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Showing posts from April, 2019

(485) 1 May : Proverbs 23v1-3 / Jeremiah 2v20-3v20 / Psalm 104v24-26

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 23:1-3

Understanding to grow in The wise learn from the past. Hear Jermiah outlines Judah's spiritual adultery in going after false gods when married by her covenant to the LORD. In this she has not learnt from what happened to her sister - the northern kingdom of Israel. Because of her adultery, her people were sent away in exile under the Assyrians. Yet, rather than learning from that, Judah has been even more unfaithful. Her punishment is therefore imminent. And Jeremiah's point is that she will have no-one to help her as she has rejected the true God for those that are false. We can learn from the fact that the southern kingdom was eventually exiled too, and that faithless churches that have turned from Ch…

(484) 30 April: Proverbs 22v29 / Jeremiah 1v1-2v19 / Psalm 104v19-23

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 22:29

Understanding to grow in Ours is not a holy nation called apart by the Lord as Israel was. However, there are similarities between our rejection of Christ in recent history and their rejection of the Lord. Jeremiah's ministry covers the time the southern kingdom of Judah was finally punished for this rejection by being handed over to the Babylonian Empire, which conquered and carried of many of its people in 605 and 597BC, also destroying the city and temple in 586BC. The book begins with God's call of Jeremiah. He is to declare the overthrow and establishment of nations - words that will essential cause these things because they are the certain and effective word of God. And his first oracle warns of no…

(483) 29 April: Proverbs 22v28 / Philemon / Psalm 104v14-18

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 22:28

Understanding to grow in The gospel changes everthing. Here Paul writes around 60AD to a Christian slave owner whose slave seems to have stolen from him and run away, but then become a Christian too (v15-18). Paul sends the slave back, offers to pay his debts himself, and urges the owner to receive him now as a "brother." When we become Christians, we are to live as people of integrity. We are to keep our obligations within society, even if they are detrimental to us. But we also become members of a family with all other Christians, in which we treat one-another as we would our biological siblings - whether in our attitude to Christian employees, or in aiding Christians in need. As you read consider th…

(480) 26 April: Proverbs 22v26-27 / Titus / Psalm 104v10-13

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 22:26-27

Understanding to grow in Here Paul writes in the mid 60s AD, urging Titus to properly establish the church in Crete. He is to appoint qualified elders who are able to teach sound doctrine and confront false teaching. And in the meantime he is to teach the believers what it is to live a godly life with one-another and in the world, motivated by the grace of God. This grace motivates by stressing the priviledge of being purified by Christ to be a people who are eager to do what is good, and the pattern of being peaceable to all on the understanding that God has not treated us as we deserve. As you read consider the nature of the Christian life.
Titus

Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s the …

(479) 25 April: Proverbs 22v24-25 / 2 Timothy 1-2 / Psalm 104v5-9

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 22:24-25

Understanding to grow in This second letter to Timothy comes when Paul knows his own death is drawing near. And so he emphasizes the gospel: teaching it, suffering for it, guarding it, passing it on to others that they might pass it on, and patiently instructing opponents in it. It reminds us that protecting the truth of the gospel and passing it on to the next generation are absolutely critical if the faith is to survive and the church grow. As you read note what we learn about the gospel.
2 Timothy 1-2

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 m…

(478) 24 April: Proverbs 22v22-23 / 1 Timothy 5:17-6:21 / Psalm 104v1-4

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 22:22-23

Understanding to grow in Further instructions for church life. Elders who lead churches are to be respected, but also rebuked when they have sinned. And sin should be shunned by all, knowing it will be revealed in judgment. Slaves (or employees today) are to respect and serve their masters well. Moreover, everyone is to learn contentment, so they are not led into sin out of a desire to become wealthy. And those who are wealthy, are to be generous, sharing what they have, and so storing up heavenly treasure. Through all this Timothy is to set an example of being godly, gaurding the gospel, and persevering in faith and service, mindful that Jesus will one day appear and is to be honoured. As you read note what …

(477) 23 April: Proverbs 22v17-21 / 1 Timothy 3:14-5:16 / Psalm 103v19-22

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 22:17-21

Understanding to grow in We think little of the church being "the pillar and foundation of the truth." But it is an awesome responsibility. We are told quite clearly that people within the church will turn from truth to myths, but with Timothy all believers, and especially leaders, are urged to have nothing to do with this, to teach the truth and watch their life and doctrine closely. Paul then moves to care of the needy within the fellowship. Relatives are to care for their own (not to is to "deny the faith"), so that the church can use its resources for those truly on their own. The good deeds expected of believers are set out in 5v10, and the church will support widows over 60 who have …

