Beware of the lies

Today’s readings are taken from  Gen 3:1–4:26, Matt 3:1–4:25, Eccles 1:6–11.

A thought that came to mind from today’s reading is that we need to beware of the lies that we hear from the physical and spiritual world around us and even the lies we tell ourselves.

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”” (Genesis 3:4–5, ESV)

We need to pause think about who God is and what he has said and simply trust him in the knowledge that he created the world and its inhabitants for his good purposes so he knows best and wants to lead you on the road to life, joy, freedom and fellowship.

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”” (Genesis 3:15, ESV)

The following from The Bible Project highlights that the snake in today’s story and God’s promise in Genesis 3:15 are part of the wider story of the entire Bible… A story we should meditate on every day as we read and think about God’s word

God Created the World

Today’s readings are taken from  Gen 1:1–2:25, Matt 1:1–2:23 and Eccles 1:1–5.

I think the simple lesson from these early chapters in Genesis is that God created the world and all her inhabitants. People argue about how to interpret this but regardless of your position, the Bible’s claim is clear. God created everything.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1, ESV)

There are many man-made opinions about the origin of life. However, these are all just idolatry, replacing the God of the Bible with a false god.

Nancy Pearcey in her book Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes covers this well and it is worth a read / listen. The following is a short extract:

Since everyone who rejects God sets up an idol, this is the strategic place to begin. An idol is anything in the created order that is put in the place of God. This definition not only gives us tools to identify our personal idols, it also gives insight into the world of ideas. Philosophies and worldviews can also function as counterfeit gods.

So today rejoice in God, the God who created everything. He created you and a place for you to live and one day will live in a new Eden in harmony with the human family redeemed through his son Jesus.

This is a good video from our friends at The Bible Project on the book of Genesis:



Today’s Reading: Lam 4:1–5:22, Rom 16:1–27, Prov 31:10–31

Today’s Theme: Doxology

Today, with every passage commented on, we give a closing praise (doxology, just like the end of Romans) to God, for the year that has passed and we look forward to 2017. We learn small but important lessons along the way which will position us well, to be used to the glory of God in the New Year.

I want to take a moment now to thank God for the privilege of serving Him, by commenting each day of 2016 on the word of God according to our daily bible reading plan, which takes us through the entire bible each year.

I want to especially thank Michael Hosannah and Aimee Grippman who have both worked faithfully on alternate weeks to proof read, edit and enhance the daily notes, to improve this resource for everyone.

I also want to thank Pastor Dennis for asking us to do this. We hope that through these notes you have been encouraged, strengthened, enlightened and empowered.

This is the final daily reading notes in the current series and in this format. Every word has been written to the glory of God and for the joy and building up of the Church. May you continue to grow in Jesus as you read, think about, study and apply the word of God in the new year.

Live for Him, with everything!

Lamentations 4:1–5:22

The Lord reigns

But you, O Lord, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations.(Lamentations 5:19, ESV)

As this year ends, we say yes Lord, You are both sovereign and good, reign in our lives, we bless Your name now and forever.

Restore us o Lord

Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old—(Lamentations 5:21, ESV)

Jeremiah appeals to God for restoration. Let us consider this prayer for our own lives as we contemplate the close of this year and entering a brand new year tomorrow.

Romans 16:1–27

Work together

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,(Romans 16:3, ESV)

This is a husband and wife team (Aquila was a common Roman name for a man). As we enter the new year, let us consider how we can work together and support one another like this great example of a husband and wife working together to the glory of God.

Avoid some people

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.(Romans 16:17, ESV)

We should avoid those seeking to cause division and those seeking to go contrary to the teaching of the Gospel. Let us remain in unity around the truth of the gospel of God, which is what we have read about during this month, in the letter to the Romans.

Don’t serve yourself

For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.(Romans 16:18, ESV)

Lord, keep us from the trap of serving ourselves as we enter the new year, help us to serve and honour each other to the glory of Your name.

Crush Satan

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.(Romans 16:20, ESV)

It is not us, but God who crushes Satan under our feet. So be filled with God in the new year, the one who crushes Satan by the great victory He has won in Christ.

We look forward to the final crushing of Satan under the feet of God’s people, which will be accomplished at the second coming of Christ, where Satan will be finished off, to the glory of God and the joy of all peoples.

God is able

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages(Romans 16:25, ESV)

Thank you Lord that You are able to strengthen us. Stand on this truth as we enter the new year, you do not cross over in your own strength, but with Our God who is able to strengthen you according to the great promises of the gospel of God.

Obedient faith

but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—(Romans 16:26, ESV)

Lord, thank you for the revelation of the Gospel so that we can come to not just faith, but obedient faith.

May 2017 be marked by our obedience to the Gospel’s call.

Proverbs 31:10–31

Be productive

She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.(Proverbs 31:24, ESV)

The wife can certainly help bring in money for the household. Again, like we see earlier with the husband and wife team, the bible was teaching godly equality, while the surrounding cultures and religions saw women as lower class citizens.

