Monday, April 30, 2012

Mon., 4/30/12 Devotion (Ps. 42:6)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 42:6, where we read these words:

"O my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore I will remem-ber You from the land of the Jordan, and from the heights of Hermon, from the Hill Mizar."

Are any of our souls "cast down" within us today? If so, we are in good company. The psalmists often express this feeling. Even our Lord Jesus Christ Himself experienced it, (cf. Matt. 26:38). What are our options, when this happens?: 1) throw in the towel (not a good one); and 2) re-look to God for the million and first time (the right one).

If we can "remember" God's former mercies to us, in the midst of our present struggles--then we will be much-helped. Let us not despair. Instead, let's keep on trusting in the Lord.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Humility is a duty pleasing to God, pride is a sin pleasing to the devil (Isa. 57:15; 1 Tim. 3:6)." --Thomas Boston, in, "The Crook in the Lot"]

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fri.-Sabbath, 4/27-29/12 Devotion

Hip, hip, hooray--it's almost Sunday! We GET to go back to church! Here is Thomas Watson, on the subject of the Humble Man, from his book, "The Picture of a Godly Man." . . .

"Question: How may a Christian know that he is humble and conse-quently godly?

"Answer 1: A humble soul is emptied of all swelling thoughts of him-self. Bernard calls humility a self-annihilation. 'You, [God], will save the humble,' (Job 22:29). In the Hebrew it is, 'Him that is of low eyes.' A humble man has lower thoughts of himself than others can have of him. David, though a king, still looked upon himself as a worm: 'I am a worm, and no man,' (Psa. 22:6). Bradford, a martyr, still subscribes himself a sinner. 'If I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head,' (Job 10:15)–-like the violet which is a sweet flower, but hangs down the head.

"Answer 2: A humble soul thinks better of others than of himself: 'Let each esteem others better than themselves,' (Php. 2:3). A humble man values others at a higher rate than himself, and the reason is be-cause he can see his own heart better than he can another's. He sees his own corruption and thinks surely it is not so with others. Their graces are not so weak as his; their corruptions are not so strong. 'Surely', he thinks, 'they have better hearts than I.' A humble Christian studies his own infirmities and another's excellences, and that makes him put a higher value upon others than himself. 'Surely I am more brutish than any man,' (Prov. 30:2). And Paul, though he was the chief of the apostles, still calls himself 'less than the least of all saints,' (Eph. 3:8)."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thurs., 4/26/12 Devotion (Ps. 37:4)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 37:4, where David wrote this:

"Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart."

The reason God can give anything and everything that is desired, by a
humble, Spirit-filled, loving, and faithful Christian is because there is perfect harmony between God's will, and this believer's will. Those who delight in Christ seek their fulfillment and their pleasure in Him. And because they love God, they only want from Him those things that glorify the Lord, and build up Christ's church.

We will never delight in God so long as we love our sin. But, when we
forsake our sin, and cleave to Christ--we never ever regret it. God will be no man's debtor; He will fill us with His delights.

[Puritan quote of the day: "[God's] glory is much promoted by the
preaching of the word, which is His engine whereby He converts souls." --Thomas Watson, in, "A Body of Divinity"]

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wed., 4/25/12 Devotion (Ps. 36:8)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 36:8, where these great words are found:

"They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures."

God is not against our pleasure. In fact, He is really into it. The true Christian churchman must go through many trials; but this in no way diminishes the fact that he or she enjoys the greatest, and most satis-fying delights. A Christian who always hangs one's head is telling the world that he does not have a very good God.

If we do not avail ourselves of Jesus, and His provisions as meted-out in and through His church, we will know nothing of what David speaks above.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Get contentment into the sling of your heart, and with this sacred stone you may both defy the world and conquer it." --Thomas Watson, in, "The Art of Divine Contentment"]

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tues., 4/24/12 Devotion (Num. 1:1a)

Today's encouragement comes from Numbers 1:1a, which says this:

"Now the LORD spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the taber- nacle of meeting, on the first day of the second month . . . "

Maybe we feel like we are in the "Wilderness of Sinai"--wandering around for years, with no apparent direction. If so, and assuming that we are faithful churchmen, let us not despair. Like Moses, we also have the "tabernacle of meeting." We are privileged to bring our sacri- fices of praise to the Triune God every Lord's Day, the first day of the week.

Jesus, the anchor of our souls, will keep us tethered to Himself, no matter how difficult things may get here. God still speaks to His chil- dren today. Let us be sure to hear His voice.

