Daily Devotionals For February 2006
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List of main devotionals written by Jerry for these February 2006 Devotionals (not posted elsewhere on this site):
Seven Benefits Of Faith In Christ - Romans 5:1-11 - February 5th
What The Genealogy In Genesis Five Pictures - February 12th
Sevens In The Book Of Revelation - February 25th
Daily Devotional for Wednesday February 1st/06
Here is a great devotional to start the month off with:
"Your heavenly Father." --Matthew 6:26
God's people are doubly His children, they are His offspring by creation, and they are His sons by adoption in Christ. Hence they are privileged to call Him, "Our Father which art in heaven." Father! Oh, what precious word is that. Here is authority: "If I be a Father, where is mine honour?" If ye be sons, where is your obedience? Here is affection mingled with authority; an authority which does not provoke rebellion; an obedience demanded which is most cheerfully rendered -- which would not be withheld even if it might. The obedience which God's children yield to Him must be loving obedience. Do not go about the service of God as slaves to their taskmaster's toil, but run in the way of His commands because it is your Father's way. Yield your bodies as instruments of righteousness, because righteousness is your Father's will, and His will should be the will of His child. Father! -- Here is a kingly attribute so sweetly veiled in love, that the King's crown is forgotten in the King's face, and His sceptre becomes, not a rod of iron, but a silver sceptre of mercy -- the sceptre indeed seems to be forgotten in the tender hand of Him who wields it. Father! -- Here is honour and love. How great is a Father's love to his children! That which friendship cannot do, and mere benevolence will not attempt, a father's heart and hand must do for his sons. They are his offspring, he must bless them; they are his children, he must show himself strong in their defence. If an earthly father watches over his children with unceasing love and care, how much more does our heavenly Father? Abba, Father! He who can say this, hath uttered better music than cherubim or seraphim can reach. There is heaven in the depth of that word -- Father! There is all I can ask; all my necessities can demand; all my wishes can desire. I have all in all to all eternity when I can say, "Father."
(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening devotional)
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Daily Devotional for Thursday February 2nd/06
A Wonderful Guarantee
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness." (Isaiah 41:10).
When called to serve or to suffer, we take stock of our strength, and we find it to be less than we thought and less than we need. But let not our heart sink within us while we have such a word as this to fall back upon, for it guarantees us all that we can possibly need. God has strength omnipotent; that strength He can communicate to us; and His promise is that He will do so. He will be the food of our souls and the health of our hearts; and thus He will give us strength. There is no telling how much power God can put into a man. When divine strength comes, human weakness is no more a hindrance.
Do we not remember seasons of labor and trial in which we received such special strength that we wondered at ourselves? In the midst of danger we were calm, under bereavement we were resigned, in slander we were self-contained, and in sickness we were patient. The fact is that God gives unexpected strength when unusual trials come upon us. We rise out of our feeble selves. Cowards play the man, foolish ones have wisdom given them, and the silent receive in the selfsame hour what they shall speak, My own weakness makes me shrink, but God's promise makes me brave. LORD, strengthen me "according to Thy word." (Psalm 119, various verses)
(Taken from Faith's Checkbook by Spurgeon)
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Daily Devotional for Friday February 3rd/06
Help from Without
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness." (Isaiah 41:10)
Yesterday's promise secured us strength for what we have to do, but this guarantees us aid in cases where we cannot act alone. The LORD says, "I will help thee." Strength within is supplemented by help without. God can raise us up allies in our warfare if so it seems good in His sight; and even if He does not send us human assistance, He Himself will be at our side, and this is better still. "Our August Ally" is better than legions of mortal helpers.
His help is timely: He is a very present help in time of trouble. His help is very wise: He knows how to give each man help meet and fit for him. His help is most effectual, though vain is the help of man. His help is more than help, for He bears all the burden and supplies all the need. "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." (Hebrews 13:6)
Because He has already been our help, we feel confidence in Him for the present and the future. Our prayer is, "LORD, be thou my helper"; our experience is, "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities" (Romans 8:26); our expectation is, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help" (Psalm 121:1); and our song soon will be, "Thou, LORD, hast holpen me." (Psalm 86:17)
(Taken from Faith's Checkbook by Spurgeon)
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Daily Devotional for Saturday February 4th/06
So far I have enjoyed reading this new book on 1 John that is being posted. May it be a blessing to you as well.
The Fellowship - An Exposition of 1 John - by Guy King
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Daily Devotional for Sunday February 5th/06
On Friday, I had an opportunity to preach on Romans 5:1-11, with an outline adapted slightly from chapter one (Faith in CHRIST as a Personal Saviour) of Dynamic Christian Living, by Harold Lundquist.
Seven Benefits Of Faith In Christ - Romans 5:1-11
Summed up first four chapters of Romans, then:
1. Justified by Faith - verse 1.
Romans 5:1a Therefore being justified by faith...
Romans 3:23-24. "Sin" means to miss the mark - miss God's requirement for Heaven (the glory of God). No one alive - except the Lord Jesus Christ - has ever been able to meet God's requirement of perfect righteousness. This righteousness is only attained through faith in Christ - realizing we are not righteous on our own and need His righteousness.
Explained how to be justified. Examples of justifying ourselves, and being justified (declared not guilty) by God. "Just-as-if-I'd never sinned."
2. Peace with God - verse 1.
Romans 5:1-2a Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand...
Now that we have peace with God and are no longer His enemy, we have access to the throne of grace, access to His presence to bring our petitions and needs before Him.
3. Hope (confident expectation) - of Heaven (the glory of God, see also 3:23) verse 2.
- in what God is working out - verses 3-4.
Romans 5:2b-4 ...and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
Tribulations = troubles; patience = perseverance in our trials; experience = trying/proving God in each situation. In light of all these, we can have hope in each trial that we go through as we remember how God has helped us in the past, and have confident expectation that He is faithful and will help us in our present and future troubles as well.
4. Love of God - verse 5-8.
Romans 5:5-8 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
The love of God transforming my life, and making me able to love those around me with the love Christ has shown me.
5. Saved from wrath - verse 9. Delivered from God's wrath poured out on the sinner in Hell - because of faith in Christ who already bore the complete penalty and wrath due me for my sins.
Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Justified by faith and justified by His blood - not two contradictory statements, but two complementary ones. They are two sides of the same coin, so to speak. We are saved when we place our faith in Christ and in His shed blood and finished work upon the cross when He died for our sins.
6. Reconciliation with God - verse 10. Being brought face to face with God, with nothing in the way. Reconciled because of Christ's death on the cross.
Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Reconciled to God by Christ's death - saved eternally because of His resurrected life (see Hebrews 7:25).
7. Joy - verse 11. The joy of sins forgiven.
Romans 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
In the Old Testament, the atonement was the blood of animals shed to cover our sins. When Christ shed His own blood as the fulfillment of all these OT sacrifices, He not only covered our sins, but bore them far away - FOREVER. We have NOW received the atonement that the OT only pictured in types and prophecies. Romans 8:1a There is therefore NOW no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.
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Daily Devotional for Monday February 6th/06
This was a message I enjoyed preaching on almost two years ago, then putting together into a study. I was not ready to tackle all that was in the last section at that point in time - but the Lord placed it upon my heart last night. I hope this in-depth study is a blessing and opens up this wonderful picture (type) in God's Word to you. This is a study and a picture that I find very meaningful to me, and I am happy to have the study completed at last.
