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Daily Devotionals For April 2005

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List of main devotionals written by Jerry for these April 2005 Devotionals (not posted elsewhere on this site):

The Touch Of Faith - April 5th


Daily Devotional for Friday April 1st/05

"Underneath are the everlasting arms." --Deuteronomy 33:27

God--the eternal God--is Himself our support at all times, and especially when we are sinking in deep trouble. There are seasons when the Christian sinks very low in humiliation. Under a deep sense of his great sinfulness, he is humbled before God till he scarcely knows how to pray, because he appears, in his own sight, so worthless. Well, child of God, remember that when thou art at thy worst and lowest, yet "underneath" thee "are everlasting arms." Sin may drag thee ever so low, but Christ's great atonement is still under all. You may have descended into the deeps, but you cannot have fallen so low as "the uttermost"; and to the uttermost He saves. Again, the Christian sometimes sinks very deeply in sore trial from without. Every earthly prop is cut away. What then? Still underneath him are "the everlasting arms." He cannot fall so deep in distress and affliction but what the covenant grace of an ever-faithful God will still encircle him. The Christian may be sinking under trouble from within through fierce conflict, but even then he cannot be brought so low as to be beyond the reach of the "everlasting arms"--they are underneath him; and, while thus sustained, all Satan's efforts to harm him avail nothing.

This assurance of support is a comfort to any weary but earnest worker in the service of God. It implies a promise of strength for each day, grace for each need, and power for each duty. And, further, when death comes, the promise shall still hold good. When we stand in the midst of Jordan, we shall be able to say with David, "I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me." We shall descend into the grave, but we shall go no lower, for the eternal arms prevent our further fall. All through life, and at its close, we shall be upheld by the "everlasting arms"--arms that neither flag nor lose their strength, for "the everlasting God fainteth not, neither is weary."

(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Saturday April 2nd/05

"Thou shalt call his name Jesus." --Matthew 1:21

When a person is dear, everything connected with him becomes dear for his sake. Thus, so precious is the person of the Lord Jesus in the estimation of all true believers, that everything about Him they consider to be inestimable beyond all price. "All Thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia," said David, as if the very vestments of the Saviour were so sweetened by His person that he could not but love them. Certain it is, that there is not a spot where that hallowed foot hath trodden--there is not a word which those blessed lips have uttered--nor a thought which His loving Word has revealed--which is not to us precious beyond all price. And this is true of the names of Christ--they are all sweet in the believer's ear. Whether He be called the Husband of the Church, her Bridegroom, her Friend; whether He be styled the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world--the King, the Prophet, or the Priest--every title of our Master--Shiloh, Emmanuel, Wonderful, the Mighty Counsellor-- every name is like the honeycomb dropping with honey, and luscious are the drops that distil from it. But if there be one name sweeter than another in the believer's ear, it is the name of Jesus. Jesus! it is the name which moves the harps of heaven to melody. Jesus! the life of all our joys. If there be one name more charming, more precious than another, it is this name. It is woven into the very warp and woof of our psalmody. Many of our hymns begin with it, and scarcely any, that are good for anything, end without it. It is the sum total of all delights. It is the music with which the bells of heaven ring; a song in a word; an ocean for comprehension, although a drop for brevity; a matchless oratorio in two syllables; a gathering up of the hallelujahs of eternity in five letters.

"Jesus, I love Thy charming name,
'Tis music to mine ear."

(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Sunday April 3rd/05

"They are they which testify of Me." --John 5:39

Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of the Bible. He is the constant theme of its sacred pages; from first to last they testify of Him. At the creation we at once discern Him as one of the sacred Trinity; we catch a glimpse of Him in the promise of the woman's seed; we see Him typified in the ark of Noah; we walk with Abraham, as He sees Messiah's day; we dwell in the tents of Isaac and Jacob, feeding upon the gracious promise; we hear the venerable Israel talking of Shiloh; and in the numerous types of the law, we find the Redeemer abundantly foreshadowed. Prophets and kings, priests and preachers, all look one way--they all stand as the cherubs did over the ark, desiring to look within, and to read the mystery of God's great propitiation. Still more manifestly in the New Testament we find our Lord the one pervading subject. It is not an ingot here and there, or dust of gold thinly scattered, but here you stand upon a solid floor of gold; for the whole substance of the New Testament is Jesus crucified, and even its closing sentence is bejewelled with the Redeemer's name. We should always read Scripture in this light; we should consider the word to be as a mirror into which Christ looks down from heaven; and then we, looking into it, see His face reflected as in a glass--darkly, it is true, but still in such a way as to be a blessed preparation for seeing Him as we shall see Him face to face. This volume contains Jesus Christ's letters to us, perfumed by His love. These pages are the garments of our King, and they all smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia. Scripture is the royal chariot in which Jesus rides, and it is paved with love for the daughters of Jerusalem. The Scriptures are the swaddling bands of the holy child Jesus; unroll them and you find your Saviour. The quintessence of the word of God is Christ.

(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Monday April 4th/05

"I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." --John 10:9

Jesus, the great I AM, is the entrance into the true church, and the way of access to God Himself. He gives to the man who comes to God by Him four choice privileges.

1. He shall be saved. The fugitive manslayer passed the gate of the city of refuge, and was safe. Noah entered the door of the ark, and was secure. None can be lost who take Jesus as the door of faith to their souls. Entrance through Jesus into peace is the guarantee of entrance by the same door into heaven. Jesus is the only door, an open door, a wide door, a safe door; and blessed is he who rests all his hope of admission to glory upon the crucified Redeemer.

2. He shall go in. He shall be privileged to go in among the divine family, sharing the children's bread, and participating in all their honours and enjoyments. He shall go in to the chambers of communion, to the banquets of love, to the treasures of the covenant, to the storehouses of the promises. He shall go in unto the King of kings in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the secret of the Lord shall be with him.

3. He shall go out. This blessing is much forgotten. We go out into the world to labour and suffer, but what a mercy to go in the name and power of Jesus! We are called to bear witness to the truth, to cheer the disconsolate, to warn the careless, to win souls, and to glorify God; and as the angel said to Gideon, "Go in this thy might," even thus the Lord would have us proceed as His messengers in His name and strength.

