Friday, June 28, 2013

Fri.-Sabbath, 6/28-30/13 Devotion

Praise the Lord--it's almost Sunday! In order to help get us ready for church, here is Thomas Watson, from his, "The Ten Commandments" book:

"Each Sabbath may be the last we shall ever keep. We may go from the place of hearing to the place of judging--and shall not we give rev-erend attention to the word? Did we think when we come into God's house 'Perhaps this will be the last time that ever God will counsel us about our souls'; and before another sermon death's alarm will sound in our ears; with what attention and devotion should we feel, and our af-fections would be all on fire in hearing!

"You must give an account for every sermon you hear. 'Give an ac-count of your stewardship,' (Lk. 16:2). So will God say, 'Give an ac-count of your hearing. Have you been affected with the word? Have you profited by it?' How can we give a good account, if we have been distracted in hearing, and have not taken notice of what has been said to us? The judge to whom we must give an account is God. Were we to give account to man, we might falsify accounts; but we must give an account to God. . . . "

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thurs., 6/27/13 Devotion (Matt. 7:7)

Today's encouragement comes from Matthew 7:7, where our Lord Jesus said this:

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."

This promise is not made to just anyone--but to Christ's redeemed church alone. But what a great promise it is! Sometimes we think we are "asking," "seeking," and "knocking," when in fact we are not. What the Savior has in mind here is this: those who know themselves to be-long to God ought to clearly formulate their desires, and then earnestly seek them from Him--with expectation that they will be granted.

God's favor to His church is not given because we are so good, or faithful. Instead, it is given because we, by grace, *believe* the gospel, and *believe* that the Lord is both good and true. God is more than eager to give sweet gifts to His children.

[Puritan quote of the day: "What greater unthankfulness can there be than to despise any help that Christ in mercy has provided for us?"
--Richard Sibbes, in, "The Bruised Reed"]

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wed., 6/26/13 Devotion (Isa. 58:13b-14a)

Today's encouragement comes from Isaiah 58:13b & 14a, where we read these words:

"And [if you] call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD hon-orable . . . Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD . . . "

How do we "delight" ourselves "in the Lord"? Or, to put it another way, "How do we experience the truest, highest, and most lasting and sat-isfying pleasure?" The answer: by delighting in the *same* things that God Himself does.

The Lord delights in seeing faith and repentance in people, which mani-fest themselves immediately in love for Christ, His gospel, the Sabbath Day (Sunday), church, and worship. Do we want to be really happy, like God is? If so, then we must adopt His values, His priorities, and His love-objects.

[Puritan quote of the day: "We must keep grace in exercise. It is not sleepy habits, but grace in exercise, that preserves us." --Richard Sibbes, in, "The Bruised Reed"]

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tues., 6/25/13 Devotion (Matt. 5:20)

Today's encouragement comes from Matthew 5:20, where our Savior said these words, in His "Sermon on the Mount":

"For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the right-eousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."

It is hard to exceed the pharisees' righteousness. They "out-Godded" God at every turn. God said, "Fast one day a year"; and the pharisees fasted twice a week. Still, our righteousness must *exceed* theirs, if we are to get to heaven at all. How? By doing more religion than the pharisees did? No; but by giving up on works altogether; and finding our entire righteous standing before God in Jesus alone (apprehended by grace through faith alone).

No one goes to heaven with any sin on the soul. What are we to do about this monumental problem? Nothing. Instead, we are to rest (by faith) in the One (Christ) who represents us (His church) before the throne of grace. Believing churchmen have *perfect* righteousness be-cause Jesus' blood was shed for them.

[Puritan quote of the day: "As godly men shall never be condemned for their sins, so their sins shall never part God and them." --William Bridge, in, "A Lifting Up for the Downcast"]

Monday, June 24, 2013

Mon., 6/24/13 Devotion (Matt. 4:1)

Today's encouragement comes from Matthew 4:1, which says this:

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil."

Who would have thought that the blessed and gentle Holy Spirit of God would lead the pristine Son of God into a wilderness, to be tempted by the crass and carnal devil? We tend to have these notions, that the Lord would never do something like this--that it is somehow out of char-acter (for Him).

But all this is because we do not yet fully understand the ways of God. He sometimes leads His own churchmen into situations where they will be tempted to sin; all the while, at the same time, commanding us--as in the Lord's Prayer--to ask not to be led "into temptation." Are we go-ing through temptation today? Let us recognize that Jesus faced it, too. We should pray for God to deliver us in the grace of Christ's re-demption of us.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Sin gains not, but is a loser by every fall of the godly." --William Bridge, in "A Lifting Up for the Downcast"]

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fri.-Sabbath, 6/14-16/13 Devotion

Yippee--Sunday is *almost* here!  We *get* to go to church!  Here's Thomas Watson, from "Heaven Taken by Storm":

"Truth is the most glorious thing; the least filing of this gold is precious. What shall we be violent for, if not for truth? Truth is ancient; its grey hairs may make it venerable; it comes from Him who is 'The Ancient of Days.' Truth is unerring, it is the Star which leads to Christ. Truth is pure, (Psalm 119:140). It is compared to silver refined seven times, (Psalm 12:6). There is not the least spot on truth's face; it breathes no-thing but sanctity.

