Friday, December 30, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 12/30/11-1/1/12 Devotion

Happy New Year, everyone!

Wahoo--it's almost Sunday! We *get* to go back to church again! Yip-
pee. In order to help us get ready for this highest calling, here is Thomas Watson, from his, "The One Thing Necessary" treatise. . . .

"The seasons of grace though they are precious, are not permanent. Abused mercies will like Noah's dove, take their wings and fly from us. England's golden hour will soon run out; gospel blessings are very sweet, but very swift. 'Now they are hid from your eyes' (Luke 19:42). We know not how soon the golden candlestick may be removed.

"There is a time when the Spirit is done striving. There are certain spring tides of the Spirit, and these being neglected, possibly we may never see another tide come in. When conscience is done speaking, usually the Spirit is done striving.

"The loss of gospel opportunities will be the hell of hell. When a sin-
ner shall at the last day think with himself, 'Oh, what might I have been! I might have been as rich as the angels. as rich as heaven could make me. I had a season to work in, but I lost it.' This, this will be as a vulture gnawing upon him; this will enhance and accent his misery. And let this persuade you speedily to work out your salvation."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thurs., 12/29/11 Devotion (2 Chron. 34:27)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Chronicles 34:27, which finds this being said about the great king Josiah:

" 'Because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its in-
habitants, and you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,' says the LORD."

A humble, broken, contrite heart is irresistible to the Lord. Josiah was so zealous for God, His house, His word, and His worship. Even after grieving over the punishment that was sure to come because of Ju-
dah's past wickedness, Josiah was given by God assurances that none of the calamity would befall the nation, in his lifetime.

As God brings us to true brokenness--it may sting us for a while. But the end result is our confidence in the fact that our sins are forgiven; and that we may rest in Christ.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Let God have His will by being holy, and you shall have your will by being happy." --Thomas Watson, in, "The Beatitudes"]

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wed., 12/28/11 Devotion (2 Chron. 33:10-11)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Chronicles 33:10 & 11, which says this:

"And the LORD spoke to Manasseh and his people, but they would not listen. Therefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the army of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze fetters, and carried him off to Babylon."

Here in two verses of the Bible, we have the entire program of how God deals with those whom He intends to save. The Lord first starts out gently and positively: sending His word to His people (by prophets [OT] and pastors [NT]). If that fails, God brings out His harder and more negative implements: hooks and fetters.

In Manasseh's case, harsh measures were necessary in order to bring him to repentance. This is not the best, nor the wisest approach, how-
ever. When we hear the word of God, let us immediately respond to it.

[Puritan quote of the day: "He who has been drinking spirits of wine, will not much thirst after water; and that man who has once 'tasted how sweet the Lord is,' (Ps. 34:8), and has drunk the cordials of the Spirit, will not thirst immoderately after secular delights." --Thomas Watson, in, "The Beatitudes"]

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tues., 12/27/11 Devotion (2 Chron. 32:1a)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Chronicles 32:1a, where we read these words:

"After [King Hezekiah's] deeds of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and entered Judah . . . "

Notice here that it appears that Hezekiah's many faithful acts were "rewarded" with the world's strongest man (politically and militarily) coming to Jerusalem, to destroy it. Sometimes it seems that the people made righteous in Jesus' blood, and who are walking by faith, are the ones who get the worst trials in this life. That may well be; but it is no cause for alarm for us, and neither should we be discour-
aged by it.

Later in this very chapter, at v. 20, Hezekiah and Isaiah prayed to-
gether; and the Lord delivered Judah from all Sennacherib's threats, (destroying his army). That is a splendid biblical example of how the state (Hezekiah) and the church (Isaiah) are to minister together, in this world.

[Puritan quote of the day: "They have armies on their side, and strength and powers of the world on their side; but we have truth and God on our side!" --Christopher Love, in, "The Dejected Soul's Cure"]

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mon., 12/26/11 Devotion (Jn. 16:33)

Today's encouragement comes from John 16:33, where we read these words, uttered by our Lord Jesus:

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

This is a beautiful verse (above). Christ seals the peace of His people; and then He gives them the assurance of His absolute and unwavering victory (in and through them--even in this world). "Tribulation" is a "shaking" dynamic. It is not a pleasant experience. But, even in the midst of undergoing it, we are to be of "good cheer," because Jesus, in His blood atonement and glorious resurrection, has forever secured the church's triumph over the world (in which we undergo our trou-

Therefore, let us not be discouraged, but greatly heartened, in Jesus. Even our worst feelings and experiences are redeemed and sanctified, by the King and Head of the church--Christ.

[Puritan quote of the day: "If the church is beautiful beyond all other of the children of men, how beautiful is Jesus Christ, from whom the church derives all its comeliness?" --Thomas Vincent, in, "The True Christian's Love to the Unseen Christ"]

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 12/23-25/11 Devotion

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wahoo--Sunday is almost here! We get to go back to church again!! In order to help us get ready, here is Thomas Watson, from his, "The Spiritual Watch" treatise. . . .

"Keep your heart as you would keep a TEMPLE. The temple was a hal-
lowed place, set apart for God's worship. Just so, the heart is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). This heart-temple must be kept pure and holy—no filth may lie here; sweep the dust out of the temple. The vessels of the temple were cleansed (2 Chronicles 29:15). Thus the memory, affections, and conscience, these temple vessels, must be cleansed (2 Corinthians 7:1). Christ whipped the buyers and sellers out of the temple in John 2. The cares of the world will be crowding into the heart. Now you must get a whip made of the threatenings of the law, and drive these money-changers out of the temple of your heart. Do not let God's temple be turned into a worldly market.

"The temple had a fire burning on the altar; take heed of strange fire. But keep the fire of zeal and devotion flaming upon the altar of your heart; do temple work and offer up the sacrifice of a broken heart. When the heart is a consecrated place, a holy of holies, then God will walk there. Many a man's heart is a pest-house, a bedlam, being pol-
luted with sin. This is to put swine into God's temple! This is to let the devil come into God's temple! David's heart was a dedicated temple (Psalm 119:38)."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thurs., 12/22/11 Devotion (2 Chron. 26:5)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Chronicles 26:5, where we read these words:

"[King Uzziah] sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had under-
standing in the visions of God; and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him prosper."

Uzziah was a good king, but not a great king.  As long as he had godly clergy instructing him, he did well.  Once he thought he had it all to-
gether, and could assume the duties of the Levites, he fell down, (cf. 2 Chron. 26:16).

We learn at least two things from the example of Uzziah: 1) good church instruction keeps the saints in the narrow way; and 2) unless pride is constantly checked, blessings can turn to burdens, and (for-
merly) very good men can take some serious tumbles.

[Puritan quote of the day: "When we preach Christ and free grace it is to bring you to Christ.  Our preaching down of works is not to keep you from doing them but from resting in them."   --Jeremiah Bur-
roughs, in, "Gospel Remission"]

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wed., 12/21/11 Devotion (Zech. 8:2)

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

"Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; with great fervor I am zealous for her.' "

God is not zealous about very many things. Our Lord Jesus Christ's ministry saw Him pass by many things with relative indifference. But He *was* extremely zealous for God's "house," (see Jn. 2:17). The church, the redeemed people of God, matter to Him.

Our problem is largely that we do not value what God values. Let us readjust our priority schema, so as to love what Christ loves, enjoy what He enjoys, and live for what He lives for. We will never regret doing so.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Where there is love to God, there is griev-
ing for our sins of unkindness against Him." --Thomas Watson, in, "All Things for Good"]

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tues., 12/20/11 Devotion (2 Chron. 24:18a)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Chronicles 24:18a, where we read these words:

"Therefore they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served wooden images and idols . . . "

This verse (above) pretty well sums-up the religious life of professing Christians. So long as we stay close to the Lord, and hence in His "house," we are fine, safe, and secure. Just as soon as we abandon the Lord, and leave His "house," we end up worshipping wood, rocks, sticks, and dirt.

What a contrast: on one hand, we have communion with the God who created all things, and has re-created His saints in the image of Jesus; and on the other hand, we end up bowing down to things infinitely lower than ourselves. Let us all recognize the key and critical import-
ance of staying in God's "house," the holy church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[Puritan quote of the day: "As there was but one ark to save the world from drowning, so there is but one Jesus to save sinners from damn-
ing." --Thomas Watson, in, "A Body of Divinity"]

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mon., 12/19/11 Devotion (Zech. 6:12b)

Today's encouragement comes from Zechariah 6:12b, where we read these words:

"Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying: 'Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the temple of the LORD.' "

Jesus is the "Branch." Ever since His resurrection, and the pouring-out of the blessed Holy Spirit (at Pentecost), His gospel and church have been "branch[ing] out" all over the globe. The Lord Jesus is "build[ing] the temple" every Lord's Day, as He edifies His church; and, indeed everyday, as He abides with each individual believer.

Let us be thankful for the work of the "Branch"; and let us derive all of our nourishment and fruitfulness from Him.

[Puritan quote of the day: " 'Israel sighed by reason of their bondage,' (Ex. 2:23); but sinners are willing to be slaves, they will not take their freedom; they kiss their fetters." --Thomas Watson, in, "A Body of Divinity"]

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 12/16-18/11 Devotion

Hip, hip, hooray--it's almost Sunday! We *get* to go back to church! In order to help get us ready, here is the Puritan pastor Jeremiah Bur-
roughs, from his, "Gospel Remission" book. . . .

"When God comes to pardon sin, it is such a mercy as comes from the fountain of God's everlasting love. Other mercies do not. Where this is not present, you cannot have evidence of God's eternal love. If God gives you health of body, good voyages at sea, and good [success] in respect of the world, you cannot draw arguments from hence that God bears eternal love to your soul. But when He comes to pardon your sins, it is a certain evidence that God has set His love on you from all eternity.

