Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tues., 10/17/17 Devotion (Dan. 2:44)

Today's encouragement comes from Daniel 2:44, where we read these words:

"And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever."

Daniel is speaking to Nebuchadnezzar here, and is explaining the Babylonian king's dream. The great "kingdom" that Daniel is referring to here, is the es-tablishment of, and the proliferation of the New Covenant Church, by the Lord Jesus Christ. This kingdom is currently set up on earth and in heaven; and it has “[broken] in[to] pieces" all other "kingdoms."

The earlier kingdoms that are now under Jesus’ and His church’s feet are the Babylonian one, the Grecian one, Medo-Persion one, and the Roman one. None of them could stand up to The Ultimate King Jesus. For this glorious fact, may all His church rejoice.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Many, in a fit of terror, are willing to do or to suffer anything to keep out of hell and go to heaven; but when the fit is over, they will not deny themselves and take up the cross to follow Christ.” —Isaac Am-brose, in, "The Christian Warrior"]

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mon., 10/16/17 Devotion (1 Thess. 2:4)

Today's encouragement comes from 1 Thessalonians 2:4, where we read these words:

"But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts."

The ministers of the faithful church who are truly called by God are sent to speak to all people everywhere the gospel of Christ's grace. But they are to do so with their minds on God first. He is our principal “Audience.” What is it that *God* wants us to say? This is what must be preached. The faithful clergy do not poll the people, to determine what they want to hear. Instead, they "poll" the Lord, in order to know what He would have them proclaim.

This principle is then passed down to the entire church, wherein the people of God begin to think this way too. They begin to ask, "What is it that Christ would have me do, and say?" This is the way to be effective for Jesus in the world. Then, when God "tests our hearts," we pass with flying colors—be-cause of Christ.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Christ is in the ship of His church; do not fear sink-ing. The church's anchor is cast in heaven. Do we not think that God loves His church, and takes as much care of it as we can?” —Thomas Watson, in, "The Art of Divine Contentment"]

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fri.-Sabbath, 10/13-15/17 Devotion

Wahoo—it is almost Sunday! We *get* to go back to church. In order to help get us ready, here is Thomas Watson, from his, "The Happiness of Drawing Near to God" treatise. . . .

"Where we draw near to God.

"Answer. In the use of His ordinances. In the word we draw near to His Holy Oracle; in the sacrament we draw near to His table. In the one we hear His voice; in the other we have His kiss. Besides, we also in a special manner draw near to God in prayer. Prayer is the soul's private converse and fellow-ship with God. Prayer whispers in God's ears, Psalm 43:6: ‘My prayer came before Him, even into His ears.’ In prayer we draw so near to God that we ‘take hold of Him,’ (Isaiah 64:6). God draws near to us by His Spirit, and we draw near to Him in prayer.

"The 'modus,' or manner of our drawing near to God. God's special residence is in Heaven and we draw near to God, not by the feet of our bodies, but with our souls. The affections are the feet of the soul; by these we move towards God. David drew near to God in his desires, Psalm 73:25: ‘There is none up-on earth that I desire beside You.’  He did shoot his heart into Heaven by pi-ous prayers. Spirits may have fellowship at a distance."

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Thurs., 10/12/17 Devotion (Col. 2:9-10)

Today's encouragement comes from Colossians 2:9 & 10, which says this:

"For in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power."

Regenerated baptized churched Christians are *already* "complete in [Jesus]." We do not have to wait for some future event, to be made whole, full, or satisfied. Believers' “completion" is a *past* reality, sealed at the cross and resurrection of Jesus, and applied to the hearts of the saints in time and space.

Maybe today we are *feeling* less than complete. If we are in Christ, we *are* complete—even though we may not sense it. Our "completion" can be in no one *other* than Jesus. If we are trying to find it in another person, a saint, an angel, or any other practice, being, or doctrine—then we are certain to be dis-appointed. But not so with Christ: He has secured His church's fullness *al-ready*; and for all times to come.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Some set their bags of money always before them, others set the fear of men always before them, but a wise Christian will set God, judgment, and eternity always before him.” —Thomas Watson, in his sermon, "God's Anatomy upon Man's Heart"]

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wed., 10/11/17 Devotion (1 Ki. 14:8b)

Today's encouragement comes from 1 Kings 14:8b, where we read these words:

" . . . and yet you [Jeroboam] have not been as My servant David, who kept My commandments and who followed Me with all his heart, to do only what was right in My eyes."

Ahijah the prophet is speaking these words to Jeroboam, the idolatrous king of Israel. What made David so "perfect" in God's sight? After all, did he not commit the murder of Uriah, and did he not commit adultery with Bathsheba? David was justified in God's sight, because he (David), in brokenness, contri-tion, faith, and repentance, cast himself entirely on Jesus Christ. David pos-sessed Christ’s righteousness; and, because of this, he was perfect in God’s eyes.

And so it is with all faithful Christian churchmen today. We who are accounted as righteous are so because we have Jesus' righteousness fully and legally imputed to our hearts by faith. Because of this, in fact, we "follow the Lord will all [our] heart”—despite the fact that we have all kinds of imperfections and sins.  When we sin, we repent; and love God all the more.

[Puritan quote of the day: "[Abraham] looked up to the goodness of God in Himself and in His promise, not as it appeared to sense.” —Jeremiah Bur-roughs, in, "The Excellency of a Gracious Spirit"]

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tues., 10/10/17 Devotion (Php. 4:6-7)

Today's encouragement comes from Philippians 4:6 & 7, where we read these great words:

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Anxiety gives way to peace, when we Christian church members bring our troubles to Christ, once again assuring ourselves that we are in right relation to God, on the basis of Jesus' work alone (apprehended by faith). A lot of people pray, and are yet not relieved of their anxieties, because they are not trusting in Christ alone. (They add something else to the mix.)

God will never give true and settled peace to anyone, except those in His church who trust in Jesus' blood (plus nothing). Let us be numbered among the few (and the humble), [to work off of a Marine expression].

[Puritan quote of the day: "Those who converse much with God have shining hearts and shining conversations [lives].” —Jeremiah Burroughs, in "Hope"]

Monday, October 9, 2017

Mon., 10/9/17 Devotion (Ps. 94:19)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 94:19, where we read these words:

"In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul."

This verse describes life in the real world. The sincere Christian churchman does indeed have "anxieties"; but he or she also has abundant "comforts" in Christ. False forms of Christianity argue that these two are incompatible. The Scripture, on the other hand, affirms that both consternation *and* consola-tion co-exist, even in the true children of God.

Our Savior Himself had "anxieties." Do we recall His time in the Garden of Gethsemane? But our comforts in Christ outweigh our troubles in a fallen world. Let us thank God for this.

[Puritan quote of the day: "It is a vain thing to think that true religion can be maintained, and have the liberty of it, without some difference of opinion among us.” —Jeremiah Burroughs, in, "Hope"]