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A daily devotion going through the Bible one chapter at a time

Genesis 14

Posted by New Westminster Chapel on January 26, 2012

When Abram heard that his kinsman had been taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, 318 of them, and went in pursuit as far as Dan … Then he brought back all the possessions, and also brought back his kinsman Lot with his possessions, and the women and the people.
(Genesis 14:14,16)

The story of Lot’s rescue reminds me of loved ones (family and friends) who do not yet know Christ; who refuse Him or walk away from Him or simply want nothing to do with Him for one reason or another. When I think that these dear ones will one day have to face the wrath of God, I tremble and want to do all I can to rescue them by telling them the Good News of salvation through Jesus.

I can imagine Abram being concerned for his worldly, comfort-loving and  pleasure-pursuing nephew who had walked away from him and the blessings and promises of God. Upon hearing that destruction and captivity had caught up with Lot, Abram went all out to get him and all the captives back. Sadly, none of them stayed with Abram. They were happy to enjoy the relief and rescue for a moment but were unwilling to continue with Abram in the call of God.

Does this hit home for you like it does for me? When your siblings, family, friends and co-workers seem to be so close to the path of life and then they walk away! Just when God works providentially in their lives to help, protect, provide for them, they quickly forget and move on in sin like nothing happened. O the hardheartedness that is so common to the fallen human heart! Were it not for His grace and mercy in snatching us from the pit of hell, we would all be lost!

But like with Abram, God chooses to turn our hearts to him so that we begin to love Him, obey Him and walk with Him in faith. When God does so, He wants us to spread this Good News of His redemption all over the world that all men may trust in Him as the only God and Saviour for sinners. Let’s go and  tell the world that “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). God bless you as you share the Gospel with others.

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.


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Genesis 13

Posted by New Westminster Chapel on January 25, 2012

Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.” (Genesis 13:9)

Choices, choices, choices!  They are easier to make when we are thinking of what we will get for ourselves than when we are thinking about what we may lose.  Choices must be made and each choice brings its own set of consequences.  We cannot have it all!  Moreover, not everything we have or can have is good for us.  As human beings, we long for attachments – be it with God, people or things.  God made us that way so that we would desire and attach ourselves to Him. But alas! Sin has skewed that!  More often than not, our desires are ungodly, evil and spiritually unprofitable.

When God called Abram, He commanded him to leave his people and go to a land that He (God) was going to show him.  For some reason, Lot went along and that had grievous consequences for both. Indeed in their case the grass looked much greener on Lot’s “side of the fence” and yet that was only momentary. God gave Abram eternal blessings for separating himself from Lot and all the evil associated with Lot’s choice (Sodom & Gomorrah).

In life, many things occupy our attention, time and energies.  However, the wise know that only what is essential, beneficial and profitable will be good and worth pursuing.  Nothing is more worthy of our pursuit than walking with the Almighty God all the days of our lives!  In following Him we are given a blessed life here on earth on one hand, but we also lay up for ourselves eternal treasures in heaven on the other hand!

But as long as sin abounds in our hearts, it is impossible for us to truly and fully experience that blessed life in Christ. Sin entangles us and chokes that life within us.  Insatiable and lustful desires rage within us. O, how difficult it is to resist and how dreadful to separate ourselves from the things, people and activities which hinder us from fully realizing and embracing the blessings and promises of God in Christ!

Yes, the grass does often look greener on the other side of the fence, but beloved, we are not unaware of the devil’s schemes! True blessings are found in Christ.  In Him alone, can our lives yield true blessings to others. Therefore dearly beloved, “Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12: 1-2)

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Genesis 12

Posted by New Westminster Chapel on January 24, 2012

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  (Genesis 12:1-3)

Going for gold!  Almost all of us would want to leave home for that!  The thought of lustrous and pure gold in your hands would get you going without a thought of where, how or when!  Going for God?  The thought makes you scratch your head, stare at your feet and walk away.  Simply put, it’s not an easy business to fully and promptly obey God because it goes against our human nature.

Abram grew up in a pagan society among the Chaldeans with no knowledge of God and His ways.  Yet, God called him to go out from his family and all the familiarities of his life, to a land that God was going to show him.  What would have been your response?  Excuses, arguments and questions perhaps.  When God calls, speaks and commands, He demands obedience.