(476) 22 April: Proverbs 22v16 / 1 Timothy 1:1-3:13 / Psalm 103v13-18

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 22:16

Understanding to grow in Paul writes to his understudy, Timothy, in the early 60s AD. He urges him to deal with those in the Ephesian church who are teaching falsehood and making much over speculations based on the Old Testament, rather than what is taught clearly. Indeed, although Old Testament law is good, Paul stresses that its major focus is on restraining and convicting sinners, whereas the focus for those in Christ is his mercy. Paul then moves to instructions for church life. He highlights the need of united prayer from the men - perhaps implying the men were those teaching error and arguing over the speculations (see also 2 Tim 3v8). It seems the struggle for the women was with immodesty, and so Paul emp…

(473) 19 April: Proverbs 22v15 / 2 Thessalonians / Psalm 103v9-12

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 22:15

Understanding to grow in It should be a comfort when harmed to know that God will judge with justice those who do the harming. That's how 2 Thessalonians begins. And it is sober reading. It couldn't be clearer that hell is a reality. What follows is explanation that behind such opposition lies a Satanic power of lawlessness which will one day show itself in a particular individual, who will deceive people with signs and wonders, before being destroyed at Christ's return. It should keep every generation wary. But there is reassurance too. Those with persevering faith in the truth will share in glory not punishment. In the light of this, Paul prays the Thessalonians would stand firm in God's streng…

(472) 18 April: Proverbs 22v14 / 1 Thessalonians 3v11-5v28 / Psalm 103v6-8

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 22:14

Understanding to grow in What should our priorities be in the light of Christ's return? The first half of the letter stressed perseverance, no matter what we might suffer. The second stresses godliness. Paul ends both halfs with a prayer to that end. And chapters 4-6 pick up the seriousness of sexual purity because of coming wrath and industriousness in order to commend Christ to others. Paul goes on to give some detail of Christ's return to the encouragement of thsoe who are waiting to see loved ones again. He then urges believers to live as children of the coming day not the present night, stressing the importance of their relationships one with another. As you read note how the return of Christ should…

(471) 17 April: Proverbs 22v13 / 1 Thessalonians 1v1-3v10 / Psalm 103v1-5

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 22:13

Understanding to grow in What are the marks of true faith? The Thessalonian Christians show us. Paul wrote this letter around 51AD. He had preached in the city for a matter of weeks before having to leave because of persecution. But he is overwhealmed with thankfulness to God on hearing from Timothy how these baby Christians are persevering in their new faith. It is marked by hard work, but above all else by a readiness to endure much suffering, imitating the Lord Jesus. Because this is evidence of having received the gospel in the power of the Spirit, it is also evidence that these Christians are chosen of God. And just as their response was being talked of all over the region, so it is an example to us (1v8-10…

(470) 16 April: Proverbs 22v12 / Isaiah 65-66 / Psalm 102v23-28

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 22:12

Understanding to grow in The problem with the unfaithful in Israel, is that they weren’t prepared to humbly tremble at God’s word (66v2). And so, despite God holding out his hand to them through the prophets, they continued to provoke him. This remains true of so many within and outside the church. But there is much promise here for those who are faithful. They will enjoy a new creation in which all that stemmed from the curse will be no more, and a flourishing Jerusalem. (The talk of old age must be because the poetry is portraying an end to the sort of suffering that brings premature death). In what follows God summarises Israel’s entire future in a few paragraphs (66v1-24): Those who engage in idolatry and un…

(469) 15 April: Proverbs 22v11 / Isaiah 63-64 / Psalm 102v18-22

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 22:11

Understanding to grow in The unfaithfulness amongst God's people that shows itself in every generation raises the question why? We are told how God will bring wrath and justice against the evil of the nations, but Isaiah then asks why the people of Judah must bring down God's wrath in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. He recalls God's kindnesses to Israel, and her subsequent rebelliousness, but is quite clear that even that rebelliousness was the Lord's doing in some sense (63v17). And so he can only plead for him to return to his people and restore them simply because they are his - recognizing God is the potter and people his clay. It raises the age-old question of how we can be resp…

(466) 12 April: Proverbs 22v10 / Isaiah 61-62 / Psalm 102v15-17

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 22:10

Understanding to grow in The famous words that begin Isaiah 61 are those Jesus declared were fulfilled in him (Lk 4v18-19). Today's two chapters picture the salvation his people enjoy. From darkness and oppression, they become stable oaks of righteousness, displaying God's splendour. From a ruined land, they inhabit restored cities. Instead of disgrace, they receive an inheritance. Rather than punishment, they receive reward. As you read, note all that can be looked forward to.
Isaiah 61-62

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 …

(465) 11 April: Proverbs 22v9 / Isaiah 59-60 / Psalm 102v6-14

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 22:9

Understanding to grow in We cannot do it ourselves. We need the LORD's salvation. Isaiah affirms God's ability to do this. The problem is Israel's sin, seen in her injustice and persecution of those who do turn from evil. But seeing no-one is able to help, we are told of the LORD putting on salvation like armour, to bring destruction on his people's enemies and redemption to the repentant. Chapter 59 ends with a promise that the servant's words will be talked of through all generations as he then relates the most exalted picture of what God will do for his people. They will be lit up by God's glory rather than the sun or moon, as those from throughout the world come to them with tribute to…