As the bride of Christ we can take a lesson from this, that we should be productive and fruitful. May this be the case for each of us, individually and collectively in 2017.

Build up the home

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.(Proverbs 31:27, ESV)

Just because a woman can help to bring in money, it does not change the fact that the home is her domain and responsibility in God’s design for the family and society.

Again as believers, we learn from this that we must not be idle but look well to the ways of the Bridegroom’s house, the church. Let us work together in ministry, with care, love, vigour and joy, to the glory of God, throughout 2017.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

Desiring God on Romans 16

Strive in Prayer


Today’s Reading: Lam 3:1–66, Rom 15:22–33, Prov 31:1–9

Today’s Theme: Strive in Prayer

Today there is a general theme of prayer.

We learn that prayer is not automatic as if God had no personality or choice in either hearing our prayers or in the way He answers. Other religions see God as a force to be tapped into with no power of choice or essence of person to refuse our requests, which is not the biblical picture of God.

We also learn about God graciously taking up our case and the call for us to strive in prayer with our leaders.

We should always pray that God’s will be done regardless of our own requests or plans.

The final lesson is that the temporary escape from problems through drink, is of no benefit, and in keeping with our theme, we should bring our cares to God in prayer.

Lamentations 3:1–66

The steadfast love of the Lord

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.(Lamentations 3:22–23, ESV)

This is where that wonderful hymn ‘the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…’ is taken from.

We should consider this truth and rejoice in it, that God’s steadfast love never ends and He shows us new mercy every morning, which should fill our hearts with joy and assurance in His love.

Prayers are not automatic

you have wrapped yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can pass through.(Lamentations 3:44, ESV)

We must not presume on God hearing anyone’s prayers, God actively chooses to ignore some prayers if they are said in hypocrisy, for example. God is personally active and voluntarily involved in the hearing and answering of each individual prayer made to Him.

God has taken up our case

“You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my life.(Lamentations 3:58, ESV)

Lord, thank you for taking up our case, fighting for us and paying the price to redeem us.

Romans 15:22–33

Strive in prayer

I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf,(Romans 15:30, ESV)

There must be striving and purpose in our prayers for our leaders, that God would hear and answer our prayers and take up our case.

By God’s will

so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.(Romans 15:32, ESV)

We should always say by God’s will, we make our plans and set about to work, praying the Lord’s will be done. This is an important element of our general prayers that Jesus taught us and we must not forget it.

Proverbs 31:1–9

Escaping does not help

let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.(Proverbs 31:7, ESV)

The purpose of wine and strong drink… no thanks, escaping is not the answer!

Earlier in this passage we read that a King should not drink wine and strong drink so that they can always use good judgement.

Instead of escaping with drink, bring your requests to God in prayer.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

The Gospel Coalition on Romans 15

Christ our Hope


Today’s Reading: Lam 1:1–2:22, Rom 15:8–21, Prov 30:1–33

Today’s Theme: Christ our Hope

Jesus is the great hope of Israel and the nations of the world, He is the one who was promised and has come to confirm God’s word and make good on God’s promises. We can have true hope in Jesus, He is the only way to salvation, joy and peace.

Lamentations 1:1–2:22

Consider the future

Her uncleanness was in her skirts; she took no thought of her future; therefore her fall is terrible; she has no comforter. “O Lord, behold my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed!”(Lamentations 1:9, ESV)

Lord, help us to always consider our future in everything we do. What we do today has an effect on what happens tomorrow. You cannot sin and win.

The yoke of sin

“My transgressions were bound into a yoke; by his hand they were fastened together; they were set upon my neck; he caused my strength to fail; the Lord gave me into the hands of those whom I cannot withstand.(Lamentations 1:14, ESV)

Our own transgressions become a yoke around our neck and go on to be our conqueror and slave master. This is why we thank God for the freedom from sin found in the cross.

Don’t rebel against God’s word

“The Lord is in the right, for I have rebelled against his word; but hear, all you peoples, and see my suffering; my young women and my young men have gone into captivity.(Lamentations 1:18, ESV)

The Lord is right to Judge those who stand against His word. The lesson is clear, don’t resist but accept and uphold God’s word.

The word restores

Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen for you oracles that are false and misleading.(Lamentations 2:14, ESV)

When we expose ourselves to the Word of God, we can be restored.

Romans 15:8–21

Actual promise confirmed

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,(Romans 15:8, ESV)

The promises made to the Hebrew Patriarchs was not some mystical, allegorical promise, these were actual promises given by God and fulfilled in Jesus.

God confirms His word

and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”(Romans 15:9, ESV)

When we as Gentiles see that God fulfilled His word to the Jews, we are comforted that He will confirm His word for us too, and glorify Him for His mercy.

