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14 January - Genesis 25; 26; Psalms 31; Matthew 16


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Posted 14 January 2008 - 11:05 AM

First Portion

Genesis 25; 26


25:1 Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah. 25:2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 25:3 Jokshan became the father of Sheba, and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. 25:4 The sons of Midian: Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. 25:5 Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac, 25:6 but to the sons of Abraham's concubines, Abraham gave gifts. He sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, to the east country. 25:7 These are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived: one hundred seventy-five years. 25:8 Abraham gave up the spirit, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years, and was gathered to his people. 25:9 Isaac and Ishmael, his sons, buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron, the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre, 25:10 the field which Abraham purchased of the children of Heth. Abraham was buried there with Sarah, his wife. 25:11 It happened after the death of Abraham that God blessed Isaac, his son. Isaac lived by Beer Lahai Roi.

25:12 Now this is the history of the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bore to Abraham. 25:13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to the order of their birth: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebaioth, then Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 25:14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 25:15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 25:16 These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their villages, and by their encampments: twelve princes, according to their nations. 25:17 These are the years of the life of Ishmael: one hundred thirty-seven years. He gave up the spirit and died, and was gathered to his people. 25:18 They lived from Havilah to Shur that is before Egypt, as you go toward Assyria. He lived opposite all his relatives.

25:19 This is the history of the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son. Abraham became the father of Isaac. 25:20 Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Paddan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian, to be his wife. 25:21 Isaac entreated Yahweh for his wife, because she was barren. Yahweh was entreated by him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 25:22 The children struggled together within her. She said, "If it be so, why do I live?" She went to inquire of Yahweh. 25:23 Yahweh said to her,

"Two nations are in your womb.
Two peoples will be separated from your body.
The one people will be stronger than the other people.
The elder will serve the younger."
25:24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25:25 The first came out red all over, like a hairy garment. They named him Esau. 25:26 After that, his brother came out, and his hand had hold on Esau's heel. He was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

25:27 The boys grew. Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field. Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. 25:28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he ate his venison. Rebekah loved Jacob. 25:29 Jacob boiled stew. Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. 25:30 Esau said to Jacob, "Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am famished." Therefore his name was called Edom.

25:31 Jacob said, "First, sell me your birthright."

25:32 Esau said, "Behold, I am about to die. What good is the birthright to me?"

25:33 Jacob said, "Swear to me first."

He swore to him. He sold his birthright to Jacob. 25:34 Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils. He ate and drank, rose up, and went his way. So Esau despised his birthright.

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 11:05 AM

26:1 There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, to Gerar. 26:2 Yahweh appeared to him, and said, “Don’t go down into Egypt. Live in the land I will tell you about. 26:3 Live in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you. For to you, and to your seed, I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. 26:4 I will multiply your seed as the stars of the sky, and will give to your seed all these lands. In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed, 26:5 because Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my requirements, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”

26:6 Isaac lived in Gerar. 26:7 The men of the place asked him about his wife. He said, “She is my sister,” for he was afraid to say, “My wife,” lest, he thought, “the men of the place might kill me for Rebekah, because she is beautiful to look at.” 26:8 It happened, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was caressing Rebekah, his wife. 26:9 Abimelech called Isaac, and said, “Behold, surely she is your wife. Why did you say, ‘She is my sister?’”

Isaac said to him, “Because I said, ‘Lest I die because of her.’”

26:10 Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us!”

26:11 Abimelech commanded all the people, saying, “He who touches this man or his wife will surely be put to death.”

26:12 Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year one hundred times what he planted. Yahweh blessed him. 26:13 The man grew great, and grew more and more until he became very great. 26:14 He had possessions of flocks, possessions of herds, and a great household. The Philistines envied him. 26:15 Now all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped, and filled with earth. 26:16 Abimelech said to Isaac, “Go from us, for you are much mightier than we.”

26:17 Isaac departed from there, encamped in the valley of Gerar, and lived there.

26:18 Isaac dug again the wells of water, which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father. For the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham. He called their names after the names by which his father had called them. 26:19 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. 26:20 The herdsmen of Gerar argued with Isaac’s herdsmen, saying, “The water is ours.” He called the name of the well Esek, because they contended with him. 26:21 They dug another well, and they argued over that, also. He called its name Sitnah. 26:22 He left that place, and dug another well. They didn’t argue over that one. He called it Rehoboth. He said, “For now Yahweh has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.”