Leprosy And Its Cure - A Picture Of Sin And The Saviour
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Daily Devotional for Tuesday February 7th/06
The following excerpt is from chapter seven (Love Against Fear or Are You Ever Afraid?) of Pursuit Of Peace by Dorothy Pentecost. It is a surprisingly good and practical book - one of the best I have read recently. I say surprisingly because in some of her earlier comments she refers to psychology or psychiatry (more as a comparison and contrast as to how they approach certain issues than anything else), and I was unsure where she was going in the book. But she thoroughly deals with the issue of how to have peace of mind and heart from a Biblical perspective, including looking at how to overcome worries and fears. If you want to draw closer to the Lord and have more peace in your day to day walk with Him, this book is excellent and well worth reading or passing on.
IS IT EVER RIGHT for a Christian to be afraid? The answer may seem simple at first glance. But a study of GOD's Word shows at least three outstanding kinds of fear mentioned. We will have to determine the kind of fear we are talking about before we can correctly answer the question.
There are three Greek words in the New Testament which mean fear, discussed in an article by Dr. Charles C. Ryrie, which appeared in Bibliotheca Sacra, published by Dallas Theological Seminary. The first, eulabeia, means a reverence for GOD. This is illustrated in Hebrews 12:28, "Whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." It is also used in Hebrews 11, where we are told Noah "moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house." The same word was used in reference to CHRIST. He "was heard in that he feared" (Hebrews 5:7). This is a proper fear of GOD and shows an anxiety to be pleasing to Him by obeying His will.
The second word, phobos, means being struck with terror or a state of alarm. This can be used in a good and a bad sense. The unbeliever or unsaved man stands in fear of death and future judgment. The Christian is passed from this state of fear concerning these things into a position of peace, for he knows that he stands secure in CHRIST JESUS.
There still is a sense in which the Christian should fear GOD by giving Him respect which comes as we are awed or impressed with Who He is. In I Peter 2:17, we are plainly told to "fear God," meaning to give GOD proper respect.
The third word, deilia, means cowardice. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear" (II Timothy 1:7). "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). "Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?" (Matthew 8:26).
These are Dr. Ryrie's conclusions. "Should a Christian be afraid? Yes and no. He must never be cowardly; he should always be reverent; he need never fear the things of condemnation and judgment; yet he should live always in the protracted state of awe that results from having been struck with GOD."
It is the purpose of this chapter to pursue the subject of cowardly fear and to show how Christians can be helped to conquer this in their lives.
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Daily Devotional for Wednesday February 8th/06
The following is taken from chapter eleven (Trials Of Faith And Helpers To Faith) of George Mueller Of Bristol.
While at Plymouth Mr. Müller felt anew the impulse to early rising for purposes of devotional communion. At Halle he had been an early riser, influenced by zeal for excellence in study. Afterwards, when his weak head and feeble nerves made more sleep seem needful, he judged that, even when he rose late, the day would be long enough to exhaust his little fund of strength; and so often he lay in bed till six or even seven o'clock, instead of rising at four; and after dinner took a nap for a quarter-hour. It grew upon him, however, that he was losing in spiritual vigour, and that his soul's health was declining under this new regimen. The work now so pressed upon him as to prevent proper reading of the Word and rob him of leisure for secret prayer.
A "chance remark" -- there is no chance in a believer's life! -- made by the brother at whose house he was abiding at Plymouth, much impressed him. Referring to the sacrifices in Leviticus, he said that, as the refuse of the animals was never offered up on the altar, but only the best parts and the fat, so the choicest of our time and strength, the best parts of our day, should be especially given to the Lord in worship and communion. George Müller meditated much on this; and determined, even at the risk of damage to bodily health, that he would no longer spend his hours in bed. Henceforth he allowed himself but seven hours' sleep and gave up his after-dinner rest. This resumption of early rising secured long seasons of uninterrupted interviews with God, in prayer and meditation on the Scriptures, before breakfast and the various inevitable interruptions that followed. He found himself not worse but better, physically, and became convinced that to have lain longer in bed as before would have kept his nerves weak; and, as to spiritual life, such new vitality and vigour accrued from thus waiting upon God while others slept, that it continued to be the habit of his after-life.
In November, 1839, when the needs were again great and the supplies very small, he was kept in peace: "I was not," he says, "looking at the little in hand, but at the fulness of God."
...When the poverty of their resources seemed most pinching, Mr. Müller still comforted himself with the daily proof that God had not forgotten, and would day by day feed them with "the bread of their convenience." Often he said to himself,
"If it is even a proverb of the world that 'Man's necessity is God's opportunity,' how much more may God's own dear children in their great need look to Him to make their extremity the fit moment to display His love and power!"
...A few days after returning to Bristol from his few weeks in Germany, and at a time of great financial distress in the work, a letter reached him from a brother who had often before given money, as follows:
"Have you any present need for the Institution under your care? I know you do not ask, except indeed of Him whose work you are doing; but to answer when asked seems another thing, and a right thing... Kindly then inform me, and to what amount, i.e. what amount you at this present time need or can profitably lay out."
To most men, even those who carry on a work of faith and prayer, such a letter would have been at least a temptation. But Mr. Müller did not waver. To announce even to an inquirer the exact needs of the work would, in his opinion, involve two serious risks:
1. It would turn his own eyes away from God to man;
2. It would turn the minds of saints away from dependence solely upon Him.
This man of God had staked everything upon one great experiment -- he had set himself to prove that the prayer which resorts to God only will bring help in every crisis, even when the crisis is unknown to His people whom He uses as the means of relief and help.
At this time there remained in hand but twenty-seven pence ha'penny, in all, to meet the needs of hundreds of orphans. Nevertheless this was the reply to the letter:
"Whilst I thank you for your love... nevertheless, in our case, I feel not at liberty to speak about the state of our funds, as the primary object of the work in my hands is to lead those who are weak in faith to see that there is reality in dealing with God alone."
Consistently with his position, however, no sooner was the answer posted than the appeal went up to the Living God:
"Lord, thou knowest that, for Thy sake, I did not tell this brother about our need. Now, Lord, show afresh that there is reality in speaking to Thee only, about our need, and speak therefore to this brother so that he may help us."
In answer, God moved this inquiring brother to donate one hundred pounds, which came when not one penny was in hand.
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Daily Devotional for Thursday February 9th/06
The following is taken from chapter one of Addresses On The Gospel Of John - H.A. Ironside, a new book being posted online. I am not sure how quickly I will be able to post this book, but I wanted to share some of Ironside's introduction to his commentary on the Gospel of John:
In beginning a study of any of the Gospels it is a good thing to ask and try to answer the question, Why are there four Gospels and why do they seem to differ one from another? Our God surely could have inspired one of His servants to write a continuous record of what Jesus did and said. Men write books in that manner, but it did not please the Father to do this. Instead of that He has given us four distinct records, and men have tried, since the second century of the Christian era, to weave these into one, as in the so-called "Harmonies of the Gospels." But often they find it difficult to fit everything together, because of ignorance of chronology and many other things connected with the times and customs when Jesus was here. These records are each complete in themselves. They are divinely inspired, and although at times there seems to be evidence of conflicting testimony, it is simply because of our lack of knowledge of the facts.