The hope of the nations

And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”(Romans 15:12, ESV)

This and the previous three promises show where God’s plan and heart has always been concerning the nations of the world. Jesus is the hope of the nations as well as the hope of Israel.

Abound in hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.(Romans 15:13, ESV)

In order for us to abound in hope we must be filled with Joy and Peace in our faith, how can we have hope if we are miserable?… Rejoice.

The Holy Spirit at work

For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ;(Romans 15:18–19, ESV)

Paul had a full ministry that went beyond words, it was marked by deeds and the power of the Holy Spirit at work.

A holy ambition

and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation,(Romans 15:20, ESV)

This is a holy ambition, to reach the unreached with the gospel of God.

Proverbs 30:1–33

God our shield

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.(Proverbs 30:5, ESV)

He is not a shield to everyone, just to those who take refuge in Him.

Don’t add to the bible

Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.(Proverbs 30:6, ESV)

This applies to what God is saying in the bible too, there are traditions and translations that add the apocryphal books to the bible, which is adding to God’s word, which is a sin.

We see those who try to change and reinterpret the word of God today, in the so called liberal movement. They have done away with miracles, do not believe that Jesus is the son of God or that salvation is needed, they believe the bible is just the words of men and not the divinely inspired and inerrant word of God.

We stand against these lies and attacks of the enemy and affirm that God has divinely inspired and preserved His holy word. We cover this in The Gospel video made by WWMF Media, where we demonstrate that no other ancient book has anywhere near as many close to original manuscripts to rely on as the bible does.

Give and give

The leech has two daughters: Give and Give. Three things are never satisfied; four never say, “Enough”:(Proverbs 30:15, ESV)

This seems to be the spirit of the age we are in now, it is the insatiable greed of capitalism and materialism. We are instead called to lives of contentment and generosity.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

Desiring God on Romans 15

The Example of Christ


Today’s Reading: Jer 52:1–34, Rom 14:13–15:7, Prov 29:1–27

Today’s Theme: The Example of Christ

We are called to imitate Christ and live lives of grace, showing love, patience and understanding with each other, so that our harmony can bring glory to God. We are called to live in the freedom that God provides, by the righteousness He gives, the peace He has won and the joy to be found in Him. The bondage of religion and the mind of man has no hold on us anymore.

Jeremiah 52:1–34

The great hope

And in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, graciously freed Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison.(Jeremiah 52:31, ESV)

As we come to the end of the book of Jeremiah there is a small tinge of hope in the release of king Jehoiachin. This points to the true hope offered by the book, found in its revelation of God as the Lord of history, guiding world events to execute His judgement, show His mercy and most importantly, God’s intention to create a new covenant (Remember 31:31–34) through the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Romans 14:13–15:7

Judge yourself

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.(Romans 14:13, ESV)

Like Jesus said, we should judge ourselves, we need to do this in order to avoid being a stumbling block.

What you think is important

I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.(Romans 14:14, ESV)

The mind and conscience are very powerful. If in your mind it is a sin to eat ice cream then it will truly be sinful for you, but not for anyone else. This is why we must embrace the freedom we have in Christ or we can end up putting ourselves in unnecessary bondage.

At the same time, God will influence your mind by His Spirit so that some things which seem ok to other Christians, will not be ok for you. In those cases, as we said yesterday, never push against your own conscience.

Righteousness, peace and joy

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.(Romans 14:17, ESV)

Paul encourages us that God’s kingdom is not about what we eat, drink, wear or observe, but is about the righteousness that God so abundantly supplies and that we live in light of. It’s about the peace that Jesus has given us so that we are no longer hung up by man centred religion. It is about the Joy centred relationship we have with God, in Christ, by the Holy Spirit.

So we should not let the trivial, non essential things of religion steal our peace. We should trust in the righteousness that God has given us and live in the joy of the Lord, which will strengthen us to live for God every day.

Pursue peace

So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.(Romans 14:19, ESV)

We should not pursue the external cultural differences that divide us, but pursue peace and building each other up.

Eat in faith

But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.(Romans 14:23, ESV)

We must be true and follow our God given convictions. If you eat pork or halal meat you need to eat it in faith, if you eat it thinking of it as a sin, then it will be a sin to you.

Our faith is in God who is over all, so we can bless our food in Jesus’ name and eat it, in faith and peace.

Don’t be a bully

Let each of us please his neighbour for his good, to build him up.(Romans 15:2, ESV)

We must not be bullies with the truth, we need to maintain a humble serving attitude, no matter how much we know or how strong or mature our faith. We should seek to see our brothers grow and walk consistently before the Lord.

The book of hope

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.(Romans 15:4, ESV)

The purpose of all that is recoded in the scriptures is that we might have hope in God, as we follow the instructions and examples recorded. The most important biblical record for us today is the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, the greatest example to us all.

God of endurance and encouragement

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus,(Romans 15:5, ESV)

God causes us to endure and encourages us in the way, so that we can live in harmony with each other in Christ, to the glory of His name.

