Monday, April 23, 2018

Mon., 4/23/18 Devotion (Ps. 34:18)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 34:18, where we read these words:

"The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit."

There is a time and place for everything; and it is always suitable to have a humbled soul. Even in the greatest joys and loftiest experiences of God's grace in the Lord Jesus Christ—it is lovely when the children of God have a real sense of grief (over sin). This is what our Savior meant when He said "blessed are those who mourn," (in Matt. 5:4a).

Why is it blessed to mourn? Because divine comfort follows it, (Matt. 5:4b). There is no sweeter feeling, than that based on the knowledge that one's sins are forgiven (in the blood atonement of Christ). The true church gets to enjoy this blessing everyday.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Even in the worst time the prophets mingled sweet comfort for the hidden remnant of faithful people.” —Richard Sibbes, in, "The Bruised Reed"]

Friday, April 20, 2018

Fri.-Sabbath, 4/20-22/18 Devotion

Praise God: Sunday is almost here. God's children get to go to church. In or-der to help prepare us for this amazing privilege of Sabbath worship, here is the remarkable Thomas Watson, from his, "All Things for Good” book. . . .

"Let us then ascribe the whole work of grace to the pleasure of God's will. God did not choose us because we were worthy, but by choosing us He makes us worthy. Proud men are apt to assume and arrogate too much to themselves, in being sharers with God. While many cry out against church sacrilege, they are in the meantime guilty of a far greater sacrilege, in robbing God of His glory, while they go to set the crown of salvation upon their own head. But we must resolve all into God's purpose. The signs of salvation are in the saints, but the cause of salvation is in God.

"If it be God's purpose that saves, then it is not free will. The Pelagians are strenuous asserters of free will. They tell us that a man has an innate power to effect his own conversion; but this text [Eph. 1:11] confutes it. Our calling is 'according to God's purpose.' The Scripture plucks up the root of free will. 'It is not of him that wills,' (Rom. 9:16). All depends upon the purpose of God. When the prisoner is cast at the bar, there is no saving him, unless the king has a purpose to save him. God's purpose is His prerogative royal."

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Thurs., 4/19/18 Devotion (2 Tim. 2:8)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Timothy 2:8, where we read these words:

"Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel."

Why would Paul have to remind the pastor Timothy that Jesus was raised from the dead? Because, every time he (or we) fall into fear and unbelief—we have, essentially, forgotten this most-important truth. And note that Christ is "of the seed of David." In other words, He is one of us. He understands our weaknesses; and He has gone ahead of us, in the resurrection.

May we faithful churchmen, today, not forget that our Savior, unlike all the false "gods" of all the world's false religions, *is* alive, even right now. There-fore, let us appeal to Him for help, in prayer.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Morality shoots short of heaven. It is only nature refined. A moral man is but old Adam dressed in fine clothes.” —Thomas Watson, in "The Doctrine of Repentance"]

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wed., 4/18/18 Devotion (Ps. 28:1)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 28:1, where David wrote these words:

"To You I will cry, O LORD my Rock: do not be silent to me, lest, if You are si-lent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit."

God wants His children to make urgent pleas to Him; and to ask Him to hear their prayers, and respond to them. It could seem odd that we who believe that God is sovereign, and knows all things, and does all things well, would want us to ask Him to "not be silent" to us.

But such is the Personal God that we serve in the Lord Jesus Christ, that He expects us to be honest with Him; and to face the world, and address our prayers to Him, with heart-felt realism, (and not a sanctified "stoicism").

[Puritan quote of the day: "When you read in the historical parts of Scripture an account of the sins of which others have been guilty, reflect on yourselves as you go along, and inquire whether you do not in some degree live in the same or like practices.” —Jonathan Edwards, in his sermon, "The Necessity of Self-Examination"]

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tues., 4/17/18 Devotion (Ps. 27:13)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 27:13, where we read these great words:

"I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living."

If we had to wait for eternity, in order to get help from God, we would despair, and life down here would be unbearable. Actually, wherever Jesus is, there is heaven. Therefore, if we have Christ here, we have the real and palpable (felt) benefits of heaven.

Are we in the "Land of the living,” i.e. alive in Jesus, and still on the earth? If so, then we possess all the hope we need. In this world, our faith in Christ fully and completely sustains us.

[Puritan quote of the day: "When men and their sins are congealed together, the best way to separate them is by the fire of love.” —Thomas Watson, in, "The Doctrine of Repentance"]

Monday, April 16, 2018

Mon., 4/16/18 Devotion (Ps. 25:10)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 25:10, where we read these words:

"All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies."

Are we faithful by grace to our Savior, and do we demonstrate this through church covenant (baptismal) steadfastness? If so, then God is also faithful to us—and He will lead us in paths of "mercy and truth." Our faithfulness is not a result of our own goodness; instead, it is the fruit of God's gift to us of genu-ine and real faith in Christ.

If we are in Christ (and therefore in covenant with God) let us take comfort from the fact that our Father will only direct us into what is ultimately good for us, and also what is truly best for us. Let us persevere to the end. We will not regret doing so.

[Puritan quote of the day: "The best men are severe to themselves, [but] ten-der over others.” —Richard Sibbes, in, "The Bruised Reed"]

Friday, April 13, 2018

Fri.-Sabbath, 4/13-15/18 Devotion

Wahoo—it is almost Sunday! We GET to go back to church! Here is Thomas Watson, from his "The Ten Commandments" book. . . .

"What comfort may be given to a regenerate person under the failures and imperfections of his obedience?

"That a believer is not under the covenant of works, but under the covenant of grace. The covenant of works requires perfect, personal, perpetual obedi-ence; but in the covenant of grace, God will make some abatements; He will accept less than He required in the covenant of works.

"1) In the covenant of works God required perfection of degrees; in the cove-nant of grace He accepts perfection of parts. There He required perfect working, here He accepts sincere believing. In the covenant of works, God required us to live without sin; in the covenant of grace He [acknowledges] our combat with sin.

"2) Though a Christian cannot, in his own person, perform all God's com-mandments; yet Christ, as his Surety, and in his stead, has fulfilled the law for him; and God accepts Christ's obedience, which is perfect, to satisfy for that obedience which is imperfect. Christ being made a curse for believers, all the curses of the law have their sting pulled out.

"3) Though a Christian cannot keep the commands of God to satisfaction, yet he may to approbation [acceptance of us by God, in Christ]."