"If there were a chain let down from heaven and you could take hold but of one link that would certainly bring you there, both ends would come together. In Romans 8:30, there is a chain of many links let down, and if you can catch hold of the link of justification, you may certainly catch hold of predestination, for all hang together. If you are justified, then know for certain that you are a predestined man or woman whom God has set His heart upon from all eternity to do good. And this is a great happiness for a poor creature while he lives in this world, to know that God has set His heart upon him from all eternity to do him good. And, indeed, we can never be at rest until we come to this."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thurs., 12/15/11 Devotion (Jn. 5:6)

Today's encouragement comes from John 5:6, where we read these words:

"When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, 'Do you want to be made well?' "

At first glance Christ's question (above) to the lame man seems out of place. After all, doesn't everyone want to be "made well"? Actually, no; and this is why Jesus inquired of the infirm person. A lot of people are comfortable with their maladies--especially as it relates to a life of sin. They literally do *not* "want" to be made well.

It is actually a blessing to desire good things--and health and well-being are some of them. it is one thing to be unwell (in whatever way this may be); but it is quite another thing to be content to be in that state. God would have us desire Christ, wholeness, and all good things--as His beloved church.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Sometimes persons live in ways of sin and are not sensible of it because they are blinded by common custom and the examples of others." --Jonathan Edwards, in his sermon, "The Ne-
cessity of Self-Examination"]

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wed., 12/14/11 Devotion (Jn. 4:22)

Today's encouragement comes from John 4:22, where we find our Lord Jesus saying these words:

"You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews."

This is a very bold and highly politically-incorrect assertion the Mes-
siah makes here. He is basically teaching that all who worship false gods (or concoctions of the true God--as was the case with the Samar-
itans to whom Jesus said these words) were blind in their devotion, and did not know their deity. Then, Christ has the audacity to affirm that "salvation is of the Jews." It does not come from any other eth-
nicity--because the Person of salvation (Jesus) came from the Jews.

Do we have this kind of courage; or are we reduced to saying stupid things like, "All roads lead to heaven"? Let us follow our Master's lead; and let us do it with love and grace, as His holy church.

[Puritan quote of the day: "A heartless, drooping, and discouraging life and walk is very unbecoming the gospel of Christ." --James Dur-
ham, in, "The Unsearchable Riches of Christ"]

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 12/2-4/11 Devotion

Yippee--it's almost Sunday again. We *get* to go back to church! In order to help get us ready, here is Richard Sibbes, from his, "The Bruised Reed" classic. . . .


"This also shows that those are misled that make Christ to be only righteousness to us and not sanctification, except by imputation, whereas it is a great part of our happiness to be under such a Lord, who was not only born for us, and given to us, but has the government likewise upon His shoulder (Isa. 9:6, 7). He is our Sanctifier as well as our Saviour, our Saviour as well by the effectual power of his Spirit from the power of sin as by the merit of His death from the guilt thereof; provided these things are remembered:

"1. The first and chief ground of our comfort is that Christ as a priest offered Himself as a sacrifice to His Father for us. The guilty soul flies first to Christ crucified, made a curse for us. Thence it is that Christ has right to govern us; thence it is that He gives us His Spirit as our guide to lead us home.

"2. In the course of our life, after we are in a state of grace, if we are overtaken with any sin, we must remember to have recourse first to Christ's mercy to pardon us, and then to the promise of His Spirit to govern us.

"3. And when we feel ourselves cold in affection and duty, the best way is to warm ourselves at this fire of His love and mercy in giving Himself for us.

"4. Again, remember this, that Christ rules us by a spirit of love, from a sense of His love, whereby His commandments are easy to us. He leads us by his free Spirit, a Spirit of liberty. His subjects are volun-
teers. The constraint that He lays upon His subjects is that of love. He draws us sweetly with the cords of love. Yet remember also that He draws us strongly by a Spirit of power, for it is not sufficient that we have motives and encouragements to love and obey Christ from that love of His, whereby He gave Himself for us to justify us; but Christ's Spirit must likewise subdue our hearts, and sanctify them to love Him, without which all motives would be ineffectual."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thurs., 12/1/11 Devotion (Mic. 6:8)

Today's encouragement comes from Micah 6:8, where we read these great words:

"He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD re-
quire of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"

Sometimes the Christian life can be made to seem so busy and clutter-
ed: "Be sure to pray; be sure to read your Bible; be sure to evangelize; be sure to serve others, etc." And though all these things are good (obviously), sometimes we just need to relax and say, "Just *what* is it that You want me to *be* and *do*, Lord?"

Today's Micah text (above) pretty much answers that question. God wants us to live in Jesus, by faith. When we do this, we *will* do "justly," "love mercy," and "walk humbly with our God." Let's concen-
trate on Christ today. He will make us what He wants us (His church) to be.

[Puritan quote of the day: "God is infinitely greater than kings. He is universal King of heaven and earth, the absolute Sovereign of all things." --Jonathan Edwards, in his sermon, "The Warnings of Scrip-

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wed., 11/30/11 Devotion (2 Pet. 2:7b)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Peter 2:7b, which says this:

" . . . Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wick-
ed . . . "

As I read these words (above) this morning, I was struck by how much vileness the godly person has to be exposed to, in these Dark Ages in which we live. There was a time (not that long ago) when even-civilly decent people (who may not have claimed any form of Christianity) would have been appalled by what we routinely have to see and hear today.

But, in fact, this has always been the case--and Lot (who was no para-
digm of virtue himself) was also subjected to it. He lived in a city that celebrated sodomy and perversions of every sort. Today, as then, God's enemies are "on the march," and are determined to get their way. Still, we know that we believers are on the winning side (in Jesus); and that God will judge all His foes. For this, let us give our Lord thanks and praise.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Repentance is a pure gospel grace. The covenant of works admitted no repentance; there it was, sin and die. Repentance came in by the gospel." --Thomas Watson, in, "The Doc-
trine of Repentance"]

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tues., 11/29/11 Devotion (2 Pet. 1:2)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Peter 1:2, where we find these wonderful words:

"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord . . . "

To have grace and peace *multiplied* to our souls is a very blessed thing. God does not only "add," or "drip" His good gifts onto His churched children (a little at a time)--but He multiplies them. And notice how He does this: in our knowledge of Him, and of His Son Jesus.

If we know God, we will have grace and peace. The more we know Him, the greater the levels of these things we will enjoy--though they come through trouble and difficulty. No matter what challenges we face today, let us take encouragement from our Father's abundant provisions of "grace and peace" in our Lord Jesus Christ.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Upon this reconciliation with God, you and God come to have common friends and common enemies." --Jeremiah Burroughs, in, "Gospel Reconciliation"]

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mon., 11/28/11 Devotion (Lk. 12:32)

Today's encouragement comes from the lips of our Savior, as these words are found in Luke 12:32:

"Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

There are several gems to be gleaned from this verse. 1) God's chil-
dren need not fear, (because He has given them everything--even a kingdom). 2) Littleness of size is not to be construed as a negative. (To be in God's "little" flock is better than being in the devil's "big" herd, headed for the slaughter.) 3) God is not compelled to be good to us--He is desirous and willing to be. And 4) The kingdom is among us, in the church, with Jesus as the Head.

Be encouraged and strengthened today. God is very good to His true and dear people.

[Puritan quote of the day: "When a gracious soul trades with God, and sends his ship of prayer to heaven, he never fails of having sweet and rich return." --Jeremiah Burroughs, in, "Gospel Reconciliation"]

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wed., 11/23/11 Devotion (Lk. 7:50b)

Today's encouragement comes from Luke 7:50b, where we read these words of our Blessed Savior Jesus:

" . . . Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."

These few words (above) provide the church everything we need. Our faith (which is personal, "Your") "has" (past tense) "saved [us]." Be-
cause of this, we may, in full confidence in Christ, "Go in peace." Be-
lievers do not need to debate whether or not their sins are forgiven; and whether or not God is at peace with them. Instead, they alone have the blessed privilege of knowing that God is fully satisfied with them--since Jesus bore their sins for them.

The fallen world in which we live provides us plenty of opposition and warfare; but our sin's conflict with God no longer exists. For this peace, which is greater than anything the world could ever know, let us always give our Lord thanks.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Oh, what a comfort and privilege is this to you! Oh, you believing soul. Though you were never so wicked and abominable before, yet I tell you from God this day, in whose pres-
ence you stand, that He will never remember your sin any more."
--Jeremiah Burroughs, in, "Gospel Remission"]

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tues., 11/22/11 Devotion (Lk. 6:35c)

Today's encouragement comes from Luke 6:35c, where we read these words from the lips of our Lord Jesus Christ:

" . . . For He [God] is kind to the unthankful and evil."

Our Savior (quoted above) is expounding on the fact that believers are to be good to our enemies. He then shows us that His own Father is that way, to *His* foes. God's kindness to the unrepentant and unbe-
lieving in no way negates His righteous judgment of them--but it does speak of His insatiable benevolence to *all* of His creation.

Let us who by grace are known by God through faith in the Lord Jesus *not* be "unthankful," or "evil." Instead, let us be filled with gratitude and love. If our perfectly holy and righteous God can be "kind" to evil men who hate Him--certainly *we* sinner/saints can do the same, by His sovereign grace.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Faith is a mighty work of the Spirit of God in the soul that causes the soul to roll and cast itself on the free grace of God in Christ, venturing itself and all its hopes for good and happi-
ness on Him." --Jeremiah Burroughs, in, "Gospel Remission"]

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mon., 11/21/11 Devotion (Jas. 3:2a)

Today's encouragement comes from James 3:2a, where we read these words:

"For we all stumble in many things. . . . "

This gentle reminder (above) is helpful for us today (and everyday). First of all, it makes us be more gracious, kind, forgiving, forbearing, and understanding toward other sinners; and secondly, it humbles us--so that we do not trust in ourselves.

