Friday, January 24, 2020

Fri.-Sabbath, 1/24-26/20 Devotion

Praise God: another Sunday is almost here! In order to prepare us for church worship, here is Thomas Watson, from "All Things for Good":

"If we do not love God, we will love something else, either the world or sin; and are those things worthy of our love? Is it not better to love God than these? It is better to love God than the world, as appears in the following par-ticulars. . . .

"If we set our love on worldly things, they will not satisfy. We may as well sat-isfy our body with air, as our souls with earth. . . . Is it not better to love God? He will give us that which shall satisfy. . . . If we love worldly things, they can-not remove trouble of mind. If there is a thorn in our conscience, all the world cannot pluck it out. . . . But if we love God, He can give us peace when no-thing else can. He can turn the 'Shadow of death into the morning,' (Amos 5:8). He can apply Christ’s blood to refresh our souls. He can whisper His love by The Spirit, and with one smile scatter all our fears and concerns."

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Thurs., 1/23/20 Devotion (Gen. 24:3a)

Today's encouragement comes from Genesis 24:3a, where we read these words:

"And I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of the earth . . . "

I like this phrase: "The God of heaven and the God of the earth.” Let us focus on the "earth" part. Are we ever tempted to think that God runs heaven; but that the devil, or maybe sinners can do what they want with the earth? If we are, we are quite mistaken. The glorious truth is that the church’s God is the supreme governor of the earth, (as well as heaven).

The Lord put earth under His church's feet (1 Cor. 3:21b-23); and we are His vice-regents, to rule and tend it. But, in the greatest sense, the Lord, the Cre-ator Himself, is "God of the earth." Let us be thankful for this; and commit ourselves to serving Him well—all in Jesus.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Whoever is set up on earth, they are set up by our Lord. 'By Me,' says He, 'kings reign, and princes decree justice.’ “ —John Bunyan, in, "All Loves Excelling"]

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Wed., 1/22/20 Devotion (Neh. 12:43)

Today's encouragement comes from Nehemiah 12:43, where we read these words:

"Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and the children also rejoiced, so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off."

God-honoring Sabbath (now Sunday) church worship will (inevitably) lead to a great deal of joy. This heartfelt celebration will be so profound, that those outside the church will hear it (and be impacted by it). Life is not all joy and sweetness—but there *are* special times when God Himself "[makes us] re-joice with great joy," (even as today's text avers).

Let us not give up on our potential for a very high degree of happiness (in this world). So long as we remain totally focused on Jesus (and are therefore faithful in His church), there is for us a certainty that our joy will be made full in Him.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Christ and all good things are stored in the gospel; that is the rich mine.” —Richard Sibbes, in, "Glorious Freedom"]

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Tues., 1/21/20 Devotion (Gen. 22:7b)

Today's encouragement comes from Genesis 22:7b, where we read these words:

" . . . Then [Isaac] said, 'Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?' "

Every human being brings "fire" and "wood" when it comes to life and religion. Everyone knows, in their heart of hearts, that there is a righteous God who must be assuaged. What separates the redeemed church from everyone else is the "Lamb for a burnt offering." Only those that possess Jesus have the atoning sacrifice for their sins.

Issac's question, "*Where* is the lamb . . . ?" is a good one. The Lamb is found by faith. He is worshipped in His church. And His gospel is to be pro-claimed to the world. When true believers pray, we bring in our arms of faith the "Lamb of God” (our Lord Jesus Christ).

[Puritan quote of the day: "The more we see the grace of God in Christ, the spirit of fear is diminished and replaced by a spirit of love and boldness.”
—Richard Sibbes, in, "Glorious Freedom"]

Monday, January 20, 2020

Mon., 1/20/20 Devotion (Acts 20:28b)

Today's encouragement comes from Acts 20:28b, where we read these words:

" . . . shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood."

Paul is speaking (above) to the elders of the Ephesian church. The apostle urges those officers to "shepherd the church." He will later explain how wolves will seek to destroy the body of Christ. But what I want to focus on are these words: "Which He [Christ] purchased with His own blood." The *reason* the elders are to guard and lead the flock is because the church has been re-deemed with the very lifeblood of the Son of God.

What is valuable to the Lord, of necessity must (and will), be treasured by all who love the Lord. Are we part of the faithful church, purchased by Jesus' blood? If so, then not only are we precious to God; but we are also those to whom God gives His greatest attention and care—all because He gave us His greatest gift of Jesus.

[Puritan quote of the day: "A man may know much of Christ, and yet not learn Christ. The devils knew Christ. . . . “ —Thomas Watson, in, "The Art of Divine Contentment"]

Friday, January 17, 2020

Fri.-Sabbath, 1/17-19/20 Devotion

Yippee—Sunday is *almost* here! In order to help prepare us for church wor-ship, here are good words from Thomas Watson, from his "All Things for Good" book:

"When God calls a person by His grace, that person cannot but come. You may resist the minister’s call, but you cannot resist the Spirit’s call. The finger of the blessed Spirit can write upon a heart of stone, as once He wrote God's laws upon tables of stone.

"God’s words are creating words. When He said 'Let there be light, there was light'; and when He says, 'Let there be faith,' it shall be so. When God called Paul, Paul answered the call: 'I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,' (Acts 26:19). God rides forth conquering in the chariot of His gospel. He makes the blind eyes see, and the stony heart bleed. If God will call a person, nothing can hinder that person. . . . 'Who has resisted His [God’s] will?,' (Rom. 9:19)."

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Thurs., 1/16/20 Devotion (Gen. 17:3a)

Today's encouragement comes from Genesis 17:3a, where we read these great words concerning Abram, who later was named “Abraham.” . . .

"Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him . . . "

The Lord had first come to Abram, (see v. 1)—as God always takes the initia-tive with any of us, (and not the other way around). But, once the Triune Sov-ereign had engaged Abram's attention, Abram fell on his face. After this, God continued the conversation.

So it is with us, Christ's faithful (by grace) churchmen, today. We are appre-hended by God's free grace to us in Jesus Christ; we then humble ourselves; and then God communes with us sweetly and frequently.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Hence learn, that every easy way to heaven is a false way, although ministers should preach it out of their pulpits, and angels should publish it out of heaven.” —Thomas Shepard, in, "The Sincere Con-vert"]