Friday, November 28, 2014

Fri.-Sabbath, 11/28-30/14 Devotion

Yippee—it is almost Sunday! In order to help get us ready for church, here is Thomas Watson, from his "The Ten Commandments” book. This section shows us our utter need of Christ and His righteousness (being imputed to our souls, by faith). . . .

"As the unregenerate cannot keep the moral law perfectly, so neither can the regenerate. 'There is not a just man upon earth, that does good and sins not’; nay, that 'sins not in doing good,' (Eccl. 7:20). There is that in the best actions of a righteous man that is damnable, if God should weigh him in the balance of justice. Alas! how are his duties fly-blown [messed-up]! He cannot pray without wandering, nor believe without doubting. 'To will is present with me, but how to perform I find not.' In the Greek it is, 'How to do it thoroughly I find not,' (Rom. 7:18). Paul, though a saint of the first magnitude, was better at willing than at performing. . . . Aaron was to make atonement for the altar, to show that the most holy offering has defilement in it, and needs atonement to be made for it, (Ex. 29:37)."

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thurs., 11/27/14 Devotion (Lk. 11:37)

Happy Thanksgiving Day, (that great American, and Puritan holiday)!

Today's encouragement comes from Luke 11:37, fittingly, on this day. There, we read these words:

"And as [Jesus] spoke, a certain Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and sat down to eat."

Our Lord Jesus had some pretty sumptuous meals during His first advent on earth. The pharisees—though short on humility—were typically long on show (and abundance). What do we learn from Christ's willingness to eat, even with a pharisee? That the gospel is to go to *all* sorts of people—particularly those in the very *worst* spiritual conditions (as was the case with the phari-sees).

The dinner conversation turned a bit gnarly, as we see in vv. 39 ff., but even there our Redeemer was doing his guest a favor, by exposing his sin, and di-recting him to Himself.

[Puritan quote of the day: "So let us seriously and fruitfully consider what ex-cellent times the Lord has set us in, and respond thankfully and obediently."
Richard Sibbes, in, "Glorious Freedom"]

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wed., 11/26/14 Devotion (Lk. 10:21a)

Today's encouragement comes from Luke 10:21a, where we read these few words:

"In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, 'I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth . . . ' "

Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself often thanked His Heavenly Father for the vari-ous blessings and mercies that were wrought during the time of the Messiah's first advent. All genuine Spirit-filled living renders thanksgiving to God. There is almost nothing more wretched and disgusting, than a thankless, graceless person.

As tomorrow many of us gather for Thanksgiving Day—the one great Ameri-can Puritan holiday—let us follow not only our excellent Pilgrim spiritual fath-ers, but even much more, our Lord, King, Savior, and Head of the church, the Lord Jesus—by giving heartfelt and sincere thanks to God.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Justification admits of no degrees. No, not in heav-en—you are not more justified there than you are here. You are now as per-fectly justified as ever and as accepted of Christ as ever." —Jeremiah Bur-roughs, in, "Gospel Remission"]

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tues., 11/25/14 Devotion (Jonah 4:6)

Today's encouragement comes from Jonah 4:6, where we read these words:

"And the LORD God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant."

To his credit, Jonah was "grateful for the plant"; but it would soon be evident that Jonah's thankfulness was piecemeal. When God removed the plant, Jonah became very peevish and childish. When God refused to give Jonah a divine fireworks display, by blowing up Nineveh, it displeased the prophet greatly.

True gratitude that honors God is universal and uniform. This does not mean that we Christians will always get it right; but it does mean that we are to set our hearts on being grateful to God for all things, be they "good" or "evil."

[Puritan quote of the day: "As the sun rises by degrees till it comes to shine in glory, so it was with the Sun of Righteousness [Christ]. He revealed Himself in the church little by little." --Richard Sibbes, in, "Glorious Freedom"]

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mon., 11/24/14 Devotion (Lk. 8:1a, 39b)

Today's encouragement comes from Luke 8:1a & 39b, where we read these words:

"Now it came to pass, afterward, that [Jesus] went through every city and vil-lage, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. . . . And [the formerly demon-possessed man] went his way and proclaimed through-out the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him."

Here is a great pattern of how true Christianity works. Jesus' gospel is pro-claimed from the church's pulpits, the cities of the world are filled with Christ's doctrine (cf. Acts 5:28b), and the individually-redeemed saints bring this good news to everyone they can.

Today, just like then, what Christ preaches through His clergy, the parishion-ers proclaim in their worlds and spheres of influence. In this way "every city" and "whole cit[ies]" are reached with the gospel of grace.

[Puritan quote of the day: "What would become of us if there were not grace above sin, and mercy above misery, and power in Christ Jesus above all the power in Satan and death?" --Richard Sibbes, in, "Glorious Freedom"]

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fri.-Sabbath, 11/21-23/14 Devotion

Hip, hip, hooray—it is almost Sunday! In order to help get us ready for church, here is Thomas Watson, from his book, "The Beatitudes":

"Let us carry ourselves as the children of God in magnanimity and heroical-ness [as heroes]. The saints are high-born. They are of the true bloodroyal, born of God. They must do nothing sneakingly or sordidly. They must not fear the faces of men. As said that brave-spirited Nehemiah, 'Shall such a man as I flee?' (Neh. 6:11). So, should a child of God say, 'Shall I be afraid to do my duty? Shall I unworthily comply and prostitute myself to the lusts and humors of men?'? The children of the most High should do nothing to stain or dis-honor their noble birth. A king's son scorns to do anything that is below him."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thurs., 11/20/14 Devotion (Lk. 4:20)

Today's encouragement comes from Luke 4:20, where we read these words:

"Then He [Jesus] closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him."