In Matthew's Gospel we have no difficulty in seeing that the one outstanding object of the Holy Spirit was to present our Lord Jesus as the promised King and Messiah. Therefore we sometimes call Matthew's Gospel the Jewish Gospel. I always like to guard that expression, however, because of the misuse to which it has been subjected. We do not mean that it has no message to Christians. We do not mean that we can afford to dispense with it, but we mean it is the Gospel that was specially designed of God to present the life of the Lord Jesus Christ in such a way as to appeal to the Jewish mind, particularly that of the Jew who is interested in his Old Testament. I wish our modern Jews were more familiar with their Bible. If they were, it would be much easier to preach Christ to them. Unfortunately, through the centuries the Jew has given so much more attention to the Talmud than to the Bible that it is difficult to find an approach to his mind. But Matthew pre-supposes a knowledge of the Old Testament on the part of his readers, so all the way through we meet such expressions as, "That it might be fulfilled," "As it was written," by so-and-so, and he gives us incident after incident in the life of Christ which was a direct fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Matthew presents Jesus as the Messiah of Israel, and his outstanding message is, "Behold your King."
Mark, on the other hand, seems to be written from a different standpoint. He presents Jesus as the great Servant-Prophet, while in this world, doing the will of God. That accounts for the fact that in this book there is no genealogy given. The genealogies are in Matthew and in Luke, but we do not get any kind of genealogy in Mark. Why? Because you know when you advertise for a servant to work for you, you do not say, "Now let me ask, What is your genealogy? Are you descended from some famous character?" Not, "Who is your father?" but, "What can you do?" So in Mark's Gospel we have our blessed Lord accredited thus from the very beginning. He says, "Behold My Servant."
When we turn to the Gospel of Luke we see the Lord Jesus presented as the Perfect Man - the only perfect Man who walked this earth. So you have the Lord Jesus entering into all kinds of circumstances. On several occasions you have Him seated at the dinner-table. I do not know of any place where a man can be drawn out better than at the dinner-table. If you want to draw a man out, just set him down to a good dinner and start him talking! I have read many biographies of Martin Luther, but I never really knew him until after I got hold of Luther's Table Talks. So a great deal of Luke's Gospel is made up of the "table talk" of our Lord Jesus Christ. He says, "Behold the Man" - the one Mediator between God and man, "the Man Christ Jesus."
Now when we turn to the Gospel of John, we see the open heavens and the Eternal Son descending from above, taking His place in the womb of the virgin - God and Man in one blessed, glorious Person - the Eternal Son manifest in the flesh. John says, "Behold your God." His Gospel was written to establish the truth of the Divinity and Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the first twelve chapters we have the divine Son presented to the world, and in the character in which He could appeal to a world of sinners. We shall note these various characteristics as we go on with our study.
Beginning with chapter 13 and going on to the end, we have the revelation of our Lord Jesus as the Son, to His own beloved people, as He who keeps their feet from defilement. This is a marvelous unfolding of His advocacy and the glorious truth of His care for His people during this age. Then we have the promise of His coming again in glory at the end of the dispensation, and the coming of the Comforter, who will guide into all truth.
John's Gospel, then, is emphatically that of the Deity of our blessed Lord. It presents Him as the Eternal Word, who in grace became flesh for our redemption. There is no human genealogy as in Matthew and in Luke, but we are carried back immediately into the past eternity. "In the beginning" here antedates the same expression in Genesis 1:1. There it is the beginning of creation, but here long before creation began we see the Son in the bosom of the Father. When everything that ever had beginning began to be, the Word was.
Some additional comments by Jerry:
One thing I thought was really neat regarding this chapter was Ironside's comparison of the four Gospels by four simple phrases from the Bible. Here are the verses they were quoted from:
1. Matthew - the Gospel of the King:
John 19:14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!
2. Mark - the Gospel of the Servant:
Isaiah 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
Matthew 12:18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
3. Luke - the Perfect Man:
Zechariah 6:12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:
John 19:5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!
4. John - the Eternal Son of God:
Isaiah 40:9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
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Daily Devotional for Friday February 10th/06
"When thou passest through the waters... they shall not overflow thee" (Isa. 43:2).
God does not open paths for us in advance of our coming. He does not promise help before help is needed. He does not remove obstacles out of our way before we reach them. Yet when we are on the edge of our need, God's hand is stretched out.
Many people forget this, and are forever worrying about difficulties which they foresee in the future. They expect that God is going to make the way plain and open before them, miles and miles ahead; whereas He has promised to do it only step by step as they may need. You must get to the waters and into their floods before you can claim the promise. Many people dread death, and lament that they have not "dying grace." Of course, they will not have dying grace when they are in good health, in the midst of life's duties, with death far in advance. Why should they have it then? Grace for duty is what they need then, living grace; then dying grace when they come to die. --J. R. M.
"When thou passest through the waters"
Deep the waves may be and cold,
But Jehovah is our refuge,
And His promise is our hold;
For the Lord Himself hath said it,
He, the faithful God and true:
"When thou comest to the waters
Thou shalt not go down, BUT THROUGH."
Seas of sorrow, seas of trial,
Bitterest anguish, fiercest pain,
Rolling surges of temptation
Sweeping over heart and brain
They shall never overflow us
For we know His Word is true;
All His waves and all His billows
He will lead us safely through.
Threatening breakers of destruction,
Doubt's insidious undertow,
Shall not sink us, shall not drag us
Out to ocean depths of woe;
For His promise shall sustain us,
Praise the Lord, whose Word is true!
We shall not go down, or under,
For He saith, "Thou passest THROUGH."
--Annie Johnson Flint
(Taken from Streams In The Desert devotional)
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Daily Devotional for Saturday February 11th/06
The following is taken from chapter nine (Getting To Know Him) of The Pursuit Of Peace by Dorothy Pentecost.
Moses, David and Paul are three examples of men of GOD who were never satisfied with their knowledge and closeness to the LORD.
They were never contented with a superficial or head knowledge of GOD. They longed for the deepest possible spiritual walk with Him. All of these men had such precious spiritual experiences and displays of the presence of the LORD that it would seem they would have been satisfied, but each kept praying and longing for a deeper knowledge of GOD. Perhaps this was because the closer they got to the LORD, and the more they saw of Him, the more intense their desire became to know Him better. The more they realized what GOD was like, the more they felt compelled to be closer to Him.
Moses saw many wonderful displays of GOD's power and might both on his behalf and for the children of Israel as he was leading them through the wilderness. Moses had the privilege that no one else has had. "And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend" (Exodus 33:11). And again we see how Moses knew the LORD and found grace in His sight. "And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name" (v. 17).
Moses spent forty days alone with GOD in Mount Sinai and still he was not satisfied. His plea was, "I beseech thee, shew me thy glory" (v. 18). GOD respected his wish and made a plan whereby Moses would see as much of GOD as possible while still living (vv. 18-23). GOD put him in the cleft of a rock and passed by with His hand over him. Then He took away His hand so that Moses was given the unprecedented opportunity of seeing GOD's "back parts."
David gave a graphic description of his constant desire to know GOD better in one of his psalms. "As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God" (Psalm 42:1, 2).
Picture a deer that has been running from a hunter - hot, tired and very thirsty. Think of the time that you have been the longest without any water. You would have given most anything no matter how precious just to get a drink. David says that his desire for the LORD was as intense as that. Is yours?
Paul had all the advantages of race, tribe, education, and prestige. He was brought to know CHRIST as SAVIOUR by a special heavenly vision. He was privileged to be taken up into the third heaven to see such marvelous things that no one on earth is allowed to hear them described (II Corinthians 12:1-4).
Even after winning many to the LORD and writing most of the epistles, Paul was not satisfied with his limited knowledge of GOD. Near the close of a long, fruitful life of service, his prayer was still the same. "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death" (Philippians 3:10).*
GOD never fails to honor a real desire to know Him better.
Our knowledge of Him is so slight because our appetite is so small that GOD hasn't even been given the chance to make Himself as real to us as He did to these saints. We have CHRIST's promise: "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." Dare we be satisfied with our limited knowledge when we know that the fault is ours?