(464) 10 April: Proverbs 22v8 / Isaiah 56v9-58v14 / Psalm 102v1-5

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 22:8

Understanding to grow in Whilst there's time there's hope. Israel's sins here are extremely severe. Ignorant leaders, immorality, pagan child sacrifice, and with it, fasting to the Lord whilst shoing no concern for the justice or the poor. It sounds extreme. But within the church even today, there are leaders who go through their rituals, but know little of the Bible, practice sexual immorality and advocate abortion (a controversial subject, but one that has parallels in taking a child's life in order to benefit oneself). Within the wider culture of course, these things are even more pervasive. But the point Isaiah makes is that there is still time. God is slow to anger. And so he continues to cal…

(463) 9 April: Proverbs 22v7 / Isaiah 54v1-56v8 / Psalm 101v6-8

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 22:7

Understanding to grow in Now we see the ultimate results of the servant's work: A massive expansion of the number of the people of God. A forgetting of the shame that comes with sin. Jersualem as a jewel-adorned city, portraying its splendour. And security against all who might come against it. One cannot but think of the new Jerusalem detailed in Revelation 21. It is in the light of this, that through Isaiah, God calls people to come and receive this all for free, by forsaking sin and seeking him. None who do this will be excluded. All will receive God's pardon. Indeed, he promises that this word (the gospel according to Isaiah) will fulfil its purpose, in gathering a people who will live in all joy fore…

(462) 8 April: Proverbs 22v6 / Isaiah 51v17-53v12 / Psalm 101v3-5

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 22:6

Understanding to grow in Again, the LORD promises restoration for Israel after experiencing exile because of his wrath at his people's sin. It comes with a promise that they will never have to drink the cup of his wrath again, and that their salvation will lead to the LORD being acknowledged as he goes before and behind them as they return. This is the context to the most famous servant song from 52v13. It hints that the servant may be the LORD himself as a man. What is more clear is that he is a king. Although despised and rejected, he is "a tender shoot," which refers to the beginnings of a new kingly tree (see 11v1). But this king will be marked out by suffering because he will win his victory by…

(459) 5 April: Proverbs 22v5 / Isaiah 50v1-51v16 / Psalm 101v1-2

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 22:5

Understanding to grow in The reason we can be so confident of salvation is because we can be so confident of God. That's the message here. God's people were not sent into exile for reasons outside of God, but by his hand, in punishment for sin. It follows then, that he is well able to restore his people - not least because he is the almighty creator. The logic is sound. If the problems of our world are due to his curse on humanity for its rejection of him, then he is more than able to rid the world of those problems through Christ. This is to our immense comfort. As you read note the various ways God affirms his ability ot save.
Isaiah 50:1-51:16

Finish this reading by pausing to ask yourself: 1) What’s th…

(458) 4 April: Proverbs 22v4 / Isaiah 48-49 / Psalm 100

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 22:4

Understanding to grow in God addresses the unfaithful amongst his people. The fulment of what he has predicted shows he, rather than Israel's idols, is the true God. And he is holding back his judgment from his people so they are not wholly destroyed, and so that he is praised - no doubt for his mercy, and his continuing to keep his people. What follows is another "servant song" in which a servant called Israel is used to restore Israel, and with them those from the Gentiles. At first it seems Isaiah himself might be the servant, calling the people home with his words. But on reading what the servant will do, one far greater is in mind. The prophecy looks us to Christ, who perfectly obeys the Lord, …

(457) 3 April: Proverbs 22v3 / Isaiah 46-47 / Psalm 99v5-9

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 22:3

Understanding to grow in God's declares the destruction that will come on Babylon at Cyrus' hand. Key within it is that Babylon considers herself incomparable, whereas in truth only the Lord is. This is another form of idolatry - to consider ourselves or our society as somehow supreme. Such pride inevitably means judgment, for as Jesus said "those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." (Mat 23v12). As you read note what is said of Babylon.
Isaiah 46-47

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 …

(456) 2 April: Proverbs 22v2 / Isaiah 44v24-45v25 / Psalm 99v1-4

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 22:2

Understanding to grow in The LORD directs and governs absolutely everything. Everything. So he is in no way defensive in declaring "I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster" (45v7). He uses even evil for good. And we have no right to quarrel with him about what he does, for we are mere clay in the hands of him as the potter (45v9-11). But what he does here is good for his people. He promises to raise up a Persian King, Cyrus, who will defeat Babylon and decree that the exiled Jews can return and rebuild their temple (A stone on which this decree was made can be seen in the British Museum - the "Cyrus Cylinder"). Again, the LORD's intent in all this, is t…