26:23 He went up from there to Beersheba. 26:24 Yahweh appeared to him the same night, and said, “I am the God of Abraham your father. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you, and will bless you, and multiply your seed for my servant Abraham’s sake.”

26:25 He built an altar there, and called on the name of Yahweh, and pitched his tent there. There Isaac’s servants dug a well.

26:26 Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath his friend, and Phicol the captain of his army. 26:27 Isaac said to them, “Why have you come to me, since you hate me, and have sent me away from you?”

26:28 They said, “We saw plainly that Yahweh was with you. We said, ‘Let there now be an oath between us, even between us and you, and let us make a covenant with you, 26:29 that you will do us no harm, as we have not touched you, and as we have done to you nothing but good, and have sent you away in peace.’ You are now the blessed of Yahweh.”

26:30 He made them a feast, and they ate and drank. 26:31 They rose up some time in the morning, and swore one to another. Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace. 26:32 It happened the same day, that Isaac’s servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had dug, and said to him, “We have found water.” 26:33 He called it Shibah. Therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day.

26:34 When Esau was forty years old, he took as wife Judith, the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon the Hittite. 26:35 They grieved Isaac’s and Rebekah’s spirits.

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 11:06 AM

Second Portion

Psalms 31


For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by David.

31:1 In you, Yahweh, I take refuge.
Let me never be disappointed.
Deliver me in your righteousness.
31:2 Bow down your ear to me.
Deliver me speedily.
Be to me a strong rock,
a house of defense to save me.
31:3 For you are my rock and my fortress,
therefore for your name’s sake lead me and guide me.
31:4 Pluck me out of the net that they have laid secretly for me,
for you are my stronghold.
31:5 Into your hand I commend my spirit.
You redeem me, Yahweh, God of truth.
31:6 I hate those who regard lying vanities,
but I trust in Yahweh.
31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in your loving kindness,
for you have seen my affliction.
You have known my soul in adversities.
31:8 You have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy.
You have set my feet in a large place.
31:9 Have mercy on me, Yahweh, for I am in distress.
My eye, my soul, and my body waste away with grief.
31:10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
my years with sighing.
My strength fails because of my iniquity.
My bones are wasted away.
31:11 Because of all my adversaries I have become utterly contemptible to my neighbors,
A fear to my acquaintances.
Those who saw me on the street fled from me.
31:12 I am forgotten from their hearts like a dead man.
I am like broken pottery.
31:13 For I have heard the slander of many, terror on every side,
while they conspire together against me,
they plot to take away my life.
31:14 But I trust in you, Yahweh.
I said, “You are my God.”
31:15 My times are in your hand.
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.
31:16 Make your face to shine on your servant.
Save me in your loving kindness.
31:17 Let me not be disappointed, Yahweh, for I have called on you.
Let the wicked be disappointed.
Let them be silent in Sheol.
31:18 Let the lying lips be mute,
which speak against the righteous insolently, with pride and contempt.
31:19 Oh how great is your goodness,
which you have laid up for those who fear you,
which you have worked for those who take refuge in you,
before the sons of men!
31:20 In the shelter of your presence you will hide them from the plotting of man.
You will keep them secretly in a dwelling away from the strife of tongues.
31:21 Praise be to Yahweh,
for he has shown me his marvelous loving kindness in a strong city.
31:22 As for me, I said in my haste, “I am cut off from before your eyes.”
Nevertheless you heard the voice of my petitions when I cried to you.
31:23 Oh love Yahweh, all you his saints!
Yahweh preserves the faithful,
and fully recompenses him who behaves arrogantly.
31:24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who hope in Yahweh.

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Posted 14 January 2008 - 11:09 AM

Third Portion

Matthew 16


16:1 The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing him, asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 16:2 But he answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 16:3 In the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but you can’t discern the signs of the times! 16:4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and there will be no sign given to it, except the sign of the prophet Jonah.”

He left them, and departed. 16:5 The disciples came to the other side and had forgotten to take bread. 16:6 Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

16:7 They reasoned among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.”

16:8 Jesus, perceiving it, said, “Why do you reason among yourselves, you of little faith, ‘because you have brought no bread?’ 16:9 Don’t you yet perceive, neither remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you took up? 16:10 Nor the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you took up? 16:11 How is it that you don’t perceive that I didn’t speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

16:12 Then they understood that he didn’t tell them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. 16:13 Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”

16:14 They said, “Some say John the Baptizer, some, Elijah, and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”

16:15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

16:17 Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 16:18 I also tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 16:19 I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven; and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven.” 16:20 Then he commanded the disciples that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ. 16:21 From that time, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.