By now I hope that you are saying, "That is what I want. How can I get to know Him in that close fellowship so I can be conscious of His presence all the time and see the working of His mighty power in my life?"
May I answer your question by asking another? "How did you get to know your closest friend?" You met and decided that he was the kind of person you wanted to know. Then there followed times of long and short visits, sharing your likes and dislikes, telling your problems and joys; you spent as much time together as possible, for even the sweetest friendships fade when people are forced to be separated by many miles over a period of time.
Friendship or fellowship comes by cultivation. It seldom comes by accident and even then there must be things to share in common in order to continue. There must be mutual interest and likeness for a friendship to flourish.
So friendship with GOD comes by cultivation. We must first come to GOD by taking CHRIST as our SAVIOUR. There is no other way (John 14ff.). To join this intimate family circle, we must first meet GOD through CHRIST (John 1:12, 13).
This is the point at which Christianity is woefully weak today.
Becoming a child of GOD does not automatically guarantee a close walk with Him; in fact, because of the difficult race we have entered, we now desperately need a continually growing desire for Him. Just as we must gradually learn about our earthly friends through spending time with them, we must learn of GOD by spending time with Him. This is not something we complete the moment we receive CHRIST as SAVIOUR. This is a growing process that only comes through much cultivation.
My husband and I do not like caring for a garden or lawn. But because of our patriotism, we decided to have a victory garden during World War II. We put life into the ground through the little seeds. Neither of us realized how much work was involved in raising a garden. We thought the seeds would grow without much attention. My husband talked to a few of the farmers in our church about it and they enjoyed a good laugh at our expense. They all gave us the same advice. "It takes a lot of work and constant attention to have a good garden. A garden must be cultivated."
The LORD used this as a lesson to my heart. Gardens and friendships take time and energy to grow. Knowing GOD in a real and personal friendship also takes cultivation requiring time and interest that often mean a sacrifice. Sin, no matter how attractive to our old nature, must be thoroughly and continually purged to keep our intimate contact with Him.
*Jerry's Note: I know Philippians was one of the Apostle Paul's prison epistles, written just before he died, but I never thought of this verse in that context - that at the end of his life of serving the Lord Jesus Christ, he still desired greater intimacy and closeness with Him. I always read it in the context of someone in the midst of their pilgrimage, not at the end of it, looking for an even greater and closer walk with Christ. This adds a richer dimension to this passage.
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Daily Devotional for Sunday February 12th/06
The following is a neat devotional study based on the names of those in the line of Christ from Genesis five. This idea is not unique to me, but this study is what I have put together today, from various resources I had on hand (plus, wisdom from God).
What The Genealogy In Genesis Five Pictures
Genesis 5:1-2 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
The Names In This Chapter
There are eleven names in this chapter in the line of Christ, from Adam unto Shem. Here are their names and basic definitions/explanations, then I will attempt to sum up what they picture:
1. Adam - Man/Mankind (meaning earth or red earth, signifying man being created from the dust of the earth)
2. Seth - Appointed or Substituted (Adam's "son in his own likeness" - verse 3)
3. Enos - Mortal (ie. "destined to die," from Webster's 1828 Dictionary)
4. Cainan - Possessor or Purchaser (may also include the idea of Redeemer, one who purchases back)
5. Mahalaleel - Praise God or God Be Praised
6. Jared - He Descends or Coming Down
7. Enoch - Dedication ("the seventh from Adam" who "walked with God" - verses 22 and 24 - and "he had this testimony, that he pleased God" by faith - see Jude 1:14; Hebrews 11:5; Amos 3:3)
8. Methuselah - When He Dies, Then Comes Judgment or He Dieth And Judgment Sent Forth (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown: "This name signifies, 'He dieth, and the sending forth.'")
- The literal fulfillment of his name was in Methuselah's death just prior to or at the time of the sending forth of the flood - he died and the judgment of God came.
9. Lamech - Conqueror
10. Noah - Rest
Genesis 5:29 And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.
"The allusion is, undoubtedly, to the penal consequences of the fall in earthly toils and sufferings, and to the hope of a Deliverer, excited by the promise made to Eve. That this expectation was founded on a divine communication we infer from the importance attached to it and the confidence of its expression." - from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown.
Matthew Henry observes, "All the patriarchs here, except Noah, were born before Adam died..." - yet Noah did not come until after the death of Adam... This too was part of the picture that God was presenting here.
11. Shem - Name
What These Names Picture
From the meaning of the names and the order they are given, I offer this following interpretation of what they picture:
A. To Man (ie. mankind) it is Appointed To Die.
Or - As it is appointed unto men... to die - as Hebrews 9:27 states.
- but there is a Substitute, made in the likeness of man, who was destined to die... (See Romans 8:3)
B. The Possessor (or Purchaser), Praise God, is Coming Down. God Be Praised, The Redeemer Descends (to earth).
Webster's 1828 Dictionary gives the following definitions (in part):
Redeem: "In commerce, to purchase or pay the value in specie, of any promissory note, bill or other evidence of debt, given by the state, by a company or corporation, or by an individual... In theology, to rescue and deliver from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God's violated law, by obedience and suffering in the place of the sinner, or by doing and suffering that which is accepted in lieu of the sinner's obedience."
Redemption: "In theology, the purchase of God's favor by the death and sufferings of Christ; the ransom or deliverance of sinners from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God's violated law by the atonement of Christ."
Jesus, the Creator and Possessor of Heaven and earth (Genesis 14:19), came down to earth to be our Redeemer. He become one of us, made in the likeness of man (but without sin - Hebrews 4:15), in order that He may be our Sinless Subsitute.
C. He lived a life of Dedication - He walked with God and was well-pleasing to Him.
Hebrews 10:7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
Matthew 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Jesus, the Son of God - God manifest in the flesh - the Son of Man - the Perfect Man ("the seventh from Adam" - seven in the Bible indicates perfection, completion) completely fulfilled the requirements of the law (which sinful man could never do), thereby pleasing His Heavenly Father. It is only when we are in Christ (through faith in His finished work of Redemption and receiving of this Saviour), and walking in faith with Him that the Lord is well-pleased with us.
D. When He Dies, Then Comes Judgment.
- As Hebrews 9:27 states, And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
He Dieth And Judgment Sent Forth.
- The fulfillment of what this pictured is seen in Jesus' death on the cross for our sins; He bore our judgment - the judgment of God that we deserved - and literally shed His blood and died in our place as our Substitute. While He was dying (dieth - present tense) on the cross, He bore man's judgment.
E. The Conqueror brings Rest, through His Name.
Through Jesus' death, burial, and literal physical resurrection after three days and three nights in the grave, He became the Conqueror over death and Hell (see Revelation 1:18). He brings Rest through His Name.
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
The Rest to Man could not come until after the Appointed Death of the Redeemer (Purchaser), the Son of Man. Praise God, Jesus Christ Descended to earth and was made in Man's likeness, becoming Mortal so that He could die for Man, Dying in his place as his Substitute, bearing the Judgment (and curse) of God for Man's sins. He was the perfect Sacrifice because of His sinless life and complete Dedication to fulfilling the will and law of God. As the only Conqueror over Death and Hell, He offers Rest to all those who will believe on His Name - the name of Jesus (ie. Saviour). This is spiritual Rest, Rest from the curse of our sins and from the dead works of our hands - through faith in the Saviour's finished work at Calvary. Praise Be to God, "It is Finished!" What a Comfort! What a Rest! What A Saviour!
