Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thurs., 11/23/17 Devotion (Lk. 7:50)

Happy Thanksgiving Day, all you American Christians.  Enjoy your Puritan holiday.

Today's encouragement comes from Luke 7:50, where we find our Savior saying this:

"Then He [Christ] said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you. Go in
peace.' "

We are not only saved by grace through faith in Christ alone, (plus nothing)—but we also derive all our peace from Him as well. The woman Jesus had spoken these words to was a "sinner," (see v. 37).

The self-righteous pharisees had condemned her; but the blessed Messiah had encouraged her. Why? Because He (Christ) had forgiven her all her sins, and had set her on a new and free path of grace in Him.

[Puritan quote of the day: "We can never love God as He deserves. As God's punishing us is less than we deserve (Ezra 9:13), so our loving Him is less than He deserves.” —Thomas Watson, in, "All Things for Good"]

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wed., 11/22/17 Devotion (1 Chron. 17:2)

Today's encouragement comes from 1 Chronicles 17:2, where we read these words:

"Then Nathan said to David, 'Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you.' "

Sincere, regenerate Christian churchmen, those who are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone, are not under law. Instead, they are under grace, (see Rom. 6:14). Therefore, those saints, being filled with the Holy Spirit, are free to do whatever they want to do. And this is because everything they de-sire to do will be in accord with the Triune God that they love in and through Jesus Christ. They love this God because He has forgiven them all their sins, and has made them perfectly free.

It does not so much matter to God what we do—so long as it is done in faith for the glory of Christ. Therefore, you who are faithful to Jesus and to your church vows—do what you want. It will only please God. Unbelieving religious people will hate you for your freedom; but you are not beholden to them, but rather to the God who has set you at perfect liberty in His Son.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Now it is only faith that shows a man the end and the issue of all his troubles.” —William Bridge, in, "A Lifting Up for the Down-cast"]

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tues., 11/21/17 Devotion (Lk. 5:8)

Today's encouragement comes from Luke 5:8, where we read these words:

"When Simon Peter saw it [the miraculous catch of fish], he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, 'Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!' "

Here is an irony: Peter knew himself to be a sinner, and so he implores his Redeemer to "depart from [him]." Thankfully, Christ did *not* do as Peter suggested. If our Lord Jesus "departed" from us every time we sinned, we would never have Him near us, ever.

True humility—which Peter was only to learn later on—is not demonstrated in seeking Christ's "departure" because of the commission of sins. Rather, it is begging His abiding with us still, despite those sins. [Peter does, however, do three things very well here (in the verse above): he worships Christ, he con-fesses his own sinfulness, and he calls Jesus "Lord."]

[Puritan quote of the day: "There are no sins God's people are more subject to than unbelief and impatience.” —Thomas Watson, in, "All Things for Good"]

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mon. 11/20/17 Devotion (Lk. 4:20)

Today's encouragement comes from Luke 4:20, where we read these words:

"Then He [Jesus] closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him."

In this world, the best time for the people of God to collectively gaze upon Jesus intently is in church on Sunday—especially during the sermon, the sacrament, and prayer. In today's text (above), the Lord Jesus is keeping the old now-abrogated Sabbath (Saturday). The citizens of Nazareth are, too. They have heard the written Word of God read (by Christ), and now the Mes-siah is about to expound on it, through preaching. As He does so, the con-gregants are all locked-in on the Redeemer.

This is a good pattern for all who would be Christ's followers today. Let *us* "fix our eyes on Jesus," (as per Heb. 12:2a). Then, upon leaving church, let us love and follow the Savior, (rather than seek to throw Him off a cliff, as the Nazarenes had hoped to do).

[Puritan quote of the day: "Christ is called grace. He is the grace of God clothed with man's nature.” —Richard Sibbes, in, "Glorious Freedom"]

Friday, November 17, 2017

Fri.-Sabbath, 11/18-20/17 Devotion

Hip, hip, hooray—it is almost Sunday! In order to help us get ready for church, here is Thomas Watson, from his book, entitled, "The Ten Command-ments":

"The Sabbath Day is for our interest; it promotes holiness in us. The business of week-days makes us forgetful of God and our souls. The Sabbath brings Him back to our remembrance. When the falling dust of the world has clog-ged the wheels of our affections, that they can scarce move towards God, the Sabbath comes, and oils the wheels of our affections, and they move swiftly on.

"God has appointed the Sabbath for this end. On this day the thoughts rise to heaven, the tongue speaks of God, and is as the pen of a ready writer, the eyes drop tears, and the soul burns in love. The heart, which all the week was frozen, on the Sabbath melts with the word. The Sabbath is a friend to [the true] religion; it files off the rust of our graces; it is a spiritual jubilee, wherein the soul is set to converse with its Maker."

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thurs., 11/16/17 Devotion (Heb. 11:6a)

Today's encouragement comes from Hebrews 11:6a, where we read these words:

"But without faith it is impossible to please [God] . . . "

These (above) are some of the most cogent words in all the Bible. It is faith—more than anything else—that pleases God. It is by faith that we in the true church apprehend Christ, salvation, and all the benefits of the covenant of grace. Nothing else can replace faith: not love, not works, not mercy, not kindness, not prayer, and not religious activity and duty.

All of these aforementioned virtues, (love, kindness, etc.) will inevitably flow from a heart endued with true faith in Jesus. But they are not the conduit that brings us to the One (Christ), who saves us. Therefore, today, it matters little how well or badly we are doing at almost anything. All that really matters is this: are we placing *all* our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, or not? If we are, we have nothing to worry about. If not, we have plenty of cause for concern.

[Puritan quote of the day: "The human nature of Christ is yet in being. He still continues, and will continue to all eternity, to be both God and man.” —Jona-than Edwards, in his sermon, "True Saints are Present with the Lord"]

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wed., 11/15/17 Devotion (1 Chron. 5:20b)

Today's encouragement comes from 1 Chronicles 5:20b, which says this:

" . . . For [the Israelites] cried out to God in the battle. He [God] heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him."

Here is a practical way for all of us sincere Christians to live. We are embroil-ed in a battle everyday. The struggle is inevitable. In the midst of it, we are privileged to be able to cry out to God (and pray). The Lord hears us, His true church; and He answers our prayer, and delivers us. And, why? Because we are good people? No; but because (by grace) we put our "trust in Him."

Today, let us take the war to the devil. Let us put him on the defensive. But we must not enter the fray without faith, (and resulting prayer). Let us employ our faith in Christ by crying out to God for help. He *will* hear every one of our heartfelt petitions.

[Puritan quote of the day: "They who will not confess their sin as David did, that they may be pardoned, shall confess their sin as Achan did, that they may be stoned.” —Thomas Watson, in, "The Doctrine of Repentance"]