Daily Devotionals For April 2006
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I guess it is about time I tackled this new month. I had to take time from these devotionals to go to my Dad's funeral in Saskatchewan, and really think about some aspects of the trip.
This is a reply to a mailing list I am on:
1. How was your week? One of the toughest of my life. Had my Dad's funeral six months after my Mom passed away.
2. Anything interesting happening this week? Learned some things about my Dad that I never knew before. I used to think that it was me specifically that my Dad never wanted to talk to when I called home - now too late I learned that it was his sickness and pain that hindered him from wanting to come to the phone - that he would rather spend time with someone in person, not awkwardly over the phone. Too many assumptions on my part, and too many assumptions from those who really knew my Dad and just assumed that everyone else knew what they knew.
Got to see some relatives I had met years before - and it made a difference during this trying time. I used to think my attempts to reach out to my family were wasted - now I realize that because of all those attempts at keeping in touch, there was some sense of family when it was most needed, being welcomed back with open arms in this time of grief.
What did I learn, not to take family for granted - even when they don't seem to want to talk or be around you, still be there for them. Keep reaching out, even when it hurts, because sometimes that makes all the difference.
Just around Christmas I called and my Dad didn't want to come to the phone. I never knew then the reason why, so it grieved me because I took it personal - my Dad was dying and he didn't seem to want his son in his life. I was so upset I never called back, until I got the phone call that he had passed away. Now knowing what I didn't know then, I look back over that last phone call and see it for what it was - a last attempt by my Dad to reach out - for him to say, "I miss you and I love you, Son," while I was crying and not being too audible in return.
I learned that my Dad, who never cared for spiritual things in the past and who let that become a barrier between us, actually turned to the Lord Jesus Christ sometime within this last year - and if he truly did understand and receive what the Bible teaches about salvation, I will see him (and my Mom) again in Heaven one day.
I learned family is important - even when it hurts. And I learned that the Lord can still use someone that is broken and hurting themselves to offer comfort and hope to others in their times of grief. It seems that my times of brokenness have been the ones that He has used most this past year in my preaching and reaching out to those at the Gospel Mission - they see my faith is real, even in the midst of the darkest days, and it causes them to listen and desire to have that same faith in that same Saviour.
Here is a poem that I wrote to identify with my Mom's last few days of failing health - and it offers comfort to me in this recent loss of my Dad - in light of where my Dad may well be (from all I can determine by talking to those who spent time with him this past year):
Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Through This Valley
There's a shadow looming over me, and the pain is often near;
There's a storm cloud on the horizon, and the thunder causes fear;
But in the midst of this uncertainty, MY LORD IS ALWAYS HERE!
Through this Valley, with these tears, walking onward I go,
Not running in a hurry, nor lagging behind too slow;
For there's a peace within my heart - MY LORD IS HERE - I KNOW!
The journey can't be much longer - oh, this body aches and moans;
Though just around another corner, ahead is my eternal home;
And I know within THIS Valley, I AM NOT WALKING ALONE!
There's a hand that I am holding, though the path is rough and steep;
There's a promise that I can cling to, that I know my Lord will keep -
FOR THE LORD IS STILL MY SHEPHERD, AND I AM STILL HIS SHEEP!
Oh, what is that on the horizon? A glimpse of golden streets...
My heart's so filled with wonder - as face to face we meet -
Now with joy I can see Jesus - and I worship at His feet;
THROUGH THIS VALLEY, TO THE SAVIOUR, and my journey is complete.
Psalms 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
3. How is the family? More important than ever...
4. Any prayer requests this week? That God could/would still use me to make a difference in the lives of others, to bring them to the Saviour - the only lasting hope in this world - and to offer them the same comfort, hope and strength that Jesus has given me in my trials and times of grief.
2 Corinthians 1:3-6 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
5. Any blessings? See above.
Note from a friend: Just a bit further info on Jerry’s poem. I did up a computer background and a webpage for them:
Through This Valley Background
Through This Valley Webpage
These pages have probably received more hits than any other pages, except perhaps the poem he wrote in 2000 called I’ve Gone Home:
Jerry’s Website Graphics Version
Trenholms of Kelowna Graphics Version
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Daily Devotional for Sunday April 9th/06
God's Mysterious Dealings
"Thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons" (2 Kings 4:4).
They were to be alone with God, for they were not dealing with the laws of nature, nor human government, nor the church, nor the priesthood, nor even with the great prophet of God, but they must needs be isolated from all creatures, from all leaning circumstances, from all props of human reason, and swung off, as it were, into the vast blue inter-stellar space, hanging on God alone, in touch with the fountain of miracles.
