightly, but relate to him in prayer, and seek his wisdom in the scriptures wherever it is needed. Consider Christ choosing his disciples. Yet there is a lesson about faithfulness here too. Though a bad decision, having made the treaty Israel keep to it. Whether marriage, formal agreements or general promises, the believer keeps them so far as they are not requiring them to sin. He…

(241) 29 August : Proverbs 16v10 / Joshua 7v1-8v29 / Psalm 57v1-3

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 16:10
Understanding to grow in When we read the law we saw the absolute perfection of God's holiness displayed in the many requirements necessary for people to draw close, and the constant threat that his wrath might break out when his commands are disobeyed. Here it is again made known. Because one man disobeys, God withdraws causing Israel to be defeated (7v12). Only when that man and all with him are destroyed and so removed does God restore his presence and protection. It builds appreciation of the cleansing we have in Christ so that God's presence can remain with his church despite its imperfection, but also of the need to exercise church discipline to remove any "bitter root" so that the church…

(240) 28 August : Proverbs 16v9 / Joshua 3-6 / Psalm 56v8-13

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 16:9
Understanding to grow in Just as Jesus brings us through baptism into our new life and the coming new creation. the LORD leads the way into the land with the ark that symbolises his presence, bringing the people through water as through the red sea. Like Noah and family entering a new world after the flood, Israel are to be a sort of new humanity in a new world too. And like the miracles in the Exodus, this parting of the sea is intended to cause the watching nations to see God's power and Israel to fear him. They should do the same for us, eliciting commitment from each generation as they did this one. And God's power is particularly seen in Jericho falling without a sword being weilded. It is because of…

(239) 27 August : Proverbs 16v8 / Joshua 1-2 / Psalm 56v4-7

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 16:8
Understanding to grow in It's a comfort to be reminded that God always keeps his promises. Today we return to the history of Israel, just after the death of Moses around 1400BC. God had fulfilled his promise to bless and make Abraham a great nation. Now he completes it in giving the promised land. He fulfils his promises in his good time. But we should note that God uses means in salvation: a faithful leader in Joshua, and the people too, who must spy out the land and prepare to do battle within it. As throughout the Old Testament, this patterns the gospel where Jesus leads us into the new creation, whilst we also help one-another to it as we battle together against Satan and sin. In short, we need Christ, bu…

(236) 24 August : Proverbs 16v7 / John 19v23-21v25 / Psalm 56v1-3

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 16:7
Understanding to grow in In numerous ways Jesus' death fulfils prophecies given hundreds of years previously. He himself pointed out that this was one of the proofs of his identity (5v37-40), showing he is the long awaited Messiah - God's anointed Saviour King. The detail also portrays him as a Passover lamb (Ex 12v46). This King works his victory by atoning for sin in his death, freeing his people from slavery to Satan and sin as Israel were freed from slavery to Pharoah and Egypt. In this context, the resurrection is not just further proof of who Jesus is, but of the sufficiency of his death. Peace and forgiveness from God has been made possible, and new life achieved that Jesus immediately dispenses as…

(235) 23 August : Proverbs 16v6 / John 18v1-19v22 / Psalm 55v20-23

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 16:6
Understanding to grow in There's no sense that Jesus was surprised by his arrest, trial and death. Throughout he shows himself composed and in control. And this only exposes the lonliness and opposition he endured all the more. His friend Peter denies him. The Jewish authorities with great hypocricy, show a concern for remaining clean at the Passover whilst doing and seeking violence against the Son of God. Pilate, concerned with the politics of the situation declares Jesus' innocence and, ironically, his identity as King of the Jews, whilst still having him whipped and crucified. All this would have encouraged persecuted Christians facing similar irrational hatred and injustice in fulfilment of Jesus'…

(234) 22 August : Proverbs 16v5 / John 16-17 / Psalm 55v16-19

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 16:5
Understanding to grow in Of course we might long to have been around when Jesus lived. But we are better off now he has gone to heaven. When here he was limited to Israel. Now he is in heaven, he has poured out his presence by the Holy Spirit throughout the world. As we saw yesterday, the Holy Spirit taught the apostles the truth they have passed on. But more than that, he is at work in convicting those from the world of that truth and so of sin and righteousness and judgment. Moreover, because we belong to Jesus and he is now with his Father, we can pray boldly to the Father in his name. Jesus is honest. his people will face trouble in the world. But they can take heart that he has "overcome" it and so…

