Daily Devotionals For January 2006
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List of main devotionals written by Jerry for these January 2006 Devotionals (not posted elsewhere on this site):
My Strength - January 12th
The Bible Is Its Own Commentary - January 15th
A Type Pictured In Revelation Four - January 21st
What God Wrote - January 30th
Daily Devotional for Sunday January 1st/06
This is a compilation of various threads that were posted online about dealing with my Mom's sickness and homegoing - as well as several others entries I had found throughout the year as I was going through my Daily Devotionals for the past year.
God's Grace In Our Trials - (Facing The Death Of Saved Loved Ones)
Praying that this page would be a source of strength, comfort, and hope to other believers dealing with the loss of saved loved ones, or going through the Valley of the Shadow of Death with them at this present time. Please pass this link on if you found it a help to you.
For those who are interested, I have also put together a page on my website, listing all of my personal devotional studies sent out within the Daily Devotionals (ie. ones that I have not made separate pages for and are only accessible through those pages). Though going through them today, I took the opportunity to make separate pages for some of my longer studies and devotionals. You can view all my studies that are online by visiting my Table of Contents on Eagle's Wings Ministries:
List Of My Devotionals Within The Daily Devotionals
My Table Of Contents
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Daily Devotional for Monday January 2nd/06
I received this in my email today.
Dr. G. Campbell Morgan once told about a coal miner who came to him and said, "I would give anything to believe that God would forgive my sins, but I cannot believe that He will forgive them if I just ask Him. It is too cheap." Dr. Morgan replied, "My dear friend, have you been working today?" To which the miner replied, "Yes, I was down in the mine." Dr. Morgan asked, "How did you get out of the pit? Did you pay?" "Of course not," said the miner. "I just got into the cage and was pulled to the top. "Were you not afraid to entrust yourself to that cage? Was it not too cheap?" asked Dr. Morgan. "Oh no," said the miner. "It was cheap for me, but but it cost the company a lot of money to sink the shaft." Suddenly the truth struck him: Grace is not cheap. Though salvation cost us nothing, it cost God the precious blood of His Son. What an amazing gift!
I had sent out the link to chapter five ("Go"; the Main Essential) of an excellent book by John R. Rice, The Golden Path to Successful Personal Soul Winning, before learning that the copyright has been renewed and we can no longer post it online. Please consider the following excerpt from chapter five, and if at all possible, purchase this book from Sword of The Lord - it will stir your heart and kindle the fire for soulwinning in your life!
I. The Bible Everywhere Puts Going After Sinners As the First Requirement
The first word in the Great Commission as given in Mark 16:15 is, "Go." "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," JESUS said. Again in Matthew 28:19, 20 in the Great Commission JESUS said, "Go ye therefore . . ." The go is first. Going is before preaching. Going is before baptizing.
The Bible command is not, "Build a church house and preach." The command is not, "Settle down and preach." The Bible says, "Go. . . and preach." Preaching without an earnest effort to reach sinners and get them to hear the Gospel does not fulfill the plain command of JESUS CHRIST.
That wonderful passage in Psalm 126:6 puts going first in soul winning. "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." Of what use would be the weeping over souls if I did not go after them? Of what use would be all the good seed if I did not go forth and sow it? Going is the first requirement in soul winning.
We are commanded to "put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11). In that armour Christians are exhorted to put on the girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, to take the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation. But often we forget the plain exhortation that the Christian must have "your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace."
What a ridiculous picture a man would be with a heavy coat of armour on - helmet, breastplate, shield, a heavy sword - but barefooted! A soldier for GOD is no good if he doesn't go. The first grass burr he would step on would incapacitate the warrior! But GOD wants a Christian to put on the shoes of "the preparation of the gospel of peace." In other words, all the armour of a Christian is no good as for as fighting the Devil if he does not have his feet consecrated to going for GOD.
...We may say a preacher is a "silver-tongued orator." We may say, "winsome personality," and "radiant charm." We may exalt a preacher's "scholarly bearing," or speak of his "charming style." But these are not the things about a soul winner which are most important to GOD. The Bible tells us what GOD loves best of all and what He praises most of all in a Christian's personality. "How beautiful," says He, "are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Romans 10:15). Oh, beautiful feet that go out to carry the gospel message to sinners!
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Daily Devotional for Tuesday January 3rd/06
Joshua's New Year's Message To The Church
Tonight at midnight our calendars will change. It is less than an hour away as I type this. The old year we never got used to will be replaced by a new year. 2005 has gone so quickly that some of us are beginning to quote the lamentation of Job, "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle…" (Job 7:6)
As I was praying for a sermon for New Year's day, the Lord directed me to the first chapter of Joshua.
Here are a few of the things I learned this week as I meditated on the first chapter of Joshua:
Joshua was 95 years old when he led Israel into the promised land just before the Jewish New Year (5:10, 11) The words of chapter 1 were spoken about a week before New year's day, the fourteenth of Nisan.
Joshua already knew some of the things he would encounter in Canaan because he had spied out the land with Caleb. He knew about the giants and the walled cities. He knew about the grapes of Eshcol and the milk and honey. He knew his job description (enter 1:2; conquer 1:3-5; and divide the land 1:6) He knew it would be a long battle.
But there were many things he did not know when he crossed the Jordan to claim the land God had promised them. He didn't know about Rahab and her family who were saved from the destruction of Jericho. He didn't know about the Gibeonites and their subtlety. He didn't know about Achan's treachery that would cost them 36 good soldiers. He didn't know about the confederacy of Canaanite kings that would come against him and his army. He didn't know yet that God would alter the sidereal motion of the earth and the moon so he could win a battle. And he didn't know he would see another twenty New Year's days before his work was finished.
There is a particular message from God in chapter 1 for Joshua and Israel. It was the recurrent theme of Heaven's symphony, heard four times in chapter 1, three times in Deut. 31, and once in Josh. 10, "Be strong and of good courage!"
There was good cause for this message to be repeated to Joshua and Israel. Every inhabitant of Canaan was an enemy. Every city's king and army had ample opportunity to prepare for battle with Israel. Joshua was no longer young. Old age with all its infirmities and fears was an imminent threat to him. He could not be sure Israel would finish driving out the Canaanites.
This New Year's message was the very message they needed.
Strength and courage were required in order to obtain the fulfillment of God's promises. v.2
Strength and courage were required in order for them to do the will of God. vv.2, 3
Strength and courage are what it takes to obey God's commands. vv.7, 8
Strength and courage are God's answers to fear and dismay. v.9
Strength and courage are the source of godly leadership. vv.10, 11
Strength and courage set a good example for his fellowsoldiers. vv.16-18
God told Joshua how he could be strengthened and encouraged.
The presence of the Lord Himself would strengthen and encourage him. v.5b, v.9c, v.17c
The utter reliability and trustworthiness of God was to be his strength and encouragement. v.5c
Joshua's meditation on the Word of God would help him to obey God's commands and bring success. vv.7, 8
When Joshua was strengthened and encouraged in the Lord he found it was a time of pain and pleasure.
There was ultimately the pleasure of defeating God's enemies, of feeding on the old corn of the land instead of the manna of the wilderness (5:11,12), and of possessing the land God gave them.
But first there was the pain of circumcision at Gilgal, the dusty march around Jericho, the self denial of leaving untouched the spoil of Jericho and the long campaign of conquest.
Joshua could never have done the job without strength and courage.
Here then, are a few thoughts for the saints gleaned from Joshua's New Year's message:
1. The New Year will be a mixture of known and unknown. We cannot stand with Moses and look past midnight to see what lies before us in the New Year. We stand with Joshua beside the flooded Jordan and wonder what walled cities lie before us in 2006? What giant trials and testings must we wrestle with? What confederacies of enemies must we defeat in battle? What walls will fall before the trumpet blast of truth next year? What Rahabs (with their families) will we see added to our numbers? What Gibeonites will we welcome foolishly into the camp? What Achans will trouble us? What milk and honey will we taste in 2006? We do not know.
2. God's message to us is the same message He spoke to Joshua, "Be strong and of good courage!" It is the message for a soldier, not a sleeper. The sleepy church of our generation has swapped its armor for pyjamas and gone to sleep in the pews. The lullabies of professional ear ticklers have dulled our ears to the Lord's message of strength and courage. We have forgotten that the Devil is never too busy to rock the cradle of a sleeping saint. So accustomed to soft words from the pulpit have we become that "Be strong!" is a strange message, unheard in most churches.