4. He shall find pasture. He who knows Jesus shall never want. Going in and out shall be alike helpful to him: in fellowship with God he shall grow, and in watering others he shall be watered. Having made Jesus his all, he shall find all in Jesus. His soul shall be as a watered garden, and as a well of water whose waters fail not.

(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Tuesday April 5th/05

The Touch Of Faith

(Notes from Friday's devotional at the Gospel Mission)

Matthew 9:12-13 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Matthew 9:20-22 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

Mark 5:25-34 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

A crowd surrounded Jesus as He went about preaching that day. So many people pressing in around Him - yet only one in that crowd touched Jesus; one woman, with an issue of blood, reached out to touch the hem of His garment; only one was made whole.

This Jewish woman had been sick for twelve years with an issue of blood - according to the Mosaic Law, she was considered unclean, and would therefore have been shunned or avoided by others. No doubt she heard of Jesus' claims to be the Great Physician and the Messiah. Would He be the one to heal her when all else failed?

There are many religious people going through the motions today - following their rituals, whether they be seeking church, meaningless repetition in prayer, baptism, communion, good works, following the Law - but never personally seeking the Saviour.

Here was a woman who was willing to seek the Saviour. She had spent all her money on the physicians, but they could not help her. Only the Great Physician, the Lord Jesus Christ could. She got to where she decided she must touch Him. Regardless of the mass of people surrounding her, regardless of the difficulties and trials in seeking Him, she must go to Him - she must touch Him. Jesus was her only hope!

She was unclean, unworthy. Faint (from weakness resulting from her continual loss of blood), fearful (Luke 8:47 says she hid herself after she touched Him), faltering, but her sense of need compelled her to go to the Saviour.

She touched Jesus secretly (no doubt wondering how He and His disciples might react), tremblingly, hurriedly - BUT she touched Him by faith!

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

How about you? Have you realized your need of the Saviour? Reaching out by faith will bring Jesus' touch of healing on your life, your heart, your soul. He will make you whole. It might not be God's will to heal you physically of some affliction, but it is always His will to heal you spiritually!

Whatever your sins, whatever your past - touch the Saviour and He will heal you. Your touch of faith will bring God's touch of healing and forgiveness.

Like He had compassion on this sick woman in the crowd, He will have compassion on you. Won't you turn from your sins to the Saviour today?

I read this poem to close:
The Touch Of The Master's Hand

‘Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it was scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bidden, good folk?" he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?
"A dollar - a dollar - then two, only two -
"Two dollars, and who'll make it three?

"Going for three" but no -
From the room far back, a grey-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loosened strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "NOW what am I bid for the old violin?"
And he held it up with the bow.
"A thousand dollars - and who'll make it two?
"Two thousand - and who'll make it three?
"Three thousand once - three thousand twice -
"And going - and gone," cried he.

The people cheered, but some cried,
"We do not understand what changed its worth?"
- Quick came the reply,
"The Touch of the Master's Hand."
And many a man with his life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned off cheap, to a thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.

A "mess of pottage - a glass of wine,
A game" - and he travels on:
He is going once - and going twice -
He's going - and almost gone!
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Can never quite understand,
The worth of a soul, and the change that's wrought,
By the Touch of the Master's Hand.

Poem written by Myra Brooks Welch

Preached on Friday April 1st/05
Jerry Bouey

Some of the points and thoughts in this devotional were gleaned by this message preached by Charles Spurgeon:

Real Contact With Jesus

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Daily Devotional for Wednesday April 6th/05

Yesterday I sent out the link for chapter 15 of Charles Spurgeon's book Till He Come, which are messages that he preached when he and his congregation observed the Lord's Supper together. As part of these Devotionals, I had also sent out two other chapters within the last six months - which I am listing again here for those who might have missed them (they are now up on my Bible study site):

Mysterious Visits (Chapter 1)

Under His Shadow (Chapter 2)

The new chapter I am sending out today is:

I Will Give You Rest (Chapter 12)

I hope these chapters are a blessing to you, as they were to me.

New Contest (of sorts)

As some of you no doubt know, soon (Lord willing, by the end of this month), I will be printing up my second poetry book The Seasons Of Your Pilgrimage. To generate a bit of interest, I have decided to offer the following contest:

On my poetry site, Home Of The Real McCoy, I have some pages that I either never found a satisfactory background (so they just contain a plain colored or textured one) for or removed the older one (for various reasons). I would love to put new backgrounds on any of those pages, but it takes so long to search for new graphic sites - or find backgrounds that would fit the content of each poem. I don't have the time to spend doing this that I once had; therefore work on my poetry site is often very slow.

I am offering a poetry book to every one that submits a new background (ie. a link from a background site) for each plain page on my website. I would also like to replace any background that has pictures of Christ in it (for various reasons). Unfortunately, I can only offer one free to each household. I am looking forward to your submissions. Please email them to me (not pm) - Thank you.

So as you enjoy reading the various poems and pages, when you come across one that needs a new background, consider the theme and see what you can come up with.

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Daily Devotional for Thursday April 7th/05

The rewards are pictured in other Scriptures as "crowns." These crowns should never be confounded with salvation, which is entirely of God's sovereign grace; while the crowns were given for individual faithfulness. There are five different designations used, as follows:

The "incorruptible crown," promised to all who in godliness and self-control run the Christian race:

"And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).

The "crown of rejoicing" for the winner of souls:

"For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy" (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20).

"Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved" (Philippians 4:1).

The "crown of righteousness," for all who love Christ's appearing, and labor now in view of that day:

"Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8).

The "crown of life," for those who witness amid trial with unyielding perseverance:

"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him" (James 1:12).

"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Revelation 2:10).

The "crown of glory," for faithfully shepherding the sheep and lambs of Christ's flock:

"The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away" (1 Peter 5:1-4).

In Revelation 3:11 the Lord Jesus says: "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." This is an exhortation we may all take heed to, remembering that the Lord's work will be accomplished according to His purpose, whether we have a share in it or not. But it is our happy privilege to be "labourers together with God," working in subjection to His Word, to be rewarded when our Saviour comes again. The opportunity to serve will soon be over. May grace be mine and yours, dear reader, to labor on in hope, remembering that "if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully."

With this paper, our present series comes to an end. Let me, in closing, urge each young Christian to live alone in view of the end of the voyage, so fast approaching, heeding the farewell message of the ascended LORD: "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give each man according as his work shall be" (Revelation 22:12).

