Monday, July 16, 2018

Mon., 7/16/18 Devotion (Josh. 23:14b, c)

Today's encouragement comes from Joshua 23:14b & c, which says this:

"And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed."

In the Lord Jesus Christ every faithful churchman knows that what is written (above) is true. In the Redeemer, God has delivered *all* His goods. The Lord has nothing more to give; and He has nothing more to say. Those who seek for *anything* from God, beyond Jesus Christ, will receive nothing (positive) from Him.

Let us be thankful that we who are in Christ and His true church *already* possess everything. *All* of God's promises have come to pass for us. They are all "Yes," and "Amen," in Jesus, (cf. 2 Cor. 1:20). Let us trust our faithful King; and let His church worship Him for all His goodness to us.

[Puritan quote of the day: "[Prayer] is God conversing with man, and man with God.” —William Bridge, in, "A Lifting Up for the Downcast"]

Friday, July 13, 2018

Fri.-Sabbath, 7/13-15/18 Devotion

Praise God—it is almost Sunday! We get to go back to church again! Here are great gospel words from Martin Luther, taken from his excellent Preface to his amazing "Galatians" Commentary. . . .

"Therefore, the afflicted and troubled conscience has no remedy against de-speration and eternal death unless it takes hold of the forgiveness of sins by grace, freely offered in Christ Jesus—that is to say, this passive faith or Chris-tian righteousness. If the conscience can take hold of this, then it may be at rest and boldly say, 'I do not seek this active or working righteousness, al-though I know that I ought to have it, and also to fulfill it. But if I had it and did actually fulfill it, I still could not place my trust in it, nor should I dare to set it against God’s judgment. Thus I abandon all active righteousness, both of my own and of God’s law, and embrace only that passive righteousness that is the righteousness of grace, mercy, and forgiveness of sins. Briefly, I rest only on that righteousness that is the righteousness that is the righteousness of Christ and of the Holy Spirit.'

"Just as the earth does not generate rain and cannot of itself work to produce it, but receives it by the mere gift of God from above, so this heavenly right-eousness is given us by God without our working for or deserving it. See, then, how much the earth is able by itself to do in getting showers of rain to make it fruitful; that much, and no more, are we able to do by our own strength and works in winning this heavenly and eternal righteousness. We shall never be able to attain it unless God Himself bestows it on us, imputing it to us by His gift beyond words. The greatest wisdom of Christians, then, is to have nothing to do with the law and works and the whole of active right-eousness, especially when the conscience wrestles with God’s judgment. On the other hand, the quintessence of wisdom among those who are not among God’s people is to know and earnestly follow the law and active righteous-ness."

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Thurs., 7/12/18 Devotion (Matt. 22:29)

Today's encouragement comes from Matthew 22:29, where we read these words:

"Jesus answered and said to them, 'You are mistaken, not knowing the Scrip-tures nor the power of God.' "

One sure way to be in error, or to be mistaken, is by not knowing the Scrip-tures, nor the power of God. The great gospel truths are all too wonderful, to be apprehended by "reason" alone. How would we know that God saves sin-ners by the atonement achieved by His Son; or how would we know that God is Trinity—were it not for the special revelation of the Scriptures?

Ignorance is *not* bliss when it comes to the things of God. Instead, it is a sure road to death and misery. Let us who know Christ by faith, seek to be-come more acquainted with Him: in His church, through the gracious doc-trines found in His written word.

[Puritan quote of the day: "A man may think himself into hell. What were the apostate angels damned for, was it for any more than proud thoughts?”
—Thomas Watson, in, "The Great Gain of Godliness"]

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wed., 7/11/18 Devotion (Ps. 147:3)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 147:3, where we read these words:

"He [God] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

The "brokenhearted" are those who are oppressed by the law's demands, but who (for comfort) run to Jesus, as their fulfillment of the law. They recognize that they do not have the resources to do anything “right” to God’s standards; and therefore they go to Christ for *all* their righteousness.

Jesus came to save the "brokenhearted," (cf. Lk. 4:18). He did not come to earth to save self-righteous, "law-abiding" people who think they do not need Him. Let us bless God for this glorious gospel truth; and let us be included in the blessed churched company of the brokenhearted (and believing).

[Puritan quote of the day: "When they die [the redeemed] shall go to God, and while they live everything in the world shall do them good.” —Thomas Watson, in, "The Great Gain of Godliness"]

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Tues., 7/10/18 Devotion (Jer. 6:16a, b)

Today's encouragement comes from Jeremiah 6:16a & b, where we read these words:

"Thus says the LORD: 'Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your
souls. . . . ' "

People like "new" paths, because by walking in them they think they are “hip,” "cool," and avant garde. But in reality the old paths are much better; and infin-itely more intriguing. Old truths may (legitimately) be re-framed into updated language, etc.—but the *essence* of the truth itself can never be changed, because Jesus Himself IS Truth, (cf. Jn. 14:6).

I think, (perhaps a bit overly-optimistically), that some folks are growing weary of all the failed promises of the "new" ways. They are finding them boring, mindless, mantra-like, and unsatisfying. Perhaps many will begin to re-inves-tigate the "tried and true” path of Jesus. Even if they do not, the true saints will; and God will get the glory.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Weaknesses do not break covenant with God . . . [and they] do not debar us from mercy.” —Richard Sibbes, in, "The Bruised Reed"]

Monday, July 9, 2018

Mon., 7/9/18 Devotion (Ps. 144:15b)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 144:15b, where we read these words:

" . . . Happy are the people whose God is the LORD!"

Why is the church of God in a happy and comfortable condition (covenantal-ly)? Because of our Risen Head Jesus—Who has conquered our sin, forgiven us, and given us immediate, full, and free access to the throne of grace. Are God's people *always* "circumstantially" happy? No; the presence of sin in us, others, and the fallen world prevents this.

But, are the redeemed churched children of the Lord *inherently* happy? Yes; because everything of ultimate importance has been taken care of for us by our Savior. Cheerfulness should characterize those of us who are loved by God—even though there are legitimate times and reasons for grief. Let us be God's happy people, in Jesus and His grace.

[Puritan quote of the day: "We are only poor for this reason, that we do not know our riches in Christ.” —Richard Sibbes, in, "The Bruised Reed"]

Friday, July 6, 2018

Fri.-Sabbath, 7/6-8/18 Devotion

Yes! It is almost Sunday! To help get us ready for church worship, here is Thomas Watson, from his book, "A Body of Divinity":

"As God’s mercy makes the saints happy, so it should make them humble. Mercy is not the fruit of our goodness, but the fruit of God’s goodness. Mercy is an alms [gift to the poor] that God bestows. They have no cause to be proud that live upon the alms of God’s mercy. 'If I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head,’ (Job 10:I5). All my righteousness is the effect of God’s mercy, therefore I will be humble and will not lift up my head.

"Mercy stays the speedy execution of God’s justice. Sinners continually pro-voke God, and make 'the fury come up in His face,’ (Ezek 38:18). Whence is it God does not presently arrest and condemn them? It is not that God cannot do it, for He is armed with omnipotence, but it is from His mercy. Mercy gets a reprieve for the sinner, and stops the speedy process of justice. God would, by His goodness, lead sinners to repentance."