3. The source of our strength and courage is the same as Joshua's. The presence of our unfailing, ever faithful God, and His ability to "lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees" as we meditate on His Word, these are our sources of strength. Not for us the psychobabble of the feel-good TV preachers, the driving beat of the rock band pretending to worship God, or the seductive promises of worldly evangelists. God Himself is the source of our strength.
4. If we will inherit the promises, if we will do the will of God, if we will obey His commands, if we will put to flight fear and dismay, if we will become godly leaders and set a good example for our fellowsoldiers, we must BE STRONG AND OF GOOD COURAGE!
5. And we must remember, if we would obey God's command to be strong and of good courage, it will bring pain and pleasure. If we would enjoy the blessings of the New Year, we cannot avoid the painful cutting off (and putting off) of the sins of the flesh. We must go back to that old precept of Christian discipleship, self denial, and the unending battle against the Enemy of our souls.
That is Joshua's New Year's message for the saints.
Be strong and of good courage!
Used With Permission
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Daily Devotional for Wednesday January 4th/06
The following excerpts are taken from chapter three of The Life of Elijah by Arthur W. Pink. What I have read so far of this book is really good and rich in devotional material, and does not get into his Calvinism (which is the main problem with some of his material). I would encourage you to look up all references in your Bible, consider and accept what is in accordance with it, and discard anything that doesn't line up with it. (So far I haven't found any problems with this particular book - but we need to always be discerning with everything we read and study - and it is good to know what are the potential pitfalls with a good teacher, that we may avoid those but still glean from his material.)
"And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening, and he drank of the brook" (1 Kings 17:6).
What proof was this that "He is faithful that promised" (Heb. 10:23). All nature shall change her course rather than one of His promises fail.
O what comfort is there here for trusting hearts: what God has promised, He will certainly perform. How excuseless is our unbelief, how unspeakably wicked our doubtings. How much of our distrust is the consequence of the Divine promises not being sufficiently real and definite unto our minds.
Do we meditate as we ought upon the promises of the Lord? If we were more fully "acquainted" with Him (Job 22:21), if we "set Him" more definitely before our hearts (Psa. 16:8), would not His promises have far more weight and power with us?
"My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19). It is profitless to ask, How?
The Lord has 10,000 ways of making good His Word. Some reader of this very paragraph may be living from hand to mouth, having no stock of money or store of victuals: yea, not knowing where the next meal will come from.
But if you be a child of His, God will not fail you, and if your trust be in Him, it shall not be disappointed. In some way or other "The Lord shall provide." "O fear the LORD, ye His saints: for there is no want to them that fear Him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger; but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing" (Psa. 34:9, 10);
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (food and clothing) shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). These promises are addressed to us: to encourage us to cleave unto God and do His will.
"And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening." Had He so pleased, the Lord could have fed Elijah by angels rather than by ravens.
There was then in Israel a hospitable Obadiah, who kept a secret table in a cave for a hundred of God’s Prophets (1 Kings 18:4).
Moreover, there were 7,000 faithful Israelites who had not bowed the knee to Baal, any one of whom had doubtless deemed himself highly honoured to have sustained so eminent an one as Elijah. But God preferred to make use of fowls of the air.
Why? Was it not so as to give both the Tishbite and us a signal proof of His absolute command over all creatures, and thereby of His worthiness to be trusted in the greatest extremities? And what is the more striking is that Elijah was better fed than the Prophets who were sustained by Obadiah, for they had only "bread and water" (18:4), whereas Elijah had meat also.
..."The brook dried up." To outward appearance that would have seemed a real misfortune, to carnal reason an actual calamity.
Let us endeavour to visualize Elijah there at Cherith. The drought was everywhere, the famine throughout the whole land: and now his own brook began to dry up. Day by day its waters gradually lessened until soon there was barely a trickle, and then it entirely ceased. Had he grown increasingly anxious and gloomy?
Did he say, what shall I do? Must I stay here and perish? Has God forgotten me? Did I take a wrong step, after all, in coming here? It all depended upon how steadily his faith remained in exercise.
If faith were active, then he admired the goodness of God in causing that supply of water to last so long. How much better for our souls, if instead of mourning over our losses, we praise God for continuing His mercies to us so long - especially when we bear in mind they are only lent to us, and that we deserve not the least of them.
Though dwelling in the place of God’s appointing, yet Elijah is not exempted from those deep exercises of soul which are ever the necessary discipline of a life of faith.
True, the ravens had, in obedience to the Divine command, paid him their daily visits, supplying him with food morning and evening, and the brook had flowed on its tranquil course.
But faith must be tested - and developed. The servant of God must not settle down on his lees, but pass from form to form in the school of the Lord; and having learned (through grace) the difficult lessons of one, he must now go forward to grapple with others yet more difficult.
Perhaps the reader may now be facing the drying brook of popularity, of failing health, of diminishing business, of decreasing friendships. Ah, a drying brook is a very real trouble.
And why does God suffer the brook to dry up? To teach us to trust in Himself, and not in His gifts.
As a general rule He does not for long provide for His people in the same way and by the same means, lest they should rest in them and expect help from them. Sooner or later God shows us how dependent we are upon Himself even for supplies of daily mercies.
But the heart of the Prophet must be tested, to show whether his trust was in Cherith or in the living God. So it is in His dealings with us.
How often we think we are trusting in the Lord, when really we are resting on comfortable circumstances; and when they become uncomfortable, how much faith have we!?
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Daily Devotional for Thursday January 5th/06
Marks Of A Spiritual Christian
It is a Life of Constant Growth into Christ-likeness
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18).
There is nothing static in true spiritual experience. The upward look and the unveiled face must catch and reflect something of the glory of the LORD. With a growing knowledge of Him and a deepening communion with Him there must be a growing likeness to Him.
On one occasion I was travelling upon the Yangtze River in Central China. A heavy rain-storm had just cleared away and the sun had come out brightly from behind the banked-up clouds. I felt an inward impelling to go out upon the deck and the LORD had a precious message awaiting me. The water of the Yangtze River is very muddy. But as I stepped to the railing and looked over, I did not see the dirty, yellow water that day but, instead, the heavenly blue and fleecy white of the heavens above and all so perfectly reflected that I actually could not believe that I was looking down instead of up. Instantly the HOLY SPIRIT flashed II Corinthians 3:18 into my and and said, "In yourself you are as unattractive as the water of the Yangtze River, but when your whole being is turned Godward and your life lies all open to Him so that His glory shines upon it and into it, then you will be so transformed into His image that others looking at you will see not you but CHRIST in you."
Oh! friends, are you and I reflecting as in a mirror the glory of the LORD?
But there is to be a progression in our likeness to CHRIST - it is to be from glory to glory.
The spiritual nature is ever reaching out after and laying hold of that which is spiritual in order that it may become more spiritual.
"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing" (John 15: 2, 5).
"Not fruit," "fruit," "more fruit," "much fruit." Do these phrases not unveil before us the potentialities for Christlikeness open to every branch in the Vine? Do they not also show us the positive progression "from glory to glory" GOD expects to see in us? These expressions are descriptive. Which one describes you? Only the much fruit glorifies the FATHER.
"Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples" (John 15:8).
But what is the fruit GOD expects to find on the branch? He tells us.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22, 23).
The "fruit of the Spirit" is the full-orbed symmetrical character of the LORD JESUS CHRIST in which there is no lack and no excess. Note it is not "fruits" as so often misquoted. It is just one cluster, and all nine graces are essential to reveal the beauty of true Christ-likeness. But how often we see a great heart of love spoiled by quickness of temper - there is "love" but not "temperance" self-control. Or we see a person of great long-suffering but he is also very longfaced. There is "long-suffering" but no "joy." Again one sees a Christian very long on "faith" but very short on "gentleness."
He has more of the thunder of Sinai than the love of Calvary in his makeup. He defends the doctrine with better success than he adorns it. Sometimes we see one whose life is the embodiment of goodness but the goodness is overshadowed by worry and fretfulness. There is "goodness" but not "peace." Oh! how the lack of the excess of anyone of these graces mars the symmetry of the cluster. In the spiritual Christian all nine graces blend in such winsome attractiveness that the world sees CHRIST living within.
(Taken from chapter two of the book, Rivers Of Living Water by Ruth Paxson)
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Daily Devotional for Friday January 6th/06
Every once in a while I like to send out some poems that I have come across that really speak to me in some way. Here are four for you:
When once I mourned a load of sin;
When conscience felt a wound within;
When all my works were thrown away;
When on my knees I knelt to pray,
Then, blissful hour, remembered well,
I learned Thy love, Immanuel.
