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20 March - Numbers 1; Psalms 143; 144; Luke 11


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Posted 20 March 2008 - 11:47 AM

First Portion

Numbers 1


1:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the Tent of Meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 1:2 “Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, every male, one by one; 1:3 from twenty years old and upward, all who are able to go out to war in Israel. You and Aaron shall number them by their divisions. 1:4 With you there shall be a man of every tribe; everyone head of his fathers’ house. 1:5 These are the names of the men who shall stand with you:
Of Reuben: Elizur the son of Shedeur.
1:6 Of Simeon: Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.
1:7 Of Judah: Nahshon the son of Amminadab.
1:8 Of Issachar: Nethanel the son of Zuar.
1:9 Of Zebulun: Eliab the son of Helon.
1:10 Of the children of Joseph:
Of Ephraim: Elishama the son of Ammihud.
Of Manasseh: Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.
1:11 Of Benjamin: Abidan the son of Gideoni.
1:12 Of Dan: Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.
1:13 Of Asher: Pagiel the son of Ochran.
1:14 Of Gad: Eliasaph the son of Deuel.
1:15 Of Naphtali: Ahira the son of Enan.”

1:16 These are those who were called of the congregation, the princes of the tribes of their fathers; they were the heads of the thousands of Israel. 1:17 Moses and Aaron took these men who are mentioned by name. 1:18 They assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month; and they declared their ancestry by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, one by one. 1:19 As Yahweh commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai.

1:20 The children of Reuben, Israel’s firstborn, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, one by one, every male from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go out to war; 1:21 those who were numbered of them, of the tribe of Reuben, were forty-six thousand five hundred.

1:22 Of the children of Simeon, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, those who were numbered of it, according to the number of the names, one by one, every male from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go out to war; 1:23 those who were numbered of them, of the tribe of Simeon, were fifty-nine thousand three hundred.

1:24 Of the children of Gad, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go out to war; 1:25 those who were numbered of them, of the tribe of Gad, were forty-five thousand six hundred fifty.

1:26 Of the children of Judah, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go out to war; 1:27 those who were numbered of them, of the tribe of Judah, were sixty-four thousand six hundred.

1:28 Of the children of Issachar, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go out to war; 1:29 those who were numbered of them, of the tribe of Issachar, were fifty-four thousand four hundred.

1:30 Of the children of Zebulun, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go out to war; 1:31 those who were numbered of them, of the tribe of Zebulun, were fifty-seven thousand four hundred. 1:32 Of the children of Joseph, of the children of Ephraim, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go out to war; 1:33 those who were numbered of them, of the tribe of Ephraim, were forty thousand five hundred.

1:34 Of the children of Manasseh, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go out to war; 1:35 those who were numbered of them, of the tribe of Manasseh, were thirty-two thousand two hundred.

1:36 Of the children of Benjamin, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go out to war; 1:37 those who were numbered of them, of the tribe of Benjamin, were thirty-five thousand four hundred.

1:38 Of the children of Dan, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go forth to war; 1:39 those who were numbered of them, of the tribe of Dan, were sixty-two thousand seven hundred.

1:40 Of the children of Asher, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go forth to war; 1:41 those who were numbered of them, of the tribe of Asher, were forty-one thousand five hundred.

1:42 Of the children of Naphtali, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go forth to war; 1:43 those who were numbered of them, of the tribe of Naphtali, were fifty-three thousand four hundred.

1:44 These are those who were numbered, whom Moses and Aaron numbered, and the princes of Israel, being twelve men: they were each one for his fathers’ house. 1:45 So all those who were numbered of the children of Israel by their fathers’ houses, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go out to war in Israel; 1:46 even all those who were numbered were six hundred three thousand five hundred fifty. 1:47 But the Levites after the tribe of their fathers were not numbered among them. 1:48 For Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 1:49 “Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, neither shall you take a census of them among the children of Israel; 1:50 but appoint the Levites over the Tabernacle of the Testimony, and over all its furnishings, and over all that belongs to it. They shall carry the tabernacle, and all its furnishings; and they shall take care of it, and shall encamp around it. 1:51 When the tabernacle is to move, the Levites shall take it down; and when the tabernacle is to be set up, the Levites shall set it up. The stranger who comes near shall be put to death. 1:52 The children of Israel shall pitch their tents, every man by his own camp, and every man by his own standard, according to their divisions. 1:53 But the Levites shall encamp around the Tabernacle of the Testimony, that there may be no wrath on the congregation of the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be responsible for the Tabernacle of the Testimony.”