(233) 21 August : Proverbs 16v4 / John 14-15 / Psalm 55v12-15

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 16:4
Understanding to grow in Christians increasingly feel a minority, some facing hostility, and most a degree of isolation and lonliness. How much more the disciples would have felt the same after Christ left them. So these encouragements to them the night before his death encourage us too. He is not here as he has gone to prepare a place where we will belong, and we can be confident of that because of who he is, proved by his words and works. And although he isn't with us physically, if we love and so obey him we can be sure he is with us spiritually. Indeed, as the three are one, by the Holy Spirit both Father and Son have made their home with us. So Christ is still with us. And his teaching is too. He promise…

(232) 20 August : Proverbs 16v3 / John 12v20-13v38 / Psalm 55v4-11

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 16:3
Understanding to grow in The glory or excellence of Jesus is most on display at the cross. There we see the heights of his self-sacrifice as he is ready to die and be buried, so that like a seed he will bring a great harvest that includes not just Jews but Greeks. There we see his power in driving out the devil as souls are rescued from his power. There we see his humility in being ready to wash sinners clean just as he washes Peter's feet. There we see his love in being prepared to be betrayed by one of his closest friends to this end. And there we see his true status as the Son of God, whom the Father glorifies by strengthing him to endure to this end, and the raising and seating him on high as king of his …

(229) 17 August : Proverbs 16v2 / John 11v1-12v19 / Psalm 55v1-3

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 16:2
Understanding to grow in We are not as rational as we think. If people don't want to believe, no amount of evidence will convince them. Jesus raises a man from the dead, and the leaders respond by plotting his death. Others recognize the truth: He is the Messiah, the one promised to bring peace to Israel, establishing God's people as a kingdom that would span the world and include even Gentiles. But hidden in these events, is an acknowledgment that this will take Jesus' death. Mary's devotion to Jesus is a model for all who have benefitted from what he gives. To give everything for him. As you read note the different responses.
John 11:1-12:19
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What…

(228) 16 August : Proverbs 16v1 / John 9-10 / Psalm 54v4-7

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 16:1
Understanding to grow in Jesus divides. Here we see him divide believers from unbelievers, parents from a son, religious leaders from everyday people. The challenge at such times is whether we will side with him and continue to do so. But if we do, the reason is that we are his sheep for whom he lays down his life. By God's grace we therefore hear his voice and follow. As you read note what Jesus teaches about those who believe in him.
John 9-10
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…

(227) 15 August : Proverbs 15v33 / John 7-8 / Psalm 54v1-3

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 15:33
Understanding to grow in It is one's attitude to Jesus' teaching that is the true test of one's heart. As Jesus attends the festival in the temple, he claims his teaching is from God and proves itself in those who live by it. Some are drawn to him in awe of what he has to say, whilst others claim he is demonized. Yet Jesus is clear that he is light in a dark world, and that those who reject what he says about himself do so because their father is the devil in whom there is no truth. It's a challenge as we assess our own attitude to what Jesus taught. As you read note what Jesus does teach about himself.
John 7-8
Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me…

(226) 14 August : Proverbs 15v31-32 / John 6 / Psalm 53v4-6

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 15:31-32
Understanding to grow in Who would not want eternal life. Here we see how it is received. Jesus proves he is the Son of God by doing as the Father does. He feeds the people as God did when they were in the desert, and walks on water which is something only God is able to do (see Job 9v8). Life is therefore bound up with Jesus. And so it is those who "believe" in him who receive it. Yet just as the Israelites grumbled about the food in the desert, so these grumble over the idea of feeding on Christ. The point is that left to ourselves we do not want him. And so Jesus is clear that those who do believe, do so because the Father has drawn them. That's good news. Because it means the Father will als…

(225) 13 August : Proverbs 15v30 / John 5 / Psalm 53v1-3

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 15:30
Understanding to grow in Did Jesus really claim to be God? His hearers were in no doubt. By calling his Father and saying this licenses him to work on the Sabbath as God does, he was claiming to be equal (5v18). And as if to underline the point he then outlines how he does what the Father does - even to receuvung the same "honour" (v23). But how can we know Jesus was speaking the truth. That follows from verse 31. We don't have to rely on John the Baptist's testimony. We have the testimony of Jesus' works - the miracles and their teaching, and God's word - the OT scriptures that Jesus life so perfectly fits. As you read note what Jesus' identity means for us.
John 5
Finish this readi…