[Puritan quote of the day: "But plain dealers will always be approved in the end; and the time is at hand when you will confess that they were your best friends." --Richard Baxter, in the dedication of "The Reformed Pastor"]

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mon., 4/23/12 Devotion (Ps. 34:22)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 34:22, where we read these words:

"The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned."

Is it not a magnificent blessing, to know that our sins are forgiven in Jesus' blood atonement (alone)--especially when we are hard-pressed from within and without? When others would condemn us; our good God exonerates us--since we are in Christ and His church.

Even our own hearts, at times, would seek to condemn us (cf. 1 Jn. 3:20). Even here, the faithful Christian should take comfort--not in him- or herself--but in Jesus alone. A "redeemed soul" is a great achievement; but it cost God the blood of His Own dear Son, who gave Himself for us.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Submit to Christ willingly. All the devils in hell submit to Christ; but it is against their will; they are His slaves, not His subjects." --Thomas Watson, in, "A Body of Divinity"]

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fri.-Sabbath, 4/20-22/12 Devotion

Wahoo--it's almost Sunday! Yippee. As we prepare to worship God in church on His day, here are good words from TW's "All Things for Good":

"Christ is in heaven, as Aaron with his golden plate upon his forehead, and his precious incense; and He prays for all believers as well as He did for the apostles. 'Neither pray I for these alone but for all them that shall believe in me,' (John 17:20). When a Christian is weak, and can hardly pray for himself, Jesus Christ is praying for him; and He prays for three things. First, that the saints may be kept from sin (John 17:15). 'I pray that You would keep them from evil.' We live in the world as in a pest house; Christ prays that His saints may not be infected with the contagious evil of the times. Second, for His peo- ple's progress in holiness. 'Sanctify them,' (John 17:17). Let them have constant supplies of the Spirit, and be anointed with fresh oil. Third, for their glorification: 'Father, I will that those which You have given me, be with me where I am,' (John 17:24). Christ is not content till the saints are in His arms. This prayer, which He made on earth, is the copy and pattern of His prayer in heaven. What a comfort is this; when Satan is tempting, Christ is praying! This works for good."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thurs., 4/19/12 Devotion (2 Tim. 2:8)

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

"Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel."

Why would Paul have to remind Timothy that Jesus was raised from the dead? Because, every time he (or we) fall into fear and unbelief--we have, essentially, forgotten this most-important truth. And note that Christ is "of the seed of David." In other words, He is one of us. He understands our weaknesses; and He has gone ahead of us, in the resurrection.

May we, today, not forget that our Savior--unlike all the false "gods" of all the world's false religions--*is* alive, even right now. Therefore, let us appeal to Him for help, in prayer.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Morality shoots short of heaven. It is only nature refined. A moral man is but old Adam dressed in fine clothes." --Thomas Watson, in, "The Doctrine of Repentance"]

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wed., 4/18/12 Devotion (Ps. 28:9)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 28:9, where we read these words:

"Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance; shepherd them also, and bear them up forever."

This is a neat Davidic prayer, that pretty well covers all the bases. We should ask God to save, bless, shepherd, and support His church and every individual member therein. Without salvation, there will be no blessing; but with the forgiveness of sins comes every other good thing.

If we are in Christ today, then let us recognize that we have great privileges, and also big responsibilities. We, like David, have the ear of God--and He delights to hear us ask for the sweet redemptive blessings we read of above, (in Ps. 28:9).

[Puritan quote of the day: "Souls that have seen, and heard, and tast-
ed of the goodness of the Lord in ordinances, dearly love them, and highly prize them." --Thomas Brooks, in, "Heaven on Earth"]

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tues., 4/17/12 Devotion (Ps. 27:1)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 27:1, where we read these words:

"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

This is a logical deduction of every faithful churched Christian. If Christ is our light and salvation--how can anything or anyone hurt us? Therefore, why should we fear anything (but God)? If the Lord is our life's strength, then what enemy can possibly stand up to Him? There-
fore, why should the foe be feared?

Believers are the only ones with enough sense to know that there are dangers in the world. But ironically, they are also the only ones who have no cause to fear them. Let us trust God for all things; and worry about nothing.

[Puritan quote of the day: "The wounds of secure sinners will not be healed with sweet words." --Richard Sibbes, in, "The Bruised Reed"]

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mon., 4/16/12 Devotion (Ps. 25:10)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 25:10, where we read these words:

"All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies."

