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07 January - Genesis 13; 14; Psalms 17; Matthew 9


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Posted 07 January 2008 - 09:32 AM

First Portion

Genesis 13; 14


13:1 Abram went up out of Egypt: he, his wife, all that he had, and Lot with him, into the South. 13:2 Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. 13:3 He went on his journeys from the South even to Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 13:4 to the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first. There Abram called on the name of Yahweh. 13:5 Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks, and herds, and tents. 13:6 The land was not able to bear them, that they might live together: for their substance was great, so that they could not live together. 13:7 There was a strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite lived in the land at that time. 13:8 Abram said to Lot, "Please, let there be no strife between me and you, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are relatives. 13:9 Isn't the whole land before you? Please separate yourself from me. If you go to the left hand, then I will go to the right. Or if you go to the right hand, then I will go to the left."

13:10 Lot lifted up his eyes, and saw all the plain of the Jordan, that it was well-watered everywhere, before Yahweh destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the garden of Yahweh, like the land of Egypt, as you go to Zoar. 13:11 So Lot chose the Plain of the Jordan for himself. Lot traveled east, and they separated themselves the one from the other. 13:12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, and Lot lived in the cities of the plain, and moved his tent as far as Sodom. 13:13 Now the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinners against Yahweh.

13:14 Yahweh said to Abram, after Lot was separated from him, "Now, lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 13:15 for all the land which you see, I will give to you, and to your offspring forever. 13:16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then your seed may also be numbered. 13:17 Arise, walk through the land in its length and in its breadth; for I will give it to you."

13:18 Abram moved his tent, and came and lived by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to Yahweh.

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 09:32 AM

14:1 It happened in the days of Amraphel, king of Shinar, Arioch, king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and Tidal, king of Goiim, 14:2 that they made war with Bera, king of Sodom, and with Birsha, king of Gomorrah, Shinab, king of Admah, and Shemeber, king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar). 14:3 All these joined together in the valley of Siddim (the same is the Salt Sea). 14:4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year, they rebelled. 14:5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer came, and the kings who were with him, and struck the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh Kiriathaim, 14:6 and the Horites in their Mount Seir, to Elparan, which is by the wilderness. 14:7 They returned, and came to En Mishpat (the same is Kadesh), and struck all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that lived in Hazazon Tamar. 14:8 The king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar) went out; and they set the battle in array against them in the valley of Siddim; 14:9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings against the five. 14:10 Now the valley of Siddim was full of tar pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell there, and those who remained fled to the hills. 14:11 They took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their food, and went their way. 14:12 They took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who lived in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

14:13 One who had escaped came and told Abram, the Hebrew. Now he lived by the oaks of Mamre, the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner; and these were allies of Abram. 14:14 When Abram heard that his relative was taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan.. 14:15 He divided himself against them by night, he and his servants, and struck them, and pursued them to Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. 14:16 He brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative, Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

14:17 The king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King's Valley). 14:18 Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine: and he was priest of God Most High. 14:19 He blessed him, and said, "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth: 14:20 and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand."

Abram gave him a tenth of all.

14:21 The king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give me the people, and take the goods to yourself."

14:22 Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have lifted up my hand to Yahweh, God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth, 14:23 that I will not take a thread nor a sandal strap nor anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich.' 14:24 I will accept nothing from you except that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre. Let them take their portion."

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 09:34 AM

Second Portion

Psalms 17


A Prayer by David.

