Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thurs., 7/20/17 Devotion (Jer. 16:19)

Today's encouragement comes from Jeremiah 16:19, where we read these words:

"O LORD, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, 'Surely our fathers have inherited lies, worthlessness and unprofitable things.' "

Things were not going particularly well for Jeremiah, and certainly not for his countrymen. Still, the prophet found comfort and courage in his God. On top of this, he drew strength from the fact that though his generation might not be too stellar—there would indeed be people from all over the world who, in God's time, would cling to Jesus in the gospel of His grace.

Let all God's sincere churchmen—be we clergy or laity—trust in the Lord, and persevere; knowing that nothing done from genuine faith in Christ is insigni-ficant or vain, (cf. 1 Cor. 15:58).

[Puritan quote of the day: "But now Christ does that which we could not do, that is, fulfill the law for us. And He also does that which the law could not do, which was justify us.” —Obadiah Grew, in, "The Lord our Righteousness"]

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wed., 7/19/17 Devotion (Mk. 1:21-22)

Today's encouragement comes from Mark 1:21 & 22—verses which describe Christ's ministry:

"Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath [Jesus] entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teach-ing, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."

Jesus, being the perfect churchman, is in the synagogue on the Sabbath. He is teaching. What makes Christ's lesson particularly unique is the authority He demonstrated. The Messiah actually believed what He was saying, knew it was from God, and was willing to proclaim the gospel boldly and unasham-edly.

Unregenerate people cannot stand this kind of preaching and teaching; but the church’s true saints are comforted (and convicted) by it. Let us be those who hunger and thirst for Christ; and be grateful that He still raises up mini-sters who preach with divinely-granted authority.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Give a beast hay and he will follow you all over the field. Not to draw near to [God] who is our Benefactor is worse than brutish.” —Thomas Watson, in his sermon, "Drawing Near to God"]

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tues., 7/18/17 Devotion (Acts 5:38-39)

Today's encouragement comes from Acts 5:38 & 39, where we read these words:

"And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it--lest you even be found to fight against God."

Gamaliel, a highly-respected first-century rabbi, made this observation (above). He was absolutely right. When it comes to religion and the spiritual life—anything man-made is bound to fail. There is little sense in our giving it much of our time or attention. On the other hand, what is of (or from) God *is* of absolute importance. What the Lord does, cannot fail.

Are we fighting "alongside" Christ, as His faithful churchmen; or, are we fight-ing against Him, futilely hoping to overthrow His work? There are no other options.

[Puritan quote of the day: "A godly man has many signal experiences of God's favor to him, and experience breeds hope.” —Thomas Watson, in his sermon, "The Sacred Anchor"]

Monday, July 17, 2017

Mon., 7/17/17 Devotion (Josh. 24:15c)

Today's encouragement comes from Joshua 24:15c, where we read these words:

" . . . But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

No matter what other people choose to do, God's true Christian churchmen must choose to serve Christ wholeheartedly. The Fall of man into sin has left us all with the deplorable disease of "man-pleasing"; and of mindlessly fol-lowing whatever new "gods" or theological fads that happen to come along.

The sincere believer must be more thoughtful and intelligent than that. If the world likes something, we ought to look askance at it, with a level of suspi-cion. This is not because we are paranoid—rather, it is because we have come to learn that idolatry is subtle, and easily slipped into.

[Puritan quote of the day: "To the extent that we give way to our will in sin-ning, to that extent we set ourselves at a distance from comfort.” —Richard Sibbes, in, "The Bruised Reed"]

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fri.-Sabbath, 7/14-16/17 Devotion

Hip, hip, hooray—it is almost Sunday! In order to help get us ready for the church's worship of God, on the Lord's Day, here is the amazing Thomas Watson, from his "A Divine Cordial" book:

"If it be God's purpose that saves, then it is not free will. The Pelagians are strenuous asserters of free will. They tell us that a man has an innate power to effect his own conversion; but this text [Eph. 1:11] confutes it. Our calling is 'according to God's purpose.' The Scripture plucks up the root of free will: 'It is not of him that wills,' (Rom. 9:16). All depends upon the purpose of God. When the prisoner is cast [bound] at the bar [judgment], there is no saving him, unless the king has a purpose to save him. God's purpose is His prero-gative royal.

"If it is God's purpose that saves, then it is not merit. Bellarmine holds that good works do expiate sin and merit glory; but the text says that we are called according to God's purpose, and there is a parallel Scripture: 'Who has saved us, and called us, not according to our works, but according to His own pur-pose and grace,' (2 Tim. 1:9). There is no such thing as merit. Our best works have in them both defection and infection, and so are but glittering sins; therefore if we are called and justified, it is God's purpose that brings it to pass."

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thurs., 7/13/17 Devotion (Ps. 149:6)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 149:6, which says this:

"Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand."

It is interesting how the Spirit-filled Christian churchman is both a joyful singer of praise to God, and a valiant soldier for Him. In fact, until or unless we take up Christ's spiritual arms, we are no adorers of God at all, (despite all pro-tests to the contrary).

Worshippers are warriors, fighting under the banner of the Prince of Peace. Our mission is to conquer the world for our Redeemer—starting in our own hearts, where Jesus is enthroned. From there, the faithful church is to be re-vived in Christ. And from there, the fertile ground of the unconverted nations are to be brought to The Messiah.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Oh, let us strive to keep God among us! What is the glory of a nation but the presence of God in His Word and ordinances?” —Thomas Watson, in his sermon, "Comfort for the Church"]

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mon., 7/10/17 Devotion (Jer. 6:16a)

Today's encouragement comes from Jeremiah 6:16a, 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.' "

Sometimes we hear silly people say things like this, "We cannot go back to the old days and ways—we have moved beyond them." These people are wrong (and foolish). True life is only found in the "old paths,” which all point us to our Lord Jesus Christ. There is nothing new under the sun. All "new" paths are simply old deceits of the devil.

There is more than enough good doctrine in the good creeds and confessions of the church, to more than satisfy us for generations to come. Let us be en-lightened: let us return to our Reformation and Puritan glory (in Christ).

[Puritan quote of the day: "The fear of God will make one avoid those sins which can neither be heard nor seen by men.” —Thomas Watson, in, "The Great Gain of Godliness"]