(Taken from the chapter entitled The Voyage Ended: The Judgment-Seat of Christ of Sailing With Paul by Harry Ironside)

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Daily Devotional for Friday April 8th/05

Genesis 9:13 I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth.

A covenant is a promise or undertaking, resting on certain conditions, with a sign or token attached to it. The rainbow on the raincloud, the Lord's Supper, the wedding-ring, are signs and seals of the respective covenants to which they belong. Whenever we see them we should bethink ourselves of the covenant. Whenever you see a rainbow, recall the covenant into which God has entered with thee; for as He has sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so His kindness shall not depart from thee, nor the covenant of His peace be removed. Three things are needed to make a rainbow.

A cloud. - When man's sin overshadowed Paradise, the bow of promise shone; and when the thunderclouds gathered about the Saviour's path, the Divine voice assured Him that as He had glorified the Divine name by His life, He should glorify it much more by His death. When the black clouds of conviction, bereavement, soul-anguish beset thee, look out for the bow: it is always there, though sufferers do not always perceive it.

Rain. - There are no rainbows unless there be falling drops to catch and unravel the sunbeams. It may be that all evil is worse in its anticipation than in its endurance; but this is certain, that the big drops of sorrow have to patter on our souls before we can realize all that God is prepared to be to us.

Sunshine. - It is only when God comes into our grief that we can see the treasures of Love and Grace which are stored for us in Him. We never know how great a blessing sorrow may be till we carry it into the light of the King's face. It is the dark canvas on which the artist produces His most marvellous effects.

(Taken from Our Daily Homily by F.B. Meyer)

The Weaver

My life is but a weaving
between my Lord and me.
I cannot choose the colors;
He worketh steadily.

Oftimes He weaveth sorrow,
and I in foolish pride,
forget He sees the upper,
and I the underside.

Not 'til the loom is silent
and the shuttles cease to fly,
shall God unroll the canvas
and explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
in the Weaver's skillful hand,
as the threads of gold and silver
in the pattern He has planned.

Author Unknown.

What God Hath Promised

God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labour, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing kindness, undying love.

By Annie Johnson Flint

Some other poems you may enjoy:

A Beautiful Symphony

Not Home Yet

God's Love Through The Storm

All of the above poems, except for The Weaver, will be part of my second poetry book, The Seasons Of Your Pilgrimage. There will be 41 poems included in the book (9 written by others, including 2 by Angela Trenholm) altogether, plus three studies (space permitting). Looking forward to seeing its completion!

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Daily Devotional for Saturday April 9th/05

THE PRINCIPLES OF THE KING

"And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth, and taught them . . . And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Matt. 5:1-2; 7:28-29).

At Chapter 5 we begin a new portion of the book of Matthew, one that continues for three chapters. This portion is most important, for here the King sets forth the principles that are to characterize the kingdom of heaven in what is commonly called the Sermon on the Mount. Six times during the sermon our Lord speaks directly of the "kingdom of heaven," using that precise phrase. In addition, He makes reference to the kingdom several times more, but without specific mention of the "kingdom of heaven." In 6:33, He mentions the "kingdom of God."

Many have wondered to what this sermon, dealing as it does with the kingdom of heaven, was meant to apply. Was it only for the disciples to whom it was originally spoken, or for the citizens of the millennium in the future, or for us in the Church today? As we consider the question carefully, it becomes evident that whatever other applications there may properly be, it certainly has its application also to Christian believers today.

Perhaps the last statement should be explained and demonstrated. To begin with, the Sermon on the Mount is addressed to those who know God as their Father. Many verses in the sermon indicate this: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16) and "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (5:45) and "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (5:48) and "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven" (6:1) and "That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly" (6:4) and "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly" (6:6), etc. We Christians know God as our Father, for through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have been born again, we have become members of the family of God, we have become His children. The Holy Spirit of God has taught us this wonderful truth, and thus "we cry, Abba, Father": "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" (Rom. 8:15-16). Furthermore, Jesus speaks to or about those who are citizens of the kingdom: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3) and "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (5:10) and "Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (5:19), etc. We Christians are members of the kingdom, at least in the mystical sense: "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Col. 1:13). Again, this sermon is given in great detail -- three long chapters in our New Testament -- which we should hardly expect were it to have no application to us. We must remember that the New Testament is basically for Christians, just as the Old Testament was basically for Israel.

In this matchless sermon, chapter 5 is devoted principally to an extension of the Mosaic law, probing into motives as well as dealing with mere actions. Chapter 6 deals with righteousness and its relationship to the kingdom. Chapter 7, on the other hand, consists of two parts: the first, through verse 12, comprising the Lord's concluding remarks to His disciples; and the second, the Lord's appeal to the multitude which had gathered while He was addressing His disciples. It is interesting to observe that in chapters 5 and 6, and in the first twelve verses of chapter 7, the LORD uses "your Father," "our Father," and similar expressions which indicate He is talking to those who already know GOD as their Father -- His disciples then, and Christian believers now. We find nothing of this sort, however, after 7:12. On the contrary, when referring to God in 7:21, He does not say "your Father" but "my Father."

The whole tone of this part of the sermon indicates quite clearly that here He is preaching the Gospel to those who do not know God as their Father -- the "multitudes" then, and unsaved persons now.

(Taken from The King Presented by J. Arthur Springer)

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Daily Devotional for Sunday April 10th/05

Psalms 22:14-15 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

Ver. 14. Turning from his enemies, our Lord describes his own personal condition in language which should bring the tears into every loving eye.

I am poured out like water. He was utterly spent, like water poured upon the earth; his heart failed him, and had no more firmness in it than running water, and his whole being was made a sacrifice, like a libation poured out before the Lord. He had long been a fountain of tears; in Gethsemane his heart welled over in sweat, and on the cross he gushed forth with blood; he poured out his strength and spirit, so that he was reduced to the most feeble and exhausted state.

All my bones are out of joint, as if distended upon a rack. Is it not most probable that the fastenings of the hands and feet, and the jar occasioned by fixing the cross in the earth, may have dislocated the bones of the Crucified One? If this is not intended, we must refer the expression to that extreme weakness which would occasion relaxation of the muscles and a general sense of parting asunder throughout the whole system.

