Thursday, May 28, 2020

Thurs., 5/28/20 Devotion (3 Jn. 2)

Today's encouragement comes from 3 John, v. 2, where we read these words:

"Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers."

I like this little verse (above). It reminds us Christians that God is concerned about *all* the facets of our being, (and not just one or two of them). The soul is the most important part of any person—by far—and it is to get first atten-tion; but, after it is thriving, God would have every other part of His child pros-per, too. (Those with healthy souls will be diligent to preserve the body’s health, as well.)

Does this mean that sick believers are under God's displeasure? No; not at all. We cannot know the Lord's secret providences for His children; but we can know this: that *we* ought to desire, and pray for health at every level—so that the church and the gospel will spread and grow all over the earth.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Have you forgotten the years of the right hand [viz. the extreme blessings] of the Most High? —William Bridge, in, "A Lifting Up for the Downcast"]

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wed., 5/27/20 Devotion (2 Jn. 9)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 John, v. 9, where we read these words:

"Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son."

Sometimes we hear misguided people say things like this: "Doctrine is bad. Who needs it? It only causes trouble and division among Christians." Actually, those statements themselves are doctrinal—but they demonstrate very *bad* doctrine.

We cannot have Christ without doctrine; and this is one of the reasons doc-trine is so critically-important. Good doctrine leads the church directly *to* Jesus, and seeks to keep her there. Bad and vacuous doctrine leaves people out in the theological "cold.” Let us not be ashamed of Christ, nor His doc-trine. We cannot have One without the other.

[Puritan quote of the day: "A praying man can never be very miserable, what-ever his condition be, for he has the ear of God . . . “ —William Bridge, in, "A Lifting Up for the Downcast"]

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Tues., 5/26/20 Devotion (1 Jn. 5:4b)

Today's encouragement comes from 1 John 5:4b, where we read these words:

" . . . And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith."

Everybody (of necessity) tries to overcome the world—but very few succeed. Why? Because most people try doing it through their own efforts. They be-lieve that their good deeds will overcome the world, or that their religious or philanthropic activities will do so.

But faith alone overcomes the world; and the reason for this is The *Object* of faith, which is brought to bear on the particular struggles being overcome. That Object is The Person of The Lord Jesus Christ. Faith alone "fetches" the Redeemer to the soul, and to the situation. This is a hard lesson to learn, but is one well worth our mastery.

[Puritan quote of the day: "They seek for heaven in hell that seek for spiritual love in an unchanged heart.” —Richard Sibbes, in, "The Bruised Reed"]

Friday, May 22, 2020

Fri.-Sabbath, 5/22-24/20 Devotion

Yes—Sunday is almost here! Here is Thomas Watson, from "A Divine Cordi-al," to help get us ready for Sabbath worship:

"There is nothing in God to deaden our affections or quench our love—no in-firmity, no deformity, such as usually weakens and cools love. There is that excellence in God, which may not only invite, but command our love. If there were more angels in heaven than there are, and all those glorious seraphim had an immense flame of love burning in their hearts to eternity, yet they could not love God equally to that infinite perfection and transcendence of goodness which is in Him [God]. Surely then here is enough to induce us to love God. We cannot spend our love upon a better Object.

"Love motivates true religion. It oils the wheels of the affections, and makes them more lively and cheerful in God's service. Love erases the tediousness of duty. Jacob thought seven years but little, for the love he bore to Rachel. Love makes duty a pleasure. Why are the angels so swift and winged in God's service? It is because they love Him. Love is never weary. He that loves God, is never weary of telling it. He that loves God, is never weary of serving Him."

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Thurs., 5/21/20 Devotion (2 Pet. 3:18a)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Peter 3:18a, where we read these words:

" . . . But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. . . . "

How does a church *grow* in "the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Sav-ior Jesus Christ"? Certainly, by being well-fed. The context of Peter's injunc-tion (above) is largely that of the proper use and understanding of the sacred Scriptures (of the OT and the NT).

Christians *grow* when they ingest God's Word—their being hungry for its nourishment. The written Word, which is the base and foundation of the church's preached Word, always points to the Incarnate Word (the "Logos," of Jn. 1:1). This Messianic "Word" is the ultimate Revelation of God. Only He (Christ) can "feed” us, His church. He feeds us His own "flesh" and "blood," in the preached Gospel, and in the proper administration of the sacrament of The Lord's Supper.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Every godly, gracious man is a praying man.”
—William Bridge, in, "A Lifting Up for the Downcast"]

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Wed., 5/20/20 Devotion (Ps. 73:16-17)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 73:16 & 17, where Asaph, the hu-man author, was dealing with, and finally received resolution to the thorny is-sue of the prosperity of the wicked, (see vv. 2-3 ff.). . . .

"When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me—until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end."

On our own, individually, we are simply *unable* to grasp a whole lot of things that are necessary for our happiness and well-being. This is no accident. God intentionally designed us to be insufficient and incomplete in and of our-selves. This is why He puts His saints into the body of Christ, His holy church. When Asaph came into the Sabbath communion of his fellow-believers—all of a sudden the darkness was dispersed, and his understanding was enlighten-ed.

It is the height of pride and foolishness, to believe we do not need Christ or His church. Let us enter the Lord's presence, especially on Sunday, and get what we need—all in Jesus.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Mercy is not for them that sin and fear not, but for them that fear and sin not. God's mercy is a holy mercy; where it pardons it heals.” —Thomas Watson, in, "A Body of Divinity"]

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Tues., 5/19/20 Devotion (Isa. 19:24-25)

Today's encouragement comes from Isaiah 19:24 & 25, where we read these amazing words:

"In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, 'Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inher-itance.' "

To me, this (above) is one of the most remarkable passages in the whole Bible. Isaiah is prophesying about the New Covenant church age, to be in-augurated by Christ's incarnation. Instead of only Israel being God's people, now even the Assyrians and the Egyptians (representing all other Gentile eth-nicities as well), will also be the recipients of all the promises fulfilled in Jesus, which were made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

This is the world we live in today. Let us look around us. Who do we see mak-ing up the church, and worshipping The Triune God on Sundays? We behold people from every kind of background. The promise of the New Covenant Church in Christ has been fulfilled.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Sin and corruption may be more stirring and boist-erous after a man is regenerate than they were before conversion.” —Chris-topher Love, in, "The Mortified Christian"]