Friday, August 12, 2022

Fri.-Sabbath, 8/12-14/22 Devotion

Praise God—it is 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. . . .

“Overcoming Discouragements . . .

"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 He will bring us out, more re-fined. 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 lift us up (Psa. 37:24). 'You have heard of the patience of Job,' says James (Jas. 5:11). We have heard of his impatience too, but it pleased God mercifully to overlook that. . . .

"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 humans; and not for perfect people, but for weak people. . . . "

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Thurs., 8/11/22 Devotion (Jer. 39:18b)

Today's encouragement comes from Jeremiah 39:18b, where we read these words:

" . . . 'But your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me,' says the LORD."

This statement (above) was made by God, to an Ethiopian man named Ebed-Melech. The Lord specifically commissioned the prophet Jeremiah to say this to Ebed-Melech. Almost everyone else in Jerusalem was going to feel the wrath of the Babylonians; but this Ethiopian man (maybe not even a Jew) was going to be spared.

. . . And why? Because Ebed-Melech put his trust in God. There is great pow-er in regenerative, saving faith in Christ. This kind of faith pleases God (Heb. 11:6); and the Lord promises to bless all those who believe His promises, all in Jesus, (cf. 2 Cor. 1:18-22).

[Puritan quote of the day: "The saints and people of God have no true reason for their discouragements, whatever their condition be.” —William Bridge, in, "A Lifting Up for the Downcast"

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Wed., 8/10/22 Devotion (Acts 28:6)

Today's encouragement comes from Acts 28:6, where these words are found:

"However, they were expecting that [Paul] would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god."

Behold the amazing fickleness of religious man. In v. 4, the Maltese thought Paul was a murderer. Two verses later, they think he is a god. There is a les-son for us here: it is the weakness of the flesh to automatically run to wild ex-tremes, in the evaluation of people. The truth is that even the redeemed of the Lord operate in the "middle," "gray area," where our new nature in Christ is gaining the ascendency over our old nature in Adam.

Let us be wary of either exalting or demeaning God's people. Only Christ is 100% perfect in every way.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Zeal quickens the pursuit after glory. Zeal, encoun-tering difficulty, is emboldened by opposition and tramples upon danger.”
—Thomas Watson, in, "The Doctrine of Repentance"]

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Tues., 8/9/22 Devotion (Acts 27:31)

Today's encouragement comes from Acts 27:31, where we read these words:

"Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, 'Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.' "

What Paul says (above) regarding the merchant ship on which he and many others were sailing, God would say to all professing Christians: "Unless you stay in the gospel ship (of Christ as His church), you cannot be saved." Why would anybody want to "jump ship"? Because of persecution, trial, fiery fur-naces of affliction, cowardice, unbelief, etc.

The good ship of Jesus sails over the sea of judgment today, as Noah's ark did in the book of Genesis. Let all God's true children stay faithful in Christ and His church—and enjoy the voyage, even when it gets bumpy.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Not one of all God's true soldiers was ever left to perish on the field of battle.” —Thomas Jones, in the preface of Isaac Am-brose's, "The Christian Warrior"]

Monday, August 8, 2022

Mon., 8/8/22 Devotion (Acts 26:8)

Today's encouragement comes from Paul's words, as they are found in Acts 26:8:

"Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?"

Authentic Christianity is all about resurrection life, at every turn. The faith of believers is built on the objective historical fact of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. And the current experience of regeneration (resulting in justifi-cation, etc.) is the fruit of the soul's resurrection with Jesus (even now). If we take resurrection out of any aspect of our faith, we have nothing left.

All resurrection (or Spirit-filled) living is miraculous; but, as Paul avers above, it is not impossible, or irrational. What struggles do we have today? Let us, by faith, go to the resurrected Christ.

[Puritan quote of the day: "It is not so much the sins we have committed that so provoke and grieve Christ as that we refuse the medicine of repentance which He prescribes.” —Thomas Watson, in, "The Doctrine of Repentance"]

Friday, August 5, 2022

Fri.-Sabbath, 8/5-7/22 Devotion

Praise God—it is almost Sunday again. We *get* to go back to church! In or-der to help get us ready, here is Richard Sibbes, from his, "The Bruised Reed" classic. . . .

“Justification Leads to Sanctification . . .

"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. . . .

"2. In the course of our life, after we are in a state of grace, if we are overtak-en 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 to overcome this 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. . . . The constraint that He lays upon His subjects is that of love. He draws us sweetly with the cords of love. . . . Christ's Spirit must likewise subdue our hearts, and sanctify them to love Him, without which all motives would be ineffectual."

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Thurs., 8/4/22 Devotion (Acts 22:8a, 10a)

Today's encouragement comes from Acts 22:8a & 10a, where we read these words:

"So I [Paul] answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ . . . So I [Paul] said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ "

All human beings—even extremely zealous pharisaical ones, like the pre-converted Paul—know that there is a God. What they do not know, is that He is accessed through a God-Man “Lord”—that Savior being Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

Once Paul knew that it was The Risen Jesus who was speaking to him, he (Paul) was in a position to ask Christ what he should do. God had Paul go in-to Damascus, get baptized, and hear what his marching orders for the rest of his life would be. There is a lesson here for us: those who know Jesus, by sovereign grace, will exercise faith in living for Him.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Whatsoever you desire that God should give you, cast that upon the Lord.” —William Bridge, in, "A Lifting Up for the Downcast"]