Psalm 119:43

Do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth. Psalm 119:43

As we recall the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, we hear the crowd shouting triumphantly, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” (Matt.21:9; Mark 11:9-10; Luke 19:38) When the Pharisees complained, Jesus responded: “I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” (Luke 19:40)
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Proverbs 21:3

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Proverbs 21:3

Let us take a philosophical look at this Watchword. This will require that we first establish some working definitions.
To sacrifice is to give up or give over oneÂ’s right in deference to another. A sacrifice is that which is given up in deference to another.
Righteousness is living correctly or rightly before God.

One who is living rightly before God will not need to give up any rights to God since God would be in control of such a person’s life and that person would not think of withholding anything from God. The ‘rights’ therefore are God’s and we have ‘privileges’ from him.
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Joshua 2:11

The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. Joshua 2:11

This was the observation of Rahab as she hid the two men of the children of Israel from the wrath of the king of Jericho. She recounted how the children of Israel had crossed the Red Sea and their protection from the Amorites. (See Exod.14; Num.21:21-35) She had observed GodÂ’s powerful intervention with his people and evidently had carefully assessed it. Hence she could proclaim that their Lord was God indeed. Therefore, even as an outsider, she was confident of GodÂ’s power. And so she called on these men to invoke that power for her benefit and as a reward for her kindness.

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Joshua 21:45

Not one of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. Joshua 21:45

This information is of great comfort to GodÂ’s children, inspiring confidence. It produces the evidence that GodÂ’s commitments are sure. He makes good promises and he makes good on his promises. What he did for Israel he will continue to do.

This therefore supports the call to ‘step out in faith’, as our Provincial Theme this year implores. Continue reading " Joshua 21:45"

Isaiah 65:1

I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask, to be found by those who did not seek me. Isaiah 65:1

So often in life we consider that we have problems on our hands and nowhere to turn – no one to run to. We fiddle with our problems on our own and throw up our hands in despair. We figure there is no help or behave as though there is no help. Sadly, this is often true of Christians. We seem to forget that the eternal God is our refuge and underneath are his everlasting arms. (See Deut.33:27)
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Psalm 62:7

My salvation and my honour depend on God. Psalm 62:7 (NIV)

There is no greater time than the season of Lent and the Eastertide to recognize that our salvation depends upon God. He provided for it in his son Jesus Christ. Knowing our transgression and our deviation from his way, and recognizing the penalty that would result, God decided to spare us from all the foregoing. He decided to find a scapegoat in his son, to serve as the ultimate sacrifice. Continue reading " Psalm 62:7"

Psalm 143:5

I will remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. Psalm 143:5 (NIV)

Having just passed Christmas Day, this text is quite apt, for we would have just celebrated a major work of our Lord. But, of course, the question is whether we have given apt consideration to the work of our Lord amidst all the celebration or if we have forgotten the ‘Christ’ of Christmas and paid attention only to the ‘Mass’ of Christmas.
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Psalm 19:7

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. Psalm 19:7

God’s way is good. In fact, it is perfect. Hence he provided the perfect solution to our problem of sin – he gave his Son to pay its penalty. This is truly refreshing to our souls.
In a few days we will be called upon to celebrate GodÂ’s perfect way -- for this is what Christmas represents. Therefore, amidst the festivities of Christmas, I urge you to reflect upon the following:

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1 Samuel 2:30

The Lord declares, “Those who honour me I will honour, and those who despise me shall be treated with contempt.” 1 Samuel 2:30

This declaration was made to Eli concerning his sons. They had deviated from the way of the Lord and the example of their father. Further, they were leading the people astray. Against this background the Lord had rejected them. Truly, ‘it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’. (see Heb.10:31) Surely you do not want such fate to befall you!

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Exodus 23:25

You shall worship the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water. Exodus 23:25

An admonition went out to Israel to ensure that they did not worship the false gods of their neighbours. In the midst of this admonition they were advised to worship the true and living God and they were assured that his blessings would attend.

This admonition is valid for us in this day. In the first place, do not fall into idolatry by worshipping false gods. These include not only gods of wood and stone, but also material resources to which we may give more prominence than we do to our God.

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Deuteronomy 16:17

All shall give as they are able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you. Deuteronomy 16:17

Advent is a time of preparation and anticipation towards the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It is therefore a time when we think of all that birth has meant. We immediately call to mind the fact that the coming of Jesus Christ into the world is a special gift of love from the Heavenly Father – a particular blessing from God. When we consider the expanse of that gift and that blessing, we see how generous God has been. Hence the invitation of Deut.16:17 encourages but a small yet natural response to God’s goodness.

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Praise God Who Hears and Answers Prayer.

Blessed be the name of God from age to age, for wisdom and power are his. Daniel 2: 20

The story of Daniel is quite an interesting one. He is praised by King Nebuchadnezzar as a wise man, yet when the king needs really wise men around him to interpret his troubling dream, Daniel is overlooked. It is the failure of the prized magicians that causes a death sentence to be pronounced upon all the wise men of the Kingdom, including Daniel. When he learned what was happening, Daniel went to the king to seek time to give him the answer he needed, then he went to his prayer partners who went with him to God. Note the sequence. He found out the problem, gathered like-minded people around him and together they approached God.

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Lenten Request

The Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. 1 Sam.1:27

Hannah spoke these words after she had given birth to her son and was actually taking him to serve God In the temple. She had requested of God a child, and he had granted her request. Thus she spoke with joy and rejoicing.

At the beginning of the Lenten Season we tend to reflect upon the testing of Jesus in the wilderness. This brings into focus our own propensity to sin as we are, ourselves, tempted day by day. HannahÂ’s observation and declaration can therefore be instructive. The Lord had granted her request. This inspires confidence. If God had granted her request, others can call upon him; he can be expected to grant their requests as well. Hence, in the face of temptation requests can be made to him.

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Get It Right!

Hear the word of the Lord, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: “There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgement of God in the land.” Hosea 4: 1

When we read the prophets we sometimes get the idea that they were like whining parents, always at Israel about the same thing. We all can identify with that to a certain extent whether as parents or as children. There is always the drive to get it right. Parents keep at the children to get it right and will keep harping on the same thing until there is a sense of satisfaction that it has been done satisfactorily. This is how we know as parents that our children are ready to face similar situations. If they get it right at home, there is no need to worry (too much) when they are away.

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Psalm 55:16

I call upon God, and the Lord will save me. Psalm 55:16

What a wonderful thought and precious promise! It is especially precious as we anticipate the reminder of the Palm Sunday experience of the crowd shouting “Hosanna” – ‘save now’. The people recognized, in that moment, their Messiah and Saviour. The Psalmist here recognizes in God one who will save him as well. What of you today?

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