The simple reality is that we are all flawed sinners, fallen in Adam. There is no way we can totally avoid doing stupid things from time to time. On top of that, it is our very nature to sin. Only the grace of Christ, who provides us His new and perfect nature, allows us to have any success at all. Let us "cut each other some slack" today--as we re-
alize we are "in this boat together."

[Puritan quote of the day: "Justification admits of no degrees. No, not in heaven--you are not more justified there than you are here. You are now as perfectly justified as ever and as accepted of Christ as ever." --Jeremiah Burroughs, in, "Gospel Remission"]

Friday, November 18, 2011

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

Hallelujah--it's almost Sunday again! We *get* to go back to church. Here's Richard Sibbes, from his, "The Bruised Reed" book. . . .


"Lastly, they carry themselves very unkindly towards Christ who stumble at His low stooping to us in His government and ordinances--that are ashamed of the simplicity of the gospel, that count preaching foolishness. They, out of the pride of their heart, think that they may do well enough without the help of the Word and sacraments, and think Christ did not take enough dignity upon Him; and therefore they will mend the matter with their own devices so that they may give better satisfaction to flesh and blood . . . What greater unthankful-
ness can there be than to despise any help that Christ in mercy has provided for us? In the days of His flesh the proud Pharisees took of-
fense at His familiar conversing with sinful men, though He only did so as a physician to heal their souls. What defenses was Paul driven to make for himself, for his plainness in unfolding the gospel? The more Christ, in Himself and in His servants, shall descend to exalt us, the more we should, with all humility and readiness, entertain that love and magnify the goodness of God, that has put the great work of our salvation, and laid the government, upon so gentle a Saviour as will carry Himself so mildly in all things wherein He is to deal between God and us, and us and God. The lower Christ comes down to us, the higher let us lift Him up in our hearts. So will all those do that have ever found the experience of Christ's work in their hearts."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thurs., 11/17/11 Devotion (1 Chron. 9:13b)

Today's encouragement comes from 1 Chronicles 9:13b, where we read these words:

" . . . They were very able men for the work of the service of the house of God."

The church should always be served by "very able men [and women]." The clergy, the ruling eldership, and the diaconate should be compris-
ed of men of faith, humility, character, and intelligence. They should be the leaders of their churches, their families, their communities, and their world.

Why? Because those who do "the work of the service of the house of God" do the most important work in all of God's universe. This is not labor to be done by dolts and reprobates. Let us pray that the Lord would raise up a generation of servants who are outstanding in their ministrations to Christ's church.

[Puritan quote of the day: "The Holy Ghost is content to dwell in smoky, offensive souls." --Richard Sibbes, in, "The Bruised Reed"]

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wed., 11/16/11 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 that pleases God. It is by faith that we apprehend Christ, salva-
tion, and all the benefits of the covenant of grace. Nothing else can replace faith: not love, not works, not mercy, not kindness, not pray-
er, and not religious activity and duty.

All of these aforementioned virtues, (love, kindness, etc.) will inevit-
ably flow from a heart endued with true faith in Jesus. But they do not, and cannot save. Therefore, today, it matters little how well or badly we are doing at almost anything. All that 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.

[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." --Jonathan Edwards, in his sermon, "True Saints are Present with the Lord"]

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tues., 11/15/11 Devotion (Ps. 149:6)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 149:6, where we read these words:

"Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand . . . "

Note how the faithful Christian is at once a worshipper of God, and a soldier fighting under Christ's banner. There is no way to please God without praising Him. And there is nothing to praise Him for, unless the saints sees God's enemies fall under them. (These include sin, the flesh, the world, the devil, and the devil's agents--human and angel-

So, if we are in Christ, let us go into your daily lives lifting up thanks to God, and the sword of the Spirit against His foes (and ours).

[Puritan quote of the day: "The Church is a body to whom the whole world is beholden. It should be the joy of the earth, for it is the secur-
ity of the whole earth." --Nathaniel Vincent, in, "A Discourse concern-
ing Love"]

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mon., 11/14/11 Devotion (Ps. 147:11)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 147:11, which says this:

"The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy."

God created the world, in order to enjoy it. The Holy Trinity always experiences perfect and unremitted bliss. God is never perturbed. But, if it may be said that the Lord's pleasure may be "added to," (and I think it *can* be said, [in a certain sense]), then those who "fear Him" are the ones that achieve this remarkable privileged status.

Do we fear the Lord--through our faith in Jesus? If so, then let us take great comfort. God not only delights in us, He also loves us very dear-
ly and tenderly.

[Puritan quote of the day: "If once you come to receive the mercy of God in and through Christ Jesus, then that mercy will be the greatest opposer of your lusts and sin as anything can be in the world." --Jere-
miah Burroughs, a book of his sermons, entitled, "Gospel Remission"]

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 11/11-13/11 Devotion

Wahoo--it's almost Sunday, the Lord's Day! We GET to go to church again. In order to help us prepare for worship, here is Richard Sibbes, from his, "The Bruised Reed" book. . . .


"Suffering brings discouragements, because of our impatience. 'Alas!,' we lament, 'I shall never get through such a trial.' But if God brings us into the trial He will be with us in the trial; and at length bring us out, more refined. We shall lose nothing but dross (Zech. 13:9). From our own strength we cannot bear the least trouble, but by the Spirit's assistance we can bear the greatest. The Spirit will add His shoulders to help us to bear our infirmities. The Lord will give His hand to heave us up (Psa. 37:24). 'You have heard of the patience of Job,' says James (James 5:11). We have heard of his impatience too, but it pleased God mercifully to overlook that. It yields us comfort also in desolate conditions, such as contagious sicknesses and the like, in which we are more immediately under God's hand, that then Christ has a throne of mercy at our bedside and numbers our tears and our groans. And, to come to the matter we are now about, the Sacrament [of The Lord's Supper] it was ordained not for angels, but for men; and not for perfect men, but for weak men; and not for Christ, who is truth itself, to bind Him, but because we are ready, by reason of our guilty and unbelieving hearts, to call truth itself into question."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thurs., 11/10/11 Devotion (2 Ki. 23:7)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Kings 23:7, which says this:

"Then [Josiah] tore down the ritual booths of the perverted persons that were in the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the wooden image."

This is a providential text, given what is going on in the world today. When Josiah, the good king of Judah, was taking out the garbage of idolatry from the temple of the Lord--he also included on his trash heap the "perverted persons." These were sodomites that had entered the house of God, and who had polluted it with their pagan rituals.

Today, as the house of the church gets purified--not only does heresy have to go, and all forms of works-righteousness, etc.--but also all the "perverted persons" have got to be expelled. This does not mean that they are not welcome to come and hear the gospel; but it does mean that they can have no part in the leadership of the body of Christ.

[Puritan quote of the day: "There is nothing in the world more uneasy than the heart of a wicked man made to listen to spiritual instruc-
tion . . . " --Richard Sibbes, in, "The Bruised Reed"]

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wed., 11/9/11 Devotion (2 Ki. 22:8)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Kings 22:8, where we read these words:

"Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, 'I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the LORD.' And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it."

This blessed incident (recorded above) led to the great reforms, reviv-
al, and reformation of the Old Covenant church--largely led by the good and faithful King Josiah. The "book" that was "found" was proba-
bly a scroll of the Book of Deuteronomy.

When the church discovers (or re-discovers) the Bible--sometimes, very good things happen. And note God's order: the clergyman finds the Scripture. He then passes its goods along to the magistrate (Shaphan), who himself ends up making sure that King Josiah hears it read. Had God's Word not been received with faith and repentance--none of Jo-
siah's marvelous reforms would have taken place at all.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Let us pray that God will preserve pure or-
dinances and powerful preaching among us. Idolatry came in at first by the want of good preaching." --Thomas Watson, in, "The Ten Com-

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tues., 11/8/11 Devotion (Ps. 139:21-22)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 139:21 & 22, where we read these words:

"Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies."

These highly-politically-incorrect verses (above) are often misunder-
stood. Believers are not to hate sinners the way liberals and other un-
believers hate Christians: because we stand in the way of their sin. In-
stead, Christians are to hate unrepentant sinners the way God does (to some extent): we both love *and* hate them at the same time. We hate them for their detestation of our Savior; but we love them be-
cause they are created in the image of God (and we desire their salva-

It is not good enough to use the old unbiblical formula: "Love the sin-
ner/Hate the sin." God would have us get much more personal and passionate than that--even as He Himself does.

[Puritan quote of the day: "He who does not know the evil of sin as fully as he ought cannot hate it as much as he should." --Nathaniel Vincent, in, "A Discourse concerning Love"]

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mon., 11/7/11 Devotion (Heb. 2:9a)

Today's encouragement comes from Hebrews 2:9a, where we read these few words:

"But we see Jesus . . . "

Even though there are many things spoken to us by God that believers do "not see," (at least yet)--that does not matter because we "see Jesus," as per this text (above). *How* do we see Him? By the eyes of faith. The hearts and souls of faithful church Christians behold Him all the time. We "see Jesus" on the cross; and we see Him risen from the dead.

Because believers "see Jesus," we can believe God for all the other things He teaches us in His word that we do "not see." Unbelievers are blind (spiritually). They see nothing but the dark interiors of their own spiritual eyelids. Let us look upon Jesus in church every Sunday; and, from there, throughout the week.