Live in grace

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.(Romans 15:7, ESV)

Christ welcomed us in grace and we should emulate the same attitude of grace to others, so that we can live in harmony as the body of Christ, to the glory of God and the joy of all peoples.

Proverbs 29:1–27

The danger of pride

He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.(Proverbs 29:1, ESV)

This is a frightening prospect, to be broken beyond repair because of our own pride.

Free to praise

An evil man is ensnared in his transgression, but a righteous man sings and rejoices.(Proverbs 29:6, ESV)

When we are walking in righteousness, we have the freedom to praise God.

Remember the poor

A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.(Proverbs 29:7, ESV)

God upholds the most righteous political position on the human rights of the poor.

Don’t give full vent

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.(Proverbs 29:11, ESV)

Lord, help us to hold back from venting and to quietly hold back.

The people need leadership

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.(Proverbs 29:18, ESV)

The people need a goal and strong spiritual leadership or they will cast off restraint.

Trapped by fear

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.(Proverbs 29:25, ESV)

Our own fears create a trap for our feet, so live in freedom by trusting the Lord.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

Desiring God on Romans 14


Fulfilling Love


Today’s Reading: Jer 51:1–64, Rom 13:8–14:12, Prov 28:1–28

Today’s Theme: Fulfilling Love

Today we learn about the essence of the law, which is love, and that by loving others we actually fulfil the law by default. So the call is for us to live lives governed by the love of and for God.

Jeremiah 51:1–64

God plans and then does what He wills

“Set up a standard against the walls of Babylon; make the watch strong; set up watchmen; prepare the ambushes; for the Lord has both planned and done what he spoke concerning the inhabitants of Babylon.(Jeremiah 51:12, ESV)

The Lord brings His Sovereign will to pass, He both speaks it and does it.

Romans 13:8–14:12

Fulfil the law through love

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.(Romans 13:8, ESV)

One thing we owe each other is to love each other. The word ‘owe’ means we have a debt, obligation and duty, but it should be a delightful duty and a light burden.

We fulfil the law by truly loving others because the spirit of the law is all about love, for both God and our fellow man. This is why Jesus said the summary of the law was to love God with everything and to love others in the same way we love ourselves.

Paul and others elaborate on this later in the NT, by stating that no one in their right mind hates his own body but nourishes and cherishes it. So husbands should love their wives like their own body and the principle follows for all human relationships.

Consider the laws like ‘don’t steal’, it is not loving to take by force that which does not belong to us and would not like to suffer that injustice ourselves. ‘Don’t commit adultery’, it flies in the face of the commitment and devotion demanded by love and we would hate if someone was unfaithful to us. We can look at each of God’s good laws in this way and see that love is at the root.

So fulfil the law today by following the example of Jesus, by loving others.

Love does no intentional wrong to others.

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.(Romans 13:10, ESV)

A great explanation of why love is the fulfilment of the moral law. Love will not do what is wrong to a fellow human being and so by default it fulfils the law.

Wake up

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.(Romans 13:11, ESV)

This is pointing to the second coming and Paul wrote this 2000 years ago, so how much closer are we now, 2000 years later? We cannot afford to be asleep, we need to be alert, aware and awake.

Also for each individual Christian, even if Christ does not return in our lifetime, every day we come closer to our death and it is through death and resurrection that our salvation is fully realised, because it is those who enter in that are saved.

Put on the Lord Jesus

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.(Romans 13:14, ESV)

We should not make opportunities for the flesh because when we do, the flesh will seek to gratify its lust. Instead, in a deliberate and conscious way, we need to put on Jesus, adopting His way of living and behaving. This is our call to sanctification.

I want to emphasise the point that this is like putting on clothes, which means it is not natural, it takes a conscious effort and decision for each believer as an individual to deliberately put on Jesus, like a jacket, to protect us from the cold harsh winds of sin.

Don’t quarrel over opinions

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.(Romans 14:1, ESV)

We must not waste our time quarrelling about opinions. Man’s opinions have caused all kinds of division and confusion, so when someone is weak, we should not entertain the desire of their flesh or ours, to prove point over point. Instead we should show love.

There are many things that we can have different opinions about and still be one in Christ, we do not need to force each other to think or behave in our way, because many of our preferences are dictated by our background, culture and presuppositions.

However there are areas we can never compromise on and another opinion just will not do, these are core to the Christian faith, like the deity of Christ etc.

You are not God

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.(Romans 14:4, ESV)

The reason we judge each other in the body, on non essentials (like style of worship etc), is that we have a god complex where we feel the need to control everything. We need to trust that God is in control and if a fellow believer does things in a different way to us, we need to realise that God is their Master and will uphold them and make them stand.

If you are frustrated that others don’t do things in the way you do, just let it go, you are not a god, you are a member of a diverse body with people from various times, nations, tribes and languages, all with their own style, preferences, cultures and nuances.