Here is a part in the programme of God's dealings, a secret chamber of isolation in prayer and faith which every soul must enter that is very fruitful.
There are times and places where God will form a mysterious wall around us, and cut away all props, and all the ordinary ways of doing things, and shut us up to something Divine, which is utterly new and unexpected, something that old circumstances do not fit into, where we do not know just what will happen, where God is cutting the cloth of our lives on a new pattern, where He makes us look to Himself.
Most religious people live in a sort of treadmill life, where they can calculate almost everything that will happen, but the souls that God leads out into immediate and special dealings, He shuts in where all they know is that God has hold of them, and is dealing with them, and their expectation is from Him alone.
Like this widow, we must be detached from outward things and attached inwardly to the Lord alone in order to see His wonders. --Soul Food
In the sorest trials God often makes the sweetest discoveries of Himself. --Gems
"God sometimes shuts the door and shuts us in,
That He may speak, perchance through grief or pain,
And softly, heart to heart, above the din,
May tell some precious thought to us again."
(Taken from Streams In The Desert devotional)
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Daily Devotional for Monday April 10th/06
The following excerpt is taken from chapter 2 of Christ Speaks To The Churches by Theodore Epp. These studies focus on the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3, and this chapter is dealing with Ephesus, who had left their first love - and the warning that Christ gives when this is our condition in His eyes, when we are going through the motions in service to Him but our devotion to Him has waned. Reminds me a lot of Samson, who did not know the Lord had left him and no longer had His power in his life.
Following the statement of the remedy is this warning: "Else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."
The coming of the Lord spoken here is not His second coming. What is meant is a personal, supervised judgment, one not left to others, but something the Lord will have to do Himself to bring the believer back to his original walk with Him.
The method He uses is to remove the lampstand. Now this lampstand is not a candle but a lamp holder. Each local church was to be a light revealer. Each congregation held up the light, which is JESUS CHRIST. So the warning is that CHRIST is going to remove that which holds up the light unless there is repentance. He will not allow those to be light bearers who are not themselves bearing a good testimony to Him.
The HOLY SPIRIT has been sent to us in order that through us He might present CHRIST to the world. It is only the power and the life of the Spirit within us that enables us to lift up CHRIST, the Light. What is signified here, then, is that the Spirit of GOD will leave the unrepentant believers to a powerless witness for CHRIST. He will not leave them so far as salvation is concerned, but their ability to present CHRIST as He really is will be gone. The power for witnessing will be removed.
CHRIST sent the HOLY SPIRIT, and the HOLY SPIRIT endued certain men with spiritual gifts. Then these gifted men were given to the church by CHRIST. Through the Spirit, these Spirit-filled men in the church witness to the living CHRIST and in this sense are the lampstand. When the lampstand is removed, the organization as such may continue, but it will be without a life-giving testimony.
The order of that removal is seen here also.
First, the operation of the Spirit through that particular church will cease. This will also apply to the individuals in the church. The gifted men GOD has given to the church, men who remain Spirit-filled, will be removed. The organization, as we have said, will remain, but their power for witnessing will be gone. Much activity may be in evidence but no real convicting message.
At first this removal will be unnoticed by most of the persons involved. And with the active work of the HOLY SPIRIT absent from their midst the ability to discern spiritual things will also be gone. There will be no real knowledge of the fact that spiritual power has left them.
In the sight of GOD, there will be no more an assembly of believers in that place, simply a group of religious people. With the love of CHRIST gone, the light will be gone. What remains will be merely sounding brass, empty testimony, mere religion, activity of no value.
We can apply this to ourselves and to the churches with which we are affiliated. We can look around and see Christian schools and even mission societies and see how they stand in relation to this matter. Is the real witness gone? Is there a social gospel in place of the real gospel? Is it all activity with no power? Thank GOD for those in whom the true light is still shining!
This is a serious matter. We must hearken to the voice of GOD. This warning should cause us to work for the Lord in fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). What a tragedy it would be to have GOD remove the lampstand from any of us, either as individuals or with regard to the organizations through which we serve!
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Daily Devotional for Tuesday April 11th/06
"And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: The LORD do so to me and more also, if aught but death part thee and me." (Ruth 1:16, 17)
In these verses we observe the grace of GOD inclining Ruth to choose the better part. Speaking the language of the true Christian, Ruth said, "Whither thou goest, I will go" even though it meant leaving her own country.
"Where thou lodgest I will lodge" even if, like Jacob, stones should be her pillow. Knowing from Naomi's character that the people of Israel were a wise and understanding people, she said, "Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God."