17:1 Hear, Yahweh, my righteous plea;
Give ear to my prayer, that doesn’t go out of deceitful lips.
17:2 Let my sentence come forth from your presence.
Let your eyes look on equity.
17:3 You have proved my heart.
You have visited me in the night.
You have tried me, and found nothing.
I have resolved that my mouth shall not disobey.
17:4 As for the works of men, by the word of your lips,
I have kept myself from the ways of the violent.
17:5 My steps have held fast to your paths.
My feet have not slipped.
17:6 I have called on you, for you will answer me, God.
Turn your ear to me.
Hear my speech.
17:7 Show your marvelous loving kindness,
you who save those who take refuge by your right hand from their enemies.
17:8 Keep me as the apple of your eye.
Hide me under the shadow of your wings,
17:9 from the wicked who oppress me,
my deadly enemies, who surround me.
17:10 They close up their callous hearts.
With their mouth they speak proudly.
17:11 They have now surrounded us in our steps.
They set their eyes to cast us down to the earth.
17:12 He is like a lion that is greedy of his prey,
as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.
17:13 Arise, Yahweh, confront him.
Cast him down.
Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword;
17:14 from men by your hand, Yahweh,
from men of the world, whose portion is in this life.
You fill the belly of your cherished ones.
Your sons have plenty,
and they store up wealth for their children.
17:15 As for me, I shall see your face in righteousness.
I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with seeing your form.

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Posted 07 January 2008 - 09:35 AM

Third Portion

Matthew 9


9:1 He entered into a boat, and crossed over, and came into his own city. 9:2 Behold, they brought to him a man who was paralyzed, lying on a bed. Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, “Son, cheer up! Your sins are forgiven you.”

9:3 Behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man blasphemes.”

9:4 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 9:5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven;’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk?’ 9:6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...” (then he said to the paralytic), “Get up, and take up your mat, and go up to your house.”

9:7 He arose and departed to his house. 9:8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

9:9 As Jesus passed by from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax collection office. He said to him, “Follow me.” He got up and followed him. 9:10 It happened as he sat in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. 9:11 When the Pharisees saw it, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

9:12 When Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick do. 9:13 But you go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’* for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

9:14 Then John’s disciples came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples don’t fast?”

9:15 Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 9:16 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch would tear away from the garment, and a worse hole is made. 9:17 Neither do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the skins would burst, and the wine be spilled, and the skins ruined. No, they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

9:18 While he told these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped him, saying, “My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.”

9:19 Jesus got up and followed him, as did his disciples. 9:20 Behold, a woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years came behind him, and touched the fringe of his garment; 9:21 for she said within herself, “If I just touch his garment, I will be made well.”

9:22 But Jesus, turning around and seeing her, said, “Daughter, cheer up! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

9:23 When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players, and the crowd in noisy disorder, 9:24 he said to them, “Make room, because the girl isn’t dead, but sleeping.”

They were ridiculing him. 9:25 But when the crowd was put out, he entered in, took her by the hand, and the girl arose. 9:26 The report of this went out into all that land. 9:27 As Jesus passed by from there, two blind men followed him, calling out and saying, “Have mercy on us, son of David!”

9:28 When he had come into the house, the blind men came to him. Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”

They told him, “Yes, Lord.”

9:29 Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 9:30 Their eyes were opened. Jesus strictly commanded them, saying, “See that no one knows about this.” 9:31 But they went out and spread abroad his fame in all that land.

9:32 As they went out, behold, a mute man who was demon possessed was brought to him. 9:33 When the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke. The multitudes marveled, saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel!”

9:34 But the Pharisees said, “By the prince of the demons, he casts out demons.”

9:35 Jesus went about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness among the people. 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were harassed and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd. 9:37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest indeed is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 9:38 Pray therefore that the Lord of the harvest will send out laborers into his harvest.”

World English Bible - (WEB) - Public Domain

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 10:30 AM

07 January 2009

Genesis 13; 14
Psalms 17
Matthew 9


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Posted 07 January 2010 - 10:09 AM

07 January 2010

Genesis 13; 14
Psalms 17
Matthew 9

FACING THE EVIDENCE

Our readings in Matthew demonstrate the power of human nature to deny the evidence. Jesus did a number of remarkable miracles and "when the crowds saw it, they were afraid (struck with fear and awe AMPLIFIED VERSION) and they glorified God …" [Matthew 9:8]. But many of the religious leaders, seeing their authority and prestige threatened "said to themselves, this man is blaspheming" [Matthew 9:3].