We trust God as the Master over us all, who will uphold each of us and make us stand so that we can stand before Him on that day.

Be fully convinced

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.(Romans 14:5, ESV)

We must not sin against our own conscience, we must be fully convinced and live lives of conviction, by following those convictions. The convictions we follow must be our own, not those imposed by someone else, or we will just end up in the bondage of religion again.

A day of reckoning

So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.(Romans 14:12, ESV)

A day of reckoning is coming for Christians, so live with this in mind.

Proverbs 28:1–28

Pray for our leaders

When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue.(Proverbs 28:2, ESV)

We pray our leaders will be men of understanding and experience.

Be generous

Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit gathers it for him who is generous to the poor.(Proverbs 28:8, ESV)

Our lives should be driven by generosity, not selfish gain and profit.

Work with what you have

Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.(Proverbs 28:19, ESV)

Lord, help us to work hard with what we have.

Don’t be stingy

A stingy man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him.(Proverbs 28:22, ESV)

Don’t be stingy, it is to your profit to be generous.

Trust the Lord

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.(Proverbs 28:26, ESV)

Our minds are so fragile and finite, we cannot rely on them. We must trust in the Lord by His Holy Spirit.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

Desiring God on Romans 13

Marks of a Christian


Today’s Reading: Jer 50:1–46, Rom 12:9–13:7, Prov 27:1–27

Today’s Theme: Marks of a Christian

Today we have a very practical lesson form Paul where he lists the marks of the true Christian and calls us to live out our faith by living in the way God intends. This is almost the practical outworking of all the theological and spiritual truth established concerning the Gospel and our salvation earlier in the letter.

So read Paul’s bullet point list of virtues and seek to live out the miracle of regeneration today. You are a new creation now live like one, work out (for all to see) what God has “worked in” by His Holy Spirit and the power of the Gospel of God.

Today is Boxing Day in the UK, a day in our household at least where the children practically play with the gifts they received on Christmas day, so it seems quite significant to today’s lesson. We received the gift of salvation, now we need to use it for everyday life.

Jeremiah 50:1–46

God’s pardon

In those days and in that time, declares the Lord, iniquity shall be sought in Israel, and there shall be none, and sin in Judah, and none shall be found, for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant. (Jeremiah 50:20, ESV)

Although The Lord appointed these nations to judge His, they themselves still qualify for judgement. God knows how this all balances in His wisdom and purposes.

God has mercy and so pardons the elect remnant… or none would be saved, this will also be true in the final days.

God is great

“Behold, like a lion coming up from the thicket of the Jordan against a perennial pasture, I will suddenly make them run away from her, and I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me? (Jeremiah 50:44, ESV)

This is a repeated self revelation of God (we saw it yesterday). God states that no one can summon Him. Some teach that we can call and command God but this is simply not true. God is the sovereign king, He appoints whom He will and is not summoned as though He were any man’s servant.

God is the king, not a genie in a bottle.

Romans 12:9–13:7

Love genuinely

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. (Romans 12:9, ESV)

Our love must not be a saccharin veneer, it should be genuine love poured out from our hearts in truth.

It is significant that Paul mentions the need for truth and discernment alongside the call to be genuine in love. This is because we cannot love apart from the truth and the abhoring of evil.

Love like family

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10, ESV)

As Christians we are called to love each other with the same affection we show for our families. For this to retain its context we must love our families in the way God intended in the first place.

Loving like family will include making sacrifices for each other, bearing with each other and being kind to each other.

We can’t get away with detached love as a duty, either it is family like love or it is not the kind of love God intends between His children.

Paul’s language is great we should outdo each other in showing honour to each other, this way everyone is honoured, and loved.

Be passionate

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. (Romans 12:11, ESV)

A timely word after a long Christmas Day. We are called as Christians to be zealous and fervent, full of passion and fire and hunger and desire and delight as we serve our glorious King… Hallelujah!

Be steady

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12, ESV)

This is a call to steadiness in the Christian life. We are made steady by our hope found in the Gospel which causes us to rejoice even in difficult and trying times. Patience steadies and matures the soul to remain faithful under trial while the constant faithful position and power of prayer sustains the spiritual vitality and life of the believer.

So be steady, be constant, hopeful and patient to the glory of God.

Be Empathetic

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15, ESV)

Empathy should be part of our make up as saints. We should not be cold, indifferent or aloof from the pain, suffering, hurt or even the jubilation of others. We are called to live our lives on mission just like Jesus, living alongside the people being touched by their infirmities as it were.

We are God’s royal priests in the earth, so do the work of a priest by empathising with those around you. You are their connection to God so show them that God cares.

Be teachable

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. (Romans 12:16, ESV)

Have a teachable spirit, this is how we live in harmony with each other. We should associate with those who are humble as the proud will only make us prideful as well.

Retaliation forbidden

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. (Romans 12:17, ESV)

Retaliation is forbidden for us as Christian individuals if we seek to live out the example God has shown us in Christ.