16:22 Peter took him aside, and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This will never be done to you.”

16:23 But he turned, and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men.” 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 16:25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it. 16:26 For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life? 16:27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his deeds. 16:28 Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste of death, until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”

World English Bible - (WEB) - Public Domain

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 11:35 AM

14 January 2009

Genesis 25; 26
Psalms 31
Matthew 16


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Posted 14 January 2010 - 09:37 AM

14 January 2010

Genesis 25; 26
Psalms 31
Matthew 16

THIS ROCK

In ancient times a rock symbolised something secure and God was the ultimate Rock! David could write in the Psalms, as we read today, "To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me" [Psalm 28:1] He also pleads with God, "when my heart is faint, lead me to the rock that is higher than I" [Psalm 61:2] Now, in today's reading in Matthew Jesus seems to call Peter a "rock" [Matthew 16:18]. We recall Jesus added the name Peter [Luke 6:14] to Simon, and Peter means a rock – petros.

Yet human rocks have to prove themselves, Jesus was looking for such rocks on which "I will build my church" [Matthew 16:18] Peter was the first Rock as the early chapters of the book of Acts reveal. But at first Peter failed and a remarkable confrontation took place. In the next verses we read, Matthew 16:21, "From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem … and be killed." Peter reacted in an astonishing way. He "began to rebuke" Jesus! "Far be it from you Lord! This shall never happen to you ." [Matthew 16:22] This is a glaring example of a person only believing what they want to believe! They only listen to that which fits in with their expectations.

It also illustrates what Satan means for Jesus responded by saying to Peter, "Get behind me Satan! You are a hindrance (mg stumbling block) to me … you are not setting your mind on the things of God …" [Matthew 16:22-23]. Things that are in opposition are called Satan as we saw last month in Revelation 2:9,13. It is a word several times translated as adversary in the O.T.

But what about "this rock" on which, Jesus said, "I will build my church" [Matthew 16:18]? It is far than one individual, yet each chosen individual, like Paul who is called "a chosen vessel" [Acts 9:15] must learn to become a rock, by possessing it.

That rock is surely faith! True faith is built on truly believing after listening properly to the words of Jesus and His Son. Jesus had warned them in this chapter "to beware of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees" [Matthew 16:12] and he told Peter "you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man" [Matthew 16:23].

Let us make sure we set our minds on the right things – and then we will always have a rock to which we can go. It could be that God will also use us, in time, to become a "rock" in his service.
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Posted 07 March 2011 - 01:51 PM

14 January 2011

Genesis 25; 26
Psalms 31
Matthew 16

"WATCH AND BEWARE"

The stage has now arrived in the life of Jesus for the really serious issues to be raised with his disciples. His disciples were challenged as to what they really understood and believed. They are told to "Watch" and this means, Jesus is telling them, keeping the eyes of your mind open so that you correctly understand. Only by doing this will you act in the right way and do the will of God.

Life has many things to "beware" of when we commit our lives to serve God and do his will. Jesus says, "watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." [Matthew 16:6] They puzzle over what "leaven" means in this context. Natural leaven is, of course, the agent put into bread dough to make it lighter and more palatable. Were some doing this to spiritual teaching? Yes! Jesus explains to his disciples, "I did not speak about bread …. but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees" [
Matthew 16:11,12].

History shows that there has always been a tragic tendency to take the teaching of Jesus and make it more palatable. His disciples are going to be required to take on a very responsible role. He began to tell them that "he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests, and be killed and on the third day be raised," [
Matthew 16:21] Their human thinking is locked into one way of thinking so they cannot accept this. Their understanding is headed for a steep and painful learning curve.

Has the life of those truly trying to serve Christ ever been any different? No. Climbing up from the slippery unstable sands of human thinking to the "rock" [
Matthew 16:18] has always been a challenge. We see in reading the book of Acts that Peter, through much agonizing, became the first "Rock." So let all of us take special note of the advice to "watch and beware" and gain "the keys of the kingdom" [Matthew 16:19].