My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. Excessive debility and intense pain made his inmost life to feel like wax melted in the heat. The Greek liturgy uses the expression, "thine unknown sufferings", and well it may. The fire of Almighty wrath would have consumed our souls for ever in hell; it was no light work to bear as a substitute the heat of an anger so justly terrible. Dr. Gill wisely observes, "if the heart of Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, melted at it, what heart can endure, or hands be strong, when God deals with them in his wrath?"

Ver. 15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd. Most complete debility is here portrayed; Jesus likens himself to a broken piece of earthenware, or an earthen pot, baked in the fire till the last particle of moisture is driven out of the clay. No doubt a high degree of feverish burning afflicted the body of our Lord. All his strength was dried up in the tremendous flames of avenging justice, even as the paschal lamb was roasted in the fire.

My tongue cleaveth to my jaws; thirst and fever fastened his tongue to his jaws. Dryness and a horrible clamminess tormented his mouth, so that he could scarcely speak.

Thou hast brought me into the dust of death; so tormented in every single part as to feel dissolved into separate atoms, and each atom full of misery; the full price of our redemption was paid, and no part of the Surety's body or soul escaped its share of agony. The words may set forth Jesus as having wrestled with Death until he rolled into the dust with his antagonist. Behold the humiliation of the Son of God! The Lord of Glory stoops to the dust of death. Amid the mouldering relics of mortality Jesus condescends to lodge!

Bishop Mant's version of the two preceding verses is forcible and accurate:

"Poured forth like water is my frame;
My bones asunder start;
As wax that feels the searching flame,
Within me melts my heart.
My withered sinews shrink unstrung
Like potsherd dried and dead:
Cleaves to my jaws my burning tongue
The dust of death my bed."

(Taken from Psalm 22 of Spurgeon's Treasury Of David)

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Daily Devotional for Monday April 11th/05

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." --Matthew 5:9

This is the seventh of the beatitudes: and seven was the number of perfection among the Hebrews. It may be that the Saviour placed the peacemaker the seventh upon the list because he most nearly approaches the perfect man in Christ Jesus. He who would have perfect blessedness, so far as it can be enjoyed on earth, must attain to this seventh benediction, and become a peacemaker. There is a significance also in the position of the text. The verse which precedes it speaks of the blessedness of "the pure in heart: for they shall see God." It is well to understand that we are to be "first pure, then peaceable." Our peaceableness is never to be a compact with sin, or toleration of evil. We must set our faces like flints against everything which is contrary to God and His holiness: purity being in our souls a settled matter, we can go on to peaceableness. Not less does the verse that follows seem to have been put there on purpose. However peaceable we may be in this world, yet we shall be misrepresented and misunderstood: and no marvel, for even the Prince of Peace, by His very peacefulness, brought fire upon the earth. He Himself, though He loved mankind, and did no ill, was "despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." Lest, therefore, the peaceable in heart should be surprised when they meet with enemies, it is added in the following verse, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Thus, the peacemakers are not only pronounced to be blessed, but they are compassed about with blessings. Lord, give us grace to climb to this seventh beatitude! Purify our minds that we may be "first pure, then peaceable," and fortify our souls, that our peaceableness may not lead us into cowardice and despair, when for Thy sake we are persecuted.

(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Tuesday April 12th/05

From William Burkitt's Expository Notes:

Hebrews 12:1-3 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

As if our apostle had said, "Seeing we who are now called forth to suffer, have before us so many instances of the faithful, who like a cloud of witnesses have gone before us, and by the help of their faith conquered all impediments that lay in the way of their salvation, let us take encouragement from them to quit ourselves like men; and, as runners in a race, let us cast off all worldly encumbrances which will entangle us, and avoid all sin, especially a bosom corruption, which easily besets us, and as easily overcomes us, and let us run with patience and perseverance the race of Christianity set before us."

Note, 1. That the Old-Testament saints are here called witnesses, a cloud of witnesses, and a cloud encompassing us; they are witnesses of this grand truth, namely, that faith will carry believers safely through all that they may be called to do and suffer in the profession of the gospel; they are called a cloud of witnesses, partly for their number, there being a great multitude of them; partly, for their direction, there being a leading virtue in them.

As there was a cloud that went before the children of Israel to lead them in the wilderness, so this cloud of witnesses leads us up and down in the wilderness of this world, in the darkest night of our sorrows and sufferings; and they are said to encompass us, because the scripture everywhere encompasses us with them, so that we can be in no suffering state or condition, be it never so sad, but we may turn our eye, and behold the face of some or other of these worthies looking upon us, and encouraging of us to patience and perseverance; and we are encompassed with such a cloud of witnesses, is a great aggravation of our sin.

Learn hence, That it is a special honour which God put upon his saints departed, especially such as suffered and died for the truth, that even after their death they are witnesses to faith and obedience in all generations: We are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.

Note here, 1. Christianity is a race, a race set before us by God, and it is our duty faithfully and perseveringly to run it.

Note, 2. That in order to the running of this race, all impediments must be laid aside: Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us.

By every weight, is generally understood the world, its riches, honours, pleasures, preferments, which oftimes are a peculiar obstruction to constancy and perseverance in the profession and practice of Christianity; this dead weight must be laid aside, by mortifying our hearts and affections towards the world, for it is inordinate love to these things which gives them their weight and encumbrance; where this grace is in its due exercise, the world cannot influence the mind into any disorder, nor make it unready for its race.

By the sin which doth so easily beset us, some understand all sin in general, others a bosom-beloved sin in special, others timorousness and fear in particular; all softness and tenderness, with respect to suffering. In the original words, rendered easily beset us, some think there is an allusion to the long garments worn in the eastern countries; which dangling about a man's heels, unfit him for running a race. As a man that has a burden on his back,, or a long garment hanging down to his heels, is altogether unfit to run a race; so unready are they for the spiritual race, who are entangled with the love of the world, or with any sinful compliances.

Note, 3. That patience is a grace very necessary to enable a person to run the race of Christianity which God has set before him. Let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Such is the inevitableness and unavoidableness of the Christian's trials, such the multiplicity and variety of them, such the long duration and continuance of them, that there can be no perseverance without patience.

Note, 4. The way discovered, and the means declared, how and by which we attain this grace and patience, namely, by looking unto Jesus.

Learn hence, That looking unto, and beholding of Christ in looking unto, and beholding of Christ in his patience, is a notable mean to excite and stir us up to the practice and performance of our duty.

