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"]