God, purely out of His good will and pleasure, called Abram out of his home land so that he (Abram), might be blessed and be a blessing to the nations.  So many times we think everything God does and gives to us is ours only.  We deceive ourselves into thinking that we deserve God’s blessings because we are so special and so good.  Yet here we see that a pagan Abram was called by a Holy God and given special blessings and promises which he did not earn or deserve.  God chose him to fulfill His plan to save man and conquer sin and the devil.  It had nothing to do with Abram, his value or worth. Rather God did this to bless many with a free and gracious salvation through His Son Jesus who would descend from Abram and crush Satan.

God blesses us friends so we can be a blessing to others.  He gives us temporal blessings of food, shelter, families, jobs etc.  But beyond all this, He has given us the rich and eternal blessing of salvation in Jesus Christ.  Through Jesus Christ, God offers us both the temporal and the eternal blessings.  Have you received both these blessings?  Are you sharing them with others?  Remember, only what’s done for God will last.  It is also true that you can only truly bless a person when you give them the good news of Christ.  Resolve today to bless many this year with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and be assured that God will bless your labours.

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Genesis 11

Posted by New Westminster Chapel on January 23, 2012

Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth. (Genesis 11:9)

Creativity is a beautiful and wonderful blessing from God.  Man who was made in the image of God has a God-given creative nature for the displaying of God’s glory in this world.  However, sin has distorted this divine arrangement.  Nevertheless, God remains sovereign and in control over all things.

In Genesis 11 we read of man’s ambition to make a name for himself.  This of course remains man’s problem today.  Everyone wants to be famous and autonomous.  At Babel, the people were determined to make a name for themselves and overthrow God. Their creativity and ingenuity was impressive and wonderful but its purpose was wrong and evil at the heart. They did not want to spread all over the earth like God commanded them and they wanted, to crown themselves their own lord and god by raising a tower in heaven!  But they failed – God would have none of it!

We can find two wonderful things in this – a solemn warning and great comfort. There is here a solemn warning that all who desire or pursue things which are contrary to God’s purpose and plans will inevitably fail miserably. We can also find great comfort in knowing that God’s plans will never fail, cannot be thwarted and that regardless of how things look, God will always be triumphant in His will and purpose in the end.

The Cross is the best illustration of this. Christ’s death on the cross seemed to many like a failed plan.  Yet God worked through that to conquer sin and the devil thereby winning a victory so great against all of man’s plans and sinful desires.  We would be wise today dearly beloved, to search our hearts, repent and begin to align all our desires and plans with infallible purposes of God!

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Genesis 10

Posted by New Westminster Chapel on January 21, 2012

These are the clans of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood. (Genesis 10:32)

When I think on what has happened so far in our Bible readings, it is amazing to see how God right after punishing mankind goes on and makes him more fruitful. They had children who had more children, they conquered lands and built cities. It’s almost like an anthill that got washed away and springs right up again next morning, bigger and better!

How great are the mercies and goodness of our Great God Jehovah! That even when we deserve nothing, he makes us productive, fruitful and successful beyond what we can by our own ingenuity. Hallelujah! I can think of assessments I passed without much study or being accepted to college when I messed up an application.

To me, this story impresses on my heart that God is good to me and everyone though we do not deserve it. It is wonder of wonders that a Holy God would give us bountifully what we do not deserve and withhold the punishment that is truly worth our sin. Surely we could never be able to withstand the wrath of God.

It is so much more amazing that He freely gave His Son to die in our place and take up our punishment so that we can have life abundantly in Him – FOR FREE!!! Surely, we deserve worse than the flood! But this kindness and mercy God shows us is over and above!

When God rebukes and chastises us, we can take heart knowing that:

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:5-6)

and that:

… his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

What great comfort, courage and strength we can find in knowing that God is good in judgement and mercy to His children!

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Genesis 9

Posted by New Westminster Chapel on January 20, 2012

And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.
(Genesis 9:5)

In our day and age, the meaning life is relative. That’s tragic isn’t it? How can there possibly be several meanings and definitions to life? Doesn’t commonplace language go like “there’s only one life to live?” We live in a confused era but often the things that confound us are so trifle if only we believed and trusted in God.

After the flood, God made a covenant with man to never destroy life and all creation as in the flood. In keeping with this, God commanded man and all his creatures to preserve the life of man. Why? Because only God is the Author of life – He alone can and should take and give life. It is his alone especially the life of man whom He made in his image. This is why God gave Noah and his family “permission” to kill and eat animals.