Ruth loved the GOD of Israel, trusted Him, served Him, and was ruled by Him. Since they must both die she chose to die the death of righteous Naomi, saying "Where thou diest, will I die." Looking forward to a glorious resurrection together, she said, "There will I be buried." "If aught but death part thee and me" implied that death would separate them for a time. Death parts us when nothing else can. A dying hour is a parting hour.
In Christian living Ruth is a pattern for us. We must take the Lord for our GOD. We must take His people for our people and be willing to fare as they fare. We must take up our cross, carry it cheerfully, go where GOD will have us to go, and die where He will have us die. Knowing that GOD's grace will be sufficient for us, "we must bind our souls to cleave unto the Lord."
(Taken from Moments of Meditation by Matthew Henry)
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Daily Devotional for Wednesday April 12th/06
I don't think I've ever used a recipe before for a devotional, but I thought this one was really neat. This will give you a couple of days to get the ingredients together for this weekend, if you are interested in making these cookies. Looks like a great object lesson!
1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
Zip-lock plastic bag
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place pecans in zip-lock bag and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3. Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.
Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11. Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.
So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalms 34:8 and John 3:16.
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3. Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60.
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.
GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.
On Resurrection morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Resurrection day Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.
HE HAS RISEN!
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Daily Devotional for Thursday April 13th/06
I thought this was a good way to see how the various Psalms could fit into David's life - and that it also adds a dimension to each Psalm, knowing some of what he was possibly referring to or going through at the time he was writing them. I am going to print this out and have it handy when I actually read the Psalms in the next couple of months.
Taken from How To Conduct The Family Altar:
To make your use of the Psalms more edifying and enlightening, we give you the interesting comment and analysis of W. F. Crafts found in his The Bible and The Sunday School (Published in 1876. Record of proceedings at Sunday school conference).
"David's Psalms are his autobiography and ought to be read in connection with his biography in Samuel in order to get his complete history from both the outward and inward points of view. The Psalms will be ten-fold more significant if read with the events that suggested them and the bare outline of David's public history will be shaded and tinted into life-like distinctness and completeness by inserting at appropriate places these heart chapters of historic song. I have accordingly arranged the Psalms of David in their probable historic connection, as given by the best Biblical scholars." (Lange's Commentary; Dr. William N. Taylor's David, King of Israel; a book by Henry Linton, on the Psalms of David and Solomon.)
1. David's Shepherd Life - I Samuel 16 - Psalm 23; 19
2. David's Victory over Goliath - I Samuel 17, 18 - Psalm 8; 9
3. Saul's Effort to Capture David in His Own Home - I Samuel 19:11 - Psalm 59
4. Jonathan's Warning - I Samuel 20:35-42 - Psalm 11; 64
5. David's Flight to Ahimelech, the Priest - I Samuel 21:1-9 - Psalm 52
6. David's Flight to Gath - I Samuel 21:11 - Psalm 56; 70
7. Escape from Gath - I Samuel 22:1 - Psalm 34
8. David in the Cave of Adullam - I Samuel 22:1-2 - Psalm 57; 142; 131; 40; 141
9. In the Forest of Hareth - I Samuel 22:5 - Psalm 63; 17
10. Escape from Keilah to the Mountains of Ziph - I Samuel 23:10-13 - Psalm 31; 54
11. David Sparing Saul - I Samuel 24:1-16 - Psalm 7 - can appeal against Cush who had slandered him to Saul saying, "David seeketh thy hurt."
12. The Cave of Engedi - I Samuel 23:29 - Psalm 35; 36
13. Wilderness of Paran. Incident of Nabal. (Nabal means "fool.") - I Samuel 25 - Psalm 53
14. Ziklag - I Samuel 27 - Psalm 16; 38; 39
15. David, King of Hebron - II Samuel 2:1-7 - Psalm 26; 101
16. King at Jerusalem - II Samuel 5:6-25 - Psalm 21; 108
17. The Ark Brought to Jerusalem - II Samuel 6 - Psalm 132; 15; 24; 138; 29; 94
18. Wars of David with Edom, Syria - II Samuel 8 - Psalm 60; 61; 44; 20
19. David's Penitence for the Great Transgression - II Samuel 11, etc. - Psalm 51; 32; 6; 69; 103
20. Absalom's Rebellion - II Samuel 15-18 - Psalm 4 first evening of flight, Psalm 3 next morning, Psalm 5; 143; 126; 28; 61; 144; 62; 42
21. Ahithophel's Treason - II Samuel 15-18 - Psalm 55; 41; 109
22. Victory over Absalom - II Samuel 18 - Psalm 43 - David's prayer at Mahanaim while Joab fought Absalom in the woods
23. Sheba's Rebellion - II Samuel 20 - Psalm 2; 84
24. David's Review of His Many Victories - II Samuel 22 - Psalm 18
25. The Pestilence withdrawn - I Chronicles 21 - Psalm 30
26. The Building of the Temple - I Chronicles 28, etc - Psalm 65; 67; 68
27. David's Review of His Life - II Samuel 22 - Psalm 145
28. Giving the Kingdom to Solomon - I Chronicles 29 - Psalm 72; 91
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Daily Devotional for Friday April 14th/06
The Oracles Of God
Scripture Says/God Says
Partakers Of The Promise
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Daily Devotional for Saturday April 15th/06
"What If?" Part I
I am looking forward to this Sunday. The importance of the resurrection can never be overstated. I Corinthians 15 emphasizes this.