[Puritan quote of the day: "And though the Son of God is the Lord and keeper of the holy angels, yet He is not their Redeemer, as He is of His Church for whom He died." --Nathaniel Vincent, in, "A Discourse concerning Love"]

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 11/4-6/11 Devotion

Wahoo--it's almost Sunday! We *get* to go back to church again. In or-
der to help get us ready, here is Richard Sibbes, from his, "The Bruised Reed" book. . . .


"Christ has conquered all in His own person first, and He is 'over all, God blessed for ever' (Rom. 9:5); and therefore over sin, death, hell, Satan and the world. And, as He has overcome them in Himself, so He overcomes them in our hearts and consciences. We commonly say that conscience makes a man kingly or contemptible, because it is planted in us to judge for God, either with us or against us. Now if natural conscience be so forcible, what will it be when, besides its own light, it has the light of divine truth put into it? It will undoubtedly prevail, either to make us hold up our heads with boldness or abase us beneath ourselves. If it subjects itself, by grace, to Christ's truth, then it boldly faces death, hell, judgment and all spiritual enemies, because then Christ sets up His kingdom in the conscience and makes it a kind of paradise.

"The sharpest conflict which the soul has is between the conscience and God's justice. Now if the conscience, sprinkled with the blood of Christ, has prevailed over assaults fetched from the justice of God, now satisfied by Christ, it will prevail over all other opposition what-

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thurs., 11/3/11 Devotion (Ps. 126:3)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 126:3, where we read these great words:

"The LORD has done great things for us, and we are glad."

God is so good to His children. He allows us to endure affliction, so as to make us better. Then, He gives us a glimpse of heaven, as we get clearer and clearer soul visions of Jesus--and we are filled with ex-
ceedingly great levels of gladness and joy.

Let us often call this to mind: the Lord only has good in store for His beloved churchmen; and He delights to show us His grace, mercy, and joy. Even if we are not "on the top of the world" today, let us thank God for all the good things He has already done for us, in Jesus.

[Puritan quote of the day: "It is not repentance, patience, love, pray-
er, or obedience that justifies us, but faith in Christ." --Obadiah Grew, in, "The Lord our Righteousness"]

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wed., 11/2/11 Devotion (Ps. 124:8)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 124:8, where David wrote these words:

"Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth."

True churched Christians find their help in Christ alone. No one else can really and fully assist them. No matter where *others* go for their sustenance--the sincere child of God knows that his or her deepest and most profound needs must be met by the Lord (alone).

And this is a very wise and reasonable approach to life. After all: God "made heaven and earth." If He has that much amazing power--surely He can take care of the concerns of His people. Is our help "in the name of the Lord" today?

[Puritan quote of the day: "It is very sinful to give way to vain thoughts at this time [of hearing preaching]; because, when we are hearing the word, we are in God's special presence." --Thomas Wat-
son, in, "The Ten Commandments"]

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tues., 11/1/11 Devotion (2 Tim. 4:1-2a)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Timothy 4:1 & 2a, where Paul wrote this, to the young minister:

"I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! . . . "

God delights in His gospel (word) being preached. He is more concern-
ed that preaching takes place, than if anyone ever believes the mes-
sage, or not. The preached word inhibits the spread and growth of heresy, (see vv. 3-4); it emboldens the minister for the endurance of afflictions, (v. 5); and it builds up the saints in their holy faith--all the while calling sinners to Christ.

Pray that your minister preach the word, and that he does not substi-
tute this precious ordinance with entertainment, religious "gooblety-gook," and general stupidity. Pray that he takes on the enemies of God, and that he brings you the good news of peace, in Jesus' precious blood.

[Puritan quote of the day: "God bestows more goodness upon one god-
ly man than upon all the ungodly in the world." --Jonathan Edwards, in his sermon, "Christians a Chosen Generation"]

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mon., 10/31/11 Devotion (2 Ki. 13:23)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Kings 13:23, where we read these words:

"But the LORD was gracious to them, had compassion on them, and re-
garded them, because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Ja-
cob, and would not yet destroy them or cast them from His presence."

This is a sweet verse (above). The reason the redeemed church is se-
cure, and is not subject to the judgment we all deserve, is because of God's covenant with us in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Father beholds the blood of Jesus' atonement, and He is satisfied that His righteous wrath against our sin is fully and justly expended (on Christ).

Let us in the church never abuse or take for granted this great privi-
lege. Instead, let us make sure that our hearts are full of love for God--blessing and thanking Him for His kindness and generosity to us (in Christ).

[Puritan quote of the day: "For want of hearts full of love [for God], men have heads full of error." --Thomas Watson, in, "All Things for Good"]

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 10/28-30/11 Devotion

Wahoo--Sunday's almost here! In order to help prepare us for church, here are some good words from Thomas Watson, from his, "All Things for Good" masterpiece:

"See then what an encouragement here is to become godly. All things shall work for good. Oh, that this may induce the world to fall in love with religion! Can there be a greater loadstone to piety? Can anything more prevail with us to be good, than this; all things shall work for our good? Religion is the true philosopher's stone that turns everything into gold. Take the sourest part of religion, the suffering part, and there is comfort in it. God sweetens suffering with joy; He candies our wormwood with sugar. Oh, how may this bribe us to godliness! 'Acquaint now yourself with God, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto you,' (Job 22:21). No man did ever come off a loser by his acquaintance with God. By this, good shall come unto you, abundance of good, the sweet distillations of grace, the hidden manna, yea, everything shall work for good. Oh, then get acquaintance with God, espouse His interest."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thurs., 10/27/11 Devotion (Ps. 119:64)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 119:64, where we read these words:

"The earth, O LORD, is full of Your mercy; teach me Your statutes."

We ought to be glad to read that the earth is full of God's mercy. This becomes an impetus for our wanting to know God better, (hence, the psalmist's desire to be taught God's word). If the earth was not full of God's mercy, we could not function down here, in a fallen universe.

This mercy is both general, expressed in common grace (to all men); and redemptive, expressed in saving grace (to the believing members of the church). Let us be thankful that God's mercy is abundant; and let us seek the best of His gifts: the atonement of Jesus, and the benefits that flow therefrom.

[Puritan quote of the day: " 'It is hard to be a Christian! There are strict laws, severe discipline, and no liberty! Woe is me. I am so limit-
ed and hedged in on all hands that there is no liberty left me to be miserable. If I will be His, I must be happy.' " --Richard Alleine, in "Heaven Opened"]

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wed., 10/26/11 Devotion (2 Ki. 7:9a)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Kings 7:9a, which says this:

"Then they said to one another, 'We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. . . . ' "

These words were spoken by four lepers who found great booty in the Syrian army camp, that had been miraculously deserted. They could have kept the wonderful news to themselves, and simply glutted themselves with food and delights--or they could share it with others, who were (like them) starving to death.

So is it the case with the gospel. Those who, by grace, feed on Christ and His goodness everyday, ought to have compassion and concern for those who do not. What do we have to offer them? The good news of salvation. We are all spiritual lepers, before we are converted to be-
ing the children of the great King.

[Puritan quote of the day: "The people of God are begotten through the education, instruction, and endeavors of those who were God's people before. Therefore, the church is represented in Scripture as being the mother of its members, (Gal. 4:26)." --Jonathan Edwards, in his sermon, "Christians a Chosen Generation"]

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tues., 10/25/11 Devotion (2 Ki. 6:33b)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Kings 6:33b, where we read these words:

" . . . the king [of Israel] said, 'Surely this calamity is from the LORD; why should I wait for the LORD any longer?' "

The king of Israel's response here (above) is entirely too typical of sin-
ners. Trouble comes. Instead of blaming self and sin--God is blamed for it. Then, when relief does not show up right away, any hope in God is abandoned, and sinful and idolatrous alternate courses are pur-

How true is this also with many professing Christians? They are willing to put up with God, so long as their bellies are full, and their bank ac-
counts are strong. But once a little difficulty comes along--they throw off all of their false "God-talk," and show themselves to be what they are: unregenerate unbelieving idolators. May this never be said of any of us.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Oh, do not let the devil be your master, nor the world your god. Do not let sin cheat and impose upon you with its false and counterfeit delights." --Timothy Rogers, in, "Trouble of Mind and the Disease of Melancholy"]

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mon., 10/24/11 Devotion (Dan. 9:18b)

Today's encouragement comes from Daniel 9:18b, where Daniel prays these words:

" . . . For we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies."

If we had to approach God, and present our petitions to Him based on our righteous deeds, we would never come to God, ever. Besides that, we would have no basis for our prayers, because we do not *have* any righteous deeds. Do we wish to compare ourselves to Daniel, and ima-
gine we are "better" than he was? I think not.

We come to God on the basis of Christ's righteousness, which is im-
puted to the saints, by sovereign grace. This is the ground on which we may rightly approach God. He will hear the prayers of those who come to Him on this principle. He disregards all other petitions.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Hell did not know what it did when it cru-
cified Christ; death, with all its armies, was put to death with Him."
--Richard Alleine, in "Heaven Opened"]

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 10/21-23/11 Devotion

Yippee--it's almost Sunday! In order to get us ready for church, here is Richard Sibbes, the great Puritan pastor, from his, "The Bruised Reed" book. . . .


"This also shows that those are misled that make Christ to be only righteousness to us and not sanctification . . . He is our Sanctifier as well as our Savior . . .

"1. The first and chief ground of our comfort is that Christ as a priest offered Himself as a sacrifice to His Father for us. The guilty soul flies first to Christ crucified, made a curse for us. Thence it is that Christ has right to govern us; thence it is that He gives us His Spirit as our guide to lead us home.

"2. In the course of our life, after we are in a state of grace, if we are overtaken with any sin, we must remember to have recourse first to Christ's mercy to pardon us, and then to the promise of His Spirit to govern us.