1:54 Thus the children of Israel did. According to all that Yahweh commanded Moses, so they did.

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 11:49 AM

Second Portion

Psalms 143; 144


A Psalm by David.

143:1 Hear my prayer, Yahweh.
Listen to my petitions.
In your faithfulness and righteousness, relieve me.
143:2 Don't enter into judgment with your servant,
for in your sight no man living is righteous.
143:3 For the enemy pursues my soul.
He has struck my life down to the ground.
He has made me live in dark places, as those who have been long dead.
143:4 Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me.
My heart within me is desolate.
143:5 I remember the days of old.
I meditate on all your doings.
I contemplate the work of your hands.
143:6 I spread forth my hands to you.
My soul thirsts for you, like a parched land.
Selah.
143:7 Hurry to answer me, Yahweh.
My spirit fails.
Don't hide your face from me,
so that I don't become like those who go down into the pit.
143:8 Cause me to hear your loving kindness in the morning,
for I trust in you.
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
for I lift up my soul to you.
143:9 Deliver me, Yahweh, from my enemies.
I flee to you to hide me.
143:10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.
143:11 Revive me, Yahweh, for your name's sake.
In your righteousness, bring my soul out of trouble.
143:12 In your loving kindness, cut off my enemies,
and destroy all those who afflict my soul,
For I am your servant.

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 11:49 AM

By David.

144:1 Blessed be Yahweh, my rock,
who teaches my hands to war,
and my fingers to battle:
144:2 my loving kindness, my fortress,
my high tower, my deliverer,
my shield, and he in whom I take refuge;
who subdues my people under me.
144:3 Yahweh, what is man, that you care for him?
Or the son of man, that you think of him?
144:4 Man is like a breath.
His days are like a shadow that passes away.
144:5 Part your heavens, Yahweh, and come down.
Touch the mountains, and they will smoke.
144:6 Throw out lightning, and scatter them.
Send out your arrows, and rout them.
144:7 Stretch out your hand from above,
rescue me, and deliver me out of great waters,
out of the hands of foreigners;
144:8 whose mouths speak deceit,
Whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
144:9 I will sing a new song to you, God.
On a ten-stringed lyre, I will sing praises to you.
144:10 You are he who gives salvation to kings,
who rescues David, his servant, from the deadly sword.
144:11 Rescue me, and deliver me out of the hands of foreigners,
whose mouths speak deceit,
whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
144:12 Then our sons will be like well-nurtured plants,
our daughters like pillars carved to adorn a palace.
144:13 Our barns are full, filled with all kinds of provision.
Our sheep bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields.
144:14 Our oxen will pull heavy loads.
There is no breaking in, and no going away,
and no outcry in our streets.
144:15 Happy are the people who are in such a situation.
Happy are the people whose God is Yahweh.

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 11:53 AM

Third Portion

Luke 11


11:1 It happened, that when he finished praying in a certain place, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples."

11:2 He said to them, "When you pray, say,

'Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come.
May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
11:3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
11:4 Forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
Bring us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.'"

11:5 He said to them, "Which of you, if you go to a friend at midnight, and tell him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 11:6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him,' 11:7 and he from within will answer and say, 'Don't bother me. The door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give it to you'? 11:8 I tell you, although he will not rise and give it to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence, he will get up and give him as many as he needs.

11:9 "I tell you, keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep seeking, and you will find. Keep knocking, and it will be opened to you. 11:10 For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.

11:11 "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he won't give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 11:12 Or if he asks for an egg, he won't give him a scorpion, will he? 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"

11:14 He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. It happened, when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke; and the multitudes marveled. 11:15 But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of the demons." 11:16 Others, testing him, sought from him a sign from heaven. 11:17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. A house divided against itself falls. 11:18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 11:19 But if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore will they be your judges.. 11:20 But if I by the finger of God cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come to you.

