Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Wed., 3/3/21 Devotion (Lk. 17:17)

Today's encouragement comes from Luke 17:17, where we read these words:

"So Jesus answered and said, 'Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?' "

Everybody is about getting things from God; and crying out to Him in time of need. Probably about ten percent of those who receive mercy from God ever come back to thank Him for what He has done for them. It is interesting that Jesus actually asks the question, "Where *are* the [other] nine?" He rightly *expected* them to return and "give glory to God," (v. 18).

Ingratitude is not appreciated by the Lord; and those who have received of the riches of Christ's grace will inevitably return to Him with thanks and praise. It may be safely asserted that all the truly redeemed in the church *will* live lives of worship and gratitude—as this is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and is evidence of real faith.

[Puritan quote of the day: "[Christ's] church is the house which He has built on a perfect number of pillars so that it might be stable, resting on a good foun-dation.” —John Owen, in, "Communion with God"]

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Tues., 3/2/21 Devotion (2 Cor. 1:8)

Today's encouragement comes from 2 Corinthians 1:8, where we read these words:

"For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life."

Sometimes the pressure and stress of the faithful churchman's life can reach fever-pitch levels. It is astounding what a true believer in Christ can and does endure—as he or she goes through the furnaces of affliction and suffering. At the same time, the only cause of this strength and perseverance is the grace of God in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Fully commensurate with our pain and suffering is the joy and freedom of our release and resurrection in our Redeemer. Are we in a very hard way today? If so, let us remember that God has delivered us in the past. He is also active-ly delivering us in the present; and He will also deliver us in the future, (cf. vv. 9 & 10). Let us not lose heart—but rather press on in Jesus.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Consider the company Christians keep. It is with the Father of glory. So Christians are indeed the excellent in the earth (Ps. 16:3).” —John Owen, in, "Communion with God"]

Monday, March 1, 2021

Mon., 3/1/21 Devotion (Lk. 15:32)

Today's encouragement comes from Luke 15:32, where we read these words:

"It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found."

There are some very appropriate times to rejoice, and to celebrate. At the top of this list is the blood-bought salvation of a soul in the Lord Jesus Christ. The older brother (in this "Prodigal Son" narrative) refused to party with his father, because he (the older son) could not accept the concept of grace and for-giveness. He was all about works, law, and self-righteousness.

May we members of the true church be *very* glad when God calls sinners to Himself, through the gospel of Jesus; and may we renew our own love to and amazement at the God (who does such wonderful things).

[Puritan quote of the day: "Love to Jesus Christ and believing in Jesus Christ fills souls with joy and glory in this life.” —Christopher Love, in his sermon on Gal. 5:17]

Friday, February 26, 2021

Fri.-Sabbath, 2/26-28/21 Devotion

Praise God—it is almost Sunday! Here is Thomas Watson, from his "The Ten Commandments" book:

"We keep the Sabbath Day holy, by 'consecrating and dedicating' this Day to the 'service of the High God.' It is good to rest on the Sabbath Day from the works of our calling; but if we rest from our labor and do no more, the ox and the donkey keep the Sabbath as well as we; for they rest from their labor.

"We must dedicate the Day to God. We must not only 'keep the Sabbath,' but 'sanctify' the Sabbath. Sabbath-sanctification consists in solemn preparation for it. . . .

"On the blessed Sabbath Day, God intends to have sweet communion with us. He seems to say to us, as Christ said to Zacchaeus, 'Make haste and come down, for this day I must abide at your house,' (Luke 19:5). Now, what preparation should we make for entertaining this King of glory? When Satur-day evening approaches, we should sound a retreat; we should call our minds off from the world, and summon our thoughts together, to think of the great work of the approaching Day. . . . Evening preparation will be like the tuning of an instrument, it will fit the heart better for the duties of the ensuing Sabbath."

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Thurs., 2/25/21 Devotion (Job 25:4)

Today's encouragement comes from Job 25:4, where we read these words:

"How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman?"

Bildad the Shuhite asked these questions (above). They are actually very im-portant queries. The answer to the first one, is, "No one can be righteous be-fore God on one's own. What is necessary is an 'alien' righteousness." This "alien" righteousness is that of Jesus Christ Himself, as His perfect right-eousness is imputed to sinful souls by the Holy Spirit, and by the sheer grace of God.

Faith follows regeneration. Regeneration is God's sovereign act of bringing to life a dead and rebellious soul. Faith is part of the gift package of regener-ation. By faith, we fetch to our hearts the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our only righteousness. Therefore the answer to the question, "Can a [person] be righteous before God?,” is “Yes,” “absolutely,”—but only as he or she is cloth-ed in Christ's righteousness (alone).

[Puritan quote of the day: "A godly man loves God and therefore delights to be in His presence. He loves God and therefore takes comfort in nothing with-out Him.” —Thomas Watson, in, "The Godly Man's Picture"]

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tues., 2/23/21 Devotion (Ex. 6:9)

Today's encouragement comes from Exodus 6:9, which says this:

"Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, be-cause of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage."

There is a sense in which a broken spirit and very difficult life circumstances sometimes make listening to the ministers of God’s church quite hard to do. And yet, the very desired deliverance from these horrible troubles is depend-ent upon the *hearing* of the gospel of grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the case of Moses, he persevered, and eventually God allowed him to win the ears and hearts of the people of Israel; but it did not come "automatically."

May we be patient with those who are especially-burdened with heavy cares and concerns today. Love calls on us to continue to speak Christ to them; compassion calls for our going the extra mile with them.

[Puritan quote of the day: "Suffer we must. Before we were born, God de-creed it; and it is easier to complain of His decree than to change it.” —Sam-uel Rutherford, in, "Letters of Sam-uel Rutherford"]

Monday, February 22, 2021

Mon., 2/22/21 Devotion (Lk. 8:25a)

Today's encouragement comes from Luke 8:25a, where we read these words:

"But [Jesus] said to [His disciples], 'Where is your faith?' "

Our Lord Jesus does not ask the twelve disciples, "Why do you not have enough faith?" (above). Instead, He asks them, "*Where* is your faith?" Sometimes our faith may seem to "leave" us, or go away, or be absent (espe-cially when we most feelingly need it). Christ implies that had His followers summoned their faith in Him, they might not have needed to wake Him (the Messiah) from His nap (on the boat).

Today, we may hear of a lot of the bad news in the world, and we (even God's churchmen) may be tempted to fear, or to be rattled to such an extent that we may say—like the twelve—"We are perishing!" (v. 24). But instead of this, let us rally our faith in God, and call it to mind. As we do so, we are ushering to our very hearts, and our sides, our Lord Jesus Himself.

[Puritan quote of the day: "God must be revealed to us as lovely and desir-able . . . before we can ever love God. The saints, in this sense, do not love God for nothing.” —John Owen, in, "Communion with God"]