When storms of sorrow toss my soul;
When waves of care around me roll;
When comforts sink, when joys shall flee;
When hopeless griefs shall gape for me,
One word the tempest's rage shall quell -
That word, Thy name, Immanuel.
When for the truth I suffer shame;
When foes pour scandal on my name;
When cruel taunts and jeers abound;
When "Bulls of Bashan" gird me round,
Secure within Thy tower I'll dwell -
That tower, Thy grace, Immanuel.
When hell enraged lifts up her roar;
When Satan stops my path before;
When fiends rejoice and wait my end;
When legioned hosts their arrows send,
Fear not, my soul, but hurl at hell
Thy battle-cry, Immanuel.
When down the hill of life I go;
When o'er my feet death's waters flow;
When in the deep'ning flood I sink;
When friends stand weeping on the brink,
I'll mingle with my last farewell
Thy lovely name, Immanuel.
When tears are banished from mine eye;
When fairer worlds than these are nigh;
When heaven shall fill my ravished sight;
When I shall bathe in sweet delight,
One joy all joys shall far excel,
To see Thy face, Immanuel.
(I have included this one in my new poetry book.)
I Met The Master
I had walked life's way with an easy tread,
Had followed where comforts and pleasure led,
Until one day in a quiet place
I met the MASTER face to face.
With station and rank and wealth for my goal,
Much thought for my body, but none for my soul,
I had entered to win in life's mad race,
When I met the MASTER face to face.
I had built my castles and reared them high,
With their towers had pierced the blue of the sky,
I had sworn to rule with an iron mace,
When I met the MASTER face to face.
I met Him and knew Him and blushed to see
That His eyes, full of sorrow, were fixed on me;
And I faltered and fell at His feet that day,
While my castles melted and vanished away.
Melted and vanished and in their place
Naught else did I see but the MASTER's face.
And I cried aloud, "Oh, make me meet
To follow the steps of Thy wounded feet."
My thought is now for the souls of men,
I have lost my life to find it again,
E'er since one day in a quiet place
I met the MASTER face to face.
~ Author Unknown ~
The Hand That Held It Was Not Seen
He held the lamp that Sabbath day
So low that none could miss the way,
And yet so high, to bring to sight
That picture fair of CHRIST the Light,
That, gazing up, the lamp between
The hand that held it was not seen.
He held the pitcher, stooping low,
To lips of little ones below;
Then raised it to the weary saint,
And bade him drink when sick and faint.
They drank, the pitcher them between,
The hand that held it was not seen.
He blew the trumpet soft and clear,
That trembling sinners need not fear;
And then with louder note and bold,
To storm the walls of Satan's hold;
The trumpet coming thus between,
The hand that held it was not seen.
And when our Captain says, 'Well done,
Thou good and faithful servant; come,
Lay down the pitcher and the lamp;
Lay down the trumpet, leave the camp,'
The weary hands will then be seen
Clasped in the pierced ones, naught between.
~ Author Unknown ~
My Hiding Place
Hail, sovereign love, which first began;
The scheme to rescue fallen man!
Hail, matchless, free, eternal grace,
Which gave my soul a hiding place.
Against the GOD that built the sky
I fought with hands uplifted high,
Despised the mention of His grace,
Too proud to seek a hiding place.
Enwrapt in thick Egyptian night,
And fond of darkness more than light,
Madly I ran the sinful race,
Secure - without a hiding place!
But thus the eternal counsel ran;
Almighty love, arrest that man!
I felt the arrows of distress,
And found I had no hiding place.
Indignant justice stood in view;
To Sinai's fiery mount I flew;
But justice cried with frowning face,
This mountain is no hiding place!
Ere long a heavenly voice I heard,
And mercy's angel soon appeared:
He led me with a beaming face,
To JESUS as a hiding place.
On Him almighty vengeance fell,
Which must have sunk a world to hell!
He bore it for a sinful race,
And thus became their Hiding Place.
Should sevenfold storms of thunder roll,
And shake this globe from pole to pole,
No thunderbolt shall daunt my face,
For JESUS is my Hiding Place.
- Major John Andre
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Daily Devotional for Saturday January 7th/06
I had an opportunity to preach this tonight - the Lord had placed it on my heart today, and I besought Him for an opportunity to share it one on one with someone at the Gospel Mission. Please pray for Rich - the Holy Spirit seemed to be opening his heart and understanding today, and Rich really was attentive to the Devotional study. Please pray that he gets saved and gives his addiction to the Lord. Then the Lord gave me the opportunity to preach the message as well - so that was a double blessing! ;)
I hope it is a blessing to you!
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Daily Devotional for Sunday January 8th/06
One of the most heart-moving conversions that I have ever known, I witnessed years ago in my city, during the holiday period in mid-winter. There reached me the message that a little Sunday school boy in one of our mission Sunday schools had been accidentally shot by his little neighbor friend, and I hurried to the humble home as fast as I could go, and I found the unconscious little fellow in the hands of two skillful doctors, as they sought to diagnose the case. After awhile, when they had finished their diagnosis and treatment, I asked them what of the case, and they said: "He will not live. The shot is unto death." I asked them if he would recover consciousness, and they answered that he might - that he might live two or three days, or he might not live until morning. I went back the next day, for this first day the boy's father was in the stupor of a terrible drunk.
A great-hearted and kindly father he was, too, when he was sober. Oh, the tragedy that many of these big-hearted, capable men allow their lives thus to be cajoled and cheated and destroyed by some evil habit! I went back the next day, and the father was sobering up. He was a fine workman in a harness and saddlery establishment. He was sobering up, and the agony of his case was something pitiful to behold. He would walk the floor, and then he would pause, as the tears fell from his face, while he looked on that little suffering boy, nine or ten years of age.
I sat down beside the boy and waited for awhile, and presently the child opened his eyes, and the little fellow was conscious. His eyes were intelligent. His lips moved as he spoke my name, for he had frequently heard me speak in the mission where he went to the Sunday school. I bent over him, and the father came and sobbed and laughed as he observed the consciousness that had come to his little boy. And the father stroked the little fellow's face, and kissed him with all the affection of a mother, and said, as he laughed and cried:
"My little man is better, and he will soon be well."
The little face was clouded as he feebly whispered, saying: "No, papa; I will not get well." And then the father protested, as he said: "You will get well, and I will be a good man, and I will change my ways." The little fellow's face was clouded, and he kept trying to say something, and I reached for the man to bend over to catch it, and this is what we did catch, after awhile: "When I am gone, papa, I want you to remember that I loved you, even if you did get drunk." That sentence broke the father's heart. He left the room, unable to tarry any longer. A few minutes later, I found him lying prone upon his face, there upon the ground, behind the little cottage, sobbing with brokenness of heart. I got down by him and sought to comfort and help him.
And he said: "Sir, after my child loves me like that, oughtn't I to straighten up and be the right kind of a man?" I said: "I have a story ten thousand times sweeter than that to tell you. GOD's only begotten Son loved you well enough to come down from heaven and die for you, Himself the just, for you the unjust, that He might bring you to GOD. Won't you yield your wasting, sinful life to Him, utterly and honestly, and let Him save you His own divine way?"
And then and there he made the great surrender. You should slip into one of our prayer-meetings some night, when the men and women talk about what CHRIST has done for them, and one of the most appealing and powerful testimonies you would ever hear is the testimony of this harness workman, as he stands up, always with tears on his face, to tell you that love brought him home when everything else had failed. They criticized him because he drank. They scolded him because he drank. They railed at him because he drank. They pelted him with harsh words because he drank. But a little boy said: "Papa, I love you even if you do get drunk," and love won the day when everything else had failed.
(Taken from the sermon A QUEST FOR SOULS by George Truett)
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Daily Devotional for Monday January 9th/06
The following illustrations on Jesus were taken from Knight's Master Book of New Illustrations:
Keep On The Road
A young man just starting out upon his work in the ministry was one day talking to an aged minister in London who had spent a lifetime in the service. The young man said:
"You have had a great deal of experience; you know many things that I ought to learn. Can't you give me some advice to carry with me in my new duties?"
"Yes, I can," was the response. "I will give you a piece of advice. You know that in every town in England, no matter how small, in every village or hamlet, though it be hidden in the folds of the mountain or wrapped round by the far-off sea, in every clump of farmhouses, you can find a road which, if you follow it, will take you to London.
