Friday, June 22, 2018

Fri.-Sabbath, 6/22-24/18 Devotion

Praise God—it is almost Sunday! Richard Sibbes is the Puritan doctor of sad souls. Here is his gospel remedy, taken from "The Bruised Reed." . . .

"Among other causes of discouragement, some are much vexed with scrup-les, even against the best duties; partly by disease of body, helped by Satan's malice in casting dust in their eyes in their way to heaven; and partly from some remainder of ignorance, which, like darkness, breeds fears and ignor-ance especially of this merciful disposition in [Christ], the persuasion of which would easily banish false fears. They conceive of Him as One on watch for all advantages against them, in which they may see how they wrong not only themselves but Christ's goodness.

"This scrupulosity, for the most part, is a sign of a godly soul, as some weeds are of a good soil. Therefore they are the more to be pitied, for it is a heavy affliction, and the ground of it in most is not so much from trouble of consci-ence as from a disordered imagination. The end of Christ's coming was to free us from all such groundless fears. There is still in some such ignorance of that comfortable condition we are in under the covenant of grace as to dis-courage them greatly."

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Thurs., 6/21/18 Devotion (Deut. 26:11)

Today's encouragement comes from Deuteronomy 26:11, where we read this:

"So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the LORD your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you."

Do we realize that God actually *commands* His church to *rejoice* over temporal blessings? In this same vein, do we understand that it is horrible ingratitude to despise God's good gifts? Some people, imaging themselves to be too "spiritual" to appreciate anything temporal, look down their noses at the Lord's provisions to them.

God is not pleased by thanklessness for His "normal" gifts to us, (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1-5). Those who love Jesus, His gospel, and His church, will also rejoice in *every* other sweet thing coming to us from heaven. Let us give God praise and thanks for *all* His good provision—since *all* of it comes to His church through Jesus.

[Puritan quote of the day: "[God] rewards His subjects in this life. He gives them inward peace and joy; a bunch of grapes by the way; and oft-times riches and honor.” —Thomas Watson, in, "A Body of Divinity"]

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wed., 6/20/18 Devotion (Isa. 52:7)

Today's encouragement comes from Isaiah 52:7, where we find these great words:

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns!' "

When messengers from battlefields brought news of their nation's victories, they were a welcome sight, indeed. When God's messengers bring to His re-deemed church tidings of Jesus' victory over sin, Satan, the world, and our old flesh—it is cause for great celebration. The cross and resurrection of the Savior is the sure sign that our "God reigns."

Let the church both enjoy the benefits of, and proclaim the truth of the Gospel of grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. As we do so, our lives, and even our "feet," will be very comely visages.

[Puritan quote of the day: "If you do not have a spirit to love God above your dearest earthly friends, and your most pleasant earthly enjoyments, the Scrip-tures are very plain and full that you are not true Christians.” —Jonathan Ed-wards, in his sermon entitled, "Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer"]

Monday, June 11, 2018

Mon., 6/11/18 Devotion (Isa. 43:10b)

Today's encouragement comes from Isaiah 43:10b, where we read these words:

"Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me."

Sometimes children ask, "Who made God?" No one made God, because God is in a unique category of existence—"necessary” existence. This is some-thing that no other reality shares with Him. But the germane point of the Scripture's teaching about God's eternality is not just to have interesting philo-sophical knowledge—instead, it is to spur us on to trust Him in the Lord Jesus.

Let us humbly accept the obvious fact that a God exists; and then let us go much further, and believe His gospel of grace in our precious Redeemer.

[Puritan quote of the day: "A repenting person fears and sins not; a graceless person sins and fears not.” —Thomas Watson, in, "The Doctrine of Repent-ance"]

Friday, June 8, 2018

Fri.-Sabbath, 6/8-10/18 Devotion

Hip, hip, hooray—it is almost Sunday! We *get* to go back to church again! In order to help us get ready, here is the great English Puritan pastor Thomas Watson, from his, "A Picture of a Godly Man" book. This is a really neat sec-tion. . . .

"Question: 'How may a Christian know that he is humble and consequently godly?' . . .

"Answer 8: A humble man is willing to have his name and gifts eclipsed, so that God's glory may be increased. He is content to be outshone by others in gifts and esteem, so that the crown of Christ may shine the brighter. This is the humble man's motto: 'Let me decrease; let Christ increase.' It is his desire that Christ should be exalted, and if this is effected, whoever is the instru-ment, he rejoices. 'Some preach Christ out of envy,' (Php. 1:15). They preached to take away some of Paul's hearers. 'Well,' says he, 'Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice,' (v. 18). A humble Christian is content to be laid aside if God has any other tools to work with which may bring Him more glory.

"Answer 9: A humble saint likes that condition which God sees best for him. A proud man complains that he has no more; a humble man wonders that he has so much: 'I am not worthy of the least of all Your mercies,' (Gen. 32:10). When the heart lies low, it can stoop to a low condition. A Christian looking at his sins wonders that it is no worse with him; he does not say his mercies are small, but his sins are great. He knows that the worst piece God carves him is better than he deserves; therefore he takes it thankfully upon his knees."

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Thurs., 6/7/18 Devotion (Ps. 96:5)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 96:5, where we read these words:

"For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens."

This little verse pretty well sums up the faithful Christian churchman's per-spective on life. Every single person we will encounter today who is not re-deemed in Jesus is trusting in their gods. But these gods are nothing but idols. They cannot help their worshippers. The true and only God "made the heavens."

Let us look at the heavens, and see how vast and lovely they are. Then, let us look to the God of heaven (and earth), and fetch Jesus anew and afresh to our hearts, by faith.

[Puritan quote of the day: "A self-seeking heart is always an empty heart, but a gracious heart is fruitful in all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old.”
—Jeremiah Burroughs, in, "The Excellency of a Gracious Spirit"]

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wed., 6/6/18 Devotion (Ps. 94:12-13)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 94:12 & 13, where these good words are found:

"Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O LORD, and teach out of Your law, that You may give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit is dug for the wicked."

It is intriguing that our learning from God's word, in the context of His church, is intended to "give [us] rest”—and that from "days of adversity." So, all the ef-fort we put into our lives of grace turns out to be largely designed, in the end, to forward our respite from and deliverance from evil.

We persevere, endure, and sweat "until the pit is dug for the wicked." This has both a temporal (provisional) sense—from Sunday to Sunday; and an eternal (absolute) sense—of rest in heaven. Sanctification in Jesus is worth it: we should not give up.

[Puritan quote of the day: "The same breath in the ministry that blows a godly man to heaven, blows a profane sinner to hell.” —Thomas Watson, in, "All Things for Good"]