Friday, June 23, 2017

Fri.-Sabbath, 6/23-25/17 Devotion

Wahoo—it is almost Sunday. Richard Sibbes is the great Puritan doctor of sad souls. Here is his gospel remedy, taken from "The Bruised Reed." . . .

"Among other causes of discouragement, some are much vexed with scrup-les, even against the best duties; partly by disease of body, helped by Satan's malice in casting dust in their eyes in their way to heaven; and partly from some remainder of ignorance, which, like darkness, breeds fears-ignorance especially of this merciful disposition in [Christ], the persuasion of which would easily banish false fears. They conceive of Him as One on watch for all advantages against them, in which they may see how they wrong not only themselves but Christ's goodness.

"This scrupulosity, for the most part, is a sign of a godly soul, as some weeds are of a good soil. Therefore they are the more to be pitied, for it is a heavy affliction, and the ground of it in most is not so much from trouble of consci-ence as from a disordered imagination. The end of Christ's coming was to free us from all such groundless fears. There is still in some such ignorance of that comfortable condition we are in under the covenant of grace as to dis-courage them greatly."

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thurs., 6/22/17 Devotion (Isa. 54:17)

Today's encouragement comes from Isaiah 54:17, where the prophet wrote these great words:

" 'No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the ser-vants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,' says the LORD."

God's servants may take great comfort from this divine promise. Satan and evil (religious) men form unholy alliances against God's ministers and church-es. And though they rage, and create a fuss, they are never successful. The reason for all this is because of the latter part of this verse: the saints' right-eousness is from God. If righteousness had anything to do with us sinners, then the devil and his horde would be welcome to have a hey-day with us. But, since our righteousness is from Christ alone, and is His gift of grace alone—all those of us who are in Jesus and His true church are safe.

Let us joyfully trust in Jesus and His gospel of grace today.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Justification is the very hinge and pillar of Chris-tianity.  An error about justification is dangerous, like a defect in a foundation.” —Thomas Watson, in, "A Body of Divinity"]

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wed., 6/21/17 Devotion (Deut. 26:11)

Today's encouragement comes from Deuteronomy 26:11, where we read this:

"So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the LORD your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you."

Do we understand that it is actually sinful for us not to be thankful for our tem-poral (this-world) blessings? Do we know that it is gross ingratitude to despise God's good gifts? Some people, imaging themselves to be too "spiritual" to appreciate anything temporal, look down their noses at the Lord's provisions to them.

God is not honored by thanklessness for "normal" gifts to us, (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1-5). Those who love Jesus, His gospel, and His church, will also rejoice in every *other* sweet thing He sends down to us from heaven. Let us give God praise and thanks for *all* His good provision.

[Puritan quote of the day: "[God] rewards His subjects in this life. He gives them inward peace and joy; a bunch of grapes by the way; and oft-times rich-es and honor.” —Thomas Watson, in, "A Body of Divinity"]

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tues., 6/20/17 Devotion (Isa. 52:7)

Today's encouragement comes from Isaiah 52:7, where we find these great words:

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns!' "

When messengers from battlefields brought news of their nation's victory, they were a welcome sight, indeed. When God's pastors bring to His people tidings of Jesus' victory over sin, Satan, the world, and our old flesh—it is cause for great celebration. The cross and resurrection of our Savior Jesus is the sure sign that our "God reigns."

Let the church both enjoy the benefits of, and proclaim the truth of the Gospel of grace. As we do so, our lives, and even our "feet," will be very comely vis-ages.

[Puritan quote of the day: "If you do not have a spirit to love God above your dearest earthly friends, and your most pleasant earthly enjoyments, the Scrip-tures are very plain and full that you are not true Christians.” —Jonathan Ed-wards, in his sermon entitled, "Hypocrites Deficient in the Duty of Prayer"]

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mon., 6/19/17 Devotion (Isa. 51:12a)

Today's encouragement comes from Isaiah 51:12a, where we read these words:

"I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be
afraid . . . "

When God comforts His churched children, as He always does in the atone-ment given them in Christ, they (the believers) have no ground for fear (espe-cially of man). And the reason for this is because of *Who* it is that consoles and strengthens our hearts: it is not another fellow-sinner, nor an angel, nor anyone else—but God Himself.

When we rest, by faith, in Jesus' righteousness alone (as our own)—then, how can we justify fearing man or anything else? After all, if God is satisfied with us, in Christ, what does it matter what anyone else thinks?

[Puritan quote of the day: "If God delivers you from any of your sins, He must do such work as is greater than the making of heaven and earth.” —Jeremiah Burroughs, in, "Gospel Remission"]

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thurs., 6/15/17 Devotion (Rev. 17:14b)

Today's encouragement comes from Revelation 17:14b, where we read these words:

" . . . and those who are with Him [Christ] are called, chosen, and faithful."

The Bible clearly teaches that God elects some (not all) people unto salvation—and that He then places them into His true church (cf. Eph. 1:3-6). But what is sometimes not emphasized enough is the fact that those who are truly chosen, and therefore really redeemed, *will be "faithful" and/or persevering* in this life.

In other words, there is no such thing as an unfaithful "chosen" person. If we *are* chosen, by grace, we *will be* faithful in Christ and His church. Some people (hypocrites) have a false assurance in this regard. They believe in the doctrine—but they do not possess the goods. Let us be true Christian church-men: acknowledging that we are chosen, and showing it by being faithful.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Going to hear a sermon in jest has proved some men's conversion in earnest.” —John Flavel, in, "The Mystery of Providence"]

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wed., 6/14/17 Devotion (Isa. 46:5)

Today's encouragement comes from Isaiah 46:5, which says this:

"To whom will you liken Me, and make Me equal and compare Me, that we should be alike?"

The incomparability of God is a major theme in Isaiah, and in the rest of the Bible. Compared to the Lord, the entire created universe, with all its vastness and abundance, is nothing. Compared to the Triune God of the Christian reli-gion, an idol is a farce, at best. Isaiah makes fun of how idolaters carve out their god from a block of wood, and then burn up the rest of the timber in the fireplace, (see Isa. 44:15-17).

It is astounding that this incomparable God would unite Himself to mankind, in the incarnation of The Second Person of the Trinity. May we stand in awe of the church's God, and give Him all the glory.

[Puritan quote of the day: "If you have left off calling upon God, it is time for you to leave off hoping and flattering yourselves with an imagination that you are the children of God.” —Jonathan Edwards, in his sermon, "Hypocrites De-ficient in the Duty of Prayer"]