As the miracles multiplied and the crowds said, "never was anything like this seen in Israel", those religious leaders became more desperate in their comments. They said, "he casts out demons by the prince of demons" [Matthew 9:33-34] - for they had embraced the demoniac ideas of the Greeks. Even if such an evil leader of spirits existed, which it didn't, it defies all logical reasoning to think this way as Jesus told them (see Luke 11:15-23).

Because their position and authority mattered to them more than anything else, the religious leaders would not face the evidence; this was an attitude that reached its peak when they thought about putting the resurrected Lazarus to death as, because of him, more and more were believing in Jesus [John 12:10-11].

This evidence of the extreme limits to which humans will go to maintain a belief and support a cause, driven by their own ego as much as anything else, made us think of the present obsession to believe that the world and everything in it, evolved of its own accord, that all that exists is the result of an endless series of "chance" happenings.

The greater the evidence has become in recent years, such as the discovery of the remarkable properties of DNA, the greater the determination seems to be, to say it was all one super-colossal accident! Of course they don't quite say it that way!

Yet, part of the reason for this attitude, we suspect, is the image of the Church, if belief in God is the alternative, do churches generally, reflect the ways of living for God you read about in the Bible. Do they show how a person moved by a conviction that there is an Almighty Creator should live their lives? There is an uncomfortable sense of truth in this attitude; but we are not responsible for the church, but we are responsible for ourselves – and God is looking to save individuals.
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Posted 07 March 2011 - 01:43 PM

07 January 2011

Genesis 13; 14
Psalms 17
Matthew 9

"THE MAN IS BLASPHEMING"

Our readings in Matthew demonstrate the power of human nature to deny the evidence. Jesus did a number of remarkable miracles and "when the crowds saw it, they were afraid (struck with fear and awe AMPLIFIED VERSION) and they glorified God …" [Matthew 9:8]. But many of the religious leaders, seeing their authority and prestige threatened "said to themselves, this man is blaspheming" [Matthew 9:3].

As the miracles multiplied and the crowds said, "never was anything like this seen in Israel", those religious leaders became more urgent in their efforts to discredit him. They said, "He casts out demons by the prince of demons" [Matthew 9:33-34] - for they had embraced the demoniac ideas of the Greeks; it is interesting that there is no reference to demons in the Old Testament. Even if such spirits and an evil leader existed, which they didn't, their allegations defied all logical reasoning as Jesus told them (see Luke 11:15-23).

Their position and authority dominated their minds, they were unable to face the reality of the situation. We need to think whether such a mindset could happen to us. Their mindset reached its peak when they discussed putting the resurrected Lazarus to death as, because of him, even greater numbers were believing in Jesus and undermining their standing. [John 12:10-11].

This example of the extreme limits to which humans will go to maintain a belief and support a cause made us think of the present obsession to believe that the world and everything in it, evolved of its own accord, that all that exists is the result of an endless series of "chance" happenings.

The recent discovery of the remarkable properties of DNA is certain evidence to those who think clearly and logically of a master-designer, but all the comments by "learned" people, show their determination to see all life as one super-colossal accident! Part of the reason for this determination, we suspect, arises from the poor image of the Church. People turn away from Christianity as the answer as a result. How great the need for all people to get back to reading the Bible. We must all ask ourselves what we are doing to set the example!
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Posted 07 January 2012 - 09:50 AM

07 January 2012

Genesis 13; 14
Psalms 17
Matthew 9


"SHEEP WITHOUT A SHEPHERD"

In Matthew 9 there is a summary of the work of Jesus – “and Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” [Matthew 9:35,36]


A large priesthood system existed; there were also scribes and Pharisees. There was the Temple and many synagogues, so what was Jesus’ point in saying the people were harassed and helpless with no shepherds? It is obvious he meant the whole religious system was a failure! Would he say the same today?