God said He will take to task every man and beast that takes the life of a man. We all can understand how grave one person killing another is. But shouldn’t animals killing men be justified since they are creatures of instinct? God says NO! Man’s life is worth more than that. If God will require a reckoning from a beast, what more of us?

You may never have killed or murdered or aborted – but there are subtle ways in which we are guilty of this. When we fail to preserve the lives of others, we kill or take another’s life. Jesus said, if you are angry with your brother or call him a fool, you are guilty of murder (Matthew 5:22). Consider that seriously dear friend.

How do we preserve life though? It is not only in the physical preservation of it, but also spiritually, morally, emotionally and psychologically. Anyone who calls a man foolish is in fact slighting his Creator.  When we do or say things and act in ways that strip any man of their dignity and honour, we take the value of their lives, kill and dishonour God.

When you call your pets, “good boy” or “good girl” and yet look a the drug addict on the street and think “that worthless scum,” YOU DO KILL MY FRIEND! When you refuse the homeless money or food and spend  thousands on animal food, YOU KILL! When people practice, promote and praise abortion around and about you and you sit silently without doing anything to stop it, YOU KILL and God will require a reckoning from your hand!

God made every human being in His image – regardless of age, color or status.  Thus, we have no justification for taking that life or treating it inhumanely, dishonoring it and stripping it of it’s dignity. Will you scorn and kill the very life for which Christ died to give life to?

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)

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Genesis 8

Posted by New Westminster Chapel on January 19, 2012

English: The ark of Noah and the cosmic covena...

And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. (Genesis 8:11)

Have you ever been in a desperate situation? No where to go, no one to turn to, no loving, strong and able arms to run into? What did you do and how did you get through it? The depths we plunge ourselves into in our foolishness and “wisdom” is beyond worth saving. When I look at how desperately and helplessly sinful I am and how graciously God saved me in Christ, all I can say is, “I don’t deserve it Lord, but thank you.”

The rains had pelted for 40 days and the earth was immersed in water. Noah and his family waited, and waited, and waited. In desperation they sent out a useless raven. Have you ever noticed how we are “so smart” to come up with our useless “way out?” I am sure the Lord graciously looks on us with our failed self-made and self-inspired resolutions  and says, “O ye of little faith … have I been with you for so long and you do not know me?” We often act like that – acting like the Almighty God we serve is no God at all. TRUST HIM TRULY TODAY.

Next goes the dove. This scene reminds me of Jesus’ baptism. There John is immersing sinners in River Jordan’s waters – repent and have you sins washed away! In walks Jesus and down comes the Spirit of God like a dove! Beautiful analogy isn’t it! God “baptized” the earth and the “dove” goes all over the earth and finds  life bustling in it and brings it back to Noah. Finally, God was pleased to remember His people and receded the waters and gave life once more.

In your own life, have you received God’s message of repentance? Have you been washed by the blood of the Lamb? And does the Spirit of God bring new nourishment to you everyday through God’s Word? Is that life in you or are you being overwhelmed with sin, the weight of guilt and  life’s pleasures and business? In Christ, you are hid and nourished by the Spirit if you but “take and read” His Word. You will find Him to be a true, sure and able Anchor and Saviour.

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Genesis 7

Posted by New Westminster Chapel on January 7, 2012

And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him. (Genesis 7:5)

Perfection of one kind or another is the desire of every man. It is natural for every one to want to be highly esteemed by others and themselves. Even the worst of criminals would have themselves believe they are perfect or good in some area or aspect of their life.

The Bible, however, shows the true picture of our hearts and lives. As one reads through the Scriptures, it is easy to find reflections of our hearts, minds, thoughts and actions clearly rebuked and condemned. It is a sharp and clear mirror of who we really are and great benefit will be found in it by those that daily devote themselves to reading it prayerfully.

The Ten Commandments always come to mind when talk of perfection is on that table. Can any of us really claim to keep all the Commandments daily and continually? No, we are evil through and through so much so that even the least of our attempts to keep the law is sin!!!

We all like to pat ourselves on the back for how good we are and how we have never stolen, killed, etc. That is exactly why God gave us His commandments – He wanted to reveal to us the sin in our hearts and how impossible it is for us to keep them, please Him and escape His wrath. Yes He expects us to live holy lives but he also knows how impossible that is.

In His grace, God planned from eternity to provide us a way by which we can obey him and be saved. Noah found favour before God and did all that God commanded Him and he and his family were saved. The Bible tells us that Jesus grew “in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men” (Luke 2:52) He alone truly lived a sinless and perfect life and He alone is able to save us and indeed all who believe and call upon His Name.