"3. And when we feel ourselves cold in affection and duty, the best way is to warm ourselves at this fire of His love and mercy in giving Himself for us.

"4. Again, remember this, that Christ rules us by a spirit of love, from a sense of His love, whereby His commandments are easy to us. He leads us by His free Spirit, a Spirit of liberty. His subjects are volun-
taries. The constraint that He lays upon His subjects is that of love. He draws us sweetly with the cords of love. Yet remember also that He draws us strongly by a Spirit of power, for it is not sufficient that we have motives and encouragements to love and obey Christ from that love of His, whereby He gave Himself for us to justify us; but Christ's Spirit must likewise subdue our hearts, and sanctify them to love Him, without which all motives would be ineffectual."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thurs., 10/20/11 Devotion (2 Thess. 1:3)

Today's encouragement comes from the lovely words of 2 Thessalon-
ians 1:3, where the Apostle Paul wrote this:

"We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other."

Growing faith and abounding love, ironically, flourish most in the fer-
tile soil of tribulation and trouble. (This is evident, as we read on, in 2 Thess., ch. 1.) When distress and affliction comes, and hearts are pruned--the genuineness of faith and love are made manifest.

Our faith will "grow exceedingly" when it is challenged. Our love will "abound" when its sincerity is placed on the line.

[Puritan quote of the day: "We should mourn for them who are living, yet dead in sin; and rejoice for them who are dead, yet live with Christ." --Thomas Watson, from his sermon, "The Saint's Desire to be with Christ"]

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wed., 10/19/11 Devotion (1 Thess. 5:23-24)

Today's encouragement comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:23 & 24, where the Apostle Paul wrote these words:

"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the com-
ing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it."

The Puritans were fond of saying that there is not one dimension of the redeemed person's being that is not renewed by the grace of God. This is a significant encouragement for us in this life. If this is true--and it is--then God is at work in EVERY sphere of our beings: our souls, our spirits, and our bodies.

In glory, there will be no more struggles. Here, however, we have the privilege of growing in grace and love.

[Puritan quote of the day: "He who has true grace can no more fall away than the angels, which are fixed stars in their heavenly orbs."
--Thomas Watson, in his sermon, "The Beauty of Grace"]

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tues., 10/18/11 Devotion (1 Ki. 21:3)

Today's encouragement comes from 1 Kings 21:3, where we read these words:

"But Naboth said to Ahab, 'The LORD forbid that I should give the in-
heritance of my fathers to you!' "

When true believers sin, they give some of the priceless treasure of the covenant of God's grace to the devil, the world, and their own sinful flesh. Naboth refused even his earthly king what was rightfully his [Naboth's], by divine bestowment. Naboth would not bow to pres-
sure, or convention; but rather took his place with the true church of God.

How about us? Are we zealous to retain what God has given us, so that we will be fruitful and productive in the world; or are we willing to sell what is precious to God's enemies?

[Puritan quote of the day: "[Improper religious] toleration is the grave of reformation. . . . By toleration we adopt other men's sins and make them our own." --Thomas Watson, in his sermon, "Christ's Loveliness"]

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mon., 10/17/11 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 king-
dom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these king-
doms, and it shall stand forever."

Daniel is speaking to Nebuchadnezzar here, and is explaining the king's dream. The "kingdom" that Daniel is referring to here, is the establishment of, and the proliferation of the New Covenant church, by the Lord Jesus Christ. This kingdom is now in the process of "break[ing] in[to] pieces" all opposing "kingdoms."

Some of these counterfeit "kingdoms" arise even among professing, er-
rant Christians. Others of them are wholly and self-proclaimedly "anti-Christian." All of them will fall, at the feet of King Jesus. For this, let us give Him praise--even now.

[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 Ambrose, in, "The Christian Warrior"]

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 10/14-16/11 Devotion

Wahoo--it's almost Sunday again. We get the supreme privilege of go-
ing back to church, to worship! Here is Richard Sibbes, from his, "The Bruised Reed" book. . . .


"Where, then, do these discouragements come from?

"1. Not from the Father, for He has bound Himself in covenant to pity us as a father pities his children (Psa. 103:13) and to accept as a father our weak endeavors. And what is wanting in the strength of duty, He gives us leave to take up in His gracious indulgence. In this way we shall honor that grace in which He delights as much as in more perfect performances. Possibilitas tua mensura tua (What is pos-
sible to you is what you will be measured by).

"2. Not from Christ, for He by office will not quench the smoking flax. We see how Christ bestows the best fruits of His love on persons who are mean in condition, weak in abilities, and offensive for infirmities, nay, for grosser falls. And this He does, first, because thus it pleases Him to confound the pride of the flesh, which usually measures God's love by some outward excellency; and secondly, in this way He de-
lights to show the freedom of His grace and confirm His royal prerog-
ative that 'He that glories' must 'glory in the Lord' (1 Cor. 1:31). . . .

"3. Neither do discouragements come from the Spirit. He helps our in-
firmities, and by office is a Comforter (Rom. 8:26; John 14:16). If He convinces of sin, and so humbles us, it is that He may make way for His office of comforting us. Discouragements, then, must come from ourselves and from Satan, who labors to fasten on us a loathing of duty."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thurs., 10/13/11 Devotion (Ps. 102:13)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 102:13, which says this:

"[The Lord] will arise and have mercy on Zion; for the time to favor her, yes, the set time, has come."

The Psalmist speaks (above) of God's sovereign revival of His church, in His time--and for His glory; and His people's good. Sometimes we may be tempted to despair because of the state of the church; and we may even be tempted to believe that her best days are gone; or that the Lord has got to change His mind, and try something else (other than the church).

But the truth is this: the Lord Jesus is still on His throne. He reigns from heaven, and through "Zion," the New Covenant Church (in heaven and on earth). Let us never lose heart. In His perfect wisdom God will once again "arise and have mercy on Zion." "The time to favor her" will yet come again.

[Puritan quote of the day: "[God's] riches make a man wise. Wisdom is the best possession; other riches cannot make one wise. A man may have a full purse and an empty brain." --Thomas Watson, in his ser-
mon, "The Beauty of Grace"]

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wed., 10/12/11 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. This is a *past* reality, sealed at the cross and resurrection, and applied to the hearts of the saints in time and space.

Maybe today you are *feeling* less than complete. If you are in Christ, you *are* complete--even though you do not sense it. Our "completion" can be in no one *other* than Jesus. If we are trying to find it in an-
other person, a saint, an angel, or any other being--then we are cer-
tain to be disappointed. But not so with Christ: He has secured His church's fullness *already*; and for all times to come.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Some set their bags of money always be-
fore 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"]

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tues., 10/11/11 Devotion (Col. 1:16a)

Today's encouragement comes from Colossians 1:16a, where we read these words of Paul:

"For by Him [Christ] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible . . . "

God created everything that is--everything that has a real essence; and He did this through His Son, Christ our Lord. There may be de-
bates (many legitimate) about when and how God through Christ cre-
ated all things--but the germane fact is that He did. Nothing exists that God did not create. (He did not create sin or any evil--as these do not have a real essence.)

In the beauty of this season, let us thank God for His power and glory in His creation. But let us do this with an eye to something even greater: the re-creation of dead souls, who now make up the regen-
erated members of the body (church) of the Lord Jesus Christ.

[Puritan quote of the day: "The hypocrite takes more care to make a covenant than to keep it, and is more studious to enter into religion than that religion should enter into him." --Thomas Watson, in his ser-
mon, "God's Anatomy upon Man's Heart"]

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mon., 10/10/11 Devotion (Php. 4:6-7)

Today's encouragement comes from Paul's great words, as they are found in Philippians 4:6 & 7:

"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."

Because the Lord is "at hand," (v. 5), the church is urged to "be anx-
ious for nothing," but rather to pray. We believers in Christ often find it hardest to pray, at the very moment we most need to. Let this not discourage us. God is gracious; He hears the groans of the hearts of His children. The Lord gives us a calm in the midst of ours storms; and solace in times of greatest need.

Let us not hesitate to bring any of our burdens to our good God today, in prayer.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Inward grace is wrought by outward means; the preaching of the Word is the engine that God uses to work grace; it is called 'the rod of HIs strength,' (Ps. 110:2)." --Thomas Watson, in his sermon, "The Beauty of Grace"]

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 10/7-9/11 Devotion

Yippee--it's almost Sunday. We *get* to go back to church. Here again is Richard Sibbes, from his, "The Bruised Reed" book. . . .


"Applying these rules, we may say:

"First, if there be any holy fire in us, it is kindled from heaven by the Father of lights, who 'commanded the light to shine out of darkness' (2 Cor. 4: 6). As it is kindled by the use of means, so it is fed. The light in us and the light in the Word spring the one from the other and both from the one Holy Spirit. Therefore, in the case of those that re-
gard not the Word, it is 'because there is no light in them' (Isa. 8:20). Heavenly truths must have a heavenly light to discern them. Natural men see heavenly things, not in their own proper light, but by an in-
ferior light. In every converted man, God puts a light into the eye of his soul proportionable to the light of truths revealed to him. A carnal eye will never see spiritual things.