Are the flock “harassed and helpless” today? In one sense ‘No,’ but they have many attractions that are distractions that stop them from giving attention to the greater issues of life. The flock then had leaders that were self centred, they had no “vision” of eternal things, their prayers were to tell God how good they were [Luke 18:11,12] They tackled the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” [Luke 18:11] – so that’s what they thought of others. Do today’s ‘shepherds’ say how good they are?

Jesus as the “good shepherd” set other shepherds an example. He came to bring “new wine” and the “old wineskins were useless” [Luke 18:17] – the old law had served its purpose, the religious leaders had corrupted the essential elements of its message, they had lost any meaningful “vision” of God and the real nature of the service he seeks and well as the message “of the kingdom.”

The lesson for us today is that the “new wine” is preserved for us in our Bibles but for most it has become “salt (that) has lost its taste” [Matthew 5:13] But the words of Jesus are more meaningful than ever for those who have “ears to hear” - and in our world that is so starved of genuine spirituality there is abundant work to be done. Note how our chapter ends, “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into the harvest.”
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Posted 07 January 2013 - 12:19 PM

07 January 2013

Genesis 13; 14
Psalms 17
Matthew 9

"I SHALL BE SATISFIED WITH ..."

What satisfies you? Human satisfactions are only temporary – although something achieved after a big effort, like planning and building a new home, can provide a sense of satisfaction for several, if not many years. As we read the Psalms of David and reflect on the record of his life, we see how in his youth he was a sort of outcast from his family (1 Samuel 16:11; 17:28) and then an outcast because of Saul’s jealousy.

But this was ‘good’ for David, because he learnt to totally rely on his God; his prayers to his Creator were the genuine outpourings of his heart. Look at how today’s, Psalm 17 starts, “Hear a just cause, O LORD, attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit! From your presence let my vindication come”

David, in shepherding and defending his father’s flock, especially at night, more fully sensed and developed utter awe as to what God must be! This led him to compose these words - “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him …” [Psalm 8:3-4] David had developed an intense awareness and faith in God – so wonderfully evident to others as he went forward in absolute faith to face Goliath, but did many appreciate this?

Returning to Psalm 17 – we see his prayer is “Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Saviour of those who seek refuge from their adversaries … from men of the world whose portion is in this life” [Psalm 17:7,14]

We are surrounded by those who see this life as all they have. In most cases they are not our adversaries (at least, not in this country) but how little do we have in common (or should have) with those who are satisfied to see their lives as being totally “in this life.” However, can we do more to encourage them to see our existence from David’s and our perspective?

Finally, look at the last verse, “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.” Utterly wonderful – beyond our comprehension … think of meeting David after the resurrection! Ponder prayerfully the prospect of being satisfied in a way that is far far beyond any comparison with this life.
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Posted 07 January 2014 - 08:22 AM

07 January 2014

Genesis 13; 14
Psalms 17
Matthew 9

"THEY GLORIFIED GOD"

Our readings in Matthew demonstrate the power of human nature to deny the evidence. Jesus did a number of remarkable miracles and "when the crowds saw it, they were afraid (struck with fear and awe AMPLIFIED VERSION) and they glorified God …" [Matthew 9:8]. But many of the religious leaders, seeing their authority and prestige threatened "said to themselves, this man is blaspheming" [Matthew 9:3].

As the miracles multiplied and the crowds said, "never was anything like this seen in Israel", those religious leaders became more desperate in their comments. They said, "he casts out demons by the prince of demons" [Matthew 9:33-34] - for they had embraced the demoniac ideas of the Greeks. Even if such an evil leader of spirits existed, which it didn't, it defies all logical reasoning to think this way as Jesus told them (see Luke 11:15-23).

