Monday, November 11, 2019

Mon., 11/11/19 Devotion (Ps. 143:a, c)

Happy Veterans’ Day! Thank-you, vets!

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 143:8a & c, where we read these words:

"Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning . . . Cause me to know the way in which I should walk . . . "

We need to "hear" from God every morning, so that we know how to live (throughout the rest of the day). How do we "hear" from God? He wakes us up, and greets us in Jesus. We then address Him in prayer. Then, the Lord through His Spirit, communicates with our spirits. How? In several ways: among them, He may bring to our remembrance what we heard from the pul-pit the previous Lord's Day; and/or He may communicate to us through His scripture (which we should try to read everyday). All God’s fellowship with us is brokered through His Son Jesus Christ.

And notice: we need to hear God's "lovingkindness" in the AM. Why? Be-cause we desperately need His encouragement in Jesus, (especially at that critical time).

[Puritan quote of the day: "The Spirit of God is a victorious Spirit, freeing the soul from base fears of any creature.” —Richard Sibbes, in, "Glorious Free-dom"]

Friday, November 8, 2019

Fri.-Sabbath, 11/8-10/19 Devotion

Praise God—Sunday is almost here! We get to go to church! In order to help us get ready, here is the great Thomas Watson, from his book entitled, "The Art of Divine Contentment":

"A contented spirit is a cheerful spirit. The Greeks call it ‘euthema.' Content-ment is something more than patience; for patience denotes only submission, contentment denotes cheerfulness. A contented Christian is more than pas-sive; he not only bears the cross, but he takes up the cross, (Matt. 6:24). He looks upon God as a wise God; and whatever He [God] does . . . the believer knows it is in order to procure a cure [or something good].

"Hence the contented Christian is cheerful; and with the apostle Paul, 'Takes pleasure in infirmities, distresses,' etc., (2 Cor. 12:10). He not only submits to God's dealings, but rejoices in them. He not only says, ‘The Lord is just in all that has happened to me,' but ‘The Lord is good.' This is what it means to be contented."

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Thurs., 11/7/19 Devotion (Ps. 91:9-10)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 91:9 & 10, where we read these words:

"Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling . . . "

Those who are safely trusting in Jesus' blood atonement alone to protect them from the condemnation of sin's righteous judgment are the only people on earth who will weather the storms of this life (and the next). God is the Christian churchman's "dwelling place" by faith in the Lord Jesus. Faith in Christ, and not anything else, proves to be our only key to victory (1 Jn. 5:4b)—since it binds us directly to God, through the Messiah’s perfect sacrifice on our behalf.

Do we want to be safe from the most real and fearful evils? Then, as the church, let us trust in Jesus alone. Let us look not to our works, or to our per-formance—but to our Redeemer.

[Puritan quote of the day: "All the wicked, still, are under the covenant of works . . . “ —William Bridge, in, "A Lifting Up for the Downcast"]

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Wed., 11/6/19 Devotion (Ps. 135:6)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 135:6, where we read these words:

"Whatever the LORD pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places."

The truth of this verse (above) cuts both ways, from our experiential point of view. At once, we are glad that our God is strong, and that He is sovereign. But, on the other hand, some of the things He allows to happen do not always please us, (and they even go counter to our explicit and fervent prayers).

But, in the end, we realize that we are better off trusting the Lord in *all* situ-ations; and that leaving the governance of the church and the world in *His* holy hands is the only way to go. God knows all things—and that, with perfec-tion. He knows what will most benefit Christ's church. Let us love and praise our King, The One who does *all* things well.

[Puritan quote of the day: "There are two sorts of wicked persons in the world: one sort count it their heaven and happiness to domineer over others. . . . The other sort will sell their liberty, their reason, and everything for even a poor thing, so they may get anything that they value in the world.” —Richard Sibbes, in, "Glorious Freedom"]

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Tues., 11/5/19 Devotion (2 Ki. 18:22)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Kings 18:22, where we read these words:

"But if you say to me, ‘We trust in the LORD our God,’ is it not He whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah has taken away, and said to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem’?"

This verse (above) records the words of the Assyrian official, who was seek-ing to taunt and discourage the people of Jerusalem, during Hezekiah's reign. What is intriguing, is that he thought Hezekiah (who was a very faithful believ-er in the Lord) had *dishonored* God, by his (Hezekiah's) tearing down of "high places" and "altars."

In the True Religion, less is more; and all of it is in the Person of Jesus Christ. And even though there were fewer places for people to be religious (in this text above)—the ground was laid for them to be actually faithful and obedient (to God), through Hezekiah's reforms. Let us be less-impressed by pomp and circumstance; and more committed to God's truth—all in our Lord Jesus, Who Himself *is* “The Truth,” (cf. Jn. 14:6).

[Puritan quote of the day: " 'Yes, I know, Satan, that Christ loves me, because you tell me that He hates me.’ “ —William Bridge, in, "A Lifting Up for the Downcast"]

Monday, November 4, 2019

Mon., 11/4/19 Devotion (Titus 3:3-5)

Today's encouragement comes from Titus 3:3-5. There, the apostle wrote these words to his fellow minister:

"For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving vari-ous lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one an-other. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man ap-peared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit."

Observe where we are, outside of Christ: totally lost, and self-righteous. See what happens when God's love in Christ appears on the scene of our hearts: we are regenerated, washed, and renewed. What role did our "works of right-eousness" have in this process? None. What role did the God's mercy in our Lord Jesus Christ have in this process? Everything.

Do we see why God despises self-righteousness? May we treasure the Gift of Jesus; and loathe our own vile claims of "righteousness."

[Puritan quote of the day: "For from our neglect of prayer comes that dead-ness of spirit, that worldly-mindedness and unaptness to pray, to hear the Word, and to keep the Sabbath.” —John Preston, in his sermon entitled, "The Saint's Daily Exercise"]

Friday, November 1, 2019

Fri.-Sabbath, 11/1-3/19 Devotion

Praise God—it is almost Sunday. We GET to go to church! In order to help get us ready, here is the great Thomas Watson, from his book, "The Happi-ness of Drawing Near to God":

"Let us contemplate the excellencies of God. He is the ‘God of glory,’ (Ps. 29:3). He is full of spectacular beauty—in comparison of whom both angels and men are but as the ‘small dust of the balance.’ He is the ‘God of love,’ (2 Cor. 13:11). God triumphs in acts of mercy. Well may this encourage us in our approaches to Him who delights to display the banner of free grace to sin-ners.

"If we should hear of a person of honor who was of a lovely disposition, oblig-ing all that came to him by acts of kindness and civility, it would make us am-bitiously desirous to ingratiate ourselves with him and to obtain his acquaint-ance. God is the most sovereign good, the wonder of love, ready to diffuse the silver streams of His bounty to indigent [poor] creatures. This, if anything, will make us willing to draw near to Him and acquiesce in Him as the center of felicity [happiness]."