Are we faithful to our church covenant (baptismal) vows? If so, then God is also faithful to us--and will lead us in paths of "mercy and truth." Our faithfulness is not a result of our own goodness; instead, it is the fruit of the gift of genuine and real faith in Christ.

If we are in Christ (and therefore in covenant with God) let us take comfort from the fact that our Father will only direct us into what is ultimately good for us, and also what is truly best for us. Let us per-
severe to the end--we will not regret doing so.

[Puritan quote of the day: "The best men are severe to themselves, [but] tender over others." --Richard Sibbes, in, "The Bruised Reed"]

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fri.-Sabbath, 4/13-15/12 Devotion

Wahoo--it's almost Sunday! We GET to go back to church! Here is TW, from his "The Ten Commandments" book. . . .

"What comfort may be given to a regenerate person under the failures and imperfections of his obedience?

"That a believer is not under the covenant of works, but under the covenant of grace. The covenant of works requires perfect, personal, perpetual obedience; but in the covenant of grace, God will make some abatements; He will accept less than He required in the cove-
nant of works. (1) In the covenant of works God required perfection of degrees; in the covenant of grace he accepts perfection of parts. There he required perfect working, here he accepts sincere believing. In the covenant of works, God required us to live without sin; in the covenant of grace He accepts of our combat with sin. (2) Though a Christian cannot, in his own person, perform all God's command-
ments; yet Christ, as his Surety, and in his stead, has fulfilled the law for him: and God accepts of Christ's obedience, which is perfect, to satisfy for that obedience which is imperfect. Christ being made a curse for believers, all the curses of the law have their sting pulled out. (3) Though a Christian cannot keep the commands of God to satisfaction, yet he may to approbation."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thurs., 4/12/12 Devotion (1 Tim. 1:15)

Today's encouragement comes from 1 Timothy 1:15, where Paul wrote these great words:

"This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."

Are we sinners today? Do we know ourselves to be such? If so, then let us take courage. Someone well said, "Take heart--you're worse than you think you are." The reason we can be encouraged is because Jesus came to save sinners, not good people. Good people go to hell. Bad people, redeemed by Jesus' blood, and made to love Him, and fear Him, go to heaven.

So, let us remember why Christ came: to save sinners. Let us be glad for this wondrous fact.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Thus God is said in Scripture to impute righteousness to them who believe, not because they have this right-
eousness in them, but because He reckons it as theirs, and reckons them righteous by it." --Obadiah Grew, in, "The Lord our Righteous-

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wed., 4/11/12 Devotion (Ps. 18:1-2)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 18:1 & 2, where we read these words:

"I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

When God does something overtly good for us--then, all of a sudden we are awakened from our spiritual slumber, and we give Him heart-
felt praise and thanks. We then feel a bit ashamed, that we failed to praise God in the same way when the "sun wasn't shining," so to speak.

But such is life. We are so overrun by our feelings and emotions, that it is hard for us to be rational in our faith walk. As we grow in grace, let us always thank God for all things--because, in Jesus, the church is *always* supremely blessed.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Are your greatest sufferings comparable to the least spark of grace or beam of glory revealed in you or to you?"
--Thomas Brooks, in, "Heaven on Earth"]

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tues., 4/10/12 Devotion (Prov. 28:26a)

Today's encouragement comes from Proverbs 28:26a, where we read these few words:

"He who trusts in his own heart is a fool . . . "

Trust of self is a great snare. Believers are to trust in God, through the Lord Jesus Christ--and not in anyone or anything else, ultimately. People naturally think they know what is best for themselves. This is not true. Without the divine revelation of the gospel being preached to them, people *cannot* know what is best for them. Every person needs to be told and taught what to believe; and in Whom (Christ) they must believe.

Today, when we are tempted to trust in ourselves--or in some other sinner--let us consider the past (sad) results of doing so. Instead, let us trust in Jesus, as we are (after all) His holy and beloved church.

[Puritan quote of the day: "A holy despair in ourselves is the ground of true hope." --Richard Sibbes, in, "The Bruised Reed"]

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mon., 4/9/12 Devotion (Ps. 16:6)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 16:6, where we read these words:

"The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good in-

If we believing Christian churchmen could see the whole picture (as God does), we would be totally amazed at how incredibly good we have it (in Christ). Because of sin, the fall, and the clogs and corrup-
tions of our flesh--we fail to recognize this a lot of the time.

Every once in a while we get a blessed glimpse of just how wonder-
fully blessed we truly are. But it is faith that says, "I know I have it all, in Christ. Therefore, I will be thankful, and give God praise (de-
spite how I might feel)."