Because their position and authority mattered to them more than anything else, the religious leaders would not face the evidence; this was an attitude that reached its peak when they thought about putting the resurrected Lazarus to death as, because of him, more and more were believing in Jesus [John 12:10-11].

This evidence of the extreme limits to which humans will go to maintain a belief and support a cause, driven by their own ego as much as anything else, made us think of the present obsession to believe that the world and everything in it, evolved of its own accord, that all that exists is the result of an endless series of "chance" happenings.

The greater the evidence has become in recent years, such as the discovery of the remarkable properties of DNA, the greater the determination seems to be, to say it was all one super-colossal accident! Of course they don't quite say it that way!

Yet, part of the reason for this attitude, we suspect, is the image of the Church, if belief in God is the alternative, do churches generally, reflect the ways of living for God you read about in the Bible. Do they show how a person moved by a conviction that there is an Almighty Creator should live their lives? There is an uncomfortable sense of truth in this attitude; but we are not responsible for the church, but we are responsible for ourselves - and God is looking to save individuals.
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Posted 07 January 2015 - 01:15 AM

07 January 2015
 
Genesis 13; 14
Psalms 17
Matthew 9  
 
"KEEP ME ... HIDE ME IN ..." 
            
How inspiring are the Psalms of David.  We perceive that the more troublesome the circumstances that surround him, the closer he comes to God. In today's Psalm [17] we read his prayer, "Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,  from men by your hand, O LORD, from men of the world whose portion is in this life." [Psalm 17:13-14] He is able to say, at this stage of his life, "You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.   ...  by the word of your lips ...  My steps have held fast to your paths ..." [Psalm 17:3-5]
            
"The word of your lips" is of course, God's word; God’s words gave David the strength to hold fast to godly ways: but do we use his word today as earnestly as David did then?   David wrote, "I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God" [Psalm 17:6]  David established an intimacy in his relationship with his God.  What an example this is for us - and we have the wondrous further blessing of a mediator and Saviour!
           
David next prays, "Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,  from the wicked ..." [Psalm 17:8-9]  How urgently may we be making such a prayer as our world grows even more wicked, although it is already really bad in some countries?  Later this month we will read our Lord's anguished prayer for the people of Jerusalem, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!" [Matthew 23:37] 
            
May our steps hold fast to God's paths that we may be “willing” as God’s judgements falls on our world, as they fell on Jerusalem long ago. May we, especially at that time, say to our Saviour as David said to God in this Psalm, "Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who do me violence ..." [Psalm 17:8-9]
            
David then says, "Arise, O LORD!”  - and we read again his word,  “Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword, from men by your hand, O LORD, from men of the world whose portion is in this life." [Psalm 17:13-14]  Our "portion" is in the life to come.  The same Hebrew word occurred in the previous Psalm, which the A.V. translated as "inheritance".  May our Lord "keep" and "hide" us in safety - especially spiritually - until we receive our inheritance.
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Posted 07 January 2016 - 10:03 AM

07 January 2016
 
Genesis 13; 14
Psalms 17
Matthew 9 
 
"MY STEPS HAVE HELD FAST”
 
We continue to be inspired by the faith and commitment of David.  Psalm 17 today, which is clearly a heart-felt prayer,  begins with the plea. "Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!"  Can we use his words as our own prayer?  Would his words be true of our attitude of mind?  
 
His prayer continues, "You have tried my heart ... you have tested me ..." [Psalm 17:3]    David declares to God, "you will find nothing" for he has " lips free of deceit." 
 
Can we personally sense situations in which he has tested us?   Can we declare, as David did, "My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped." [Psalm 17:5]   God's paths are set out for us in his word, we have just read the teachings of His Son - "on the mount" to his disciples.  We are also reading of the faith of Abraham - shining as a light in a dark place, noting how his choices in life were better than his nephew Lot - and we read today in Genesis 14 - and how he had to rescue him.
 