11:21 "When the strong man, fully armed, guards his own dwelling, his goods are safe. 11:22 But when someone stronger attacks him and overcomes him, he takes from him his whole armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils.

11:23 "He that is not with me is against me. He who doesn't gather with me scatters. 11:24 The unclean spirit, when he has gone out of the man, passes through dry places, seeking rest, and finding none, he says, 'I will turn back to my house from which I came out.' 11:25 When he returns, he finds it swept and put in order. 11:26 Then he goes, and takes seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter in and dwell there. The last state of that man becomes worse than the first."

11:27 It came to pass, as he said these things, a certain woman out of the multitude lifted up her voice, and said to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts which nursed you!"

11:28 But he said, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and keep it."

11:29 When the multitudes were gathering together to him, he began to say, "This is an evil generation. It seeks after a sign. No sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah, the prophet. 11:30 For even as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will also the Son of Man be to this generation. 11:31 The Queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and will condemn them: for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, one greater than Solomon is here. 11:32 The men of Nineveh will stand up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, one greater than Jonah is here.

11:33 "No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, that those who come in may see the light. 11:34 The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore when your eye is good, your whole body is also full of light; but when it is evil, your body also is full of darkness. 11:35 Therefore see whether the light that is in you isn't darkness. 11:36 If therefore your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly full of light, as when the lamp with its bright shining gives you light."

11:37 Now as he spoke, a certain Pharisee asked him to dine with him. He went in, and sat at the table. 11:38 When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that he had not first washed himself before dinner. 11:39 The Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but your inward part is full of extortion and wickedness. 11:40 You foolish ones, didn't he who made the outside make the inside also? 11:41 But give for gifts to the needy those things which are within, and behold, all things will be clean to you. 11:42 But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, but you bypass justice and the love of God. You ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone. 11:43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues, and the greetings in the marketplaces. 11:44 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like hidden graves, and the men who walk over them don't know it."

11:45 One of the lawyers answered him, "Teacher, in saying this you insult us also."

11:46 He said, "Woe to you lawyers also! For you load men with burdens that are difficult to carry, and you yourselves won't even lift one finger to help carry those burdens. 11:47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. 11:48 So you testify and consent to the works of your fathers. For they killed them, and you build their tombs. 11:49 Therefore also the wisdom of God said, 'I will send to them prophets and apostles; and some of them they will kill and persecute, 11:50 that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; 11:51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zachariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary.' Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. 11:52 Woe to you lawyers! For you took away the key of knowledge. You didn't enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in, you hindered."

11:53 As he said these things to them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to be terribly angry, and to draw many things out of him; 11:54 lying in wait for him, and seeking to catch him in something he might say, that they might accuse him.

World English Bible - (WEB) - Public Domain

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Posted 21 March 2009 - 12:14 AM

20 March 2009

Numbers 1
Psalms 143; 144
Luke 11


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Posted 20 March 2010 - 08:07 AM

20 March 2010

Numbers 1
Psalms 143; 144
Luke 11

ALL DONE FOR APPEARANCES

Our Luke reading today highlights the way Jesus criticised the religious leaders because of their obsession with unimportant ritual. They had elaborated on the straightforward commandments of Moses about washing hands and making sure cups and vessels were clean. The situation had been reached where the ritual they had created was more important than the primary purpose of the commandment on which they were based. Jesus draws lessons from this that are vital for us to think about.

He says to them, "You Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness" [Luke 11:39]. Their way of thinking was directed to appearances, doing things which would be seen by others that would make them appear to be righteous, good living people. Jesus also commented on how they gave a tithe (a tenth of the value) of all the little things [Luke 11:42] but "neglect justice and the love of God."

God's anger built up against this generation that saw all the wonders of His Son's miracles – as we noted yesterday in the judgement of condemnation on Capernaum.