What kind of "life" matters most to us? Jesus said, "For what will it profit a man (or woman) if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life?" [
Matthew 16:26]. What did Jesus mean? Everything is said today about the need to have the best possible career path – so that you can gain the best rewards offering in life. That is fine – IF this life is all that you are interested in. But if you are interested in more than this life – "watch and beware"
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Posted 14 January 2012 - 05:49 AM

14 January 2012

Genesis 25; 26
Psalms 31
Matthew 16


"MY TIMES ARE IN YOUR HAND"

Psalm 31 shows how David’s thoughts range over all the aspects of his relationship with God. They ‘explore’ the times when he feels weak and the times when he feels strong and show his awareness that God is overseeing every aspect of his life. This is summed up when, in a time of distress he writes, “I have become a broken vessel. For I hear the whispering of many – terror on every side! – as they scheme together against me … But I trust in you LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.” My times are in your hand … ” [Psalm 31:12-15]


David is saying to God, the outworking of my life is in your hands. He said this when he refused to take the opportunity to kill Saul, “As the LORD lives, the LORD will strike him, or his day will come to die …” [1 Samuel 26:10]. Paul had a similar perception when he wrote, “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.” [Romans 8:28] and by that he meant even those things which at first appear bad! They are working together for the good of God’s purpose in his chosen ones such as David and Paul - and you? Some who look back on the course their life has taken can see this quite clearly.

In today’s chapter in Matthew we see the disciples in some perplexity as they struggle to comprehend the meaning of Jesus’ words – they did not fit in with the “times” they had expected. Peter was rebuked by Jesus for failing to accept what he said was going to happen in Jerusalem. Jesus is very blunt as he turns to Peter and says, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. You are not setting your mind on the things of God …” [Matthew 16:23] It was a steep learning curve for Peter! If we refuse to accept the obvious meaning of the words of God and His Son we too can become an enemy of our Lord and the road that has been charted out for us in serving him, the only road that leads to eternal life.

David concludes his Psalm by writing, “The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD.” That last verse should echo in our minds more and more as we realize our times are in the Lord’s hands if we are among “those who are called according to his purpose” – see that Romans quote again!
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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:35 AM

14 January 2013

Genesis 25; 26
Psalms 31
Matthew 16

“ON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD …”

In ancient times a rock symbolized something secure and God was the ultimate rock! David wrote in the Psalms, as we read 2 days ago, “To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me” [Psalm 28:1] He also pleads with God, “when my heart is faint, lead me to the rock that is higher than I” [Psalm 61:2]

In today’s reading in Matthew, Jesus seems to call Peter a “rock” [Matthew 16:18], but read the context carefully; among the people there is increasing speculation as to who Jesus is – and he asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am? [Matthew 16:15] Peter declared, ‘You are the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God.” [Matthew 16:16]

This declaration is the “rock”! The possession of true insight and real faith. It is “on this ‘rock” says Jesus, “that I will build my church and the gates of hell (hades, i.e. the grave) will not prevail against it” [Matthew 16:18] It is true faith that makes death but a sleep with a wonderful waking – as David believed – see Psalm 17:15.

We recall it was Jesus who added the name ‘Peter’ to Simon [Luke 6:14] when he called him to be a disciple. The name Peter means a rock – petros. Yet human rocks have to prove themselves; Jesus was, and still is, looking for such rocks; those who have the true insight of faith – on which “I will build my church” [Matthew 16:18]

As the early chapters of the book of Acts reveal Peter became the rock around which the first community of believers in Jerusalem was built. But before then he failed disastrously! The next verses tell us that “from that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem … and be killed.”

Peter reacted in an astonishing way; he “began to rebuke him, saying ‘Far be it from you Lord! This shall never happen to you.’” [Matthew 16:22] Jesus responded by saying “to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me … you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” [Matthew 16:23]

The “set” of our minds is vital! If they are wrong we end up being opposed to God and to Jesus. At the end of his life the set of Solomon’s mind became wrong and God raised up “adversaries” to him and this word in the Hebrew is the word ‘satanas’ as in 2 Kings 11:14,23,25, which names the ‘Satans’ that opposed Solomon.

Those who develop a true faith become, in Christ’s eyes, a ‘rock’ on which, even today, he can build. Let us make sure the ‘set’ of our minds is on godly ways with a readiness to become a ‘rock’ with a true faith in his service – and never a satan.
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Posted 14 January 2014 - 05:16 AM

14 January 2014

Genesis 25; 26
Psalms 31
Matthew 16

SETTING YOUR MIND

In ancient times a rock symbolised something secure and God was the ultimate Rock! David could write in the Psalms, as we read today, "To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me" [Psalm 28:1] He also pleads with God, "when my heart is faint, lead me to the rock that is higher than I" [Psalm 61:2] Now, in today's reading in Matthew Jesus seems to call Peter a "rock" [Matthew 16:18]. We recall Jesus added the name Peter [Luke 6:14] to Simon, and Peter means a rock - petros.