"Just so every text which you choose to preach from in the Bible will have a road that leads to JESUS. Be sure you find that road, and follow it; be careful not to miss it once. This is my advice to you." The old minister's advice should be followed by every one, who in any capacity, presumes to be a teacher of Divine Truth.
- Gospel Herald
The Unique CHRIST
His birth was contrary to the laws of life.
His death was contrary to the laws of death.
He had no cornfields or fisheries but He could spread a table for five thousand and have bread and fish to spare.
He walked on no beautiful carpets or velvet rugs, but He walked on the waters of the Sea of Galilee and they supported Him.
Three years He preached His Gospel.
He wrote no book, built no church house, had no monetary backing. But after nineteen hundred years, He is the one central character of human history, the Pivot around which the events of the ages revolve, and the only Regenerator of the human race.
Was it merely the Son of Joseph and Mary, who crossed the world's horizon nineteen hundred years ago?
Was it merely human blood that was spilled at Calvary's hill for the redemption of sinners?
What thinking man can keep from exclaiming: "My LORD and My GOD!"
One Solitary Life!
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life - the life of CHRIST.
- Phillips Brooks
What Think Ye of CHRIST?
"Pharisees, with what would ye reproach JESUS?"
"He eateth 'with publicans and sinners.'"
"And you, Caiaphas, what have you to say of Him?"
"He is a blasphemer, because He said, 'Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of Heaven.'"
"Pilate, what is your opinion?"
"I find no fault in this Man."
"And you, Judas, who had sold your MASTER for silver - have you some fearful charge to hurl against Him?"
"I have sinned, in that I have betrayed the innocent blood."
"And you, centurion and soldiers, who led Him to the Cross, what have you to say against Him?"
"Truly this was the Son of GOD."
"And you, demons?"
"He is 'the Son of GOD.'"
"John the Baptist, what think you of CHRIST?"
"Behold the Lamb of GOD."
"And you, John the Apostle?"
"He is 'the bright and morning Star.'"
"Peter, what say you of your MASTER?"
"Thou art the CHRIST, the Son of the living GOD."
"And you, Thomas?"
"My LORD and my GOD."
"Paul, you have persecuted Him; what testify you against Him?"
"I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of CHRIST JESUS my LORD."
"Angels of Heaven, what think ye of JESUS?"
"Unto you is born... a SAVIOUR, which is CHRIST the LORD."
"And, thou, Father in Heaven, who knowest all things?"
"This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
Dear reader, what think you of CHRIST?
- Elim Evangel
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Daily Devotional for Tuesday January 10th/06
"Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away." --Song of Solomon 2:10
Lo, I hear the voice of my Beloved! He speaks to me! Fair weather is smiling upon the face of the earth, and He would not have me spiritually asleep while nature is all around me awaking from her winter's rest. He bids me "Rise up," and well He may, for I have long enough been lying among the pots of worldliness. He is risen, I am risen in Him, why then should I cleave unto the dust? From lower loves, desires, pursuits, and aspirations, I would rise towards Him. He calls me by the sweet title of "My love," and counts me fair; this is a good argument for my rising. If He has thus exalted me, and thinks me thus comely, how can I linger in the tents of Kedar and find congenial associates among the sons of men? He bids me "Come away." Further and further from everything selfish, grovelling, worldly, sinful, He calls me; yea, from the outwardly religious world which knows Him not, and has no sympathy with the mystery of the higher life, He calls me. "Come away" has no harsh sound in it to my ear, for what is there to hold me in this wilderness of vanity and sin? O my Lord, would that I could come away, but I am taken among the thorns, and cannot escape from them as I would. I would, if it were possible, have neither eyes, nor ears, nor heart for sin. Thou callest me to Thyself by saying "Come away," and this is a melodious call indeed. To come to Thee is to come home from exile, to come to land out of the raging storm, to come to rest after long labour, to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes. But Lord, how can a stone rise, how can a lump of clay come away from the horrible pit? O raise me, draw me. Thy grace can do it. Send forth Thy Holy Spirit to kindle sacred flames of love in my heart, and I will continue to rise until I leave life and time behind me, and indeed come away.
(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening devotional)
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Daily Devotional for Wednesday January 11th/06
"The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land." --Song of Solomon 2:12
Sweet is the season of spring: the long and dreary winter helps us to appreciate its genial warmth, and its promise of summer enhances its present delights. After periods of depression of spirit, it is delightful to behold again the light of the Sun of Righteousness; then our slumbering graces rise from their lethargy, like the crocus and the daffodil from their beds of earth; then is our heart made merry with delicious notes of gratitude, far more melodious than the warbling of birds--and the comforting assurance of peace, infinitely more delightful than the turtle's note, is heard within the soul. Now is the time for the soul to seek communion with her Beloved; now must she rise from her native sordidness, and come away from her old associations. If we do not hoist the sail when the breeze is favourable, we shall be blameworthy: times of refreshing ought not to pass over us unimproved. When Jesus Himself visits us in tenderness, and entreats us to arise, can we be so base as to refuse His request? He has Himself risen that He may draw us after Him: He now by His Holy Spirit has revived us, that we may, in newness of life, ascend into the heavenlies, and hold communion with Himself. Let our wintry state suffice us for coldness and indifference; when the Lord creates a spring within, let our sap flow with vigour, and our branch blossom with high resolve. O Lord, if it be not spring time in my chilly heart, I pray Thee make it so, for I am heartily weary of living at a distance from Thee. Oh! the long and dreary winter, when wilt Thou bring it to an end? Come, Holy Spirit, and renew my soul! quicken Thou me! restore me, and have mercy on me! This very night I would earnestly implore the Lord to take pity upon His servant, and send me a happy revival of spiritual life!
(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening devotional)
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Daily Devotional for Thursday January 12th/06
I was looking through some of my notes for devotional messages I had preached in the past, and came across this one:
Where does your strength come from?
Romans 5:6, 8 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
No one in all of creation has the power or strength to keep all the Law of God; therefore all of mankind is guilty and condemned in the sight of God for breaking His laws. Yet Christ came to do what sinful man could not - fulfill the righteousness of the Law, so that all who trust in Him to save them will be credited with His righteousness.
Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.
Jeremiah 23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
When we had no righteousness of our own (see Isaiah 64:6), Jesus came to give us His; when we were without strength to obey and to overcome sin in our lives, Jesus came to save us (see Galatians 3:11, 23-26). Have you received His free gift of salvation? If not, please read this Gospel tract: God's Simple Plan Of Salvation.
Isaiah 40:28-31 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Strength For The Heart
Psalms 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Psalms 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
Strength In Weakness
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Strength For The Day
Deuteronomy 33:25 Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
God will not give you tomorrow's strength until tomorrow comes - but He has promised strength for today. Are you waiting on the Lord and leaning on Him today for the strength you need?
Where does your strength come from? Or better yet, Who is your strength?
Psalms 119:28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
Psalms 18:32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
2 Samuel 22:33-34 God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds' feet: and setteth me upon my high places.
Psalms 18:1-2 I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
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Daily Devotional for Friday January 13th/06
This is one of my all-time favourite chapters of the Bible, a wonderful picture of the coming Messiah. I found my preaching notes on this the other day, and was able to take the time to put this together tonight. I hope it is a blessing to you - it has been one study I have been wanting to write literally for years.
Lord willing, I will put up a separate page on my site for this study, but for now you can read it here:
Abraham Offered Isaac (Genesis 22) - A Type Of Christ
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Daily Devotional for Saturday January 14th/06
The following comments are taken from The Treasury Of David, by Charles Spurgeon:
Psalms 5:3 My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
Ver. 3. Observe, this is not so much a prayer as a resolution,
My voice shalt thou hear; "I will not be dumb, I will not be silent, I will not withhold my speech, I will cry to thee for the fire that dwells within compels me to pray." We can sooner die than live without prayer. None of God's children are possessed with a dumb devil.
In the morning. This is the fittest time for intercourse with God. An hour in the morning is worth two in the evening. While the dew is on the grass, let grace drop upon the soul. Let us give to God the mornings of our days and the morning of our lives. Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night. Devotion should be both the morning star and the evening star.