Now, our generation 2,000 years later, has learnt far more than any previous generation about the intricate miracles of what God created in nature; matters that had previously been totally beyond human sight. Yet, most people still steadfastly set their minds to believe there is no God, all these countless marvels happen through some sort of "accident"!

However, those who are more than ever convinced there is One God and the Bible is his message to us must make sure they are not condemned like the Pharisees were. Jesus wept over Jerusalem as he saw the crisis coming. An even greater world-wide crisis is coming in the 21st Century; God will not be doing anything simply for "appearances" – but for judgement!
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Posted 20 March 2011 - 02:15 AM

20 March 2011

Numbers 1
Psalms 143; 144
Luke 11

"ASK AND IT WILL BE GIVEN YOU"

It sounds too good to be true, “ask and it will be given you”! These were the words of Jesus we read today in Luke 11:9 This invitation is after the Lord teaches his disciples how to pray in the familiar words of the Lord’s Prayer. After giving them the words of the prayer Jesus immediately tells them a parable about a man who unexpectedly receives visitors at midnight and has nothing in his house to set before them. His solution! To go to his friendly neighbour and knock him up although he knows he and his family have gone to bed.

The neighbour does not want to be disturbed, but the man persists and so he relents, so “he will rise and give him whatever he needs” [Luke 11:8]. This is the prelude to our opening quotation and leads us to perceive that Jesus is drawing a parallel between human attitudes in helping those in real and urgent need and the more ready availability of God’s help if we will but ask.

Now the prayer he had just taught them included, “Give us each day our daily bread.” That is not an abundance of bread, but bread sufficient for each day. In the environment of 2,000 years ago – as in many countries today – sufficient food for the day is far from certain. The words of Jesus are not an invitation to ask for whatever you like – but for whatever you need, which is vastly different.

Jesus proceeds to draw a parallel to parents providing the right kind of gifts for their children such as a fish or an egg. [Luke 11:11] He then says, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” [Luke 11:13].

Now in yesterday’s chapter we read that Jesus sent out 72 disciples to preach and “heal the sick” [Luke 10:9]. So they had the Holy Spirit already: but is this what it means here? The Greek text does not have a definite article, so it is not “the” Holy Spirit; we see it being better understood as meaning - holiness of spirit or mind. This fits in with words in Hebrews 12, “he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness” [Hebrews 12:10] and “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” [Hebrews 12:14] So what will you ask for?
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Posted 20 March 2012 - 05:31 AM

20 March 2012

Numbers 1
Psalms 143; 144
Luke 11


"... THOSE WHO HEAR THE WORD OF GOD AND KEEP IT"

We have quite a number of statements by Jesus that challenge our understanding in today’s 11th chapter of Luke’s Gospel. We pondered the meaning of several parables, but their conclusions usually gave us a vital clue. Then we read that “as he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!’” [Luke 11:27]


Jesus immediately responds by putting this into its true perspective. Human beings are forever putting fellow humans up as statues, they need people they can look up to, especially when they are dead! India is full of statues of Ghandi! But many living people also love to be looked up to – it feeds their ego. But note that the New Testament makes no mention of the mother of Jesus after Acts 1:14. It was only human legends, written centuries later, that put her on a pedestal.

But how did Jesus respond to the woman who ”raised her voice”? We read, “But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it” [Luke 11:28] Today people all over the world can “hear” the word of God by reading it in their own language, if they so desire. It is obvious that the Old Testament, which Jesus repeatedly quotes, is an essential part of God’s message to human beings. Hearing/reading “the word of God” is a wonderful blessing, it opens our eyes to the purpose of life – and of our own lives. But we must take special note of his 3 final words - “and keep it.”

Finally, in Luke 11:23 we read an ominous point he made, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters” There is no neutral position! Only those who are “with” Jesus have a sure and certain guide for their lives, they have a destination in view. Those who think they can stand forever at the crossroads pondering which way to go are in danger of being run over! Look at Luke 13:5
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Posted 20 March 2013 - 04:37 AM

20 March 2013

Numbers 1
Psalms 143; 144
Luke 11

"BLESSED RATHER ARE THOSE WHO ..."