Noah was not a perfect man. He was a man born in sin and unable to please God and meet His requirements for holiness. However, God chose him out of His own will and goodness to teach us how profound our sin is, His wrath against sin and our need for a Saviour to deliver us into a safe haven. He saved him despite his sinful nature. God is able to save man from sin, death and hell. But most of us don’t realise or acknowledge our deep and serious need for God and His saving hand.

Friends, God is able to truly deliver us and “shut us in” Himself so that we are not lost. He is able to do this because of Jesus who lived a perfect life and died for our sins. Only by trusting in His merits can we be saved and kept for eternal life.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29)

Praise God for this great and glorious truth. May our hearts be drawn to hear Him who speaks from Heaven!

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Genesis 6

Posted by New Westminster Chapel on January 6, 2012

 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually … But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD…  he did all that God commanded him.” (Genesis 6:5, 8, 22)

Self-righteousness is a trait I would have never dreamt of associating with myself. No one really would want to accept it. But truth be told, we all think we are perfect don’t we? We like to keep that sweet image of ourselves deep-seated within us so much so that anyone who points any wrong in us is quickly bashed down, ignored or hated. What would you do if everyone in the world knew the “real  you?”

God, however, clearly sees who we really are. When man fell and went about his ways, sinning more and more, God assessed the situation of man. He saw that every intention of the thoughts of our hearts was only evil and only evil continually. In other words, our hearts are bottomless pits filled with one evil intention after another – over and over and over again! Can you imagine that? Each of our hearts if split open and let loose could overly fill the entire universe with evil. It’s that bad.

I am always amazed to ponder on why a holy and pure God would take an initiative to save such wretched and deeply wicked men like me! It is one of those profound things that stagger me. Yet He mercifully and graciously promised and worked out His plan of reconciliation with man through  the life and death of His Son Jesus.The account of Noah and the Flood served to show the kind of punishment man deserved for his sins and how God would save some to be His people. Noah’s father had said that his son would be the one to bring them relief from all their  toil and labours of their hands.

Noah clearly foreshadows Christ in bringing the message of salvation from the wrath of God. In his day, people were called to believe that message and be saved from the flood. Something worse than a flood is coming  dear friends – God’s eternal wrath in hell. Yet through Christ Jesus, God freely offers us His Good News of Redemption. By believing in the Lord Jesus we will be saved and have eternal life with Him in heaven. Will you die when an offer so great, free, undeserved and unearned is freely given to you?  

Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 18:31)


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Genesis 5

Posted by New Westminster Chapel on January 5, 2012

 “Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed, this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.”  (Genesis 5:29)

I often wonder what it was like that first day after the Fall. Guilt, shame, fear and alienation from God – I am sure those were just few of the emotions that surged in Adam and Eve’s hearts and minds.  They had lost God’s likeness in holiness and righteousness and were cut off from communing with Him.   But they had hope. God had promised them a Deliverer who would defeat the serpent that deceived them once and for all!

And so life went on and in keeping with God’s command to them, they “multiplied.” You see, though sin corrupted their ability to do good and please God in their spiritual walk, they were still able to fulfill His command to rule and subdue the physical world. And this is important to know because God will hold us accountable for what we do and what we don’t do in keeping with His purposes for us here on earth.

But things were not the same. Yes, their children looked like them but sin had distorted the image of God in them. Adam and Eve had been created in perfect holiness and righteousness, which they lost and their children followed suit! In other words, the children had the same rebellion and bent towards sin and like their parents, lost communion with God. Can you imagine the devastation that ripped their hearts knowing that if they had obeyed, Abel would not have been killed and Cain would not have been cast out by God? This is a solemn and sobering warning to parents. Remember that what goes on in your heart, mind and lives will have a bearing on your children – it may not be murder now, but eternal death in hell.

Living in such desolation and despondency, they had a hope. God had promised and they knew that unlike themselves, God would keep His Word and fulfill it. In His goodness, God began to reveal how He would save them from sin and Satan through the promise that He made to them in the garden (Genesis 3:15).  He also gave them another promise through the life and work of Noah which we will discuss later. Both of these promises were fulfilled in Jesus Christ – He alone is the “one who brings us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands.

You may be struggling with sin and the issues of life at the moment.  Be comforted!  Take courage and have hope in Christ. He is able to deliver you and give you the rest and peace you need for this life and the next. He says, ” Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

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