Note, 5. The special title given here to Christ, he is styled the author and finisher of faith in his people; he is deservedly styled the author of our faith, because his holy ordinances are special means of faith, and his Holy Spirit the producer of faith in the souls of his people, and his precious blood the purchaser of faith and all grace for his people.

And he is the finisher of our faith too, as well as the author of it, inasmuch as he has by his promise engaged to perfect what he has begun, Php 1:6 "Being confident of this very thing, that he that hath begun a good work in you will perform it, &c." And inasmuch as he doth by his intercession plead with the Father for the believer's preservation in faith, and perseverance in holiness unto the end: I have prayed that thy faith fail not, Lu 22:32.

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Daily Devotional for Wednesday April 13th/05

Genesis 21:19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.

Poor Hagar! There was no help for it; and she, who a little before had thought she was giving Abraham his heir, found herself and her boy homeless wayfarers on the desert sands. Their one need was water; they little deemed it was so near. No need to create a new fountain, but to open their eyes. We need the opened eye to see:

The finished work of Christ. - The work of propitiation for sin is complete. We are not required to add to it one tear, or prayer, or vow. "It is finished." (John 19:30) To go to heaven to bring Christ down, or to the deep to bring Him up, is alike superfluous. All we need is the opened eye to see what Jesus has done, and recognize that it is all that was demanded to meet the claims of God's holy law.

The things freely given to us of God. - God hath given us in Jesus all things that pertain to life and godliness. There is no possible gift or grace, in which we are deficient, that is not stored in Him, in whom the fullness of God abides. But we are blind; the eyes of our heart have not been opened to see the hope of our calling, the riches of our inheritance, the greatness of God's power. Did we know these things, surely not a moment would elapse without our availing ourselves of God's rich provision.

The alleviations which God provides against excessive sorrow. - Hagar's anguish, as Mary's at the sepulchre in after years, blinded her to available comfort. So grief puts a bandage over our eyes. Life is sad, and lonely, and dark, but God is near; and if you ask, He will show springs of consolation, of which you may drink. There is no desert without its springs; no dying child without the angel of the Lord.

(Taken from Our Daily Homily by F.B. Meyer)

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Daily Devotional for Thursday April 14th/05

I received this article in my email today, and thought I would pass it on:

Bring The Books - by Buddy Smith

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Daily Devotional for Friday April 15th/05

Today, I started rereading a book entitled Expository Preaching Without Notes by Charles Koller. It has some really good information - especially useful for those who prepare messages (whether for preaching or teaching), as well as helpful for those who are witnesses. I wanted to share a portion of chapter 1, under the subheading of As To The Message: It's Aim.

In general, all Biblical preaching aims at persuasion to godliness. "Preaching is personal witnessing with the aim of communicating faith and conviction." The sermon is "the meeting place of the soul with God," and seeks to channel the grace of God to believers and unbelievers.

The sermon which aims at salvation "must be invested with edifying features; and the sermon which is preached primarily for the edification of the hearers must possess saving features." To emphasize either conversion or Christian nurture without the other would be like seeking to produce roots without fruit, or fruits without roots. Faith and action, truth and duty, must go hand in hand.

In all Biblical preaching God seeks primarily, through His messenger, to bring man into fellowship with Himself.

After salvation, the emphasis is upon the "things that accompany salvation" (Heb. 6:9). The needed nurture and motivation of the Christian life involve the following specific objectives:

(1) Consecration, looking toward an ever deepening devotion and commitment to Christ and the "separated life." "Present your bodies a living sacrifice..." (Rom. 12:1).

(2) Indoctrination, to be "no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine..." (Eph. 4:14).

(3) Inspiration, to warm the heart with "the joy of the Lord" (Neh. 8:10): to put a doxology or hallelujah in the soul; to promote the spirit of praise and thanksgiving.

(4) Comfort. "Comfort one another with these words" (1 Thess. 4:18). "Comfort ye my people" (Isa. 40:1), is no less an imperative than to call them to repentance or rouse them to heroic or sacrificial action.

(5) Strengthening. Believers need to be confirmed and fortified in the faith, "strengthened... unto all patience and longsuffering..." (Col. 1:11).

(6) Conviction. Mild surmises and lightly held opinions must ripen into convictions before they can be helpfully shared. The apostles spoke out of deep conviction when they said, "We can not but speak the things which we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20).

(7) Action. "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only" (James 1:22).

Preaching should aim to communicate "the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27), on all levels of maturity and understanding. The young, the robust, the ambitious, have their needs as well as the old, the frail, the sorrowing. All alike need to be directed to Him who is the Source of all help. The supreme test of all preaching is: What happens to the man in the pew? To John the Baptist there was accorded the highest tribute that could ever come to a minister of the gospel: When they had heard John, "they followed Jesus" (John 1:37)!

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Daily Devotional For Saturday April 16th/05

This is the devotional message I preached yesterday at the Gospel Mission.

Heart Disease

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Daily Devotional for Sunday April 17th/05

Taken from Chapter one of Expository Preaching Without Notes by Charles W. Koller:

Preaching is that unique procedure by which God, through His chosen messenger, reaches down into the human family and brings persons face to face with Himself. Without such confrontation it is not true preaching.

As To The Messenger

1. His Call. In the Old Testament the preacher was a "prophet." This title is derived from the Greek prophetes, which in turn is a free rendering of the Hebrew nabhi, meaning "one who is called (by God), one who has a vocation (from God)." Thus, "the prophet was a man who felt himself called by God for a special mission, in which his will was subordinated to the will of God, which was communicated to him by direct inspiration." It was this call which differentiated him from other men.

In the New Testament the preacher was an "apostle," "one sent from God" (Greek: apestalmenos), like John the Baptist (John 1:6), literally a "godsend." The apostle Paul, in nine of his Epistles, identifies himself as one "called to be an apostle." While the preacher at best is but an "earthen vessel" (2 Cor. 4:7), through whom God reveals Himself to others, he is nevertheless the living point of contact between God and those whom He seeks to save through "the foolishness of preaching" (1 Cor. 1:21).

2. His Character. In the ministry, as in no other calling, character is decisive. The Holy Spirit simply will not identify Himself with the unclean or unconsecrated. "Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord" (Isa. 52:11). How completely God identifies Himself with the labors of His faithful spokesman is shown in the ministry of Samuel. "The Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord" (1 Sam. 3:19-20).