If we merely read our English version, and want an explanation of these two sentences, we find it in the figure of an archer,
I will direct my prayer unto thee, I will put my prayer upon the bow, I will direct it towards heaven, and then when I have shot up my arrow, I will look up to see where it has gone. But the Hebrew has a still fuller meaning than this -- "I will direct my prayer." It is the word that is used for the laying in order of the wood and the pieces of the victim upon the altar, and it is used also for the putting of the shewbread upon the table. It means just this: "I will arrange my prayer before thee;" I will lay it out upon the altar in the morning, just as the priest lays out the morning sacrifice. I will arrange my prayer; or, as old Master Trapp has it, "I will marshall up my prayers," I will put them in order, call up all my powers, and bid them stand in their proper places, that I may pray with all my might, and pray acceptably.
And will look up, or, as the Hebrew might better be translated, "`I will look out,' I will look out for the answer; after I have prayed, I will expect that the blessing shall come." It is a word that is used in another place where we read of those who watched for the morning. So will I watch for thine answer, O my Lord! I will spread out my prayer like the victim on the altar, and I will look up, and expect to receive the answer by fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice.
Two questions are suggested by the last part of this verse. Do we not miss very much of the sweetness and efficacy of prayer by a want of careful meditation before it, and of hopeful expectation after it? We too often rush into the presence of God without forethought or humility. We are like men who present themselves before a king without a petition, and what wonder is it that we often miss the end of prayer? We should be careful to keep the stream of meditation always running; for this is the water to drive the mill of prayer. It is idle to pull up the flood gates of a dry brook, and then hope to see the wheel revolve. Prayer without fervency is like hunting with a dead dog, and prayer without preparation is hawking with a blind falcon. Prayer is the work of the Holy Spirit, but he works by means. God made man, but he used the dust of the earth as a material: the Holy Ghost is the author of prayer, but he employs the thoughts of a fervent soul as the gold with which to fashion the vessel. Let not our prayers and praises be the flashes of a hot and hasty brain, but the steady burning of a well kindled fire.
But, furthermore, do we not forget to watch the result of our supplications? We are like the ostrich, which lays her eggs and looks not for her young. We sow the seed, and are too idle to seek a harvest. How can we expect the Lord to open the windows of his grace, and pour us out a blessing, if we will not open the windows of expectation and look up for the promised favour? Let holy preparation link hands with patient expectation, and we shall have far larger answers to our prayers. - The above comments were by Spurgeon himself.
Ver. 3. In the morning I will direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up, or, I will marshall my prayer, I will bring up petition after petition, pleading after pleading, even till I become like Jacob, a prince with God, till I have won the field and got the day. - Joseph Caryl.
Ver. 3. I will direct my prayer unto thee and will look up. In the words you may observe two things: first, David's posture in prayer; secondly, his practice after prayer. First, his posture in prayer, I will direct my prayer unto thee. Secondly, his practice after prayer, And I will look up. The prophet in these words, makes use of two military words. First, he would not only pray, but marshall up his prayers, he would put them in battle array; so much the Hebrew word imports. Secondly, when he had done this, then he would be as a spy upon his watchtower, to see whether he prevailed, whether he got the day or no; and so much the Hebrew word imports. When David had set his prayers, his petitions, in rank and file, in good array, then he was resolved he would look abroad, he would look about him to see at what door God would send in an answer to prayer. He is either a fool or a madman, he is either very weak or very wicked, that prays and prays but never looks after his prayers; that shoots many an arrow toward heaven, but never minds where his arrows alight. - Thomas Brooks.
Ver. 3. Faith hath a supporting act after prayer; it supports the soul to expect a gracious answer: I will direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up, or I will look; for what, but for a return? An unbelieving heart shoots at random, and never minds where his arrow lights, or what comes of his praying; but faith fills the soul with expectation. As a merchant, when he casts up his estate, he counts what he hath sent beyond sea, as well as what he hath in hand; so doth faith reckon upon what he hath sent to heaven in prayer and not received, as well as those mercies which he hath received, and are in hand at present. Now this expectation which faith raiseth in the soul after prayer, appears in the power that it hath to quiet and compose the soul in the interim between the sending forth, as I may say, the ship of prayer, and its return home with its rich lading it goes for, and it is more or less, according as faith's strength is. Sometimes faith comes from prayer in triumph, and cries, Victoria. It gives such a being and existence to the mercy prayed for in the Christian's soul before any likelihood of it appears to sense and reason, that the Christian can silence all his troubled thoughts with the expectation of its coming. Yea, it will make the Christian disburse his praises for the mercy long before it is received. ... For want of looking up many a prayer is lost. If you do not believe, why do you pray? And if you believe, why do you not expect? By praying you seem to depend on God; by not expecting, you again renounce your confidence. What is this but to take his name in vain? O Christian, stand to your prayer in a holy expectation of what you have begged upon the credit of the promise... Mordecai, no doubt, had put up many prayers for Esther, and therefore he waits at the king's gate, looking what answer God would in his providence give thereunto. Do thou likewise. - William Gurnall.
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Daily Devotional for Sunday January 15th/06
The Bible Is Its Own Commentary
I am always amazed when attempting to resolve Bible difficulties how a simple careful studying of the wording in each passage will clear up any apparent discrepancies! Here I am referring specifically to the King James Bible! I have found difficulties and contradictions in modern versions that could not be reconciled because of the way they have played around with the text.
If you want to know what God meant by a word or phrase, trace its usage throughout the Bible.
If you have a problem with numbers or passages seem to contradict, studying out the wording in each passage will resolve the difficulty.
I was just reading Numbers 15 - where Korah and company rebel against Moses' leadership, and God opens up the ground to swallow them and their families alive.
There are some people who make much of the fact that the Bible later talks about Korah's children (including in some Psalm titles) as a contradiction. Did Korah's children die as well? Or did God or the OT writers make a mistake?
Well, we know God's Word is perfect and inerrant, and it contains no errors!
Numbers 26:9-11 And the sons of Eliab; Nemuel, and Dathan, and Abiram. This is that Dathan and Abiram, which were famous in the congregation, who strove against Moses and against Aaron in the company of Korah, when they strove against the LORD: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they became a sign. Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not.
A careful reading of the passages in question shows that God did not kill Korah's children; therefore there is no error:
Numbers 16:25-33 And Moses rose up and went unto Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel followed him. And he spake unto the congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins. So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children. And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me. But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
Always give the Lord the benefit of the doubt. The fact that it only mentions the families of Dathan and Abiram in verse 27 leapt out at me tonight when I was reading the passage. I always noticed the phrase just before where all three names are mentioned, but never saw the distinction that was made until now. God's Word is vindicated again!
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Daily Devotional for Monday January 16th/06
The following quote is part of the Introduction from The Companion Of The Way, by H.C. Hewlett. It is one of the best devotional books I have ever read and I highly recommend it. It contains 12 character studies, and each one builds directly upon the one before it - so it is important to read these chapters in order, starting with the Introduction first. (You can also download this book as a Book Module for the SwordSearcher Bible program, in Zip format.)
At times the divine presence has been made visible to the eyes of men. In varying circumstances of place, of age, and of need, men subject to like passions as we are have had the all-transcending experience of seeing GOD. They have seen Him not in the full blaze of the light of Deity -- that vision of His face which no mortal can bear -- but in guise suited alike their frailty and to His ways of grace and government with them, and with us too, for whom these things are recorded in the Word. While these appearances differ in their setting, they are one in their purpose to life the gaze of the soul from the temporal to the eternal, and from the vanities of earth to that ultimate reality which is GOD Himself.
Looking back on the Old Testament in the light of the New, we find that the theophanies of the ancient Scriptures were all Christophanies, i.e., it was always in the SON that GOD revealed Himself to men...
Though today we see not our LORD save as He is known to the eye of faith, His presence is none the less real. He has not forgotten His beloved people, nor failed to be with them. He has companied with them, not generally, but even individually, so that each one has had reason to count the promises made good to him. Throughout the centuries he has stood with His redeemed ones, ever loving, ever patient, ever true. They have all proved it -- the martyr in the fiery flame; the ill person with fevered brow, restless and weary; the widow bereft in one hour of husband and of stay; and the tired servant, witnessing in some foreign land. They, too, have proved His presence who on the dizzy heights of prosperity and success have been preserved from false steps, and they also who have found the happiest relationships of earth enriched and ennobled by the unseen presence. And have they not proved it also, who have known the horrors of modern warfare and the long, long hours of the nerve-racking blitz?