The three aspects I will be primarily looking at are found throughout the chapter. The first one being found in vs 13, where Paul states, “But if there be no resurrection….” Think of the implications of that statement. There are many times when I have thought about “what ifs” in my life. For instance, what if America had lost the Revolution, or what if I had not entered the US Air Force when I was 19? There is not, however, a “what if” compared to the one the Apostle Paul makes in I Corinthians 15, by stating, “But if there be no resurrection.”
The Apostle Paul goes on to list the consequences of this “what if.”
For one our preaching is in vain. All of the great preaching is for nothing. All of the great truths that have been dug out of the scripture are all for nothing. The sermons by Peter and Paul are all for nothing. The Bible itself would be for nothing!
Not only is our preaching vain, but Paul goes on to say, Our “faith is vain.” Our very life is a complete waste of time. The fact that I am sitting in a jungle in Papua New Guinea as a missionary is all for nothing. Every moment I have spent in prayer has been for nothing. The very core of my life is for nothing. And because my faith is in vain, that leads to the next outcome if there be no resurrection.
We “are yet in [our] sins.” We have no hope. The Lake of Fire is to be our home forever. There is no hope of salvation. We could not be offered grace from God Almighty! The peace that comes with knowing we are eternally secure is gone. The joy of serving God is not possible.
This would then make us “of all men most miserable.” (vs. 19)
But the fact is, Christ DID rise from the dead. I like how God had Paul state it. You can see Paul’s excitement to pen in verse 20, where he states “But now is Christ risen from the dead!”
In my next post we will turn our attention from "If Christ be not risen" to “But now is Christ risen from the dead.”
Used With Permission
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Daily Devotional for Sunday April 16th/06
"What If?" Part II
“But now is Christ risen from the dead...”!
The fact is we will never have to worry about the “what if” of Christ not being risen! Therefore all the former things mentioned in my previous post do have meaning. Our preaching is not in vain! Our faith is not in vain! We are no longer in our sins!
Our preaching is not vain!
This Sunday when I stand up and preach, I can preach with confidence knowing I am preaching truth. Not only this Sunday, but every time I preach the Word of God. Every time I witness for the Lord, I can know I am giving truth. Every time I hear a Biblical sermon, I can truly say, “Amen!”
Neither is my faith vain!
I have not put my faith and thus my life in something that is a lie. Buddha is still dead. Mohammed is still dead. I am so glad my faith is not in a “dead” religion. The fact that I am sitting in Papua New Guinea is not in vain! My work here on this island is not in vain! Every moment in prayer is worth it! Christian, every stand you make for Christ is not in vain. Every battle you face because of your faith is not in vain. All of the Biblical convictions you have, truly, do serve a purpose! Our FAITH is not in vain!
We are no longer in our sins!
The very thing that separates us from God Almighty has been removed, sin. Salvation is available to all! Heaven truly is the home of every Christian! I am so glad to know this earth is not my home.
None of this would be possible, if Christ be not risen! Oh, the importance of the resurrection! However the chapter is not finished yet. There is still more to consider as a result of the resurrection.
Let's look at verse 57, “But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
What is this victory that comes as a result of Jesus and His resurrection? We have the answer to this from verse 20 through verse 56. The victory is over sin, death, the law, and the grave! Mankind’s biggest enemies! Think of all that mankind is doing and has done in history to try and defeat those enemies. All they need to do is turn to Jesus Christ and they can have victory!
In closing, we have heard how with great truth comes great responsibility. We see this fact in verse 58. We have been given a great truth with the resurrection, and verse 58 gives us a responsibility.
I Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
Knowing this truth of the resurrection, ought to be enough to persuade us to be faithful in our service to God. It ought to convince us to remove the sin that “doth so easily beset us.” May each of our lives, whether we are missionaries, clerks, salesman, technicians, pastors, doctors, mechanics, housewives, managers etc… be characterized by this verse; steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord!