It must be remembered that the fruitfulness or sterility of a man's ministry depends not nearly so much upon his native ability, his training, his skill, and his labor, as upon that which the Lord adds or withholds. "After preachers have preached ever so eloquently and long, when sinners are bowed, as great a wonder is wrought, and by God alone, as when Jericho fell." The walls of Jericho did not fall by the shouts of Israel, but by the breath of God.

3. His Function. Nowhere is the function of the minister brought to a clearer focus than in the familiar words of the apostle Paul, which constitute what is perhaps the most important of all the 31,102 verses in the Bible for the minister, as a minister: "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ; as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:10).

The man whose ministry is steeped in the atmosphere of this text can never go wrong, in doctrine or in spirit. He can not be objective or emotionally detached; he is an advocate for a cause, with eternities hanging in the balance. Under the burden of his message he will not think of himself as a pipe through which the truth flows out to others, but as a living embodiment of the truth to which he seeks to win others. He may not have the eloquence of a ready tongue, but will have the eloquence which is of the heart. His concern in the study will not be merely to prepare sermons, but, even more, to prepare his own heart. And when he preaches it will not be in feeble whispers, but with the spiritual vitality of the prophets and apostles, of whom he is a lineal descendant.

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Daily Devotional for Monday April 18th/05

"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, etc." --Matthew 6:9

This prayer begins where all true prayer must commence, with the spirit of adoption, "Our Father." There is no acceptable prayer until we can say, "I will arise, and go unto my Father." This child-like spirit soon perceives the grandeur of the Father "in heaven," and ascends to devout adoration, "Hallowed be Thy name." The child lisping, "Abba, Father," grows into the cherub crying, "Holy, Holy, Holy." There is but a step from rapturous worship to the glowing missionary spirit, which is a sure outgrowth of filial love and reverent adoration--"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Next follows the heartfelt expression of dependence upon God--"Give us this day our daily bread." Being further illuminated by the Spirit, he discovers that he is not only dependent, but sinful, hence he entreats for mercy, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors:" and being pardoned, having the righteousness of Christ imputed, and knowing his acceptance with God, he humbly supplicates for holy perseverance, "Lead us not into temptation." The man who is really forgiven, is anxious not to offend again; the possession of justification leads to an anxious desire for sanctification. "Forgive us our debts," that is justification; "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil," that is sanctification in its negative and positive forms. As the result of all this, there follows a triumphant ascription of praise, "Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen." We rejoice that our King reigns in providence and shall reign in grace, from the river even to the ends of the earth, and of His dominion there shall be no end. Thus from a sense of adoption, up to fellowship with our reigning Lord, this short model of prayer conducts the soul. Lord, teach us thus to pray.

(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening Devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Tuesday April 19th/05

Genesis 22:14   And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

Abraham knew it would be. Probably he never told Sarah what God had asked of him till he and the lad were safely back in the tent. What need to trouble her? Her weak faith could not have stood the ordeal. It was with an unfaltering tone that the patriarch told his young men that they two would presently return. Even though he should actually take Isaac's life, he was sure that he would receive him again from the altar in health. It was only at the very last moment that God indicated the ram as the sufficient substitute. So God's deliverances always come; they are provided in the mount of trial and sacrifice.

When the foe seems secure of victory. - So it was with Israel. Pharaoh, with his hosts, counted on an easy victory, the precipices around, the sea in front. To the eye of sense it seemed impossible to escape: all hope died. It was just then that the Almighty cleft a path through the mighty deep.

"In the fourth watch of the night." (Matthew 14:25) - Strength was well-nigh exhausted in long battling with the waves. For hours the disciples with difficulty had kept themselves afloat. It seemed as if they must give in through physical collapse. It was then that the form of Jesus drew nigh unto the ship.

On the night before execution. - Thus Peter lies sleeping whilst the Church is gathered in prayer. To-morrow he will be a corpse. But the angel comes then to open the prison doors. So you may have come to an end of your own strength, and wisdom, and energy. The altar, wood, and fire are ready, the knife upraised, your Isaac on the point to die: but even now God will provide. Trust Him to indicate the way of escape.

(Taken from Our Daily Homily by F.B. Meyer)

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Daily Devotional for Wednesday April 20th/05

The Omniscience Of God

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Daily Devotional for Thursday April 21st/05

Rest On The Word Of God

"I trust in thy word" (Ps. 119:42).

Just in proportion in which we believe that God will do just what He has said, is our faith strong or weak. Faith has nothing to do with feelings, or with impressions, with improbabilities, or with outward appearances. If we desire to couple them with faith, then we are no longer resting on the Word of God because faith needs nothing of the kind. Faith rests on the naked Word of God. When we take Him at His Word, the heart is at peace.

God delights to exercise faith, first for blessing in our own souls, then for blessing in the Church at large, and also for those without. But this exercise we shrink from instead of welcoming. When trials come, we should say: "My Heavenly Father puts this cup of trial into my hands, that I may have something sweet afterwards."

Trials are the food of faith. Oh, let us leave ourselves in the hands of our Heavenly Father! It is the joy of His heart to do good to all His children.

But trials and difficulties are not the only means by which faith is exercised and thereby increased. There is the reading of the Scriptures, that we may by them acquaint ourselves with God as He has revealed Himself in His Word.

Are you able to say, from the acquaintance you have made with God, that He is a lovely Being? If not, let me affectionately entreat you to ask God to bring you to this, that you may admire His gentleness and kindness, that you may be able to say how good He is, and what a delight it is to the heart of God to do good to His children.

Now the nearer we come to this in our inmost souls, the more ready we are to leave ourselves in His hands, satisfied with all His dealings with us. And when trial comes, we shall say:

"I will wait and see what good God will do to me by it, assured He will do it." Thus we shall bear an honorable testimony before the world, and thus we shall strengthen the hands of others. --George Mueller.

(Taken from Streams In The Desert devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Friday April 22nd/05

Genesis 32:25 And when He saw that He prevailed not against him, He touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with Him.

Our greatest victories are wrought out through pain, and purchased at the cost of the humbling of the flesh. Jacob learned that the secret of prevailing with God and man was not in the strength, but in the weakness and suffering of the flesh. It must ever be so. The victor Lamb bears still the scars of Calvary, and appears as one who had been slain.