CHRIST reveals Himself supremely to hearts that count Him precious. He yearns to show them His face and to light up their lives with His constant smile. He is not reluctant to bless, but desires His people to be blessed. When the soul with set purpose puts CHRIST before all else, the sense of His presence deepens through life. Memories of His grace and faithfulness recur with their encouragement and with their rich incentive to lean more fully upon Him and to count upon His nearness in every trying hour. Thus the perpetual presence, known and enjoyed, will manifest itself as an abiding CHRIST-consciousness.
The first moments of thought that begin each new morning will be: "When I awake, I am still with thee" (Psa. 139:18). Though the burden of the day challenge the soul with temptation and with care, it will do so only to find the soul ensheathed with an invisible mantle, even Him who has become the soul's retreat and hiding place. The joys of life will be doubled because shared with Another who will add His own portion to the feast spread for Him. Prayer will be no wearisome routine, but such free and intermittent conversation -- though reverent and holy -- as only true friends know. The hour of retiring to rest will be serene with the knowledge that even though the thoughts be hushed in sleep, the Presence will not be withdrawn. Then, should it please GOD that the gates of death should open, the soul will prove that when companions of the pilgrimage can journey with it no longer, He will still be near, and dearer than ever, till the veil be passed, and the soul catch its first wondering sight of His blessed face.
In the following pages there are selected for meditation nine glimpses of the sacred presence given in the Old Testament, together with the three instances in the New Testament where the LORD JESUS CHRIST was seen by men on earth in His post-ascension glory. Taken together, they show something of what He has been to His saints throughout their history, but all that He has been He remains today, and shall remain forever. Moreover, because it is the same Person whom they display, and the same deep interest in the welfare of man's soul, they add their clear witness to the unity of Scripture and the continuity of its narrative. One face looks out upon us from its pages; one heart yearns over us with indescribable longing.
When at last we are at home with Him, we shall see Him to be the One who, unseen, often communed with us, as He did with Abraham His friend, who wrestled with us as with Jacob -- and with like ennobling touch, and who sought not to consume but to irradiate with His beauty, as in the bush which Moses saw.
We shall see Him as the One who gave victory over the foe, as He gave it to Joshua, and who succored us in depths of discouragement, as He succored Elijah under the juniper tree.
We shall see Him as the One who prepared us for service, revealing and purging our iniquity, as He did with Isaiah, and who strengthened us in that service in the loneliest day, as He did Ezekiel.
We shall know Him as the One who walked with us in our fiercest trial, as He did with the three Hebrews, and whose revelation was the consummation of life, as it was with Daniel.
Then we will find that it was no mirage of earth that comforted us but the sight of "Jesus at God's right hand," as Stephen saw Him; that it was "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" which was the treasure we carried in earthen vessels, as in Paul's experience. Then we will find that behind all the mystery of life, sufficient for every care and for every toil, there stood the First and the Last, the Chief Steward, as He stood with John in Patmos.
With such realization and such company we shall be wonderfully at home in heaven. Events of earth that once seemed so strange will be understood then as truly preparatory to that bliss. No longer through a glass darkly, but face to face, we shall behold Him in whose presence we have ever been in our pilgrimage, GOD's glorious SON, in whom GOD will be fully known.
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Daily Devotional for Tuesday January 17th/06
The following illustrations on Missions are taken from Knight's Master Book Of New Illustrations. Unfortunately, we just found out the copyright has been renewed and can no longer link to the book online, and will have to remove it - except for a few excerpts. If you ever come across this book, especially second hand, it is a good resource for preaching or teaching.
Is Their Religion Enough?
People who should know better tell me that the heathen are better off as they are, that their own religions satisfy them and meet their need. Is that true? If so, then most certainly we should let them alone. But are they happy as they are?
I am thinking now of that Mohammedan in Algeria who slashed his head again and again with a large knife, until the blood flowed freely, then took newspapers and plastered them on top of his head; finally taking out a match and striking it, he set fire to the papers, hair, and blood. Can you imagine the agony? Why the self-inflicted torture? Because of his religion. He was laying up merit in Heaven. Mohammedanism taught him to afflict himself, and he was doing it with a vengeance. Would you exchange places with him? Would you accept his Mohammedanism and give him your Christianity? Which religion would you prefer? Do you think Mohammedanism brought him peace and comfort and happiness; or the very opposite? I leave you to answer.
I am thinking of the Aborigines of Australia, when a baby is born. The witch doctor must find a victim somewhere, so he seizes on the newborn infant, and in spite of the mother's protests and agonizing appeals, he fills its little mouth with sand until it chokes to death. Why does he do it? Because his pagan religion tells him he must. The spirits have to be satisfied. Does such a religion make that mother happy? Does she enjoy seeing her little baby murdered before her eyes? I think not. Yet you tell her that her religion is good enough for her. Would you exchange places? Would you be willing to be that mother? Again, I leave you to answer.
I am thinking of the Africans who always kill their twin babies, believing them to be demon-possessed. If GOD should give you twins, would you be willing to have them murdered? You would have to if you lived in Africa, for your religion would compel you to destroy them.
I am thinking of the Hindu widows of India, because of their religion, have to lie down beside their husbands when they have died and allow themselves to be bound and burned alive. Thousands of them have gone into eternity screaming in agony, as they slowly burned to death. Would you exchange your religion for theirs? Do you think it brings them any pleasure, any enjoyment? Yet you tell me to let them alone, that they are better off as they are. What a callous philosophy!
I am thinking, too, of the pagans in Africa, who, when a chief dies, throw his widows - thirty, sixty, or a hundred of them - into the grave with him and bury them alive. Is that a pleasant prospect? Would you be satisfied with such a religion?
Until you, my friend, are willing to accept these religions with their consequences, their abominable practices, for yourself, you ought to be ashamed to say that heathen are better off as they are. Their religions are religions of fear. They know nothing of peace and love. They have no hope. Christianity alone offers them life, abundant life, and that which satisfies the heart.
-Dr. J. Oswald Smith, in Sunday School Times
The Heathen World
Paint a starless sky; hang your picture with night; drape the mountains with long, far-reaching vistas of darkness; hang the curtains deep along every shore and landscape; darken all the past; let the future be draped in deeper and yet deeper night; fill the awful gloom with hungry, sad-faced men and sorrow-driven women and children.
It is the heathen world - the people seen in vision by the prophet - who sit in the region and shadow of death, to whom no light has come; sitting there still through the long, long night, waiting and watching for the morning.
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Daily Devotional for Wednesday January 18th/06
The following illustrations on Missions are taken from Knight's Master Book Of New Illustrations.
Not a Question of Liking It
When someone asked a missionary if he liked his work in Africa, he replied: "Do I like this work? No; my wife and I do not like dirt. We have reasonably refined sensibilities. We do not like crawling into vile huts through goat refuse. We do not like association with ignorant, filthy, brutish people. But is a man to do nothing for CHRIST he does not like? GOD pity him, if not. Liking or disliking has nothing to do with it. We have orders to 'Go,' and we go. Love constrains us."
- From a local church bulletin
Why They Worshiped Idols
On one of my trips, We camped on the shores of a lake-like river. On a well wooded hill, I noticed that every third tree had been cut down. "Why do you make idols?" I asked one of the Indians. I shall never forget his reply:
"Missionary, the Indian's mind is dark, and he cannot grasp the unseen. He hears the Great Spirit's voice in the thunder and the storms; he sees evidence of His existence all around, but neither he nor his fathers have ever seen the Great Spirit, and so he does not know what He looks like. Man is the highest creature he knows of, so he makes his idol like a man." Suddenly there flashed across my mind the request of Philip, "Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us," and the wonderful answer. I opened my Bible and unfolded to them this message. For two weeks I needed no other theme; and as a result they applied these truths to their hearts, burned their idols, and on that spot now stands a little church, while the Indians are transformed by the glorious Gospel of JESUS CHRIST.
- From Experiences Among the Indians, by Egerton R. Young
Holding the Ropes
The incident is told of a young couple, when bidding farewell to their home country church as they were about to leave for an African field, known as "The White Man's Grave," the husband said, "My wife and I have a strange dread in going. We feel much us if we were going down into a pit. We are willing to take the risk and go if you, our home circle, will promise to hold the ropes." One and all promised. Less than two years passed when the wife and the little one GOD had given them succumbed to the dreaded fever. Soon the husband realized his days, too, were numbered. Not waiting to send word home of his coming, he started back at once and arrived at the hour of the Wednesday prayer meeting. He slipped in unnoticed, taking a back seat. At the close of the meeting he went forward. An awe came over the people, for death was written on his face. He said, "I am your missionary. My wife and child are buried in Africa and I have come home to die. This evening I listened anxiously, as you prayed for some mention of your missionary to see if you were keeping your promise, but in vain! You prayed for everything connected with yourselves and your home church, but forgot your missionary. I see now why I am a failure as a missionary. It is because you have failed to hold the ropes."