Do your part

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:18, ESV)

You can not live in peace for other people you can only do your part… but you must do your part.

Love your enemy

To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Romans 12:20, ESV)

Quoting Old Testament wisdom and the teaching of Jesus, Paul reminds us that we should love those who have made themselves our enemy.

Be good

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21, ESV)

The secret weapon against evil is good not counter evil. Our mandate is to be good, to be so good that our goodness overcomes evil. This is not man made goodness but is dependent on the righteousness God credits to our account and the work and fruit of the Holy Spirit (one of which is goodness).

The Christian and the Government

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Romans 13:1, ESV)

This is because God is the sovereign Lord of the universe, so all authority is under His authority. This gives us context for how we should conduct ourselves with governing authorities and dispels the notion that Jesus was a rebel leader for the rebels.

We submit to the authorities as good citizens as long as they do not demand that we deny our faith. In those cases they have perverted their delegated authority and we are to obey God. This is true in much of the suffering church where the authorities are corrupt.

God’s purpose in punishment

for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:4, ESV)

Capital, punitive and remedial judgement is here defended. God uses institutions like the police to exact His judgement on those who break the law. If God had not set up and empowered society with officers in this way we would have anarchy.

One of God’s great purposes in the world is human flourishing but where there is anarchy there can be no flourishing.

Pay your taxes

For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. (Romans 13:6, ESV)

This is why we pay tax. In Old Testament Israel this was even tied up in the tithes for the Levites etc. We should pay our taxes in honesty.

Pay the bills

Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (Romans 13:7, ESV)

Taxes and all the other dues mentioned are the building blocks for any good civil society. If no one pays the electric bills there will be no electricity so let’s all pay what we owe to the glory of God.

Proverbs 27:1–27

Don’t be presumptuous

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. (Proverbs 27:1, ESV)

Jesus picks up on this in the New Testament.

Be hungry

One who is full loathes honey, but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet. (Proverbs 27:7, ESV)

This is true, I’ve had some of the best eating experiences when I’ve been really hungry. This is also true in the spiritual world, this is why Jesus said we must hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Are you hungry today?

Avoid unnecessary danger

The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. (Proverbs 27:12, ESV)

Avoiding danger is a good principle, courage not withstanding.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

The Gospel Coalition on Romans 12

A Living Sacrifice


Today’s Reading: Jer 49:1–39, Rom 11:25–12:8, Prov 26:12–28

Today’s Theme: A Living Sacrifice

Today is Christmas day when we rejoice and celebrate the coming of our King Jesus to save His people. It is timely that today’s reading looks at the ultimate salvation that will come to Israel because of God’s irrevocable call and promises.

One of the key themes we see in Chapter 12 of Romans is the call to transformation and to live our lives as a living sacrifice before God in light of His grace and by His Spirit. Let’s remember that this Christmas day.

Jeremiah 49:1–39

Disposes the enemy

Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will cause the battle cry to be heard against Rabbah of the Ammonites; it shall become a desolate mound, and its villages shall be burned with fire; then Israel shall dispossess those who dispossessed him, says the Lord. (Jeremiah 49:2, ESV)

We need to disposes the enemy, he dispossessed us, now we need to take back what is ours.

It is Christmas day, today we celebrate the coming of our King who has won the victory for us, now in His name we can boldly plunder the enemies camp and get back all that rightly belongs to us in Christ including the salvation of our loved ones. Enter Christmas day with that confidence today, Emmanuel, God is with us.

Mercy in judgement

Leave your fatherless children; I will keep them alive; and let your widows trust in me.” (Jeremiah 49:11, ESV)

God remains merciful and faithful even in the midst of judgement. As we will read later, He never totally cast off his people, but in mercy, grace and love remains faithful to them even when they have been unfaithful.

There is none greater

For I have sworn by myself, declares the Lord, that Bozrah shall become a horror, a taunt, a waste, and a curse, and all her cities shall be perpetual wastes.” (Jeremiah 49:13, ESV)

God swears by Himself because there is no greater power to swear by. When God swears by Himself we can be confident that He will fulfil His word because He is God! He is all powerful and never lies or fails.

The only Sovereign

Behold, like a lion coming up from the jungle of the Jordan against a perennial pasture, I will suddenly make him run away from her. And I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me? (Jeremiah 49:19, ESV)

God declares His sovereignty which no mere creation can challenge. No one can stand before God, He will cause the Lion to flee for there is none like Him. We worship Him this Christmas morning. He is the Sovereign king who has won our salvation and brought us everlasting peace and joy. Hallelujah!

Romans 11:25–12:8

Temporary hardening

Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25, ESV)

Paul has been discussing a historical salvation pattern with us, of hardening or rejection of the children of Israel, leading to salvation for the nations which leads to their jealousy and salvation and so makes his point really clear here that the hardening of Israel is temporary.