I hope, after reading this, you have a taste of the importance of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior!!!
Used With Permission
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Daily Devotional for Monday April 17th/06
In 2002, I had written a testimony regarding My Victory Over Depression that has been a help to many in dealing with depression and discouragement in their lives. Then a little over 2 1/2 years later, I had put together an Update on My Victory after being enabled to keep the victory through Christ and His Word for several years. I still have it too! Since April 2002, I have never been overcome with depression, though there were times, especially in the first couple of years, when the battle was pretty fierce. Praise the Lord, He still gives the victory over sin, temptation, depression, and any other strongholds in our lives, if we are willing to look to the Lord, lean on Him and trust Him for it!
My Victory Over Depression and Winning The Battle
Another study that I have found that has been a real help and encouragement in this battle is based on Psalm 77, and was written by Dennis Costella. I hope it will also be of benefit to you:
Are You At Your Wits End?
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Daily Devotional for Tuesday April 18th/06
PSALM ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FOUR
1. If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say;
2. If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us:
3. Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us:
4. Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul:
5. Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.
6. Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth.
7. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.
8. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
The key words are "if," and "then!" "If it had not been the Lord who was on our side . . . (verse 1), If it had not been the Lord who was on our side. . . (verse 2), Then they had swallowed us up quick . . . (verse 3), Then the waters had overwhelmed us . . . (verse 4), Then the proud waters had gone over our soul" (verse 5).
- A stammering Moses plus GOD spells success against all the sinful Pharaohs on earth.
- A believing Caleb and an obedient Joshua plus GOD is more than a match for swollen rivers and obstinate Canaanites.
- A godly and faithful Gideon plus GOD means victory over the hosts of evil.
- A dutiful and purposeful Daniel plus GOD amounts to peace and preservation even in the lion's den.
- A trio of holy boys plus GOD is a majority over the fury of mad monarchs, fierce furnaces, and strong soldiers.
- An Esther and Mordecai plus GOD are more than a match for all the wicked and unholy Hamans in any land.
- A few ignorant and unlearned disciples plus GOD may turn the world right side up.
The distance between success and failure, victory or defeat is in the name of "The LORD." "The LORD..." (verse 1), "The LORD..." (verse 2), "The LORD..." (verse 6), "The LORD..." (verse 8).
(Taken from Sermon Seeds From the Psalms)
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Daily Devotional for Wednesday April 19th/06
It is sad to see how many people teach salvation without repentance - just receive Jesus, and you can deal with your sin later. But I see in the Scriptures that repentance and faith go hand in hand. Repentance is a change in mind resulting in a change in conduct; true repentance will result in a changed life. Repentance is not the change in the life - repentance is the change in the heart that WILL result in a changed life. It is seeing your sins in the eyes of God (seeing your lost condition), detesting them and turning from them to the Saviour to save you from them and the penalty of them. THEN upon salvation, the Holy Spirit gives you the power to overcome the sin in your life and the strength to live for Him.
Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Luke 13:3, 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
"Behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague." --Leviticus 13:13
Strange enough this regulation appears, yet there was wisdom in it, for the throwing out of the disease proved that the constitution was sound. This evening it may be well for us to see the typical teaching of so singular a rule. We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of the leper as applicable to ourselves. When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and in no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then he is clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy; but when sin is seen and felt, it has received its deathblow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are "nothing else but sin," for no confession short of this will be the whole truth; and if the Holy Spirit be at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment -- it will spring spontaneously from our lips. What comfort does the text afford to truly awakened sinners: the very circumstance which so grievously discouraged them is here turned into a sign and symptom of a hopeful state! Stripping comes before clothing; digging out the foundation is the first thing in building -- and a thorough sense of sin is one of the earliest works of grace in the heart. O thou poor leprous sinner, utterly destitute of a sound spot, take heart from the text, and come as thou art to Jesus--
"For let our debts be what they may, however great or small,
As soon as we have nought to pay, our Lord forgives us all.
'Tis perfect poverty alone that sets the soul at large:
While we can call one mite our own, we have no full discharge."
(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening devotional)
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Daily Devotional for Thursday April 20th/06
"Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord" (Exod. 14:13).
These words contain God's command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut upon the right hand and on the left. What is he now to do?
The Master's word to him is "stand still." It will be well for him if, at such times, he listens only to his Master's word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions. Despair whispers, "Lie down and die; give it all up." But God would have us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in His love and faithfulness.
