Monday, July 22, 2024

Mon., 7/22/24 Devotion (Acts 9:31)

Today's encouragement comes from Acts 9:31, where we read these words:

"Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied."

Sometimes we hear people say things like this: "What the church needs right now is some persecution.” Some misguided souls may be so bold as to actu-ally "pray" to God for trial and difficulty. But that approach not only makes no sense—it is also not the Lord's way. Our Father causes Christ's church to prosper in all kinds of spiritual "soil"; but He is *most* pleased when the gos-pel "settles" cultures, and gives the church favor in the sight of all.

Therefore, let us do as we are commanded (by the Lord) in 1 Tim. 2:1-4; and ask God to move and guide (even civil) leaders, so that they will make deci-sions that benefit the body of Christ.

[Puritan quote of the day: "True grace is much engaged in the work of humili-ation . . . “ —William Bridge, in, "A Lifting Up For The Downcast"]

Friday, July 19, 2024

Fri.-Sabbath, 7/19-21/24 Devotion

Praise God—it is almost Sunday! To help get us ready for church, here is Thomas Watson, on Justification, from his, "A Body of Divinity” book. . . .

"But does not the apostle James say that Abraham was justified by works?

"The answer is easy. Works declare us to be righteous before men; but they do not make us righteous before God. Works are evidences of our justifica-tion, not causes. The only name graven upon the golden plate of Christ our High Priest must be, 'THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.’

“ . . . Adore the infinite wisdom and goodness of God that found out a way to justify us by 'rich grace and precious blood.' We were all involved in guilt; none of us could plead 'not guilty'; and being guilty, we lay under a sentence of death. Now that the Judge Himself should find out a way to justify us—and the creditor Himself contrive a way to have the debt paid, and not distress the debtor—should fill us with wonder and love. The angels admire the mystery of free grace in this new way of justifying and saving lost man, (1 Pet 1:12); and should not we, who are nearly concerned in it, and on whom the benefit is de-volved, cry out with the apostle, 'O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!’? "

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Thurs., 7/18/24 Devotion (Acts 5:38-39)

Today's encouragement comes from Acts 5:38 & 39, where we read these words:

"And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God."

Gamaliel, a highly-respected first-century rabbi, made this astute observation (above). He was absolutely right. When it comes to religion and the spiritual life—anything man-made is bound to fail. There is little sense in even giving it much of our time or attention. But, what is of (or from) God *is* of absolute importance. What the Lord does, cannot fail.

Let us be found fighting "alongside" God, as Christ’s faithful churchmen. If we do not do this, we will be exposed as fighting *against* God—and who could ever hope to overthrow Him, or His work?

[Puritan quote of the day: "A godly man has many signal experiences of God's favor to him, and experience breeds hope.” —Thomas Watson, in his sermon, "The Sacred Anchor"]

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Wed., 7/17/24 Devotion (Josh. 24:15c)

Today's encouragement comes from Joshua 24:15c, where we read these words:

" . . . But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

No matter what other people choose to do, God's true Christian churchmen must choose to serve Him wholeheartedly. The Fall of man into sin has left us with the deplorable disease of "man-pleasing"; and of mindlessly following whatever new "gods" or theological fads that happen to come along.

The sincere believer in Christ must be more thoughtful than that. When the world worships something, we ought to look askance at it, with a level of sus-picion. This is not because we are paranoid; instead, it is because we have come to learn that idolatry is subtle, and easily slipped into.

[Puritan quote of the day: "To the extent that we give way to our will in sin-ning, to that extent we set ourselves at a distance from comfort.” —Richard Sibbes, in, "The Bruised Reed"]

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Tues., 7/16/24 Devotion (Josh. 23:14b, c)

Today's encouragement comes from Joshua 23:14b & c, which says this:

"And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed."

In the Lord Jesus Christ every faithful churchman knows that what is written (above) is true. In the Redeemer, God has delivered *all* His goods. The Lord has nothing more to give; and He has nothing more to say. Those who seek for *anything* from God, beyond Jesus Christ, will receive nothing (positive) from Him.

Let us be thankful that we who are in Christ and His true church today *al-ready* possess everything. *All* of God's promises have come to pass for us. They are all "Yes," and "Amen," in Jesus, (cf. 2 Cor. 1:20). Let us trust our faithful King; and let His church worship Him for all His goodness to us.

[Puritan quote of the day: "[Prayer] is God conversing with man, and man with God.” —William Bridge, in, "A Lifting Up For The Downcast"]

Monday, July 15, 2024

Mon., 7/15/24 Devotion (Acts 2:47b)

Today's encouragement comes from Acts 2:47b, where we read these words:

" . . . And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being sav-ed."

This blessed phrase (above) describes what is still happening today, and everyday. God is "adding to the church daily those who are being saved." The Holy Spirit never takes a break from His labors; and the sovereign decree of God is never interrupted by any of the events in a fallen world; and the church can never be destroyed.

Therefore, the operations of God, whereby He continually brings in His lost sheep continues unabated. And the Lord has deigned to allow us to share in this sweet privilege. Are we already faithful churchmen? Then let us be about sharing Jesus with those who are not.

[Puritan quote of the day: "How [Jesus] defends His disciples from malici-ous imputations of the Pharisees!” —Richard Sibbes, in, "The Bruised Reed"]

Friday, July 12, 2024

Fri.-Sabbath, 7/12-14/24 Devotion

Praise God—Sunday is almost here! In order to get us ready for church, here is Jonathan Edwards, in his “The Religious Affections” book. . . .

“The inheritance that Christ has purchased for the elect is the Spirit of God; not in any extraordinary gifts, but in His vital indwelling in the heart, exerting and communicating Himself there in His own proper, holy, or divine nature; and this is the sum total of the inheritance that Christ purchased for the elect. . . . It is through the vital communications and indwelling of the Spirit that the saints have all their light, life, holiness, beauty, and joy in heaven; and it is through the vital communications and indwelling of the same Spirit that the saints have all light, life, holiness, beauty and comfort on earth . . . "