It will only last in it’s current context until a designated, preordained, elect number of Gentiles have come into the kingdom. This points to the fact that one of the great signs of the end of days will be a major and general turning of ethnic Jews to Christ.

The Holy Spirit will by His power soften their hearts and open their eyes as God displays His everlasting love for the elect among his people Israel.

This should lead us to pray that God would use us in the gathering of a people from all nations and in the re-gathering of the children of Israel under the rule of King Jesus.

As a side note it is important to understand from a theological perspective that we do not believe in double predestination where God just predestined to block some from salvation condemning them to hell, the hardening of hearts and blinding of eyes always has its roots in man’s unbelief and sin as Paul has already explained.

All Israel will be saved

And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; (Romans 11:26, ESV)

When Paul says all Israel he is using a corporate term, not speaking of spiritual Israelites but ethnic Jews and he does not mean every last one will involuntarily be saved or be saved in any other way than each individual having to put their faith and trust in Jesus as King, Lord and Saviour. Jesus is the only way to salvation as Paul has clearly demonstrated.

All Israel was used approximately 60 times in the Old Testament and means a number so large and significant that it represents the whole nation and will be in sharp contrast to today’s situation where only a remnant are saved.

We eagerly look forward to and pray for this day. This is the greatest sign of the end and will possibly happen at or just before the second coming of Christ.


For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Romans 11:29, ESV)

God’s calling to salvation and specific gifts to Israel as a people are irrevocable. This is why we hold that the land some call Palestine belongs to the ethnic Jews.

However the context here is far more important than the land, it is talking about God’s promises for salvation and peace which came at the first Christmas and is now available to all who would come.

We can have confidence that God will fulfill His word to Israel and this should give us assurance and joy concerning our own calling or election and the promise and gifts of grace God has made to us.

We have confidence and assurance that God will save and keep His people (Jew and Gentile) because He is faithful. This is one of the reasons we called the production we did as part of the Ezra Foundation in 2013 Chosen, because God made a sovereign choice that cannot be revoked with Israel which should fill all God’s Chosen with hope and joy.

All without distinction

For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. (Romans 11:32, ESV)

We are reminded about the universality of sin and our need for mercy. “All” means without distinction God will have mercy not without exception as that would mean all are saved apart from Christ.

Break out in praise

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (Romans 11:33, ESV)

God’s wisdom and knowledge is indeed deep and Paul breaks out in praise here when he considers the way the Lord set about to save the whole world using His people Israel as a catalyst and using the unimaginable death and resurrection of His Son.

This Christmas let’s breakout in praise too as we consider God’s commitment and mission to save all His elect people.

To him be the glory

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36, ESV)

When we consider God as we look at His acts recorded in His word and experienced in our lives we see that He is the source, sustainer and goal of all life. Truly He alone is glorious and worthy of our adoration and praise.

As the Angels sang on the first Christmas let’s give Him glory today.

A living sacrifice

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1, ESV)

We are not Gnostics believing we can do what we want with our flesh but be holy in our spirit. Presenting our physical bodies is a very spiritual act of worship. Christianity is real and practical, it is not esoteric or ethereal but is firm and solid.

Paul’s teaching, theology and arguments are all aimed at instructing his readers in the practical living of the Christian life.

This was written for us and particularly today, it is Christmas day and the temptation will be to indulge the flesh, let’s remember today and everyday that God is with us, actually dwelling in our bodies as a temple by the Holy Spirit, so let’s live our lives in the flesh in holiness and self control to the glory of God. It is the least we can do in light of this glorious Gospel of God.

Be transformed

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2, ESV)

We should be transformed and the means by which this has to be done is by our minds being renewed which is done through the work of the Holy Spirit as we feed on the truth of God’s word.

This is a key theme for Paul and one of the goals of this letter, to see practical, real transformation. This is the power of the gospel at work in the believer.

We must make a conscious decision to not conform to the ways of the world. We should instead allow our nature to be transformed by the Holy Spirit so that our natural response will be to do God’s will and we will know God’s truth in such a natural way that we will indeed know what God’s will is in any given situation.

The measure we are transformed against is the truth revealed in the Gospel of God and recorded in the pages of the Bible where we find God’s will clearly displayed and defined.

Show your family that you are transformed this Christmas day and every day to the glory of God.

Sober judgement

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:3, ESV)

Our culture is so egocentric that sober judgement seems alien. We must not think of ourselves as more than we are but should be humble before God and man living according to the faith God has lovingly and individually provided for each of His elect children.

Live in light of God’s grace, you were chosen and now stand and will finish the race all by God’s grace extended to you so don’t be foolish and prideful. Live in gratitude to God’s amazing and undeserved grace.

Proverbs 26:12–28

The sluggard

The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly. (Proverbs 26:16, ESV)

The sluggard is not only lazy, selfish and cowardly but is also very prideful. These are all traits we need to guard against… especially after a big Christmas dinner 🙂

Be content

For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. (Proverbs 26:20, ESV)

When we learn to be content there will be no room for quarrelling. Whatever presents you get or do not get, be content.