- Missionary Tidings
His Last Request
A minister who had recently been called to a prosperous church was met by a prominent woman of the church who said to him, "Doctor, I do not believe in foreign missions." The minister was grieved, but said nothing. A few weeks later, when the congregation was gathered about the Communion table, he took occasion to read the Master's final words to the disciples. "The last words of our friends," said the pastor, "are always precious. It affects us to know what chiefly weighs on their hearts as they are about to leave us. Any message or commission they give us then, we would rather do anything than to fail to heed or execute. It has always impressed me that the thing which weighed most on our SAVIOUR's heart as He was taking His departure, was the world of sinners for which He had died, and the very last request He made of His friends was that they should 'go... into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.'" Shortly after the close of the service, the same lady approached the pastor, and with tears in her eyes she said, "Doctor, I do believe in foreign missions."
Do Missions Pay?
A seaman, on returning to Scotland after a cruise in the Pacific, was asked, "Do you think the missionaries have done any good in the South Sea Islands?" "I will tell you a fact which speaks for itself," said the sailor. "Last year I was wrecked on one of these islands, where I knew that eight years before a ship was wrecked and the crew murdered; and you may judge how I felt at the prospect before me - if not dashed to pieces on the rocks, to survive for only a more cruel death. When day broke we saw a number of canoes pulling for our ship and were prepared for the worst. Think of our joy and wonder when we saw the natives in English dress, and heard some of them speak in the English language. On that very island the next Sunday we heard the Gospel preached. I do not know what you think of missions, but I know what I think."
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Daily Devotional for Thursday January 19th/06
I am not sure who originally composed this list of Bible passages, but they are certainly worth keeping in mind or marking in your Bible!
What to read when you are:
Discouraged: Isaiah 51:11; I Peter 1:6-9; & Galatians 6:9
Worried: I Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6-7; & Isaiah 26:3
Lonely: Isaiah 41:10; John 14:18; & Deuteronomy 33:27
Depressed: Psalm 30:5; Isaiah 40:31; & II Corinthians 1:3-4
Dissatisfied: Psalm 34:10; Philippians 4:12-13; & Psalm 103:1-5
Confused: I Corinthians 14:33; James 1:5; & Proverbs 3:5-6
Angry: James 1:19-20; Ephesians 4:26; & Proverbs 15:1
Tempted: I Corinthians 10:12-13; Psalm 119:11; & I Peter 5:8-9
Afraid: John 14:27; II Timothy 1:7; & Psalm 56:11
Grieving: Psalm 23; Psalm 147:3; & Hebrews 4:15-16
Troubled: Nahum 1:7; Psalm 4:8; & Psalm 138:7
In Financial Need: Psalm 37:25; Matthew 6:31-33; & Philippians 4:19
Deserted by Loved Ones: Psalm 9:10; Psalm 27:10; & Romans 8:38-39
In Doubt: I Thessalonians 5:24; Psalm 18:30; & Isaiah 59:1
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Daily Devotional for Friday January 20th/06
I had an opportunity to preach on this chapter tonight, about King David's treatment of Mephibosheth and how it pictures God's treatment and grace towards us.
"So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem: for he did eat continually at the king's table; and was lame on both his feet." --2 Samuel 9:13
Mephibosheth was no great ornament to a royal table, yet he had a continual place at David's board, because the king could see in his face the features of the beloved Jonathan. Like Mephibosheth, we may cry unto the King of Glory, "What is Thy servant, that Thou shouldst look upon such a dead dog as I am?" but still the Lord indulges us with most familiar intercourse with Himself, because He sees in our countenances the remembrance of His dearly-beloved Jesus. The Lord's people are dear for another's sake. Such is the love which the Father bears to His only begotten, that for His sake He raises His lowly brethren from poverty and banishment, to courtly companionship, noble rank, and royal provision. Their deformity shall not rob them of their privileges. Lameness is no bar to sonship; the cripple is as much the heir as if he could run like Asahel. Our right does not limp, though our might may. A king's table is a noble hiding-place for lame legs, and at the gospel feast we learn to glory in infirmities, because the power of Christ resteth upon us. Yet grievous disability may mar the persons of the best-loved saints. Here is one feasted by David, and yet so lame in both his feet that he could not go up with the king when he fled from the city, and was therefore maligned and injured by his servant Ziba. Saints whose faith is weak, and whose knowledge is slender, are great losers; they are exposed to many enemies, and cannot follow the king whithersoever he goeth. This disease frequently arises from falls. Bad nursing in their spiritual infancy often causes converts to fall into a despondency from which they never recover, and sin in other cases brings broken bones. Lord, help the lame to leap like an hart, and satisfy all Thy people with the bread of Thy table!
(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening devotional)
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Daily Devotional for Saturday January 21st/06
A Type Pictured In Revelation Four
Was just reminded of something I had written out a year ago:
Jacob had 12 sons. They are listed in the order of their birth, from Genesis 29 on. The first was Reuben - whose name means "Behold, a son." The fourth was Judah, which means "Praise, or Praise of Jehovah (the LORD)." We know this was the line the Messiah came through - the kingly line. The last (12th) son was named Ben-oni ("Son of my sorrow"), but was changed to Benjamin ("Son of my right hand."). All the others are listed in Genesis as well, and it is easy to determine their meanings from Strong's. But that is not essential to where I am going with this.
Next, let's go to Exodus 28. Here we have the High Priest and his garments. The Breastplate, which was worn over the chest, had 12 stones over his heart - one for each tribe of Israel - according to the order of their birth. See verses 15-21 and 29. So look up the first, fourth, and twelfth ones. Got that?
Now, let's go to Revelation 4 and see a type which I have only ever seen explained in one particular commentary. Remember chapters 4 and 5 are what is seen in Heaven in between the Rapture of the church (4:1 - after these things, the church period - chapters 1-3. see also Revelation 1:19) and before the Tribulation period where the judgements of God are poured out upon the earth (chapter 6-19).
Revelations 4:2-3 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And He that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
Who sat upon the throne? Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Notice the rainbow (signifying mercy in judgement) completely circling the throne. Even in this end-time period of worldwide judgement, the Lord God will have mercy on those who repent and turn to Him during those seven years. Habakkuk 3:2 O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.
Now look at the stones mentioned. Which sons do they represent? Which one is mentioned first? The Sardius stone, which Benjamin is represented by - The Son of my sorrow. This was what Jesus was known by when He was on earth (a Man of Sorrows). Though now He is exalted and is at the right hand of the Father - The Son of My Right Hand. The Jasper stone is mentioned next. This represents Reuben and refers to Christ's second coming - "Behold, a Son." For unto us a child is born (Christ's first coming), Unto us a Son is given (His second coming). What color is the rainbow around the throne - around the King? Emerald, the fourth stone - representing Judah, "the praise of the Lord."
Just a neat little known type - that reinforces what is taught in other passages, and shows that everything in the Bible is in there for a purpose, even if we don't always know why ourselves.
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Daily Devotional for Sunday January 22nd/06
This is an excellent biography on George Mueller, written by A.T. Pierson and authorized by Mueller's son-in-law (James Wright), who worked closely with him for years.
You can read it either on EarnestlyContending or on Baptist Bible Believers Study Website - still in the process of putting the chapters up there. I am also proofing the chapters, as some of the references needed to be fixed, and I am changing all the verse references so they are not in Roman numerals (makes it a lot easier to read and look up passages). (Note: all chapters are already up on EC, but I am proofing them for both sites as I put them up on BBB.)
George Mueller Of Bristol on EC
George Mueller Of Bristol on BBB
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Daily Devotional for Monday January 23rd/06
January again. If you are like many believers, the start of a new year signifies the start of a new Bible reading schedule - starting to read through the Good Book again. May the Lord prosper you in this endeavour. One study that might be of help in grasping the overall picture of Bible history is: The Short Course of Bible Study (Tracing the Progressive Revelation of God), by Norman Olson.
It is a good resource to have handy while you are reading through the Bible, to help you gain a clearer perspective of Biblical events.
The Short Course of Bible Study consists of sixteen outlines. It outlines the history of faith from the days of Adam till the present, and the future of Christianity till the end of time, according to prophecy. Each outline presents the major facts, events, individuals, nations, covenants, prophecies and fulfillments of its particular period, in chronological order.