"Secondly, the least divine light has heat with it in some measure. Light in the understanding produces heat of love in the affections. In the measure that the sanctified understanding sees a thing to be true or good, in that measurthe will embraces it. Weak light produces weak inclinations, strong light, strong inclinations. A little spiritual light is of strength enough to answer strong objections of flesh and blood, and to see beyond all earthly allurements and opposing hin-
drances, presenting them as far inferior to those heavenly objects it beholds. All light that is not spiritual, because it lacks the strength of sanctifying grace, yields to every little temptation, especially when it is fitted and suited to personal inclinations. This is the reason why Christians that have light that is little for quantity, but heavenly for quality, persevere; when men of larger apprehensions sink. This pre-
vailing of light in the soul is because, together with the spirit of il-
lumination, there goes, in the godly, a spirit of power (2 Tim. 1:7) to subdue the heart to truth revealed, and to put a taste and relish into the will, suitable to the sweetness of the truth; otherwise a will that is merely natural will rise against supernatural truths, as having an antipathy and enmity against them. In the godly, holy truths are con-
veyed by way of a taste; gracious men have a spiritual palate as well as a spiritual eye. Grace alters the spiritual taste."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thurs., 10/6/11 Devotion (Ps. 90:15)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 90:15, where we read these words:

"Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us, the years in which we have seen evil."

There is a very real sense in which the persevering churched Christian may hope, and even lay some claim to this Mosaic notion that God will bless our days, commensurate with the years we have had to suffer (in whatever form). Sometimes this actually occurs in *this* life down here. If not, it will definitely happen in the world to come.

The main point is that it is a good thing to be "glad" in the Lord. There is nothing wrong with this; and we should actually *seek* to be happy in Jesus--at all turns. We all "see" plenty of "evil." What we also need is a counter-balance of good. This is found by us in Jesus alone.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Repentance unravels sin and makes it as if it had never been." --Thomas Watson, in, "The Doctrine of Repent-

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wed., 10/5/11 Devotion (Eph. 5:1-2)

Today's encouragement comes from Ephesians 5:1 & 2, where we read these wonderful words:

"Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma."

It is an amazing thing, to be commanded to "be imitators of God." How can anybody imitate the perfect, holy, righteous, powerful, and good God? There is only one way: by being His offspring. This is what the children of God *are*: the spiritual "descendants" of the one, only, and true Deity Himself. We are adopted into the church of God through faith in Jesus (the Father's "natural" Son).

And the Lord is a perfectly good Father. He has provided atonement for the souls of all His children; and He loves them supremely, and wonderfully.

[Puritan quote of the day: "[God] has sent forth His messengers, and appointed ministers in His church, to be subordinate lights, to shine with the communications of His light, and to reflect the beams of His glory on the souls of men." --Jonathan Edwards, from his sermon, "The True Excellency of a Gospel Minister"]

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tues., 10/4/11 Devotion (Ezek. 37:26)

Today's encouragement comes from Ezekiel 37:26, where we read these words:

"Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore."

These beautiful words of New Covenant grace bless us today--thou-
sands of years after they were written. Note with me three aspects of it: 1) Christ's "peace" characterizes the New Covenant church age. In Jesus' blood atonement, all wars with God's holiness are ended. 2) This is an "everlasting" blessing. It's benefits never run out. And 3) Christ Himself dwells *with* His church, as He has "set [His] sanctuary in [our] midst."

For all of this wonder let us continually praise and bless the Triune God--who has been perfectly good to us in His incarnated Son.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Nothing stirs in the world but God has a design in it for the good of His church." --Thomas Watson, in his ser-
mon, entitled, "God's Anatomy upon Man's Heart"]

Monday, October 3, 2011

Mon., 10/3/11 Devotion (1 Ki. 6:1)

Today's encouragement comes from the words of 1 Kings 6:1, which says this:

"And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD."

It is very intriguing that the writer of 1 Kings, under the direct inspir-
ation of the Holy Spirit, notes the exact year that the temple building project finally began, in relation to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. It took a long time--480 years. It may take a long time to see the new covenant church again understand its role as the principal society on earth--but there is no doubt that it will happen.

God is faithful to His word, and His work. We may depend on Him. Even if it takes a while, the Lord will always come through--for His glory, and His church's good.

[Puritan quote of the day: "A good Christian begins his heaven here; grace translates him into the paradise of God." --Thomas Watson, in his sermon, entitled, "A Christian on Earth Still in Heaven"]

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 9/30-10/2/11 Devotion

Wahoo--it's almost Sunday again! We *get* to go back to church!! In order to help get us ready, here is the great Puritan pastor Richard Sibbes, from his, "The Bruised Reed" book. . . .


"And among others, how do they wrong themselves and Him that will have other mediators to God for them than He [Jesus]! Are any more [compassionate] than He who became man to that end, that He might be [merciful] to His own flesh? Let all, at all times, come to this meek Saviour, and put up all our petitions in His prevailing name. What need do we have to knock at any other door? Can any be more tender over us than Christ? What encouragement we have to commend the state of the church in general, or of any broken-hearted Christian, to Him by our prayers, of whom we may speak to Christ, as they did of Lazarus, 'Lord, the church which You love, and gave Yourself for, is in distress'; 'Lord, this poor Christian, for whom You were bruised (Isa. 53:5) is bruised and brought very low.' It cannot but touch His heart when the misery of those so dear to Him is spread before Him.


"Again, considering this gracious nature in Christ, let us think with ourselves thus: when He is so kind to us, shall we be cruel against Him in His name, in His truth, in His children? How shall those that delight to be so terrible to 'the meek of the earth' (Zeph. 2:3) hope to look so gracious a Saviour in the face? They that are so boisterous towards His spouse shall know one day that they had to deal with Himself in His church. So it cannot but cut the heart of those that have felt this love of Christ to hear Him wounded who is the life of their lives and the soul of their souls. This makes those that have felt mercy weep over Christ whom they have pierced with their sins. There cannot but be a mutual and quick sympathy between the Head and the members. When we are tempted to any sin, if we will not pity ourselves, yet we should spare Christ, in not putting Him to new torments. The apostle could not find out a more heart-breaking argument to enforce a sacri-
fice of ourselves to God than to appeal to us 'by the mercies of God' in Christ (Rom. 12:1)."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thurs., 9/29/11 Devotion (Gal. 5:4-6)

Today's encouragement comes from Galatians 5:4-6. Paul continues his main theme throughout this amazing epistle, with these words:

"You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be jus-
tified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love."

If we are professing Christians, then we will inevitably follow one of two paths this day: either we will take the "safe and easy" way of trusting in ourselves, and walking in the "law"; or we will go the "ex-
citing and risky" way of trusting in Christ, walking in grace, and living by faith (in love).

The first way leads to certain failure and frustration. It is for the lazy, unbelieving, and passionless. The second way ends in true joy and purpose. It is for those who know they possess nothing good in them-
selves, and who are totally dependent upon God. The Lord's curse is on the first way; His blessing is on the second way.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Our happiness here and hereafter depends on our friendly [communication] with heaven. If we do not have that, nothing can make up our loss (Ps. 30:5). If we have that, nothing can make us miserable." --Thomas Boston, in, "The Crook in the Lot"]

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wed., 9/28/11 Devotion (Ps. 79:1)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 79:1, where we read these words:

"O God, the nations have come into Your inheritance; Your holy tem-
ple they have defiled; they have laid Jerusalem in heaps."

In this particular Psalm (79), Asaph, the author, is bemoaning the fact that the "nations have come into [God's] inheritance." The reason? Be-
cause they came at that time to destroy the temple, and to lay waste the city of Jerusalem. But in the New Covenant, the blessed promise is that the Gentile nations would enter into Christ and His church--not to destroy; but to beautify.

Many of the other Psalms (like Ps. 22:27) actually speak of this hap-
pening. Most of us reading this devotion today are the fulfillment of this promise and prophecy. We, who used to be of the idol-worship-
ping peoples, are now the true children of Abraham, by faith in Jesus. For this blessed fact, may we forever give God praise.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Surely God deals familiarly with men; His condescensions to His own clay are astonishing." --John Flavel, in, "The Mystery of Providence"]

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tues., 9/27/11 Devotion (Ps. 78:38a, 39a)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 78, verses 38a & 39a, where we read these words:

"But [God], being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity . . . For He remembered that they were but flesh . . . "

Behold the amazing mercy and forbearance of God. In Ps. 78, the Lord's continued kindnesses to a stubborn and rebellious people are rehearsed over and over. So it is true today: Christ's New Covenant church is also made up of people who are saints and yet still sinners. We need the grace and kindness of our Heavenly Father everyday.

Believers are also able to emulate their Lord: whereas God sees us as "but flesh"--let us remember that our fellow brothers and sisters in the church are also "but flesh," even as we are, as well. This should make us sympathetic toward one another; and it should arrest our tendency to be harsh with each another.

[Puritan quote of the day: "The Lord expects praise wherever you have comfort." --John Flavel, in, "The Mystery of Providence"]

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mon., 9/26/11 Devotion (Gal. 2:21)

Today's encouragement comes from Galatians 2:21, where we read these great words:

"I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."

The Apostle Paul was adamant about not giving in on the gospel of grace. Like us, he felt the pressure to compromise the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ--but he refused to do so. There is always a tendency in all of us to resort back to works, or law, as the means of our seeking a right standing with God. But this is to lose Jesus al-
together; and to commit the most heinous spiritual crime against God--who saves His church by Christ's blood atonement alone, receiv-
ed by faith alone.

The church in Galatia temporarily caved-into the Judaizers of their day. Many in our time are doing the same. Let us continue to cling to Jesus, by faith--and hence, be His faithful church.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Surely it is best for you which Providence has appointed, and one day you yourselves will judge it so to be."
--John Flavel, in, "The Mystery of Providence"]

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 9/23-25/11 Devotion

Hip, hip, hooray--it's almost Sunday! We *get* to go back to church. Here is Richard Sibbes, from his, "The Bruised Reed" book. . . .