Yet human rocks have to prove themselves, Jesus was looking for such rocks on which "I will build my church" [Matthew 16:18] Peter was the first Rock as the early chapters of the book of Acts reveal. But at first Peter failed and a remarkable confrontation took place. In the next verses we read, Matthew 16:21, "From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem … and be killed." Peter reacted in an astonishing way. He "began to rebuke" Jesus! "Far be it from you Lord! This shall never happen to you ." [Matthew 16:22] This is a glaring example of a person only believing what they want to believe! They only listen to that which fits in with their expectations.

It also illustrates what Satan means for Jesus responded by saying to Peter, "Get behind me Satan! You are a hindrance (margin: stumbling block) to me … you are not setting your mind on the things of God …" [Matthew 16:22-23]. Things that are in opposition are called Satan as we saw last month in Revelation 2:9,13. It is a word several times translated as adversary in the O.T.

But what about "this rock" on which, Jesus said, "I will build my church" [Matthew 16:18]? It is far than one individual, yet each chosen individual, like Paul who is called "a chosen vessel" [Acts 9:15] must learn to become a rock, by possessing it.

That rock is surely faith! True faith is built on truly believing after listening properly to the words of Jesus and His Son. Jesus had warned them in this chapter "to beware of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees" [Matthew 16:12] and he told Peter "you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man" [Matthew 16:23].

Let us make sure we set our minds on the right things - and then we will always have a rock to which we can go. It could be that God will also use us, in time, to become a "rock" in his service.
-------
- DC



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Posted 14 January 2015 - 12:03 PM

14 January 2015
 
Genesis 25; 26
Psalms 31
Matthew 16  
 
"MY TIMES ARE IN YOUR HAND" 
            
How thought provoking are the perceptions of David which he expresses in Psalm 31, "Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you ..." [Psalm 31:19] and then he adds, "and worked for those who take refuge in you... "  How much is it possible (probable?) that we will be in a situation this year of really seeking to find refuge in the Lord?  In some countries this seems to be more likely than others.   
            
David is not perfect in character, only our Lord achieved that, but in the relationship which David established with his Creator he declares, "I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul,  and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place." [Psalm 31:7-8]  He says, "I hear the whispering of many ­ terror on every side! ­ as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life." [Psalm 31:13] But this is followed by a really significant declaration, "But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, 'You are my God.'   My times are in your hand ... Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!" [Psalm 31:14-16]
            
We saw this as we read of the life of Abraham and more than one brother in Christ we have known has sensed that their times are in God's hand - this is more clearly evident when we look back on the path travelled!  Truly, Paul declared, "we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." [Romans 8:28]  We see this as, overall, being for the “good” of God’s purpose, as we saw with Abraham.  Paul goes on to write about "those who he predestined" - but the reality of this is only seen in our lives we when look back on the path travelled; Abraham would have seen this!
            
As our world falls apart - more and more - we are going to need to sense. as we "work together with him" [2 Corinthians 6:1], that our Lord's guiding hand is there and our "times are in his hand."  It is wonderful stimulus in our minds to memorise the last 2 verses of today's Psalm, "Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.  Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!" [Psalm 31:23-24] 
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- DC


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Posted 14 January 2016 - 11:28 AM

14 January 2016
 
Genesis 25; 26
Psalms 31
Matthew 16 
 
“MY TIMES ARE IN YOUR HAND”  
            
David employs some very significant phrases in Psalm 31, our second reading today. It is a very personal Psalm – it unfolds to reveal the wonder of his relationship with God.  It starts as a prayer, "Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!" [Psalm 31:2]
            
David then prays, "...  for your name's sake you lead me and guide me."  David had become so committed to God that others were following his example - to some extent - and also developing  an increasingly intimate relationship.  Let’s note his words that were 'echoed' by Jesus. In Psalm 31:5 we read, "Into your hand I commit my spirit." Just before our Lord breathed his last, Luke tells us, "Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" [Luke 23:46]
            
Surely we should live our lives in such a way that we are drawing ever nearer to God in our prayerful outpourings – so that our "spirit" - our minds - our whole being - develops a total sense of commitment! This Psalm of David builds up a 'picture' of his total sense of commitment. He has enemies who  "... plot to take my life.  But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’   My times are in your hand ... Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!" [Psalm 31:13-16]   
            
God’s face!?  Back in Psalm 4 we read, “There are many who say, "Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!" The only source of real “good” and goodness – is when we have genuine communication with God – and our prayers become ‘alive.’ We are going to see 4 more references to God’s “face” in coming Psalms – watch out for them.
            