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Daily Devotional for Monday February 13th/06
I just wanted to share a praise item/moment of celebration in my life: February 6th (I know, I missed posting it on time) marked my two year anniversary of preaching at the Gospel Mission. That is a great milestone in my life - and it was sure a great learning experience. God has done a lot in my life these last two years - especially through the trials this past year. Somehow He was able to use a broken vessel more than a whole, unmarred vessel - more lives were touched through my brokenness than my strength - more people got to see the difference true faith made in the darkest of times, than in the sunny times. In these last two years, not counting this past Friday, I have preached 101 times at the Mission (all except two or three of the messages were my own), twice at a Senior's home, and at my Mom's funeral. Preaching in these different contexts, and searching for answers for various trials and various needs that others have had, has really opened up the Word of God even more. I am looking forward to what God has in store in this coming year. Thank you for sharing this milestone with me!
The following is written by a Missionary in Papua New Guinea (that I know somewhat through fellowship on an IFB message board):
The True Foundation For Life
The best place to start is with Jesus Christ.
He is the true foundation. If your life, your works, your motivation, your marriage, your relationships etc... are not built on Him, then it is all for naught. Jesus Christ is life. Our life is about glorifying God Almighty. Let’s look at a parable about the importance of having the right foundation in life. This foundation is Jesus Christ and his Word.
(Mat 7:24-27) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
What is your “house” built upon? How many have quit in their service due to “rains, floods, and winds” (trials)? Their foundation for their service was not the Rock (Jesus Christ), it was merely sand.
Knowing this to be the case, why then do so few people build upon this foundation?
For one, building upon this foundation will involve denying self. The fact is we like to live our life for our self and not God. We can even use God and His service for self.
I think of the many times in my own life, I have attempted some work, or some other area of my life, without letting Jesus Christ be the foundation. One can be a missionary, as myself, and yet the motivation for the service can be entirely selfish. Thus the work is built on the wrong foundation.
Christian, when we get to heaven our motivations will be revealed. God will not only look at what we did, but why we did it.
(1Co 3:10-15) According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Ask yourself, why you do what you do? Why do you go to church? Why do you read the Bible? Why do you pray? Why do you preach? Why do you teach a Sunday school class? Etc…
Now once you have answered that question, I want you to think about this verse:
(Mat. 22:37) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
Many times we start off building on the Foundation, but then we switch to materials like, "wood, hay, stubble." This will not last.
The bush houses here only last for a few years and then they must rebuild them? Why? The material used is not proper. It is not meant to last.
We need to make sure how we build upon this foundation.
(Used With Permission)
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This morning I came across some things I had posted about visiting my Mom last summer (before she went home to be with the Lord), and a difficult decision my sister had to make.
It was a little tough for me to read, but it was a good reminder of some of the ways the Lord was leading and working things out last year. I added from July 26th to the end of August to my memorial page on God's Grace In Our Trials, and if you have not read it, or would be interested in reading the new material added, please visit this page:
God's Grace In Our Trials
Daily Devotional for Tuesday February 14th/06
"And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings" (Exodus 10:22, 23).
At GOD's command, thick darkness covered the land of Egypt. The darkness could be felt. We observe that severe pain was the effect of darkness in the destruction of the spiritual Egypt. "And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain." (Revelation 16:10)
The darkness terrified the people. Tradition tells us they were terrified by the dreadful sounds and murmurs of evil spirits. Perhaps David referred to this plague when he said:
"He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, by sending evil angels among them." (Psalm 78:49)
The darkness lasted three days. Their palaces were turned into dungeons. No man rose from his place. They were silent in the darkness. Now Pharaoh had time to consider - but he would not.
The darkness was a righteous judgment upon them. Since Pharaoh and his people rebelled against the light of GOD's Word, it was just with GOD to leave them in darkness - they loved it and chose it. Spiritual darkness is spiritual bondage, and hell is utter darkness. If three days' darkness was so dreadful, what will everlasting darkness be?
"All the children of Israel had light in their dwellings." Today, it is comforting for us to know that GOD's people are still His peculiar treasure - they walk in the light of His love while others wander endlessly in thick darkness.
(Taken from Moments Of Meditation, based on Matthew Henry's Commentary)
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Daily Devotional for Wednesday February 15th/06
"And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people" (Exodus 13:21, 22).
By a pillar of a cloud the Lord led the children of Israel through the vast howling wilderness. This cloud that appeared cloudy during the day and fiery at night was a tangible evidence of GOD's constant presence with the children of Israel. To comfort us and to strengthen our faith, JESUS said, "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." (John 20:29) We walk by faith, not by sight.
Can we be sure that the LORD goes before us just as He went before Israel in the wilderness? Yes! If we make the Word of GOD our rule, the SPIRIT of GOD the guide of our affections, the glory of GOD our aim, and the providence of GOD the guide of our affairs, GOD will be our Guide; and we need not be afraid of missing our way or of being lost in the wilderness of this world.
Wasn't there something spiritual in the pillar of cloud and fire? By following the cloud, didn't the children of Israel put themselves under the divine guidance and command? If we follow CHRIST by faith, won't He lead and guide us through the wilderness of this world? We remember that JESUS said: "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12) When CHRIST comes into our souls spiritual light comes, and it is a shining light that will shine more and more unto the perfect day.
(Taken from Moments Of Meditation, based on Matthew Henry's Commentary)
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Daily Devotional for Thursday February 16th/06
Here is a great sermon by Harry Ironside:
INSIDE THE VEIL AND OUTSIDE THE CAMP
"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of JESUS, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of GOD; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith" (Hebrews 10:19-22).
"Wherefore JESUS also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach" (Hebrews 13:12, 13).
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Daily Devotional for Friday February 17th/06
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest" (Exodus 34:1).
When the children of Israel sinned against GOD, the first tables of the law, written by the finger of GOD, were broken. Who was at fault? The people! Years later Isaiah said, "Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." (Isaiah 59:2)
We observe that the first token of reconciliation to Israel was the renewing of the tables of stone, and the first article of the new covenant is, "I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts," (Hebrews 8:10). Surely, when GOD writes His Word in our hearts today, it is an evidence to us of the pardon of our sin and of our peace with GOD.
If we want GOD to write His Word in our hearts, we must prepare our hearts to receive it. Our hearts of stone must be hewn by conviction and humiliation for sin, and they must be made smooth so that the Word may have a place in them. We realize, however, that such work is beyond all human power; and only GOD in His infinite mercy and grace to us can renew a right spirit within us.
Therefore, the more we experience the work of renewing grace in our own hearts and lives, the more we will realize the true meaning of these words: "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
(Taken from Moments Of Meditation, based on Matthew Henry's Commentary)
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Daily Devotional for Saturday February 18th/06
Exodus 27:20 And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.
The saintly McCheyne used to say, when urging his brother ministers to diligent preparation for the pulpit: "Beaten oil for the sanctuary." And he strove never to present to his people truth which had not been beaten out by careful devout meditation.
But there is yet another thought. That lamp in the Holy Place was an emblem of the testimony of the Church, that is, of believers. As the incense table was a type of their aspect toward God, as intercessors, so the seven-branched candlestick was a type of their aspect toward the world, as luminaries. In the Book of Revelation the Lord compares His churches to candlesticks: "the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." (Revelation 1:20)
The oil is, of course, as always in Scripture, a type of the Holy Spirit. He in us is the only source of light-bearing. But the beaten oil reminds us of the chastisement and discipline through which alone our best testimony can be given. The persecutions of the Church have always been the times when she has given her fairest, brightest witness to the Redeemer. The sufferings of believers have ever led to the tenderest, strongest words for the Master, whether by the sick bed or in the hospital ward. That brokenness of spirit, which is the surest mark of mature work of God in the heart, is also a rare condition of light-giving. The more beaten and broken you are, in poverty of spirit, the purer will be the heavenly ray of love and light which will shine forth from your life; and it is the purpose of God that you should be "blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:15).