David pleads, in today's Psalm, " keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,  from the wicked ..." [Psalm 17:8-9] How inspiring - for our own faith, if we can take David's words fully to heart - especially his concluding words in this Psalm. "Deliver my soul from the wicked ...  from men of the world whose portion is in this life ... I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness."
 
How long now before David awakes, together with all those who have developed genuine convictions of belief as a sure foundation to lives that show their faith - so that they - with David - will behold God’s "face in righteousness" because they can say, with David, "My steps have held fast to your paths"  
 
David, and all those God counts faithful who are asleep in the graves, have, in a sense, moved into God’s time!  When we come to Psalm 90 we will see how David declares, “For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past” [Psalm 90:4]   
 
With this foundation of belief and resultant faith which we show (to God) in our lives each day, may we all say, "My steps have held fast to your paths”
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Posted 07 January 2017 - 10:18 AM

07 January 2017
 
Genesis 13; 14
Psalms 17
Matthew 9 
 
 “INCLINE YOUR EAR TO ME … WONDROUSLY SHOW …”
 
How wonderful was the relationship David developed with God; as we meditate on his Psalms they “move” our hearts to develop profound meditations - to contemplate all that our Heavenly Father must be – and the wonder of His Son – our mediator – at His right hand. Today’s Psalm 17 is a very personal prayer/petition of David, “You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.” [Psalm 17:3]
 
When our Lord tries our hearts – what does he find?  May we be able say with David, “My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped … incline your ear to me …” [Psalm 17:5-6] “Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Saviour of those who seek refuge…at your right hand.” [Psalm 17:7] Surely David sensed in some way how his greater Son would be at God’s right hand.
 
In Matthew 7 today we read how “two blind men followed Jesus, crying aloud, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David.’” [Matthew 9:27]. They were healed because they knew what the Pharisees refused to recognise – that Jesus was the promised “Son of David.” Jesus, “touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith be it done to you.’” [Matthew 9:29] And it will be “according to our faith” that salvation will come us – because we have inclined our eyes to read – and our hearts and minds absorb, as David prayed, “wondrous things out of your law.” [Psalm 119:18] What a wondrous future awaits us! And how soon now?
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- DC


#14 Librarian

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 03:06 AM

07 January 2018
 
Genesis 13; 14
Psalms 17
Matthew 9 
 
"SHEEP WITHOUT A SHEPHERD" 
 
In Matthew 9 there is a summary of the work of Jesus – "and Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds he had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" [Matthew 9:35-36]. 
 
A large priesthood system existed; there were also scribes and Pharisees. There was the Temple and many synagogues, so what was Jesus' point in saying the people were harassed and helpless with no shepherds? It is obvious he meant the whole religious system was a failure! Would he say the same today?
 
Are the flock 'harassed and helpless" today? In one sense "No," but they have many attractions that are distractions that stop them from giving attention to the greater issues of life. The flock then had leaders that were self-centred, they had no "vision" of eternal things, their prayers were to tell God how good they were [Luke 18:11-12] They tackled the disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" [Luke 18:11] – so that's what they thought of others. Do today's "shepherds" say how good they are?
 
Jesus as the "good shepherd" set other shepherds an example. He came to bring "new wine" and the "old wineskins were useless" [Matthew 9:17] – the old law had served its purpose, the religious leaders had corrupted the essential elements of its message, they had lost any meaningful "vision" of God and the real nature of the service he seeks and the true message "of the kingdom."
 
The lesson for us today is that the "new wine" is preserved for us in our Bibles but for most it has become "salt (that) has lost its taste" [Matthew 5:13] But the words of Jesus are more meaningful than ever for those who have "ears to hear" - and in our world that is so starved of genuine spirituality there is abundant work to be done.  
 
We note how our chapter ends, "pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into the harvest." And there are good harvest fields in a countries of the world where people have not yet been too distracted and corrupted by the "wonders" of our modern, but godless world.
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- DC





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