Had Laban met Jacob that morning, he would have pointed to that limp as an indication of God's wrath and displeasure; but if he had looked into his face, he would have seen all its hardness and cunning gone, and would have been arrested by the unwonted tenderness in his voice.

The shrunken sinew counteracts pride. - So high a spiritual achievement as to prevail with God might have tempted Jacob to arrogance and self-esteem. But God anticipated the possible temptation by this physical infirmity, which was constantly present to Jacob's consciousness.

The shrunken sinew was the secret of victory. - Had it not been shrivelled by the angel's touch, Jacob would have continued to resist in the pride of his strength, and would never have clung convulsively to the angel, crying, "I will not let thee go." (Genesis 32:26) It was only in that act that he became Israel, the Prince.

The shrunken sinew makes us think little of this world and much of the next. - From this moment Jacob takes up more of the pilgrim attitude. He finds that for him, at least, the pace will have to be slower; but it is well, for he relaxes his hold on the seen to entwine more tenaciously about the unseen. "The days of the years of my pilgrimage" (Genesis 47:9) - such is his epitome of his life.

(Taken from Our Daily Homily by F.B. Meyer)

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Daily Devotional for Saturday April 23rd/05

"I will help thee, saith the Lord." --Isaiah 41:14

This morning let us hear the Lord Jesus speak to each one of us: "I will help thee." "It is but a small thing for Me, thy God, to help thee. Consider what I have done already. What! not help thee? Why, I bought thee with My blood. What! not help thee? I have died for thee; and if I have done the greater, will I not do the less? Help thee! It is the least thing I will ever do for thee; I have done more, and will do more. Before the world began I chose thee. I made the covenant for thee. I laid aside My glory and became a man for thee; I gave up My life for thee; and if I did all this, I will surely help thee now. In helping thee, I am giving thee what I have bought for thee already. If thou hadst need of a thousand times as much help, I would give it thee; thou requirest little compared with what I am ready to give. 'Tis much for thee to need, but it is nothing for me to bestow. 'Help thee?' Fear not! If there were an ant at the door of thy granary asking for help, it would not ruin thee to give him a handful of thy wheat; and thou art nothing but a tiny insect at the door of My all-sufficiency. 'I will help thee.'"

O my soul, is not this enough? Dost thou need more strength than the omnipotence of the United Trinity? Dost thou want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, or more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring hither thine empty pitcher! Surely this well will fill it. Haste, gather up thy wants, and bring them here--thine emptiness, thy woes, thy needs. Behold, this river of God is full for thy supply; what canst thou desire beside? Go forth, my soul, in this thy might. The Eternal God is thine helper!

"Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismay'd!
I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid."

(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Sunday April 24th/05

The God Who Provides

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Daily Devotional for Monday April 25th/05

Honor Him In The Trials


"Glorify ye the Lord in the fires" (Isa. 24:15).

Mark the little word "in"! We are to honor Him in the trial--in that which is an affliction indeed and though there have been cases where God did not let His saints feel the fire, yet, ordinarily, fire hurts.

But just here we are to glorify Him by our perfect faith in His goodness and love that has permitted all this to come upon us.

And more than that, we are to believe that out of this is coming something more for His praise than could have come but for this fiery trial.

We can only go through some fires with a large faith; little faith will fail. We must have the victory in the furnace. --Margaret Bottome

A man has as much religion as he can show in times of trouble. The men who were cast into the fiery furnace came out as they went in--except their bonds.

How often in some furnace of affliction God strikes them off! Their bodies were unhurt--their skin not even blistered. Their hair was unsinged, their garments not scorched, and even the smell of fire had not passed upon them. And that is the way Christians should come out of furnace trials--liberated from their bonds, but untouched by the flames.

"Triumphing over them in it" (Col. 2:15).

That is the real triumph--triumphing over sickness, in it; triumphing over death, dying; triumphing over adverse circumstances, in them. Oh, believe me, there is a power that can make us victors in the strife. There are heights to be reached where we can look down and over the way we have come, and sing our song of triumph on this side of Heaven. We can make others regard us as rich, while we are poor, and make many rich in our poverty. Our triumph is to be in it. Christ's triumph was in His humiliation. Possibly our triumph, also, is to be made manifest in what seems to others humiliation. --Margaret Bottome

Is there not something captivating in the sight of a man or a woman burdened with many tribulations and yet carrying a heart as sound as a bell? Is there not something contagiously valorous in the vision of one who is greatly tempted, but is more than conqueror? Is it not heartening to see some pilgrim who is broken in body, but who retains the splendor of an unbroken patience? What a witness all this offers to the enduement of His grace! --J. H. Jowett

"When each earthly prop gives under,
And life seems a restless sea,
Are you then a God-kept wonder,
Satisfied and calm and free?"

(Taken from Streams In The Desert devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Tuesday April 26th/05

I thought this was interesting, especially the part about Smyrna and Philadelphia (the two churches that weren't rebuked) still existing today, where the other cities have been destroyed. This is especially noteworthy in light of Revelation 2:5 - God's threat to remove Ephesus's candlestick (witness in that city) unless they repented. Once the church was fallen, the salt lost its savour and the witness and light was removed, then the city was destroyed by God. The same thing obviously happened in the other four cities that were reproved. Sober lesson indeed!

(Taken from Lord Of The Churches - Revelation 1-3 - by Walter M. Dunnett)

THE CHURCH IN SMYRNA

"And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive" (Rev. 2:8).

Smyrna was a city that had died, then come to life again. Nearly six hundred years before CHRIST, Smyrna had been destroyed by enemies; yet, after more than three centuries, she had been restored and in the first Christian century boasted of being "the pride of Asia." Since then it has continued an unbroken history to the present day and is yet a large and populous city, called Izmir by the Turks. It is one of only two of the original seven cities remaining today (the other being old Philadelphia, presently called Ala Sheher), and continues to have a Christian witness within it.

Among the seven letters, those to Smyrna and Philadelphia contain the greatest similarities:

(1) No condemnation was given these churches in contrast to all the others. Rather, they were given highest commendation by the LORD.