(Taken from Our Daily Homily by F.B. Meyer)
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Daily Devotional for Sunday February 19th/05
The Book With No Title
There was once an old preacher in our town who had a favourite book on his desk. It was a book he used in his devotions quite frequently. It had no title or table of contents. The pages were simply alphabetised so that each letter of the alphabet had a few pages of its own. The pages under the letter "A" contained little insights on attitudes, on abiding, on authority, on anger, on apostasy, on the accuser of the brethren, on appealing, on adventure, and on accountability. The letter "Z" had two entries, both on zeal. And all in between are found pages full of baskets of summer fruit, caskets of rich treasure, and truckloads of the finest wheat gleaned from the wide, golden fields of Scripture.
Again and again, the old preacher would see with fear and trembling his Sunday morning sermonic deadline approaching and, taking down the little hardbound book, he discovered in its pages treasure maps, ancient treasure maps that showed him where to dig for gold for his people. Sometimes he found bushels of wheat to be ground (finely and slowly) into meal for bread to feed hungry souls. Often he found in it honey from lions slain long ago and carried it to those he loved, sweetness dripping from between his fingers. It was a well spring of joy that overflowed and supplied a whole congregation with comfort and solace in a brutal world. It was Friday's manna, saved without spoiling for a lifetime of sabbaths.
I opened his little book yesterday and read a page of notes from an old sermon. The sermon was titled "Christianity has left the promised land and is in Babylonian captivity." The sermon has thirteen headings.
1. The whole life of the faithful should be one of repentance.
2. Repentance is void if it does not produce mortification of the flesh.*
3. We must begin to preach again "No salvation without discipleship."*
4. To be forgiven, sin must be forsaken.*
5. There's no Saviourhood without Lordship.*
6. The way of the cross is hard.
7. The methods of the Spirit and the methods of men are diametrically opposed.
8. Christ saved us to make us worshippers, not workers.
9. Christians violate the Scriptures in relation to their neighbours, the world, and the flesh without compunction or repentance.
10. Meekness, modesty, and humility endear a man to God.
11. We cannot by prayer justify non-obedience.
12. We cannot cure our spiritual malady by more activity. (When a diseased Christianity becomes evangelistic it merely spreads the area of infection.)
13. Our critical need in this hour is not so much revival (a big boom in religion) as reformation.
(Copied from a sermon of A.W. Tozer's.)
This morning I see a new entry in the book, the ink hardly dry. It is a comment from the 18th chapter of 1 Samuel, "Saul and David each had a 'muse,' a spirit that spoke through them. By their 'muses' Saul prophesied and David played on his harp the songs the Lord taught him. Both men became creative as their 'muse' came upon them. But what a difference there was between the two 'muses'. The evil spirit that moved Saul to prophesy also moved him to cast a javelin at David. The Spirit that moved David to play also moved him to stay his hand from revenge. So it is with the two wisdoms of James 3. One is earthly, sensual, devilish and the other is pure, peaceable, and gentle. And so today we see this pattern repeated. On all sides I see men moved by their 'muses,' some casting javelins and some singing hymns of praise to God, some creating strife and destroying relationships, and others quieting the hearts of their hearers, and sowing peace. Let us take careful note which muse is moving us, and be sure we are yielding ourselves to the Spirit of God, whether we preach or sing. And let us test the spirits. Not every spirit that moves men is of God."
Where can I obtain a copy of this book? I am told it is not available on the open market. You won't find it in the bookstores. A websearch is a waste of time. In fact, the book has no publisher and has never even been printed. I am quite sure it never will be. You see, it contains the meditations and musings of an old preacher who jotted down the impressions of his heart as he read the Scriptures. It is a one off copy, handwritten from front to back. We can never own a copy of the book or buy a boxful to give to our friends. But any one of us can write our own copy as we read our Bibles in faith. You can write your own book of wisdom as you think God's thoughts after Him.
After all, isn't that what meditation upon the Scriptures is?
Used With Permission
*Editor's Note: I wanted to post this disclaimer due to concern over the above article, to explain a problem section, rather than remove the article. I do not believe Tozer was teaching any kind of "Lordship Salvation" in points 2-5 above - I think we sometimes have a tendency to read modern day problems into past day's material. If part 2 is referring to the believer, then I have no problem with his statement - though if it was in reference to the person coming to Christ for salvation then I would disagree. Believers learn to mortify their flesh as they walk with the Saviour. True soulwinning also involves discipleship, as part of the Great Comission - as point 3 refers to (it is not stating that someone is not saved until they are a disciple - but that our job is not finished until we also disciple them). Point 4 is referring to Proverbs 28:13 - to have God's mercy we must turn from the sin in our heart (repentance) and that will result in a turning from it outwardly as we walk with the Lord. Point 5 is only stating that we must acknowledge Christ as Saviour and Lord when we come to Him for salvation - as Lord, He has the Sovereign right to tell us how to live; as our Creator, He has the right to make the rules (ie. the Ten Commandments) and enforce them and their consequences. We realize the Bible is His Word, and the consequences for breaking His commandments and sinning against Him is eternity in Hell - but praise God, Jesus Christ paid the penalty for us and will save us if we will accept what He has done and receive Him as our Saviour. Now that someone has come to Him, they then need to get into His Word to see how to live for Him.
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Daily Devotional for Monday February 20th/06
"And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt." (Leviticus 2:13)
Salt was required at the altar, the table of the LORD; it was called the salt of the covenant. As the children of Israel feasted upon the sacrifices that were seasoned with salt, they were constantly reminded of GOD's covenant with them. Salt also symbolized friendship, hospitality, durability, and purity.
Does this Scripture from the Old Testament apply to us? Yes! Speaking to the disciples, JESUS said, "Ye are the salt of the earth." (Matthew 5:13) Having learned the doctrine of the Gospel and being employed to teach it to others, the disciples truly were the salt of the earth. From experience we know that the doctrine of the Gospel is like salt; it is penetrating; it is quick and powerful; and it reaches the heart. For our daily Christian use, Paul said, "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt." (Colossians 4:6)
"But if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?" (Matthew 5:13) Christians, therefore, who are living sacrifices to GOD, must have salt in themselves; for "every sacrifice shall be salted with salt." (Mark 9:49)
We must be seasoned with the Gospel and with the salt of grace - our thoughts and affections, our words and actions must all be seasoned with grace. Just as the disciples first learned the doctrine they were to teach, so we, too, must first have salt in ourselves or we cannot share the Gospel with others.
True Christianity is the salt of the earth!
(Taken from Moments Of Meditation, based on Matthew Henry's Commentary)
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Daily Devotional for Tuesday February 21st/06
Here is another chapter in Charles Spurgeon's book on communion with the Lord Jesus Christ, Till He Come.
20. The Sin-Bearer
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Daily Devotional for Wednesday February 22nd/06
Exodus 33:22 And it shall come to pass, while My glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand while I pass by:
That rock was Christ. In the Divine thought the position of Moses, first on the rock, and afterward in its cleft, was a moving emblem of the position in which alone we can dare to look out on the sublime progress of God's glory.
God is always passing by. - In the great movements of history which evolve His plans, and are leading to Christ's advent; in the passage of the ages, which are His swift chariots; in storm and catastrophe, which break up old forces and forms of evil; in the goodness of His daily mercy; in the revelation of His character - we are always living in the very midst of God's presence and power.
