Monday, September 18, 2017

Mon., 9/18/17 Devotion (2 Cor. 7:4c, 5c)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Corinthians 7:4c & 5c, where we read these words:

" . . . I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation. . . . Outside were conflicts, inside were fears."

It is helpful for us to read of the Apostle Paul's experiences. We can see (above) that even he, the stalwart of faith and strength, was "fearful" at times. But even more than this, he could find a way (in Christ) to be "joyful" in "tri-bulation."

All of us true Christian believers are capable of enduring a whole lot more than we could ever imagine that we could. There is valor within that will never come to the fore unless it is put through the fire (of afflictions). Still, none of us look forward to these troubles. The only thing we like is the Christlike char-acter that develops in us (which brings us much peace, stability, and happi-ness).

[Puritan quote of the day: "People [become] distracted from coming to God by their own self-imposed spiritual disciplines.” —John Owen, in, "Sin and Temp-tation”]

Friday, September 15, 2017

Fri.-Sabbath, 9/15-17/17 Devotion

Yippee—Sunday is almost here! Here is Thomas Watson, in "The Happiness of Drawing Near to God":

"To draw near to God is our peace. The only thing which breaks our peace is, when we do not keep close to God. But what harmony, yea Heaven is in the soul when it draws nigh to God! Psalm 119:165: ‘Great peace have they which love thy law.’ This peace, like pearl in broth, is cordial. David drew near to God, for He was ‘ever with him,’ (Psalm 139:17). And this made his pillow soft when he went to sleep—Psalm 4:8: ‘I will lay me down in peace.’ . . . O that sweet serenity which drops as honey upon the soul while it is drawing near to God! How comfortable it is to draw near to the sun! And how sweet is it to approach nigh to the Sun of Righteousness.

"To draw near to God is our riches. It is good drawing near to a gold mine. If we draw near to God, He will enrich us with promises, and divine consola-tions. He will enrich us with the ‘pearl of great price.' He will reward us as a King, yea as a God. He will give His land and jewels to us. He will give us the spring flowers of joy here, and the harvest of glory hereafter."

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thurs., 9/14/17 Devotion (2 Cor. 3:5-6a)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Corinthians 3:5 & 6a, where Paul wrote these words:

"Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from our-selves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as mini-sters of the new covenant . . . "

What has God given us to do, in this life? Are we content with our assign-ments? Are they a bit "less glamorous" than we would have desired? The suf-ficient Lord supplies His saints with all the resources we need, in order to ful-fill our God-given roles on earth. The church's ministry, which cannot be done in the flesh, is totally dependent upon the grace of Christ.

Let us not be discouraged, if we are faithful in our spheres. Instead, we have cause to thank God that He has equipped us, and honored us with His seal of love in Jesus and His church.

[Puritan quote of the day: "The Son is the fullness of God, and the church is the fullness of the Son of God.” —Jonathan Edwards, in his sermon, "The Glory of God"]

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wed., 9/13/17 Devotion (2 Sam. 8:6b, 14b)

Today's encouragement comes from a collation of 2 Samuel 8, vv. 6b & 14b, where we read this refrain:

"The LORD preserved David wherever he went. . . . And the LORD preserved David wherever he went."

The Holy Spirit is certainly making a point here. David, the man subject to lots of dangers in his military exploits, and in his being the target of many schem-ing enemies—is preserved by the God who loved him. So it is with every faithful Christian churchman: the way may be tough, the cross is always hard; but the Lord is good, tender, loving, gentle, and kind.

Let us not lose heart, if we belong to Christ. Our victory is sure; and our safe-ty is sealed by God Himself.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Our victory will be further realized as the new man immediately springs to action, and cheerfully fights against lust the moment it appears.” —John Owen, in, "The Mortification of Sin"]

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tues., 9/12/17 Devotion (Ps. 56:3)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 56:3, where David wrote these words:

"Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You."

David was honest enough to admit that at some times he was "afraid." His resolve here, by grace, was to turn his fear into an opportunity to exercise his faith in Christ. This is a very wise thing to do. Is there anything we can do, to prevent fearful events from coming into our lives? No. But we can make the best of them, by trusting God, through them.

After all, it is relatively "easy" to get on with life, when everything is going smoothly. The challenge is when things do not accord with what we conceive of as our "comfort zone." *That* is the time for us to demonstrate genuine faith in Jesus.

[Puritan quote of the day: "What Satan did in tempting man to fall is made an occasion of the contrary to what he intended in that it gave occasion for God to glorify Himself all the more, and gives occasion for the elect being brought to higher happiness.” —Jonathan Edwards, in his sermon, "The Wisdom of God"]

Monday, September 11, 2017

Mon., 9/11/17 Devotion (1 Cor. 16:2)

Today's encouragement comes from 1 Corinthians 16:2, which says this:

"On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come."

Sunday is not only the day of worship and rest—it is also the day when we of-fer our financial resources to God (during the church’s worship services). More good is done by the "widow's mite” being placed in the faithful church's offering plate on the Lord's Day, than is done by billions of dollars being given away by unbelievers throughout the rest of the week.

It is a privilege to give back to God what is rightfully His. The Lord does not need anything from us; but He honors us by bestowing on us the opportunity to "co-labor" with Him in the furtherance of the gospel of grace.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Take heed that you do not rest in external purity, but seek purity of heart in the ways of God's appointment. Seek it in a con-stant and diligent attendance on all God's ordinances [means of Grace].”
—Jonathan Edwards, in, "Altogether Lovely"]

Friday, September 8, 2017

Fri.-Sabbath, 9/8-10/17 Devotion

Wahoo—it is almost Sunday! Here is Thomas Watson, from his, "A Divine Cordial" book:

"Afflictions work for good, as they are the means of making us happy. 'Happy is the man whom God corrects,' (Job 5:17). What politician or moralist ever placed happiness in the cross? Job does. 'Happy is the man whom God cor-rects.' It may be said, 'How do afflictions make us happy?' We reply that, be-ing sanctified, they bring us nearer to God.

"The moon in the full is furthest off from the sun: so are many further off from God in the full moon of prosperity. Afflictions bring them nearer to God. The magnet of mercy does not draw us so near to God as the cords of affliction. When Absalom set Joab's corn on fire, then he came running to Absalom, (2 Sam. 14:30). When God sets our worldly comforts on fire, then we run to Him, and make our peace with Him. When the prodigal was pinched with want, then he returned home to his father, (Luke 15:13). When the dove could not find any rest for the sole of her foot, then she flew to the ark. When God brings a deluge of affliction upon us, then we fly to the ark of Christ. Thus af-fliction makes us happy, in bringing us nearer to God. Faith can make use of the waters of affliction, to swim faster to Christ."