Don’t harbor hate

Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; (Proverbs 26:24, ESV)

This becomes a rotten stinking pool and ends up poisoning the one harbouring the evil and those around them.

Have a blessed Christmas day.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

Desiring God on Romans 12

Grafted In


Today’s Reading: Jer 47:1–48:47, Rom 11:11–24, Prov 26:1–11

Today’s Theme: Grafted In

Today we read about the olive tree who is Christ and how we as Gentiles have been grafted in alongside the natural branches Israel but that natural or grafted in branches which exhibit unbelief are cut off and pruned away so we need to continue in the kindness of God and persevere in the faith.

Paul offers a rebuke to any in the gentile church that would seek to be prideful against Israel and the Old Testament, reminding them that they stand by grace and are rooted in the Old Testament and so in a way rooted in Israel.

Jeremiah 47:1–48:47

Security is in Jesus

“Leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, O inhabitants of Moab! Be like the dove that nests in the sides of the mouth of a gorge. (Jeremiah 48:28, ESV)

Leave man made security and find security in the Rock, Christ Jesus.

Judgement for rebellion

Moab shall be destroyed and be no longer a people, because he magnified himself against the Lord. (Jeremiah 48:42, ESV)

Here is the reason for all this destruction, it is pride, arrogance, wickedness and rebellion directly against the Lord. The nations of the earth should take note because God has not changed.

We need to apply this to our personal lives as well. If we openly rebel against God we will go through suffering and discipline.

Romans 11:11–24

Full inclusion

Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! (Romans 11:12, ESV)

When the Jews come to realisation and salvation it will mark the consummation of the ages, the new heaven and earth and the resurrection of the just.

Their full inclusion is in regards to Christ. Their failure led to the riches of grace in the Gospel of God being made open to all nations, so their salvation can only be an even greater blessing.

Save some

in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. (Romans 11:14, ESV)

Jews need to be saved like everyone else (Despite a recent claim that they do not need Christ for salvation) . Paul hoped that even as he ministered to the Gentiles it would make Jewish people jealous and so prod them awake to the riches of Christ.

The tree, the roots and the branches

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, (Romans 11:17, ESV)

The olive tree itself is Christ, the roots are God’s word, covenants, promises and prophecies in the Old Testament, the branches are either natural branches of ethnic Israelites which are now saved, the broken off natural branches are those ethnic Jews who do not believe while the wild olive shoot that was grafted in are believing gentiles.

The key is the tree, the root and offspring of David, Jesus the Christ the Son of the Living God. He is the promised Messiah and the source of life and freedom, any discounted from Him are dead. It is only if we as branches are connected to Him as our source that we will be fruitful.

Don’t be arrogant

do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. (Romans 11:18, ESV)

That is if you are arrogant against the Jews as a gentile in the church not the whole church, just those with the bad attitude.

The root is not Israel but the Old Testament scriptures which pertain to Israel. It is foolish as Gentiles to be arrogant against Israel when we rely on their scriptures to even have a faith and Jesus Himself is Jewish.

The reason, unbelief

That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. (Romans 11:20, ESV)

The breaking off was not unjust it was for unbelief. So we must walk in the fear of God and remain in the faith and in Jesus because as Paul is about to say, if God did not spare the natural branches what makes us think He will spare those grafted in to the commonwealth of Israel.

God will cut and prune

For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. (Romans 11:21, ESV)

God will cut and prune the church and those harbouring evil thoughts of pride and arrogance do not belong in God’s vine but are parasites and will be cut off like Judas.

Continue in God’s kindness

Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. (Romans 11:22, ESV)

We are called to perverse, this is the perseverance of the saints, without this we will be cut off.

God has been kind to us not so we can take liberties but so we would walk in light of His kindness by the Spirit and not by the flesh.

Do away with ideas of the Christian life in a rocking chair, we are called to grow and be fruitful and walk in the Spirit.

So up, to your task, you must press on and persevere as a sure evidence of your security and salvation.

Grafted back in

And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. (Romans 11:23, ESV)

Messianic Jews are those of ethnic Israel who through the centuries have been grafted back in to Christ.

Proverbs 26:1–11

Answer fools in the Spirit

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. (Proverbs 26:4-5, ESV)

Sounds like a contradiction but it is not. It is saying that we should not answer a fool in such a way that we become foolish by losing our temper for example but at the same time we must not just ignore him, we need to correct him in the Spirit so the he does not get away with thinking his foolishness is ok.

Don’t eat vomit

Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly. (Proverbs 26:11, ESV)

When we return to old sins we are like dogs and fools eating our own vomit…yuk.

Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.

Additional resources

The Gospel Coalition on Romans 11

Statement from Vatican mentioned above

Messianic Jews respond to the Vatican

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