In our condition of weakness and sinfulness we need a position of stability and shelter from which to look on God. - No man can see that face of awful holiness and love and live. Sir John Herschel says that when sweeping the heavens with his telescope the brilliant Sirius suddenly burst on his view, he nearly fainted. Who then could behold God! But in Jesus, we are stable, established in Him, accepted in the Beloved; and in Him we are covered. The full blaze of the Divine glory is tempered to our gaze; it comes to us through the medium of the pierced hand. We stand on the rock; we are hidden under the covering hand.
Our Rock was cleft. - How scarred are the great Alps! Their sides have been split by the action of tempest, avalanche, earthquake, frost, and glacier. Hence their clefts. But who shall enumerate all that has been borne by our dear Lord for us! What storms have pelted on Him, that we might have a safe hiding. On Calvary, a niche was hollowed in which a world of sinners may take shelter!
(Taken from Our Daily Homily by F.B. Meyer)
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Daily Devotional for Thursday February 23rd/06
Exodus 37:6 And he made the mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half was the length thereof, and one cubit and a half the breadth thereof.
This was the Propitiatory. Beneath it lay the tables of the law, which even Moses had broken, almost as soon as they came into his hands, but which had been renewed. Concealing and covering them lay this golden lid, encrusted with the blood which successive generations of priests sprinkled there on the Great Day of Atonement.
There can be no doubt that this golden slab sets forth our Saviour's obedience unto death. God set Him forth to be "the Propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:2)
Our Lord's obedience is priceless in the Divine esteem. - What pure gold is among metals, that is His advent to do God's will, in comparison with all other endeavors to do it. It takes the first place, and is of peerless beauty and excellence. "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered." (Hebrews 5:8)
His obedience was to blood. - His wounds tell the story. He held nothing back; but yielded all to blood-shedding. Blood is life, and life is in the Blood: this He freely poured out to meet the claims of justice, and herein gave the sublimest token of His love.
His person and work are the medium of our approach. - In Jesus the Shekinah of God's presence awaits us. On this priceless mercy-seat the Divine Fire trembles, and we may draw near with boldness. We are beloved children; but let us never forget that we are redeemed sinners.
There is a place where Jesus sheds
The oil of gladness on our heads;
A place than all beside more sweet -
It is the blood-stained Mercy-seat.
(Taken from Our Daily Homily by F.B. Meyer)
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Daily Devotional for Friday February 24th/06
"And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years; few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage" (Genesis 47:8, 9).
When Joseph presented his father to Pharaoh, Pharaoh asked Jacob an ordinary question: "How old art thou?"
Jacob's reply was unusual. Speaking with an air of seriousness becoming a patriarch, Jacob laid down some truths for Pharaoh to think about. Let's consider them.
Jacob called his life a pilgrimage. Looking upon himself as a stranger in this world and a traveler towards another world, Jacob regarded this earth as just a place in which to live for a while. It wasn't home. Speaking of all the patriarchs, Paul said: They "confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." (Hebrews 11:13)
Jacob counted his life by days. Since we aren't sure that our life will continue to the end of this day, and since we may be turned out of this tabernacle with less than an hour's warning, let us also count our life by days. Then let us so number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
His days were evil. Job said: "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble." (Job 14:1) Surely Jacob's life, in particular, had been full of sorrow. The most pleasant days of his life were ahead of him.
His days were few. When he compared his hundred and thirty years to the days of eternity in which a thousand years are but as one day, they seemed like just a few days.
(Taken from Moments Of Meditation, based on Matthew Henry's Commentary)
Just to add to the above devotion:
Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
I read a statement a little while ago on this verse in Scripture, to this effect:
They were strangers because this world was not their home, and pilgrims because they were going home.
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Daily Devotional for Saturday February 25th/06
I am always amazed at the complexity in God's Word - when you think you know a portion of Scripture really well, something else is in there waiting to be discovered by further studying! Take for example, the book of Revelation. It is amazing the number of sevens in that book! Everytime you think you found them all, there are more to be brought to light. To me, it is like God's stamp on His Word - only God could write a book that makes sense like His Word does, but with so much more to be learned. (Note: I do not advocate spending a lot of your time trying to find sevens in the Bible, but it is interesting to note them when you do find them - some of these were discovered through a fun challenge to see what we could come up with.)
Sevens In The Book Of Revelation
Some of these were taken from Revelation Chapter One: An Introduction And Overview, and some from further study by myself and others.
Seven means "fulness, completion, perfection."
I will start of with a not so obvious one, but which is foundational to the message of chapters 6-19: the seven year tribulation, which is the 70th week of Daniel (7 times 70 years). It is divided into two halves, of 42 months each (6 X 7).
Of course, there are seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven vials.
In Revelation 1:5-7 Jesus Christ is:
1. the faithful witness
2. the first begotten of the dead
3. the prince of the kings of the earth
4. him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood
5. him that... hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father
6. he [that] cometh with clouds
7. he [that] every eye shall see.
There are seven different names Jesus is called in this chapter:
1. Alpha and Omega, (verse 8)
2. the beginning and the ending,
3. the Lord,
4. which is, which was, and which is to come,
5. the Almighty,
6. the first and the last, (verse 17)
7. He that liveth and was dead... and is alive for evermore (verse 18).
There is a seven-fold symbolic presentation of Christ in verses 13-16 (the symbolism is traced through Scripture and explained in my study linked above):
1. Girt about the paps (chest) with a golden girdle.
2. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow.
3. His eyes were as a flame of fire.
4. His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace.
5. His voice as the sound of many waters.
6. Out of His mouth went a sharp twoedged sword.
7. His countenance was as the sun shining in his strength.
Revelation 1:20 speaks of the seven golden candlesticks which depict the seven churches and Jesus right in the midst of them. Then there are the seven stars in His right hand which are the seven angels (pastors) of the seven churches.
There are seven "blesseds" in the book of Revelation: 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14.
Jesus makes seven "I Am" statements in this book: Revelation 1:8, 11, 17, 18; 21:6; 22:13, 16.
There are seven times the Book of Life is mentioned: 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; 22:19.
There are seven letters to the churches of Asia, named for and addressed to seven specific cities - each of the letters to the churches has seven parts to it:
1) Name (of the church that particular letter is addressed to.)
2) Its Description of Christ.
3) Commendation – What that church is praised for.
4) Warning – What that church is rebuked for.
6) To The Overcomers.
7) Prophetic Application (As revealed in church history, found throughout the letter).
In Revelation 4, the Apostle John is describing the throne room and he notes seven things he sees and hears:
1. One upon the throne that was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone
2. A rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald
3. The 24 elders sitting, and clothed in white raiment with gold crowns on their heads
4. Lightnings, thunderings and voices proceeding out of the throne
5. The seven lamps of fire burning (which are the seven Spirits of God, ie. the seven-fold Holy Spirit - see Isaiah 11:2)
6. A sea of glass like unto crystal before the throne
7. The four beasts.
There are seven doxologies (hymns of praise to Christ) in Heaven throughout the book of Revelation, some also have seven specific aspects of Christ that are praised: 4:9-11; 5:8-13; 7:9-12; 11:16-18; 14:2-3; 15:2-4; 19:1-6.
Revelation 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
As mentioned before, seven is the number of fulness, completion. So here we see Jesus with complete power (seven horns - in the Bible, horns are always symbolic of power, this is His omnipotence); complete knowledge (seeing all, omniscience); complete presence (present everywhere, omnipresence - sent forth into all the earth).