"It should encourage us to duty that Christ will not quench the smok-
ing flax, but blow on it till it flames. Some are loath to do good be-
cause they feel their hearts rebelling, and duties turn out badly. We should not avoid good actions because of the infirmities attending them. Christ looks more at the good in them which he means to cher-
ish than the ill in them which he means to abolish. Though eating in-
creases a disease, a sick man will still eat, so that nature may gain strength against the disease. So, though sin cleaves to what we do, yet let us do it, since we have to deal with so good a Lord, and the more strife we meet with, the more acceptance we shall have. Christ loves to taste of the good fruits that come from us, even though they will always savor of our old nature.

"A Christian complains he cannot pray. 'Oh, I am troubled with so many distracting thoughts, and never more than now!' But has [God] put into your heart a desire to pray? Then He will hear the desires of His own Spirit in you. 'We know not what we should pray for as we ought' (nor how to do anything else as we ought), but the Spirit helps our infirmities with 'groanings which cannot be uttered' (Rom. 8:26), which are not hid from God. 'My groaning is not hid from You' (Psa. 38:9). God can pick sense out of a confused prayer.

"These desires cry louder in His ears than your sins. Sometimes a Christian has such confused thoughts that he can say nothing but, as a child, cries, 'O Father', not able to express what he needs, like Moses at the Red Sea. These stirrings of spirit touch the heart of God and melt Him into compassion towards us, when they come from the Spirit of adoption, and from a striving to be better."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thurs., 9/22/11 Devotion (2 Sam. 18:9b)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Samuel 18:9b, where we read these words:

" . . . so he [Absalom] was left hanging between heaven and earth."

When our Lord Jesus Christ was on the cross, bearing the sins of all the elect from all time, He hung, as it were, "between heaven and earth." He bridged the infinite gap between a holy God and sinful men. The regenerate churchman, who struggles through the process of sanctification, also, in a sense, is suspended "between heaven and earth." His old flesh nature (earth), is at war with his new nature (heaven).

Where are the eyes of our hearts focused, today? If they are on earth, we will naturally gravitate there. If they are in heaven, we will, by grace, soar there (in our souls).

[Puritan quote of the day: "In His last sufferings, Christ sapped the very foundations of Satan's kingdom. He conquered His enemies in their own territories, and beat them with their own weapons, as David cut off Goliath's head with his own sword." --Jonathan Edwards, in his sermon, "The Excellency of Christ"]

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wed., 9/21/11 Devotion (2 Cor. 10:4-6)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Corinthians 10:4-6, where Paul wrote these astonishing words:

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled."

Behold the weapons and work of the pastoral ministry. Paul's oppo-
nents had corrupted the Corinthian church; and now the apostle does some radical "interior re-designing"--as he destroys the work of the devil, and re-establishes and furthers the cause of Christ.

Let us remember this: all discipleship begins in the church; but it does not stop there. The Corinthians would eventually join with Paul and expunge the evil from their midst.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Moderate sorrow differs from immoderate sorrow in this: true sorrow stirs up holy endeavors to act in your place and calling for the deliverance of the church." --Christopher Love, in, "The Dejected Soul's Cure"]

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tues., 9/20/11 Devotion (Ps. 71:20a)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 71:20a, where we read these words:

"You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again . . . "

Such was David's confident faith, that he believed that the same Lord who had allowed him (David) to struggle with problems, would also be the One who would exalt him and fill him with inexpressible joy.

This is the nature of the churched Christian's faith-walk: trials endur-
ed and persevered through, lead to resurrection pleasure and fulfill-
ment (in this life). All who have experience in loving Christ know this to be true. Therefore, no matter where we are on the life-continuum today, let us not lose heart. Let us be faithful and patient: God shall "revive [us] again."

[Puritan quote of the day: "[God's] love is judicious, not fond. He con-
sults my good rather than my ease." --John Flavel, in, "The Mystery of Providence"]

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mon., 9/19/11 Devotion (2 Sam. 15:25-26)

Today's encouragement comes from David's words, as they are found in 2 Samuel 15:25 & 26:

"Then the king [David] said to Zadok, 'Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, He will bring me back and show me both it and His dwelling place.' "

David's attitude is a good one. He was suffering the consequences of his (forgiven) sin, as Absalom was in the process of usurping his throne. David had enough faith to believe that the ark should remain in Jerusalem, even though he (David) had to leave that city. He had enough humility to accept from the Lord whatever He would decree: either exile and death, or reinstatement and life.

Let us also have this perspective on life: not holding on too tightly to any of God's blessings; while clinging for dear life to the Lord Jesus Himself.

[Puritan quote of the day: "When Christians are more inquiring after privileges than inquiring after their duty, it is just with God to keep their comfort from them." --Christopher Love, in, "The Dejected Soul's Cure"]

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 9/16-18/11 Devotion

Yippee--God's once-a-week holy day (Sunday) is almost here. Here is Richard Sibbes, from "The Bruised Reed," to encourage us in our pre-
paration. . . .


"We must acknowledge that in the covenant of grace God requires the truth of grace, not any certain measure; and a spark of fire is fire, as well as the whole element. Therefore we must look to grace in the spark as well as in the flame. All have not the like strong, though they have the like precious, faith (2 Pet. 1:1), whereby they lay hold of, and put on, the perfect righteousness of Christ. A weak hand may receive a rich jewel. A few grapes will show that the plant is a vine, and not a thorn. It is one thing to be deficient in grace, and another thing to lack grace altogether. God knows we have nothing of our-
selves, therefore in the covenant of grace He requires no more than He gives, but gives what He requires, and accepts what He gives: 'If she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtle doves' (Lev. 12:8). What is the gospel itself but a merciful moderation, in which Christ's obedience is esteemed ours, and our sins laid upon Him, wherein God, from being a judge, becomes our Father, pardoning our sins and accepting our obedience, though feeble and blemished? We are now brought to heaven under the covenant of grace by a way of love and mercy.

"It will prove a special help to know distinctly the difference between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace, between Moses and Christ. Moses, without any mercy, breaks all bruised reeds, and quenches all smoking flax. For the law requires personal, perpetual and perfect obedience from the heart, and that under a most terrible curse, but gives no strength. It is a severe taskmaster, like Pharaoh's, requiring the whole tale of bricks and yet giving no straw. Christ comes with blessing after blessing, even upon those whom Moses had cursed, and with healing balm for those wounds which Moses had made."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thurs., 9/15/11 Devotion (Ps. 63:2)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 63:2, where David wrote these words:

"So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory."

David penned these words while he was stuck in the wilderness of Judah--separated from the Lord's tabernacle in Jerusalem. Even from the dry desert of desolation and isolation, David craved to be in his God's blessed presence.

When we are cut off from the Lord's ordinary means of grace which we would enjoy in the church (house/tabernacle) of God, let us still resort to His presence in the "sanctuary of our hearts"; and let us long for and look forward to those glorious days of sweet communion with the saints, as we gather for Sunday's church worship services.

[Puritan quote of the day: "[God's] ways are secret, but always just. God is most in His way when we think He is out of His way." --Thomas Watson, in, "The Great Gain of Godliness"]

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wed., 9/14/11 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 ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant . . . "

What has God given us to do, in this life? Are we content with our as-
signments? Is it a bit "less glamorous" than we would have desired? The sufficient Lord supplies His saints with all the resources we need, in order to fulfill our God-given roles on earth. Especially the church's ministry itself, which cannot be done in the flesh without great shame--is totally dependent upon the grace of Christ.

Let us not be discouraged, if we are faithful (by grace) in our spheres. Let us thank God that He has equipped ua, and honored us with His seal of love.

[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"]

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tues., 9/13/11 Devotion (Ezek. 16:63b)

Today's encouragement comes from Ezekiel 16:63b, where we read these amazing words:

" ' . . . when I provide you an atonement for all you have done,' says the Lord GOD."

These words mark the end of the otherwise-quite-lurid ch. 16 of Eze-
kiel. Just when all seemed lost and hopeless, and even after God had detailed His condemnation of Judah's idolatry and iniquity--here comes the good news of atonement.

Why would the Lord provide His people of old, or His church today atonement, (and resulting remission of sins)? Is it not because of His love for His elect, secured from all eternity, in His gracious decrees? The redeemed of the Lord *deserve* judgment, hell, and wrath; but, in Christ, we *get* forgiveness, adoption, and sanctification. Let the faithful church love this great God today; and live for Him with sin-
cerity and zeal!

[Puritan quote of the day: "Providence has ordered that condition for you which is really best for your eternal good." --John Flavel, in, "The Mystery of Providence"]

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mon., 9/12/11 Devotion (2 Cor. 1:24c)

Today's encouragement comes from the few words of 2 Corinthians 1:24c, which say this:

" . . . for by faith you stand."

When it is all said and done, the entire life of the true religion re-
volves around the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ--Who is known by us through faith alone. This is why Paul could write to the rebellious and proud Corinthian believers that "by faith [they] stand."

A lot of times in religion the emphasis is put on all kinds of other things, like, "I'm going to be sure to obey everything the Bible says"; or, "I'm going to try real hard to be a good Christian." These state-
ments have their place--but they don't amount to a hill of beans without simple faith. This is why the little believing baptized child stands infinitely taller than the proud pharisee (in the eyes of God).

[Puritan quote of the day: "Can the soul be sad while God is with it?"
--John Flavel, in, "The Mystery of Providence"]

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 9/9-11/11 Devotion

Wahoo--it's almost Sunday again!! We *get* to go back to church! Here is Richard Sibbes, from his amazing "The Bruised Reed" book. . . .


"Preachers should take heed likewise that they hide not their meaning in dark speeches, speaking in the clouds. Truth fears nothing so much as concealment, and desires nothing so much as clearly to be laid open to the view of all. When it is most unadorned, it is most lovely and powerful. Our blessed Saviour, as He took our nature upon Him, so He took upon Him our familiar manner of speech, which was part of His voluntary abasement. Paul was a profound man, yet he became as a nurse to the weaker sort (1 Thess. 2:7).