(2) Both contain reference to "them which say they are Jews but are not" and "the synagogue of Satan" (2:9; 3:9). This may possibly be understood by reference to our LORD's teaching in John 8:37-44, where He told certain persons among the Jews that while they were Abraham's offspring, GOD was not their FATHER, rather it was the devil. Paul also draws such a distinction: "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God" (Rom. 2:28-29) and "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature" (Gal. 6:15) and "For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men" (1 Thess. 2:14-15).

(3) Both were warned of impending trial and tribulation that would be coming upon them (2:10; 3:10). Yet the LORD exhorted them to faithfulness and endurance. In Smyrna it would be for "ten days," then they would be rewarded.

(4) Both letters refer to a crown of believers (2:10; 3:11). Because of the threat of death in Smyrna, the reward was called "a crown of life."

(5) Both churches at that time were small and weak from the standpoint of material wealth (2:9; 3:8). While each of these cities was a populous and important center in the Roman province, yet the groups of Christians were a despised, sometimes persecuted people. Contrast these passages with the conditions in the church of Laodicea: "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see" (Rev. 3:17-18).

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Daily Devotional for Wednesday April 27th/05

"Do as thou hast said." --2 Samuel 7:25

God's promises were never meant to be thrown aside as waste paper; He intended that they should be used. God's gold is not miser's money, but is minted to be traded with. Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see His promises put in circulation; He loves to see His children bring them up to Him, and say, "Lord, do as Thou hast said." We glorify God when we plead His promises. Do you think that God will be any the poorer for giving you the riches He has promised? Do you dream that He will be any the less holy for giving holiness to you? Do you imagine He will be any the less pure for washing you from your sins? He has said "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Faith lays hold upon the promise of pardon, and it does not delay, saying, "This is a precious promise, I wonder if it be true?" but it goes straight to the throne with it, and pleads, "Lord, here is the promise, 'Do as Thou hast said.'" Our Lord replies, "Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." When a Christian grasps a promise, if he do not take it to God, he dishonours Him; but when he hastens to the throne of grace, and cries, "Lord, I have nothing to recommend me but this, 'Thou hast said it;'" then his desire shall be granted. Our heavenly Banker delights to cash His own notes. Never let the promise rust. Draw the word of promise out of its scabbard, and use it with holy violence. Think not that God will be troubled by your importunately reminding Him of His promises. He loves to hear the loud outcries of needy souls. It is His delight to bestow favours. He is more ready to hear than you are to ask. The sun is not weary of shining, nor the fountain of flowing. It is God's nature to keep His promises; therefore go at once to the throne with "Do as Thou hast said."

(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Thursday April 28th/05

The Stepchildren Of The Churches?
- by Buddy Smith

How much do we love and care for our missionaries?

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Daily Devotional for Friday April 29th/05

Thou Wilt Revive Me

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me" (Ps. 138:7).

The Hebrew rendering of the above is "go on in the center of trouble." What descriptive words! We have called on God in the day of trouble; we have pleaded His promise of deliverance but no deliverance has been given; the enemy has continued oppressing until we were in the very thick of the fight, in the center of trouble. Why then trouble the Master any further?

When Martha said, "Lord, if thou hadst been here my brother had not died," our Lord met her lack of hope with His further promise, "Thy brother shall rise again." And when we walk "in the center of trouble" and are tempted to think like Martha that the time of deliverance is past, He meets us too with a promise from His Word. "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me."

Though His answer has so long delayed, though we may still continue to "go on" in the midst of trouble, "the center of trouble" is the place where He revives, not the place where He fails us.

When in the hopeless place, the continued hopeless place, is the very time when He will stretch forth His hand against the wrath of our enemies and perfect that which concerneth us, the very time when He will make the attack to cease and fail and come to an end. What occasion is there then for fainting? --Aphra White

THE EYE OF THE STORM

"Fear not that the whirlwind shall carry thee hence,
Nor wait for its onslaught in breathless suspense,
Nor shrink from the whips of the terrible hail,
But pass through the edge to the heart of the gale,
For there is a shelter, sunlighted and warm,
And Faith sees her God through the eye of the storm.

"The passionate tempest with rush and wild roar
And threatenings of evil may beat on the shore,
The waves may be mountains, the fields battle plains,
And the earth be immersed in a deluge of rains,
Yet, the soul, stayed on God, may sing bravely its psalm,
For the heart of the storm is the center of calm.

"Let hope be not quenched in the blackness of night,
Though the cyclone awhile may have blotted the light,
For behind the great darkness the stars ever shine,
And the light of God's heavens, His love shall make thine,
Let no gloom dim thine eyes, but uplift them on high
To the face of thy God and the blue of His sky.

"The storm is thy shelter from danger and sin,
And God Himself takes thee for safety within;
The tempest with Him passeth into deep calm,
And the roar of the winds is the sound of a psalm.
Be glad and serene when the tempest clouds form;
God smiles on His child in the eye of the storm."

(Taken from Streams In The Desert devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Saturday April 30th/05

Watch For God

"I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me" (Hab. 2:1).

There is no waiting on God for help, and there is no help from God, without watchful expectation on our part. If we ever fail to receive strength and defense from Him, it is because we are not on the outlook for it. Many a proffered succour from heaven goes past us, because we are not standing on our watch-tower to catch the far-off indications of its approach, and to fling open the gates of our heart for its entrance. He whose expectation does not lead him to be on the alert for its coming will get but little. Watch for God in the events of your life.

The old homely proverb says: "They that watch for Providence will never want a providence to watch for," and you may turn it the other way and say, "They that do not watch for providences will never have a providence to watch for." Unless you put out your water-jars when it rains you will catch no water.

We want to be more business-like and use common sense with God in pleading promises. If you were to go to one of the banks, and see a man go in and out and lay a piece of paper on the table, and take it up again and nothing more--if he did that several times a day, I think there would soon be orders to keep the man out.

Those men who come to the bank in earnest present their checks, they wait until they receive their gold, and then they go; but not without having transacted real business.

They do not put the paper down, speak about the excellent signature, and discuss the excellent document; but they want their money for it, and they are not content without it. These are the people who are always welcome at the bank, and not triflers. Alas, a great many people play at praying. They do not expect God to give them an answer, and thus they are mere triflers. Our Heavenly Father would have us do real business with Him in our praying. --C. H. Spurgeon

"Thine expectation shall not be cut off."

(Taken from Streams In The Desert devotional)

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