Very soon we will be reading the Proverbs of Solomon. We thought of this when we saw the reference Jesus made to Solomon in today’s chapter 11 of Luke’s gospel. He made reference to the accounts in the Old Testament of the wisdom from God that Solomon received and how, such as the queen of Sheba, “came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon” [Luke 11:31]. But, said Jesus, “behold something greater than Solomon is here.”

Jesus was very popular and sought after – but was it for a good spiritual reason? “When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, ‘This generation is an evil generation …” [Luke 11:29] And our generation? When “a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed” he responded by saying, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” [Luke 11:27-28]

So many people want something physical to look at to ‘worship’ It is tragic that idol worship practices have made their way into much of Christianity, this has been specially evident in all the publicity about the new Pope. In contrast, how many want to hear the word of God and keep it! Today, when it is so easy to read it (or hear it read) how rarely is the opportunity taken!

Jesus said, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” [John 9:5] The light continues in God’s word! In today’s chapter, did you notice how Jesus states, “after lighting a lamp (no-one) puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.” [Luke 11:33] Jesus then warns, “be careful lest the light in you be darkness” [Luke 11:35] Or, becomes darkness. We turn on a light to make use of it!

God’s word gives light to our world., but it is no use seeing the light if we are not going to make use of it. Beware lest the Bible becomes an ‘ornament’ on the bookshelf that we are pleased to have, but, could it become, or maybe already is, little better than having an image of Mary!? Oh no, but think, although, we make use of it on Sunday to take with us and turn up the readings – but is that all? Do we only eat food one day of the week? Our minds need constant good food – even more so today with so much junk food around! May we all loudly hear (in our hearts) the words of Jesus, “Blessed rather are those who hear (read) the word of God and keep it”.
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Posted 20 March 2014 - 10:32 AM

20 March 2014

Numbers 1
Psalms 143; 144
Luke 11

“FOR IN YOU I TRUST”

We have a particularly challenging chapter in Luke’s gospel today. It is full of challenges by Jesus – contrasting normal human attitudes with what their attitude and aims and actions in life should be – IF they are truly following divine principles. We read “ … a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!’ But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it.’” [Luke 11:27-28]. Today we can say, “Blessed rather are those who read the word of God and make what they read part of their thinking and doing.

In Luke 11:24-26 there is a short parable about an “unclean spirit” – we can interpret that today as a dirty state of mind. Jesus said, “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself and they enter and dwell there. And the last state (of mind) of that person is worse than the first.”

We see this as teaching the lesson that when you get rid of a bad attitude of mind, distorted ways of thinking and therefore of acting – it is vital to replace them with good ways of thinking and therefore of doing. For us, daily feeding on God’s word and living by God’s principles are essential – for “blessed rather are those who” read the words God caused to be written and preserved and “keep” them.

Then we can make the words of David’s Psalm 143 we read today our own, “Hear my prayer O LORD… In your faithfulness answer me … Enter not into judgment with your servant for no one living is righteous before you … I meditate on all you have done … my soul thirsts for you like a parched land (thirsts for water). Answer me quickly. O LORD! … Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” May we lift up our hearts and minds in this way.
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Posted 20 March 2015 - 05:51 AM

20 March 2015
 
Numbers 1
Psalms 143; 144
Luke 11  
 
"I WILL EXTOL YOU MY GOD AND KING"
            
David’s Psalm 145 (from tomorrow's readings) is a remarkable song of praise, extolling all that God must be. In reading or singing this Psalm each of us must think carefully about each point David makes. It becomes so easy, especially with hymns we become very familiar with, to repeat the words – simply as words – and the reality of their meanings cease to penetrate our minds in any wholesome sense.  When they are about the absolute greatness of the Creator of all things we should feel utterly awed and totally humbled by what we read – and sing. 
                
"Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.  Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable." [Psalm 145:2-3]  Unsearchable! Yes, the more the wonders of creation have been discovered - down to the minutest detail, the more this is seen as absolutely true - therefore, with ever greater feeling we will say - and sing - "I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever." [Psalm 145:1]   Think of what the word “extol” means!  Do we really “extol” our Creator – and his son – our coming King? 
            
