Monday, January 22, 2018

Mon., 1/22/18 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 (today, 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 sweet-ness and light—but there *are* special times when God Himself "[makes us] rejoice with great joy," (even as today's text avers).

Let us never give up on our potential for a very high degree of happiness (in this world). So long as we seek it in Jesus as His faithful church, there is every reason for us to believe that our joy will be made full in Him, (cf. Jn. 10:10).

[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"]

Friday, January 19, 2018

Fri.-Sabbath, 1/19-21/18 Devotion

Hurray—Sunday is almost here! In order to help us get ready for the Lord's Day church services, here is Thomas Watspm, from, "A Body of Divinity":

"You that are Christians, believe that all God’s providence shall conspire for your good at last. The providences of God are sometimes dark, and our eyes dim, and we can hardly tell what to make of them; but when we cannot unrid-dle providence, let us believe that it will work together for the good of the elect, (Rom 8:28). The wheels in a clock seem to move contrary one to the other, but they help forward the motion of the clock, and make the larum strike: so the providences of God seem to be cross wheels; but for all that, they shall carry on the good of the elect. . . . Therefore, Christians, believe that God loves you, and that He will make the most cross providences to promote His glory and your good."

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thurs., 1/18/18 Devotion (Acts 18:8b)

Today's encouragement comes from Acts 18:8b, where we read these words:

" . . . And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized."

What a beautiful phrase this is (above). People in Corinth were notoriously immoral and corrupt, (much like our own culture today). And yet God saved "many" of them. Note the lovely progression: they "heard" the gospel of grace in the Lord Jesus Christ; they "believed" it; and then they were "baptized" into Christ and His church.

Is there hope for the nations of the world today—including our own? Of course there is. But this exact pattern (as above) must be followed: preach-ing, hearing, faith, baptism, and church membership and life.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Joy, courage, and zeal, being smiled upon by faith, are made invincible and unconquerable.” —Thomas Brooks, in, "Heaven on Earth"]

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wed., 1/17/18 Devotion (Gen. 18:14a)

Today's encouragement comes from Genesis 18:14a, where we read these great words:

"Is anything too hard for the LORD? . . . "

Usually, when we think of this well-known phrase from the Bible (above), we do not think of it in high enough terms. We might be asking, "Could God give me a Maserati?"; when, in fact, we ought to be mulling over the great ques-tion, "Could God actually save a sinner, who is hopelessly lost in and of him-self?"

Nothing is too hard for God because no amount of glory is too great for the honor and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who has miraculously provided atonement through His blood for all the people of His church.

[Puritan quote of the day: "It never came into God's thoughts to make a new covenant upon terms of worthiness. If God should show mercy to none but such as are worthy, then must He show mercy to none.” —Thomas Watson, in, "A Body of Divinity"]

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tues., 1/16/18 Devotion (Gen. 17:3)

Today's encouragement comes from Genesis 17:3, where we read these words:

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

This little verse (above) contains a sweet principle: as the Christian church-man humbles him- or herself before God, the Lord speaks to him (or her). Our hearts are in a good frame to hear from God when we are empty of our-selves, and full of the Person and Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Closet” prayer throughout the week is precious. “Covenant” prayer in the church’s Sunday Services ushers us into it (“closet” prayer). But both contexts for prayer should find us in a humble state of mind and heart. After all: we have no righteousness of our own. *All* of our righteousness is of Christ alone. This should embolden us; but it also ought to keep us low (in our own eyes).

[Puritan quote of the day: "You cannot gratify Satan more, nor injure your-selves more, than by living without assurance [of God's favor in Christ].”
—Thomas Brooks, in, "Heaven on Earth"]

Friday, January 12, 2018

Fri.-Sabbath, 1/12-14/18 Devotion

Yippee—it is almost Sunday! In order to help us get ready for church, here is Thomas Watson, from his, "A Body of Divinity" book. . . .

"If God be a Spirit, then He is impassible; He is not capable of being hurt. Wicked men set up their banners, and bend their forces against God; they are said to fight against God, (Acts 5:39). But what will this fighting avail? What hurt can they do to the Deity? God is a Spirit, and therefore cannot receive any hurtful impression. Wicked men may imagine evil against the Lord. Na-hum 1:9: 'What do you imagine against the Lord?’ But God being a Spirit is impenetrable. The wicked may eclipse His glory, but cannot touch His es-sence. God can hurt His enemies, but they cannot hurt Him.

"Julian might throw up his dagger into the air against Heaven, but could not touch the Deity. God is a Spirit, invisible. How can the wicked with all their forces hurt Him, when they cannot see Him? Hence all the attempts of the wicked against God are foolish, and prove abortive. Psa. 2:2, 4: 'The kings of the earth set themselves against the Lord and against His anointed. He that sits in the heavens shall laugh.’ God is a Spirit, He can wound them, but they cannot touch Him."

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thurs., 1/11/18 Devotion (Acts 11:18)

Today's encouragement comes from Acts 11:18, where we read these words:

"When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, 'Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.' "

The giving of the gospel to the Gentiles was such a dramatic event in re-demptive history that some people used to the Old Covenant way found it almost impossible to believe. But, once the ultimate Jew (Peter) told his fel-low-Jewish Christian churchmen what God had done among the Gentiles, the believing Jews also rejoiced.

Let us not be limiting the Lord's power to save in our own thinking. We may look at someone, or some group of people, and say, "God would never [or even could never] save them." The fact that many Gentiles entered the church in the first century is a great encouragement to us with regard to what the Lord can do among people today (in the twenty-first century).

[Puritan quote of the day: "All the heathen have had some religion, because they had some conscience to trouble them.” —Thomas Shepard, in, "The Sincere Convert"]