Cowardice says, "Retreat; go back to the worldling's way of action; you cannot play the Christian's part; it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles."
But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it, if you are a child of God. His Divine fiat has bid thee go from strength to strength, and so thou shalt, and neither death nor hell shall turn thee from thy course. What if for a while thou art called to stand still; yet this is but to renew thy strength for some greater advance in due time.
Precipitancy cries, "Do something; stir yourself; to stand still and wait is sheer idleness." We must be doing something at once -- we must do it, so we think -- instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something, but will do everything.
Presumption boasts, "If the sea be before you, march into it, and expect a miracle." But faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, "Stand still," and immovable as a rock it stands.
"Stand still" -- keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, "Go forward.' --Spurgeon
"Be quiet! why this anxious heed
About thy tangled ways?
God knows them all. He giveth speed
And He allows delays.
'Tis good for thee to walk by faith
And not by sight.
Take it on trust a little while.
Soon shalt thou read the mystery aright
In the full sunshine of His smile."
In times of uncertainty, wait. Always, if you have any doubt, wait. Do not force yourself to any action. If you have a restraint in your spirit, wait until all is clear, and do not go against it.
(Taken from Streams In The Desert devotional)
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Daily Devotional for Friday April 21st/06
"The dove came in to him in the evening." --Genesis 8:11
Blessed be the Lord for another day of mercy, even though I am now weary with its toils. Unto the preserver of men lift I my song of gratitude. The dove found no rest out of the ark, and therefore returned to it; and my soul has learned yet more fully than ever, this day, that there is no satisfaction to be found in earthly things -- God alone can give rest to my spirit. As to my business, my possessions, my family, my attainments, these are all well enough in their way, but they cannot fulfil the desires of my immortal nature. "Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee." It was at the still hour, when the gates of the day were closing, that with weary wing the dove came back to the master: O Lord, enable me this evening thus to return to Jesus. She could not endure to spend a night hovering over the restless waste, not can I bear to be even for another hour away from Jesus, the rest of my heart, the home of my spirit. She did not merely alight upon the roof of the ark, she "came in to him;" even so would my longing spirit look into the secret of the Lord, pierce to the interior of truth, enter into that which is within the veil, and reach to my Beloved in very deed. To Jesus must I come: short of the nearest and dearest intercourse with Him my panting spirit cannot stay. Blessed Lord Jesus, be with me, reveal Thyself, and abide with me all night, so that when I awake I may be still with thee. I note that the dove brought in her mouth an olive branch plucked off, the memorial of the past day, and a prophecy of the future. Have I no pleasing record to bring home? No pledge and earnest of lovingkindness yet to come? Yes, my Lord, I present Thee my grateful acknowledgments for tender mercies which have been new every morning and fresh every evening; and now, I pray Thee, put forth Thy hand and take Thy dove into Thy bosom.
(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening devotional)
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Daily Devotional for Saturday April 22nd/06
The following is posted for the purpose of consideration, for digging in to Hebrews 10:25 a little bit more and challenging our attitudes toward church attendance. I believe this article clarifies some things, and has actually made me think a bit more about this issue. For the record, I believe it is a sin to deliberately skip out on church, to miss it except for when we are sick or providentially hindered. Too often we have our excuses, but what did God say? The author comments on the word "forsaking", and uses an example to show that EVEN once something can be forsaken, depending upon the attitude of the person turning away from it. If we set out to deliberately skip out on church (when we are not ill and nothing is otherwise hindering us from attending), when we just don't want to be around the church body or are carnal and just don't want to hear the Word of God or be confronted with sin in our lives or hardness in our hearts, then EVEN our onetime act of deliberately missing out on church is forsaking it, and is sin. Let's not fool ourselves here...
How Faithful Is Faithful to Church?
What constitutes "faithful to church?" What says Scripture? Hebrews 10:25 clearly states: "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." This verse says that we should never miss. Never? Never. Let's look at the verse carefully to understand even better how airtight this teaching is in the Bible.
First, the context. Hebrews 10 continues arguing before Jews (Hebrews) the superiority of the new covenant to the old, that is, the system of Christ since His death, burial, and resurrection versus the Old Testament priesthood and sacrificial system. Of course, for anyone who cared, Christ is not only far better, but He also fulfilled the old. Old Testament Israel had a very involved, prescribed manner of worship. That regular practice had engrained itself in the Jewish culture. That was tough for any Jew to give up. What would a Hebrew do with that all gone? With Jesus as our high priest, we replace the old worship with the new worship, the assembling of ourselves together. This makes the New Testament worship at least equal, but even greater than the Old Testament system of rituals, sacrifices, ceremonies, festivals, sabbaths, and sabbaticals. Would the Old Testament Jew ever be excused from any prescribed worship of the Old Testament? No. Was there any room for a Jew under the old covenant missing a congregation of the nation Israel? Of course not. So the context itself is a powerful argument for faithfulness to every meeting of God's institution in which we live, the church.