(222) 10 August : Proverbs 15v29 / John 3-4 / Psalm 52v8-9

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 15:29
Understanding to grow in It's not hard to see our greatest need is for life. Death comes to us all. And for many life before death feels more a half life. Today we see that true everlasting life is found in Jesus. It is a spiritual life given those who in faith look to Jesus for salvation from God's anger. It's a life even the most immoral outcast can receive, and one Jesus followers are to tell others about. As you read note what we are told about why we need this life.
John 3-4
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? …

(221) 9 August : Proverbs 15v28 / John 1-2 / Psalm 52v1-7

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 15:28
Understanding to grow in How do we know what we know about Jesus? Because of people's testimony to him. John's gospel is arguably the latest of the four, and it begins with a focus on testimony that runs all the way through it. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh - the one who reveals God's glory (ie. the excellence of who God is). John the Baptist, Peter, Andrew, Philip and Nathanael all recognise that, and testify to who Jesus is. And as he starts to reveal his glory in the first sign-miracle, people come to believe. It shows that the old covenant concerned with outer purification has ended. In Jesus God's temple presence has arrived, meaning that God has come to his people like a bridegroom to…

(220) 8 August : Proverbs 15v27 / Songs 6-8 / Psalm 51v18-19

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 15:27
Understanding to grow in There is a reason so many songs are about love, and why love get's so many into trouble. Because it reflects the delight God has in us and we are to have in him, it is supremely powerful and pleasurable. And it needs to be, to unite husband and wife for life. Yet because of that it needs caution. The refrain throughout the book is "Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires" (7v4). We must guard our children so that their hearts are not unleashed to love until at a time of life in which that can find full expression in marriage, and with someone who is an appropriate spouse. And we must gaurd ourselves too, that if married, we do …

(219) 7 August : Proverbs 15v26 / Songs 4-5 / Psalm 51v14-17

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 15:26
We should not forget this book is first and foremost a celebration of sexual desire consummated in marriage. For those who are married it encourages us to meditate on the beauty of our spouse, to declare to them our delight in them, and to enjoy giving ourselves sexually to them. This is as much a part of Christian living for us as anything else is. Adam declared his delight in Eve as God made her for him, and it is God who has joined us to our spouse in marriage (Gen 2v23, Mal 2v14-15). But whether married or not, all can contemplate here the sort of delight the Lord has in his church - and the delight we can find in him as we meditate on his beauty and excellence. As you read note how fixated this poem implie…

(218) 6 August : Proverbs 15v25 / Songs 1-3 / Psalm 51v9-13

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 15:25
Understanding to grow in Marital love, desire and sex are not things to be ashamed of. In their right context they are to be expressed, celebrated and embraced as this book demonstrates in recording the love of a couple - possibly Solomon and one of his wives. By doing so, the Song of Solomon not only enriches our marriages, but points to the delight God and his church have in one-another - a delight that the thrill of romance is intended to point to (Zeph 3v17, Rev 21v9-10). As you read note the feelings the couple have for one-another and consider what right feelings towards the Lord they point to.
Song of Solomon 1-3

Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the main thing it teaches me about G…

(215) 3 August : Proverbs 15v24 / Ecclesiastes 9-12 / Psalm 51v4-8

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 15:24
Understanding to grow in This latter section of the book focuses on how we might live wisely given how uncertain life is. But it concludes with the thing that matters most: We are to remember our creator. We are to fear and obey him, knowing that no matter how random the events of life seem, he will eventually bring all to judgment. The writer doesn't have the clear view of everlasting life that we have through Christ. He has written throughout of the same destiny overtaking all in the sense that, whether someone is righteous or wicked, they all face death. This is the "evil" of this present life, for it seems so unjust, and makes everything so meaningless (9v3). However, the writer points us beyon…

(214) 2 August : Proverbs 15v23 / Ecclesiastes 7-8 / Psalm 51v1-3

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 15:23
Understanding to grow in A helpful reminder: "No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun." (8v17). Christians can so readily claim to discern what God is doing, or be provoked when he seems to do what they dislike. But as we learnt from Job, his ways are unfathomable to us, unless made known in scripture. And in the light of this, although the believer seeks to be zealous for him, they are wise to be moderate in all else, knowing time and what seems like chance, might affect things at any time. Again, the lesson is to fear God, and eat, drink (a picture of fellowship) and be glad in what one has. As you read note the lessons of wisdom in this section.
Ecclesiastes 7-8

Finish this reading by pausin…