Revelation 6 describes the 6th seal which is seven-fold:
2. Sun becomes black
3. Moon becomes as blood
4. Stars of heaven fall upon the earth
5. The heaven departed as a scroll
6. Every mountain and island moved out of their places
7. All people hide and call for the rocks to fall on them.
In Revelation 10 there are seven thunders which John is not allowed to describe.
Seven thousand dead from one judgment in Revelation 11:13.
Revelation 15 tells of the seven last plagues and the seven vials which is the culmination of the wrath of God.
This verse describes Rome:
Revelations 17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
Revelation 17:10 refers to seven world empires (kingdoms): five have fallen, one is, and one is yet to come.
Revelation 17 also tells us seven things about the great whore, Babylon:
1. Sitting on a scarlet coloured beast which has seven heads and ten horns.
2. Woman is arrayed in purple and scarlet.
3. She is decked with gold, precious stones and pearls.
4. She has a golden cup in her hand that is full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication.
5. On her forehead is written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
6. She is drunken with the blood of saints and the martyrs of Jesus.
7. She is the great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
There are seven main people or groups of people portrayed in the Great Tribulation:
1. The two prophets (Moses and Elijah) - chapter 11
2. The woman clothed with the sun (Israel) - chapter 12
3. The Man child (Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God)
4. The dragon (with seven heads and seven crowns on his heads) and his angels
5. Michael and his angels
6. The beast - chapter 13
7. The false prophet.
I am sure there are many more to be found - I just wanted to whet your appetite and share some of what I (and others) have been learning. Of course, the main message of Scripture is what God's Word actually says - these "extras" are just His fingerprints on the pages.
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Daily Devotional for Sunday February 26th/06
Enter Into Your Inheritance
"Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you" (Joshua 1:3).
Beside the literal ground, unoccupied for Christ, there is the unclaimed, untrodden territory of Divine promises. What did God say to Joshua? "Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you," and then He draws the outlines of the Land of Promise -- all theirs on one condition: that they shall march through the length and breadth of it, and measure it off with their own feet.
They never did that to more than one-third of the property, and consequently they never had more than one-third; they had just what they measured off, and no more.
In 2 Peter, we read of the "land of promise" that is opened up to us, and it is God's will that we should, as it were, measure off that territory by the feet of obedient faith and believing obedience, thus claiming and appropriating it for our own.
How many of us have ever taken possession of the promises of God in the name of Christ?
Here is a magnificent territory for faith to lay hold on and march through the length and breadth of, and faith has never done it yet.
Let us enter into all our inheritance. Let us lift up our eyes to the north and to the south, to the east and to the west, and hear Him say, "All the land that thou seest will I give to thee." --A. T. Pierson
Wherever Judah should set his foot that should be his; wherever Benjamin should set his foot, that should be his. Each should get his inheritance by setting his foot upon it. Now, think you not, when either had set his foot upon a given territory, he did not instantly and instinctively feel, "This is mine"?
An old colored man, who had a marvelous experience in grace, was asked: "Daniel, why is it that you have so much peace and joy in religion?" "O Massa!" he replied, "I just fall flat on the exceeding great and precious promises, and I have all that is in them. Glory! Glory!" He who falls flat on the promises feels that all the riches embraced in them are his. --Faith Papers
The Marquis of Salisbury was criticized for his Colonial policies and replied: "Gentlemen, get larger maps."
(Taken from Streams In The Desert devotional)
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Daily Devotional for Monday February 27th/06
The following is taken from chapter 10 (The Position of the Fellowship - 1 John 4:7-21) of The Fellowship: Exposition of First John by Guy King.
Here, then, we learn something of the calls and claims resting upon the members of the Fellowship, on account of their social position, as residing "in this world." Let us go on to look at their second dwelling - so utterly and beautifully contrasted as it is.
THEIR SPIRITUAL POSITION
"In love" (16). The whole passage is full of references to, descriptions of, and blessings in, the Love House - an exquisitely delightful residence.
- Double-fronted - love to GOD, love to others.
- Long lease - even for eternity.
- Sunny aspect - constantly lit by the Sun of Righteousness.
- Every modern convenience - for "charity never faileth."
- Safe from disturbance - for "perfect love casteth out fear."
Note that the phrase employed is "dwelleth in love," not "lodgeth," as if for a while - there is all the difference between visiting the seaside for a holiday, and living there permanently. It is this latter condition that is envisaged here. The house itself is a permanency - "now abideth... charity," 1 Corinthians 13:13 - and we are never to move elsewhere.
We are said to be Born there - "born of God" (7). Not by natural birth, but by new birth. In the beautiful atmosphere where love reigns - that is, in effect, where GOD reigns, for "God is love" - there is no room for a spirit of hate, a spirit of fear, a spirit of greed, a spirit of jealousy, a spirit of self. It is a sign of a newly born body that it breathes life; likewise is it a mark of a new born soul that it breathes love - for we cannot really know GOD without catching from Him some of His wonderful spirit of love (8).
We are said to Grow there - "herein is our love made perfect" (17). Love is not a merely static thing, but is for ever growing deeper as the days go by... So does it come about, in the higher sphere, that the more we know GOD the more we love Him - and, incidentally, the more we love others. As the Christian should be always on the go, so should he also be always on the grow - "as newborn babes, desire the sincere [the unadulterated] milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby," (1 Peter 2:2).
We are to grow in all kinds of Christian excellencies - for instance, in grace, in knowledge, and in love. This love that the Epistle is so full of is a supernatural quality - "shed abroad in our hearts [not by our effort] by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us," (Romans 5:5). The New Testament word for love is not found in heathen writers; and their word for it is not found in the New Testament... Let us see to it that, as members of the Fellowship we are growing in the Divine virtue.
We are said to Live there - "dwelleth in love" (16). The Love life follows a pattern, "manifested" in the blessed fact that GOD sent His Son to be incarnate (9) and crucified (10) for us. A strange word is used of the latter fact - "the propitiation"; and we must give careful attention to it, in view of certain strictures that occur in certain quarters. They begin by quoting from this very Epistle, this very chapter, that "God is love." Very well, then, if that be the case, He will surely forgive "our sins," without any need to be propitiated on account of them.
Yet the Bible does describe the Cross, not only as an example of love (how true!), but as a propitiation for sins.
You see, there are two sides to the nature of GOD, as revealed to us - "God is love," (4:8); but also, "God is light," (1:5), and the two must be held in balance. The first word signifies, shall we say, His attitude towards our highest good; the second word embraces His attitude against all evil - in consequence of this latter capacity, innate in a Holy Deity, sin must be adequately dealt with.
He cannot, from the very nature of this side of His Being, deal with it as if He were an easy-going, indulgent FATHER. A propitiation there must be - but note carefully the phrase that He "sent . . . the propitiation." The same thought is in Romans 3:25-26, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation... that He might be [at the same time] just, and the justifier." The Cross dealt with the sin, and delivered the sinner who believed. So that we come to this "righteous" conclusion that, seeing there must be a propitiation, His love provided what His holiness demanded! "Herein is love" (10) - indeed.
And now we have to remind ourselves that Life in Love lays upon us the obligation to reproduce, in our measure, the pattern of love that is set before us - not to do what He did, which was uniquely His work, but to do as He did. "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another" (11). "We love Him, because He first loved us" (19).
It is no use our saying that the copy is too remote, and the task too difficult, for, as we learned in an earlier study, GOD never commands His children to do the impossible, Exodus 18:23, and "this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also" (21). This rule of the household is His command; the grace for the doing of it is ours to command!
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Daily Devotional for Tuesday February 28th/06
Conquering The Canaanites In Your Life
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