As David expresses the state of his heart and mind - how much can we be inspired by his words?  If, in our lives, we get close to becoming as dedicated as David (although we can never achieve his spiritual stature) we can - and should - declare with David, " Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and … take refuge in you ..." [Psalm 31:19]
            
David concludes his Psalm with further in inspiring words, to us!   "Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful ... Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!"  
            
This is particularly addressed to all those who live believing - and praying to God and our Lord – and - as a result say and believe with all their heart, "My times are in your hand"  
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- DC


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Posted 14 January 2017 - 05:16 AM

14 January 2017
 
Genesis 25; 26
Psalms 31
Matthew 16 
 
“BE STRONG AND LET YOUR HEART TAKE COURAGE”
 
How stimulating for us in today’s godless world is the attitude David reveals in today’s Psalm 31. David has had a time of depression – and have not we all had times (hopefully very few and brief) when we feel somewhat overwhelmed by our immediate circumstances – and even more - by the challenges in the world today!? It is then that we struggle to think – and therefore act – positively. David writes, “I hear the whispering of many­ terror on every side!” [Psalm 31:13]. It seems likely, if not certain, that our world is going to experience something similar!
 
How are we coping with the godless distractions of which our world abounds at the moment? How close are we to “that day”? It appears it could be very near to when the world reals in astonishment to realize there really is a God – and, what’s more, one who sees and knows all! He has the overall control of events – and many are now receiving what they deserve!
 
Jesus tells his disciples (and that must surely include us) “"But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.” [Luke 21:34] So, just as important, if not more so, we must “watch ourselves”.
 
God’s great day of action – when he deals with our world – will come “like a trap” and utterly astonish the whole world – except true dedicated believers.
 
Let us develop the faith of David and declare – “But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hand …. Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!” [Psalm 31:15-16] We look ahead to David’s Psalm 67 – how inspiring is that to us in 2017!
 
David wrote in that Psalm, “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations … guide the nations … let all the ends of the earth fear him!” [Psalm 67:1,2,4,7] Let us fully believe this so that we will, as today’s Psalm ends, “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! Let us be so committed that we truly “wait for the LORD.”
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- DC


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Posted 14 January 2018 - 12:44 AM

14 January 2018
 
Genesis 25; 26
Psalms 31
Matthew 16 
 
"LOVE THE LORD, ALL YOU HIS SAINTS!"
 
David employs some very significant phrases in Psalm 31, our second reading today. It is a very personal Psalm – it unfolds to reveal the wonder of his relationship with God.  It starts as a prayer, "Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me!" [Psalm 31:2]
            
David then prays, "...  for your name's sake you lead me and guide me."  David had become so committed to God that others were following his example - to some extent - and also developing  an increasingly intimate relationship.  Let’s note his words that were 'echoed' by Jesus. In Psalm 31:5 we read, "Into your hand I commit my spirit." Just before our Lord breathed his last, Luke tells us, "Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" [Luke 23:46]
            
Surely we should live our lives in such a way that we are drawing ever nearer to God in our prayerful outpourings – so that our "spirit" - our minds - our whole being - develops a total sense of commitment! This Psalm of David builds up a 'picture' of his total sense of commitment. He has enemies who  "... plot to take my life.  But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’   My times are in your hand ... Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!" [Psalm 31:13-16]   
            
God’s face!?  Back in Psalm 4 we read, “There are many who say, "Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!" The only source of real “good” and goodness – is when we have genuine communication with God – and our prayers become ‘alive.’ We are going to see 4 more references to God’s “face” in coming Psalms – watch out for them.
            
As David expresses the state of his heart and mind - how much can we be inspired by his words?  If, in our lives, we get close to becoming as dedicated as David (although we can never achieve his spiritual stature) we can - and should - declare with David, " Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and … take refuge in you ..." [Psalm 31:19].
            
David concludes his Psalm with further in inspiring words, to us!   "Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful ... Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!"  
            
This is particularly addressed to all those who live believing - and praying to God and our Lord – and - as a result say and believe with all their heart, "My times are in your hand". 
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- DC





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