"That spirit of mercy that was in Christ should move His servants to be content to abase themselves for the good of the lowest. What made the kingdom of heaven 'suffer violence' (Matt. 11:12) after John the Baptist's time, but that comfortable truths were laid open with such plainness and evidence that the people were so affected with them as to offer a holy violence to obtain them?

"Christ chose those to preach mercy who had felt most mercy, as Peter and Paul, that they might be examples of what they taught. Paul be-
came all things to all men (1 Cor. 9:22), stooping unto them for their good. Christ came down from heaven and emptied Himself of majesty in tender love to souls. Shall we not come down from our high con-
ceits to do any poor soul good? Shall man be proud after God has been humble? We see the ministers of Satan turn themselves into all shapes to 'make one proselyte' (Matt. 23:15). We see ambitious men study accommodation of themselves to the humours of those by whom they hope to be raised, and shall not we study application of ourselves to Christ, by whom we hope to be advanced, nay, are already sitting with Him in heavenly places? After we are gained to Christ ourselves, we should labour to gain others to Christ. Holy ambition and covet-
ousness will move us to put upon ourselves the disposition of Christ. But we must put off ourselves first."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wed., 8/24/11 Devotion (Ps. 32:1-2)

Today's encouragement comes from the great words of David, as found in Psalm 32:1 & 2:

"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit."

Are our sins forgiven in the blood atonement of Christ? If so, then we are truly blessed. The forgiven soul is a cleansed soul. It is not a per-
fect soul--it still sins a lot, all the time. But the forgiven soul is a sin-
cere soul. It no longer loves sin; in fact, it hates it. This is what is meant by the spirit having no deceit (above).

No amount of religion, devotion, activity, speech, knowledge, or game-playing can replace or make up for the forgiven soul. As we are forgiven in Jesus' blood, let us rejoice greatly in Him.

[Puritan quote of the day: "The beauties and excellencies of the Son of God will afford to all the saints inconceivable and eternal delights." --Isaac Ambrose, in, "The Christian Warrior"]

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tues., 8/23/11 Devotion (1 Sam. 15:1b)

Today's encouragement comes from 1 Samuel 15:1b, where we read these words:

" . . . Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the LORD."

These words (above) really stood out to me this morning. The prophet Samuel's phraseology to the king Saul is interesting. The "words of the Lord" are really "voiced" by God. We are reminded of 2 Tim. 3:16a, where Paul wrote: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God [or, is God-breathed]."

The word of God, then, preached, or spoken (as it was by Samuel, in the verse above), has pungent power that "breaks the cedars," and cracks the stony hearts of man into pieces. Let all faithful churched Christians "heed the voice of the words of the Lord" today. As we do this, we glorify Christ, and we benefit ourselves and everyone around us.

[Puritan quote of the day: "God is best worth thinking on. Is there any excellency in the world? Then what is there in God that made it?"
--Thomas Watson, in, "The Great Gain of Godliness"]

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mon., 8/22/11 Devotion (1 Sam. 14:45b)

Today's encouragement comes from 1 Samuel 14:45b, where we read these interesting words:

"As the LORD lives, not one hair of his [Jonathan's] head shall fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day."

The people of Israel are (here, above) saving Jonathan, Saul's son, from Saul's plan to kill him. The words they use in their defense of Jonathan are interesting: "he has worked with God this day." There is a legitimate sense in which Christians "work with God"--not only in the world, conquering His foes; but even in the sanctification process, whereby the new man in Christ "cooperates" with the Spirit's work of growth in grace.

May all believers be found "working with God" today, as we fully trust in our blessed Redeemer.

[Puritan quote of the day: "We cannot of ourselves think a good thought (2 Cor. 3:5), but the Spirit elevates and fixes the heart on God." --Thomas Watson, in, "The Great Gain of Godliness"]

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 8/19-21/11 Devotion

Wahoo--it's almost Sunday again. Lord-willing, we will be *able* to be in church in a few days. In order to help us get ready, here is the eminent Puritan pastor Richard Sibbes, from his, "The Bruised Reed" book. . . .


"Christ has conquered all in His own Person first, and He is 'over all, God blessed for ever,' (Rom. 9:5); and therefore over sin, death, hell, Satan and the world. And, as He has overcome them in Himself, so He overcomes them in our hearts and consciences. We commonly say that conscience makes a man kingly or contemptible, because it is planted in us to judge for God, either with us or against us. Now if natural conscience be so forcible, what will it be when, besides its own light, it has the light of divine truth put into it? It will undoubtedly prevail, either to make us hold up our heads with boldness or abase us beneath ourselves. If it subjects itself, by grace, to Christ's truth, then it boldly faces death, hell, judgment and all spiritual enemies, because then Christ sets up His kingdom in the conscience and makes it a kind of paradise.

"The sharpest conflict which the soul has is between the conscience and God's justice. Now if the conscience, sprinkled with the blood of Christ, has prevailed over assaults fetched from the justice of God, now satisfied by Christ, it will prevail over all other opposition what-

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thurs., 8/18/11 Devotion (Ps. 24:1)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 24:1, which says this:

"The earth is the LORD'S, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein."

One of the biggest international religious fads to be in vogue right now is earth-worship. The hysteria over "environmentalism" is its creed, and Al Gore is its high priest. The idea is that the earth is of ultimate value, and that human beings are to be subservient to it, (and are to essentially worship it).

But according to Ps. 24:1, it is GOD who ultimately "owns" the earth, because He is the One who created it. The Lord has "given" it to the meek of His church (cf. Matt. 5:5)--but He did this, not so that we would serve it, but so that it would serve us. God would have us be good stewards of His creation; but He would have us worship *Him*, and not what He made.

[Puritan quote of the day: "And so, as to the church in general, by Christ it will have its victory." --Richard Sibbes, in, "The Bruised Reed"]

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wed., 8/17/11 Devotion (Jer. 46:27)

Today's encouragement comes from Jeremiah 46:27, which says this:

"But do not fear, O My servant Jacob, and do not be dismayed, O Is-
rael! For behold, I will save you from afar, and your offspring from the land of their captivity; Jacob shall return, have rest and be at ease; no one shall make him afraid."

Behold the blessed promise God makes to His church (in every age). No matter how bad things are, or what direction they seem to be go-
ing--the Lord cannot be prevented from extending His kingdom through gospel-proclamation, and spreading His grace on His children.

Many people today anticipate evil days. It is easy to do this. But it takes faith to believe verses such as this one (above). Let true believ-
ers never lose heart. To do so is to give into the enemy. Let us trust God to keep His promises to His beloved bride.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Evil is an evil thing, and yet it may be a good thing that evil should be in the world." --Jonathan Edwards, in his sermon, "The Decrees of God"]

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tues., 8/16/11 Devotion (Jer. 44:18)

Today's encouragement comes from Jeremiah 44:18, where we read these words:

"But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine."

A major reason people commit idolatry is because of a serious mis-
understanding of the source of blessing. God through Jeremiah had condemned this worship of Ishtar, "the queen of heaven"--but the people would not risk the truth of the prophet's words, as over against an alleged stock of provision that they thought they received (by wor-
shipping the "queen of heaven").

It is wiser for us to choose to worship the true God, and to get by with hardly anything, and end up in heaven--than to commit idolatry, and allegedly have our "needs" met, and end up in hell.

[Puritan quote of the day: "The happiness of angels as well as of men consists very much in beholding the glory of God." --Jonathan Ed-
wards, in his sermon, "The Wisdom of God"]

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mon., 8/15/11 Devotion (1 Sam. 5:3a)

Today's encouragement comes from 1 Samuel 5:3a, where we read these words:

"And when the people of Ashdod arose early in the morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of the LORD."

This account (above) is part of the story of when the Philistines put the ark of the Lord in the temple of their false god Dagon. While the two objects were set there next to each other, Dagon fell down from his pedestal, and had to give homage to the Lord (through the ark's presence). The poor idol could do nothing, except collapse, and break off its head and hands (see v. 4).

So it is with all idols (or false gods)--be they the primitive type of the Philistines; or the "sophisticated" style of false believers: they all end up having to fall down and give honor to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God. Let us be thankful for this fact; and let us be sure to ab-
hor all our own idols.

[Puritan quote of the day: "It is, I say, natural to think, but it is not natural to think of God; this is proper to a saint." --Thomas Watson, in, "The Great Gain of Godliness"]

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fri.-Sabbath, 8/12-14/11 Devotion

Wahoo--it's almost Sunday. We *get* to go back to church. Richard Sibbes' words are helpful to us, as they come from his excellent "The Bruised Reed" book. . . .


"It is not only said that judgment shall be victorious, but that Christ will bring it forth openly to victory. From this we observe that grace will become glory, and come forth into the sight of all. Now Christ conquers, and achieves His own ends, but He does so to some extent invisibly. His enemies in us and outside us seem to prevail. But He will bring forth judgment unto victory, in full view of all. The wicked that now shut their eyes to this shall see it to their torment. It shall not be in the power of subtle men to see or not see what they wish. Christ will have power over their hearts; and as His wrath shall immediately seize upon their souls against their wills, so will He have power over the eyes of their souls, that they may see and know what will increase their misery. Grief shall be fastened to all their senses, and their senses to grief.

"Then all the false glosses which they put upon things shall be wiped off. Men are desirous to have the reputation of good, and yet the sweetness of ill; nothing is so cordially opposed by them as that truth which lays them open to themselves and to the eyes of others, their chief care being how to deceive the world and their own consciences. But the time will come when they shall be driven out of this fools' paradise, and the more subtle their manipulation of things has been, the more shall be their shame."