David went on to  say, " ... and on your wondrous works, I will meditate." [Psalm 145:5] and what works!  What is the wonder of the miniature world of DNA - now made 'visible' through the cleverness of humans.  Truly, at "the time of the end ... knowledge shall increase" [Daniel 12:4] - and it has! 
            
David's Psalm reaches a mind compelling conclusion with his inspired words that the " LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." And that “he fulfils the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them." [Psalm 145:18-19]  But there is another factor in this as well as "truth"!  In his final 2 verses David declares,  “The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.  My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever." [Psalm 145:20-21] When his kingdom reaches its climax – this will be wonderfully true!  We make sure now, showing our love by our actions to demonstrate we mean what we say – and at that time - we will be there – and how we “will extol” him then!
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- DC


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Posted 20 March 2016 - 01:43 AM

20 March 2016
 
Numbers 1
Psalms 143; 144
Luke 11  
 
"ASK AND IT WILL BE GIVEN"
 
It sounds too good to be true, "ask and it will be given you"! These were the words of Jesus we read today in Luke 11:9 This invitation was given after the Lord taught his disciples how to pray - in the familiar words of the Lord's Prayer. Immediately after this Jesus tells them a parable about a man who unexpectedly receives visitors at midnight and has nothing in his house to set before them. His solution! To go to his friendly neighbour and knock him up although he knows he and his family have gone to bed. 
 
The neighbour does not want to be disturbed, but the man persists and so he relents, so "he will rise and give him whatever he needs" [Luke 11:8]. This is the prelude to our opening quotation and leads us to perceive that Jesus is drawing a parallel between human attitudes toward helping those in real and urgent need and the more ready availability of God's help if we will but ask. 
 
Now the prayer he had just taught them included, "Give us each day our daily bread." That is not an abundance of bread, but bread sufficient for each day. In the environment of 2,000 years ago – as in many countries today – sufficient food for the day is not at all certain. The words of Jesus are not an invitation to ask for whatever you like – but for whatever you need, which is vastly different. 
 
Jesus proceeds to draw a parallel to parents providing the right kind of gifts for their children such as a fish or an egg. [Luke 11:11] He then says, "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" [Luke 11:13].  
 
Now in yesterday's chapter we read that Jesus sent out 72 disciples to preach and "heal the sick" [Luke 10:9]. So they had the Holy Spirit already: but is this what it means here? The Greek text does not have a definite article, so it is not "the" Holy Spirit! We see it being better understood as meaning - holiness of spirit or mind. This fits in with words in Hebrews 12, "he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness" [Hebrews 12:10] and "Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord" [Hebrews 12:14] So what will you ask for? 
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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:28 AM

20 March 2017
 
Numbers 1 
Psalms 143; 144 
Luke 11  
 
"ONE'S LIFE DOES NOT CONSIST IN …" 
 
Today's chapter in Luke [Luke 12] contains some of the most challenging teaching of Jesus – it is as appropriate today as it was then! A crowd surrounded him and "Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." [Luke 12:13] And that is what people are interested in today – present possessions – and nearly everyone spends mu much of their time planning to accumulate as much as they can – and find ways to enjoy it.
 
We take in and meditate on the way Jesus replied to this man,"Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." [Luke 12:15]
 
Jesus then tells a parable about a man whose land produced plentiful crops "and he thought to himself, 'What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?'" [Luke 12:17] He had no thought of sharing with the poor, but instead, "said to himself,  'I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.'" [Luke 12:18] and he looked forward to having "many years" in which to "relax, eat, drink, (and) be merry." [Luke 12:19]. This parable reminds us of the concentrated effort of many today to seek out the best retirement funds!  
 
But what does "God say him, "'Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be? So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.'" [Luke 12:20-21]
 
Paul takes up this principle in his first letter to Timothy and tells him, "As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to … set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God … They are to do good, to be rich in good works … thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future …" and to "take hold of that which is truly life." [1 Timothy 6:17-19] 
 
Let us read God's word every day – and then we will fully know what one's life does … consist of – and this will, Jesus said, "in the age to come" lead to "eternal life." [Luke 18:30]
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- DC





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