In this world, the special time the people of God can collectively gaze upon Jesus intently is in church on Sunday. In today's text (above), the Lord Christ is keeping the old Sabbath. The citizens of Nazareth are, too. They have heard the Word of God read (by Christ), and now the Messiah is about to ex-pound on it. As He does so, the congregants are locked-in on the Redeemer.

This is a good pattern for all who would be Christ's followers today. Let *us* "fix our eyes on Jesus," (as per Heb. 12:2a). Then, upon leaving church, let us love and follow the Savior, (rather than seek to throw Him off the cliff, as the Nazarenes had hoped to do).

[Puritan quote of the day: "Christ is called grace. He is the grace of God cloth-ed with man's nature." --Richard Sibbes, in, "Glorious Freedom"]

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wed., 11/19/14 Devotion (1 Chron. 14:12)

Today's encouragement comes from 1 Chronicles 14:12, where we read these words:

"And when they [the Philistines] left their gods there, David gave a command-ment, and they were burned with fire."

To me, this is one of the funnier verses in the Bible. The Philistines lug their gods around; and after they get defeated on the battlefield by David and the Israelites, they (the Philistines) dump their gods, and do not even bother to take them with them (as they flee).

What good are gods that cannot possess enough value, so that people do not even show them a little respect, so as to get them off the field of battle?! But so it is with all idols: they are worthless. They are good only for being burned (see above). Even our "sophisticated" idols need to be thrown into the dump.

[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 communi-cations 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 Min-ister"]

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tues., 11/18/14 Devotion (Lk. 2:10-11)

Today's encouragement comes from Luke 2:10 & 11, where we read these great words:

"Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.' "

These familiar Advent season words are applicable to the church, and to the world all the time. When we are given to fear, let us remember that over-whelming joy has been given to us—and not only to us, but to "All people." But this heavenly comfort and consolation has a Name, Christ, who is "born to [us]" in time and space.

Therefore, it matters not so much what we face today, as much as it does the One we direct our faces to (in faith). If we would but look to Jesus today, and simply ask for His help—surely we will share in the joy of His incarnation and atonement (of sinners).

[Puritan quote of the day: "And by the Spirit we have the beginnings of these [liberties] in this world, too. For, what is peace of conscience and joy in the Holy Ghost? Is it not the beginnings of heaven . . . ?" --Richard Sibbes, in, "Glorious Freedom"]

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mon., 11/17/14 Devotion (Lk. 1:68)

Today's encouragement comes from Luke 1:68, where we read these words:

"Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His peo-ple . . . "

God does not relate to us, His church, from afar. Instead, He condescends to us, perfectly, in the incarnation of His Son Jesus. Then, having visited us, the Redeemer does the unthinkable, and dies for us. But that in itself would not be enough, if He did not also rise again from the dead (for us).

For all of these reasons, we, like Zacharias, whose words are found above, ought to "Bless the Lord God of Israel." There is every cause to do so, and no reason to fail to do so. No matter how dark our days may appear, or how heavy our burdens may be—the Light is shining about us (in the Lord Jesus Christ); and His burden is light.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Now when the Spirit of God sets the will at liberty, a man does what he does being fully advised by reason." --Richard Sibbes, in, "Glorious Freedom"]

Friday, November 14, 2014

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

Thank God--Sunday is almost here. We get to go to church, and worship The Lord. In order to help get us ready, here is Thomas Watson, from his "The Art of Divine Contentment" book:

"To learn Christ, is to believe in Him: 'My Lord, and my God,' (Jn. 20:28). When we do not only believe God, but IN God, which is the actual application of Christ to ourselves, and is as it were the spreading of the sacred medicine of His blood upon our souls. Have you heard much of Christ, and yet cannot with a humble adherence say, 'My Jesus'? Be not offended if I tell you, the devil can say his creed as well as you.

"To learn Christ, is to love Christ. When we have gospel-conversations, our lives like rich diamonds cast a sparkling lustre in the church of God; and are, in some sense, parallel with the life of Christ, as the transcript with the origin-al."

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mon., 11/3/14 Devotion (Ps. 126:3)

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

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

If we are regenerated Christian churchman, then one thing is absolutely true of us: the Lord has done great things for us. To be given Jesus Christ, His righteousness, and His Spirit; to be placed into His church, and to be the re-cipient of His many tender mercies and gentle benevolences—is to be bless-ed, indeed.

Flowing from these (most important) spiritual blessings are numerous tempor-al benefits, as well: family, country, health, sustenance, material goods, and even recreational enjoyments. All God's people have much *more* to be thankful for than any of us could ever adequately enumerate. Let us recog-nize this—especially in our dark times—and give God proper gratitude.

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