"Truth is triumphant; it is like a great conqueror. When all his enemies lie dead, it keeps the field and sets up its trophies of victory. Truth may be opposed but never quite deposed. In the time of Dioclesian things seemed desperate and truth ran low. Soon after was the golden time of Constantine, and then truth did again lift up its head. When the water in the Thames is lowest, a high tide is ready to come in. God is on truth's side and so long as there is no fear it will prevail . . . "

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thurs., 6/13/13 Devotion (Isa. 45:5a)

Today's encouragement comes from Isaiah 45:5a, where we read these words:

"I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God besides
Me. . . . "

Are we Christians true monotheists; or do we just pretend to be? The Lord (YHWH) says that He *alone* is God, and that no other gods exist. Do we believe this? The pressure on us from the world is for us to "clump" all "gods" together. For example, we are told that the Mus-lims' allah is god, just in another form. The same could be said for oth-er religions as well.

But is it wise to throw away the plain truth of the Scriptures for political expediency? Surely, it is not. Worse yet, it is a slight to the true God to in any way, shape, or form associate Him with false gods. Let us be true (Puritan) Christians; and boldly take our stand on the true faith in the one and only Savior Jesus Christ, (and let the chips fall where they may).

[Puritan quote of the day: "It is by faith that we have a title to eternal life because it is by faith that we have the Son of God by whom life is." --Jonathan Edwards, in, "Justification by Faith Alone"]

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wed., 6/12/13 Devotion (Isa. 44:19c)

Today's encouragement comes from Isaiah 44:19c, where we read these words:

" . . . Shall I fall down before a block of wood?"

The soul is God's noblest creation. Man was crafted in the very "image of God." Therefore, it is especially deplorable that fallen and sinful hu-man beings choose to worship sticks, stones, and piles of dirt. It makes absolutely no sense at all--and yet such is the remarkable stu-pidity that befalls blinded sinners.

But there is an answer to this shameful dilemma. Instead of looking down, on the lower creation (even than that of ourselves), let us look *up* to the God that has created us. And there is no way to behold that God, except by faith in the One (Christ) who has redeemed us, and made us His holy church.

[Puritan quote of the day: "There is a peculiar relation between true Christians and Christ which there is not between Him [Christ] and others." --Jonathan Edwards, in "Justification by Faith Alone"]

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tues., 6/11/13 Devotion (Isa. 43:10b)

Today's encouragement comes from Isaiah 43:10b, where we read these words:

"Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me."

Sometimes children ask, "Who made God?" No one made God, be-cause God is in a unique category of existence--"necessary" exist-ence--that no other reality shares with Him. But the germane point of the Scripture's teaching about God's eternality is not just to have inter-esting philosophical knowledge--instead, it is a spur for us to trust Him.

Let us humbly accept the obvious fact that a God exists; and then let us go much further, and believe His gospel of grace in the Lord Jesus Christ.

[Puritan quote of the day: "A repenting person fears and sins not; a graceless person sins and fears not." --Thomas Watson, in, "The Doc-trine of Repentance"]

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sat.-Sabbath, 6/1-2/13 Devotion

Wahoo: Sunday is only hours away! Let us prepare ourselves well for our high and holy calling of the worship of God in His church on the Lord's Day. Toward that end, here is TW, from "A Test of Assurance: How we Know Whether we Love God?":

"He who loves God IS NOT MUCH IN LOVE WITH ANYTHING ELSE. His love is very cool to worldly things. His love to God moves swiftly, as the sun in the firmament; to the world it moves slowly, as the sun on the dial. The love of the world eats out the heart of religion; it chokes good affections, as earth puts out fire. The world was a dead thing to Paul: 'I am crucified to the world, and the world is crucified to me,' (Gal. 6:14). In Paul we may see both the picture and pattern of a mortified man. He that loves God, uses the world but chooses God. The world engages him, but God delights and satisfies him. He says as David, 'God my exceeding joy,' the gladness or cream of my joy, (Ps. 43:4).

"He who loves God CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT HIM. Things we love we cannot be without. A man can do without music or flowers, but not food; so a soul deeply in love with God looks upon himself as undone without Him. 'Hide not Your face from me, lest I be like them that go down into the pit,' (Ps. 143:7). . . . Is God our chief good, and we can-not live without Him? Alas! how do they show they have no love to God who can do well enough without Him! Let them have corn and oil, and you shall never hear them complain of the lack of God."