Second, the verse itself. The verse itself has several arguments internally that are devastating to someone who thinks it's OK to miss church. Let me enumerate them.
1) Not forsaking. Some might argue that "forsake" means abandonment. I remember a guy that once attended our church who was unfaithful to services. I encouraged his faithfulness by teaching him what this verse meant. He had never even heard the abandonment argument, but once I told him people had used that point, it became his as well. That is a perfect example of fitting the interpretation to the lifestyle instead of vice versa. In Matthew 27:46, the Lord uses this exact term on the cross, when He cried out: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Had the Father abandoned the Son? No way. Certainly in other usages of the "word," the understanding of abandonment could be made, but we also see that the word can be used as a practice of missing something as well. The context helps us see that "abandonment" is not the meaning here.
2) The assembling. The nature of this noun, "assembling," guides our interpretation of this verse. It is the assembling itself that we are not to forsake, that is, the actual act of gathering with the rest of the congregation.
3) As the manner of some is. "Manner" is a habit or practice. Abandonment cannot be characterized as a habit or practice, but a one-time act. This speaks of a regular performance of a particular deed. Some were in the habit of missing the assembling of the church.
4) Exhorting one another. In order to exhort one another, one must be in attendance. To participate in exhortation of another brother or sister, one must see the person, know what the problem or crisis or deficiency is, so that one might say the appropriate words of strength, admonishment, warning, or support.
5) So much the more, as ye see the day approaching. The "day" is the day of the return of Christ, which was imminent, any moment. The NT teaching on the timing of Christ's return was imminence. 2 Peter 3:12, "Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" Titus 2:13, "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Luke 12:37, "Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching." If the Lord could return at any moment, then He could return while you were not assembling with God's congregation. The person who thought Christ could come at any moment would want to be in the place that he knew Christ wanted him to be if the Lord were to return. Any time we aren't assembling could be the time when Christ returns.
Many other reasons could serve in addition to these from this one verse: not being a stumbling block, in order to be a good testimony to unbelievers, because we love God, because we love the Word of God, because we love God's people, because the church is a body and the body doesn't function as well with a missing body part, and many, many more. With all of these reasons combined, don't you think that you should never miss church?
by Kent Brandenburg
Used With Permission
One part of his article that really impacted me was the fact that God the Father turned His back ONCE on the Son, for those three hours of darkness on the cross when Jesus bore our sins in His body. That one time act was a forsaking because God the Father could not look upon sin (see Habakkuk 1:13); the Father deliberately turned from the Son as part of His bearing our just condemnation for our sins. NOW all believers have the promise that God will never leave us, nor forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5). Based on looking at Matthew 27:46 and considering this, don't you find it comforting to your soul that God won't ever even ONCE turn from you, will never even ONCE leave you or forsake you if you are His child? He forsook Christ so His children - those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation - would never be forsaken. Praise the Lord for that good news! (Even if you didn't get anything else out of this article, that alone should make you shout for joy!)
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Daily Devotional for Sunday April 23rd/06
Lessons from Tent Making
Paul made tents (Acts 18:3). We know from 1 Thessalonians 2 (2:9) that he worked night and day. We usually say "day and night." In Jewish culture, the day began at 6am. Paul rose while it was still night to do his day job and then kept working into the night fulfilling his purpose on earth. As a tent maker, probably a trade his dad taught him as something to lean back on if everything else fell through, he supported his real work, making disciples. A tent making term made it into his epistles in 2 Timothy 2:15. There Paul wrote, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." When you look at that verse, which one seems to relate to his day job? "Workman" wouldn't be a bad guess. He probably thought of himself as one when he made tents, fitting very nicely with the words "rightly dividing." When Paul said "rightly dividing," he was using tent making terminology with which he was very familiar.
Making a tent required accurate cutting of the various pieces. To get each piece right, the tent maker must have understood the whole tent, so that he could cut out portions that would fit into the whole. A piece could be the right shape and still not fit into the tent because it wasn't the right size. Paralleling this with his approach to Scripture, the kind of study Paul had in mind would first get a thorough overview of the Bible at large. Knowledge of the whole Bible is labor intensive, the night and day kind of attitude that Paul had in his day job. After getting the big picture, then Paul could start slicing up the parts to fit the whole. When a piece of Scripture doesn't fit the whole, you know you don't have the right interpretation.