[Puritan quote of the day: "Faith is the key that unlocks paradise, and lets in a flood of joy into the soul." --Thomas Brooks, in, "Heaven on Earth"]

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fri.-Sabbath, 4/6-8/12 Devotion

Wahoo--it's almost Sunday! We get to go back to church again. On top of that, this coming Lord's Day is Easter Sunday. To encourage us, here is Thomas Watson writing on God's Mercy, from his book, "A Body of Divinity." . . .

"We are to look upon God in prayer, not in His judgment robes, but clothed with a rainbow full of mercy and clemency. Add wings to prayer. When Jesus Christ ascended up to heaven, that which made Him go up there with joy was, 'I go to My Father'; so that which should make our hearts ascend with joy in prayer, is, 'We are going to the Father of mercy, who sits upon the throne of grace.' Go with confi-
dence in this mercy; as when one goes to a fire, not doubtingly, say-
ing, 'perhaps it will warm me, perhaps not.'

"Believe in God's mercy. 'I will trust in the mercy of God forever,' (Psa 52:8). God's mercy is a fountain opened. Let down the bucket of faith and you may drink of this fountain of salvation. What greater encour-
agement to believe than God's mercy? God counts it His glory to be scattering pardons. He is desirous that sinners should touch the golden sceptre of His mercy and live."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thurs., 4/5/12 Devotion (1 Thess. 2:4)

Today's encouragement comes from 1 Thessalonians 2:4, where Paul wrote these words to the church:

"But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gos-
pel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts."

Like Paul, faithful pastors today are not so concerned about any man, as they are about pleasing God. God's ministers know that they are of no good to man at all, unless they are first and foremost honoring and properly-representing their Lord, who sent them out to preach.

The same could be said for any Christian. The believer's primary goal is to see Christ as the sole "audience" of all his or her worship and obedience. In this way (only) is effective ministry, and victorious liv-
ing possible.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Indeed, sometimes grace is as a sleepy habit in the soul, like sap in the vine--not exerting its vigor, due to spiritual sloth or by reason of falling into some sin--but this is only for a while. The spring of grace will come, the flowers will appear, and the fig tree will put forth her green figs." --Thomas Watson, in, "The Art of Divine Contentment"]

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wed., 4/4/12 Devotion (Ps. 7:1)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 7:1, where David wrote these great words:

"O LORD my God, in You I put my trust; save me from all those who persecute me; and deliver me."

God is very pleased when we trust Him--when we put our faith in Him. Are our lives in danger right now? This is not evidence, neces-
sarily, of God's displeasure. Perhaps, rather, it is the Lord's means by which to cause us to more fully rely on Christ.

Down here, we *will* have trouble. We *will* need to be "delivered." The only question is this: who will we trust, to set our souls free? Let us trust in Christ. He will never fail us.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Do I lack bread? I have Christ, the Bread of Life. Am I under defilement? His blood is like the trees of the sanc-
tuary: not only for meat, but for medicine." --Thomas Watson, in, "The Art of Divine Contentment"]

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tues., 4/3/12 Devotion (Lev. 6:13)

Today's encouragement comes from Leviticus 6:13, where we read these words:

"A fire shall always be burning on the altar; it shall never go out."

The entire Old Covenant sacrificial system prefigured the (now-com-
pleted) work of Christ. The fire not going out reminds us of the eter-
nal intercession Jesus' blood now effects for His redeemed, forgiven, and yet far-from-sinless elect churchmen.

Because of Christ's mediation on our behalf, the fire of our affection, devotion, and commitment--though sometimes waning--must be ever-stoked with the loving gratitude of our faith-filled and atoned-for hearts.

[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"]

Monday, April 2, 2012

Mon., 4/2/12 Devotion (Ps. 3:6)

Today's encouragement comes from Psalm 3:6, where we read these words:

"I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set them-
selves against me all around."

David wrote these words as he was fleeing from Absalom. A believer with this much confidence surely trusts in the Lord. There is no way anyone could adequately protect himself from "ten thousands of peo-
ple." Only God can set that kind of shield around the heart and soul of His beloved churchman.

When we trust in Christ, truly and wholeheartedly--we corresponding-
ly lose our fear of man. This is a faith that pleases God; and it is ex-
tremely liberating.

[Puritan quote of the day: "It is better to go with difficulty to heaven than with ease to hell." --Thomas Watson, in the preface to "The Doc-
trine of Repentance"]