What is the whole? The whole tent would include the internal, immediate before and after, the chapter, the book, and then the entire Bible. Scripture isn't powerful like a divining rod that can be waved like a Buddhist monk attempting to ward off evil spirits. The message of God's Word works powerfully in its context. Romans 10:17 says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. "Word" there is the Greek word rhema. Rhema is not the Greek term for all of the Bible. Rhema speaks of a portion of the Word of God, a piece of God's Word that deals with a particular point of doctrine and practice, seen within an appropriate conception of its context. Our faith doesn't come from some marathon endurance record in chapter reading, the more we read the more faith we have, like filling up a gas tank. Our faith comes from seeing passages in their context and understanding them as the Lord intended. That takes work, sort of like what a tent maker might do.
by Kent Brandenburg
Used With Permission
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Daily Devotional for Monday April 24th/06
Here is a great evangelistic sermon by John R. Rice:
All Satan's Apples Have Worms - John R. Rice
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Daily Devotional for Tuesday April 25th/06
"In whom also we have obtained an inheritance." --Ephesians 1:11
When Jesus gave Himself for us, He gave us all the rights and privileges which went with Himself; so that now, although as eternal God, He has essential rights to which no creature may venture to pretend, yet as Jesus, the Mediator, the federal Head of the covenant of grace, He has no heritage apart from us. All the glorious consequences of His obedience unto death are the joint riches of all who are in Him, and on whose behalf He accomplished the divine will. See, He enters into glory, but not for Himself alone, for it is written, "Whither the Forerunner is for us entered." Heb. 6:20. Does He stand in the presence of God? -- He appears "in the presence of God for us." Heb. 9:24. Consider this, believer. You have no right to heaven in yourself: your right lies in Christ. If you are pardoned, it is through His blood; if you are justified, it is through His righteousness; if you are sanctified, it is because He is made of God unto you sanctification; if you shall be kept from falling, it will be because you are preserved in Christ Jesus; and if you are perfected at the last, it will be because you are complete in Him. Thus Jesus is magnified -- for all is in Him and by Him; thus the inheritance is made certain to us -- for it is obtained in Him; thus each blessing is the sweeter, and even heaven itself the brighter, because it is Jesus our Beloved "in whom" we have obtained all. Where is the man who shall estimate our divine portion? Weigh the riches of Christ in scales, and His treasure in balances, and then think to count the treasures which belong to the saints. Reach the bottom of Christ's sea of joy, and then hope to understand the bliss which God hath prepared for them that love Him. Overleap the boundaries of Christ's possessions, and then dream of a limit to the fair inheritance of the elect. "All [things] are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's."
(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening devotional)
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Daily Devotional for Wednesday April 26th/06
Here is a new commentary we are posting over on our study boards. It is on the book of Galatians and promises to be a good resource on this book of the Bible.
The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians - Oliver B. Greene
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Daily Devotional for Thursday April 27th/06
In light of all the confusion today regarding what Biblical repentance is and how it is essential to salvation, I exhort you to read the following book. It is an indepth look at this important issue:
EXCEPT YE REPENT by Harry Ironside
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Daily Devotional for Friday April 28th/06
I have decided to join the bandwagon and attempt blogging (Blog comes from the words "weB LOG"). I figured this would be a good way to enable me to put my daily meditations into writing and encourage shorter devotional or thought-provoking material. Many of my own devotionals and studies are longer and a lot of times I just cannot find the time needed to put together something indepth (most of the Daily Devotionals I send out are things that I have gleaned from others, or links to material that is posted on our study boards) - therefore I end up neglecting ironing out my own personal thoughts. This blog might be a profitable way for me to do so - something that is not so informal, and that also gives others an opportunity to interact with me over what I have posted. Please feel free to do so.
Buy The Truth
I look forward to this new endeavour - and hopefully it will be a blessing to those who read it. If not, at least it will keep me busy (and out of trouble!) and strengthen my writing and preaching skills. God bless.
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Daily Devotional for Saturday April 29th/06
Here is the message I preached on Friday:
The Prodigal Son
I am still learning the ropes of my Blog and am not sure yet whether I will be able to post most days - though I do want to make an effort. While I do not plan to link to every study posted there, the larger ones or ones that have really impacted me, I will more than likely send them out as Devotionals too. So be sure to visit the blog regularly, but I will make sure I do draw your attention to ones I most want to share with you.
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Daily Devotional for Sunday April 30th/06
Jehu Or Jehonadab? - Desiring A Zeal That Will Last
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