Studies 1 to 8 trace the prophetic movement through the four thousand years of Old Testament history by which GOD gradually and progressively prepared to reveal Himself in the world and reconcile man unto Himself in the person of JESUS CHRIST.
Studies 9 to 12 are a biographical arrangement of the life of our LORD, from the annunciation of His birth, to His ascension. His miracles, deeds, experiences, parables, promises, warnings, arrest, trials, crucifixion, burial, resurrection and post-resurrection appearances are studied in their relation to Old Testament prophecies.
The twelve outlines are studied in sequence, as installments of a continued story. In the study of the human body, one learns first the location and the names of the various parts and later the details and relation to each other; in like manner, this system of Bible study acquaints one first with the sequence of events, persons, subjects, etc., and their mutual connection. One must understand the entire Bible to comprehend and appreciate any part of it. They portray the unbroken horizon of the Christian movement in the world, giving one a mental vision of events, subjects and persons in their orderly succession.
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Daily Devotional for Tuesday January 24th/06
Unfortunately, we found out that one of the books we had posted online had its copyright renewed, so we have had to remove it from public viewing. I would still like to send out an excerpt from it, and encourage all that are interested in having a heart for soulwinning to purchase a copy of it if you are able. It is The Golden Path To Successful Personal Soulwinning by John R. Rice, and I am sure it can probably be ordered through The Sword Of The Lord.
The following is from chapter 10 of this book, entitled: Heavenly Wisdom Of the Soulwinner.
I. Soul Winning a Principal Emphasis of the Old Testament
One has read very carelessly the Old Testament who has not learned that the great hero of the law and the prophets and the Psalms is the LORD JESUS CHRIST, that He is the central theme, and that the salvation of sinners is everywhere joined to that theme by implication and often by direct statement.
1. The Theme of All the Prophets.
When Peter went to preach to Cornelius and his household, he seems to have given his theme at the start of the extended sermon he intended to preach. It was this: "To him [JESUS] give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins" (Acts 10:43). Later he reported to the brethren at Jerusalem, "And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning" (Acts 11:15), and he needed to speak no further.
He had already given the key of all the Scriptures, and they who had so earnestly waited and prayed to know how to have peace with GOD and forgiveness of sins now knew it. It was through CHRIST and personal faith in Him. So Cornelius and his household were saved and filled with the HOLY SPIRIT.
But here we have in divine revelation the truth that the theme of all the prophets, both Old Testament and New Testament, was JESUS, and that "whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins" (Acts 10:43).
CHRIST is the seed of the woman promised to Adam and Eve. He is the prophet like unto Moses, promised to Israel. He is the suffering servant of Isaiah 50 and 53. He is the one crying out on the Cross in Psalm 22. He is the child born, the Son given, of Isaiah 9:6 and 7. He is the virgin-born child of Isaiah 7:14. He is the seed promised Abraham.
He is the Son of David who is promised to sit on David's throne. He is "the Lord our righteousness" in Jeremiah. He is the second David who will reign over both the houses of Israel, promised in Ezekiel.
Not only so, but JESUS is symbolized and pictured by object lessons throughout the Old Testament. He is the Passover Lamb. Yea, He is the scapegoat bearing blame which is not His. He is the mourning turtledove picturing the man of sorrows. He is the bullock, the burden-bearing SAVIOUR. He is the white and stainless pigeon. Every bloody sacrifice, from Abel to the Passover Lamb killed the day JESUS was on the Cross, pictured the atoning death of JESUS CHRIST.
The high priest anointed with oil pictured JESUS our High Priest filled with the SPIRIT. Young David, anointed to be king, pictured the LORD JESUS CHRIST anointed and filled with the SPIRIT to reign on David's throne one day. The golden candlestick, a lamp stand, pictured CHRIST the Light of the World, burning in the power of the HOLY SPIRIT. The shewbread, twelve loaves placed fresh every Sabbath day in the tabernacle or temple, pictured JESUS the Bread of Life. The manna which fell in the wilderness is CHRIST also, the manna from Heaven.
The brazen serpent on a pole to whom the snake-bitten Israelites could look and be healed, is JESUS on the Cross, as He Himself told Nicodemus. Oh, the spiritual heart can find JESUS on nearly every page of the Old Testament. That is why the law was David's delight. Even before the law, Abraham saw CHRIST's day and was glad and believed on Him as we do. He saw in the offering of Isaac, the crucifixion; in the sparing of Isaac, the resurrection.
The furniture of the tabernacle was made of wood, to picture CHRIST's humanity, and covered with gold, to picture His deity. The pure white linen over the tabernacle pictured His sinless purity. The ram's skins dyed red pictured His atonement. The badgers' skins, dull and unattractive to the world, pictured Him as this outer world sees Him. And the blue curtains pictured Him as deity, a heavenly being.
The spiritually-minded reader sees a picture of CHRIST in the ark of Noah, CHRIST the refuge for sinners from the storms of judgment.
2. But Every Prophet of the Old Testament Also Taught Salvation Through Faith in CHRIST.
That is the inspired statement Peter gave Cornelius, "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins" (Acts 10:43). In my book, Twelve Tremendous Themes, I have an extended chapter on "The Double Theme of All the Prophets," that is, CHRIST and salvation by faith.
We read that "Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness" (James 2:23 and Genesis 15:6). And "believe" here means just what it means throughout the book of John, and in Acts 13:38, 39, and in Acts 16:31. It meant personal faith in the SAVIOUR, for Abraham knew about CHRIST revealed to him by the HOLY SPIRIT and pictured in the sacrifices.
The great texts that were preached on by New Testament preachers were taken from the Old Testament. JESUS preached to Nicodemus from Numbers 21:5-9 - the fiery serpents and the brazen snake on a pole. Surely it is as easy to preach a sermon on salvation by faith in CHRIST from Exodus, chapter 12, on the passover lamb and the blood on the door, as to preach from John 3:16. That wonderful Scripture on salvation, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved," is quoted twice in the New Testament, but is quoted from the Old Testament in Joel 2:32. The great text that led Martin Luther to put his faith in CHRIST instead of depending on his works, "The just shall live by faith," is found in the Old Testament, in Habakkuk 2:4. And how often in the Psalms are we taught that blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD!
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Daily Devotional for Wednesday January 25th/06
The Message Of The Old Testament
The Prepared Body
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Daily Devotional for Thursday January 26th/06
For a quick overview of Baptist history, here is an excellent book that traces groups throughout history that have held to the Baptist Distinctives (as well as some of their contemporaries and influences or hindrances in each period).
The Trail Of Blood
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Daily Devotional for Friday January 27th/06
The Willing Bondservant
In Exodus 20, we have the Lord giving us the Ten Commandments, and in chapter 21, we find the first of the remaining 613 commands that comprised the Law:
"If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.
If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself.
And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:
Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever" [Exod. 21:2–6].
This is a passage that has intrigued me since I really learned what it meant and and what it pictures several years ago: Being set free, but choosing to remain as a willing bond servant to your master - even so, it pictures the believer being set free from sin and condemnation, and choosing to remain a willing bondservant to his Heavenly Master. This is what I believe Romans 12:1 is referring to. But this passage is also a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, and is referred to in Psalm 40 and Hebrews 10 (both covered below), as well as Isaiah 51:4-5.
The following is quoted from Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee.
This remarkable law states that if a man is a slave, after seven years he can go free. If he was married when he became a slave, he can take his wife with him. If he married while a slave, that is, if he married a woman who was already a slave of his master, at the end of seven years he could go free, but his wife would still belong to the master. He would be free but his wife would not. He could, however, if he loved his wife and master, decide to stay of his own free will. If he decides to stay, his master is to bore his ear lobe through with an awl signifying that he will serve his master forever.
This is a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. He came to this earth and took upon Himself our humanity. And we were all slaves of sin. He could have gone out free. He could have returned to heaven, to His position in the Godhead, without going through the doorway of death. He did not have to die upon the cross. But He willingly came down to earth and took upon Himself our humanity. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8).
Psalm 40:6–8 goes on to say, “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” This passage refers to Christ, because Hebrews 10:5–9 tells us that it does. It was fulfilled when our Lord came to this earth. “Wherefore when he cometh into the world [speaking of Christ], he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me [it was not only his ear that was “digged,” or bored through with an awl, but God gave Him a body which He will have throughout eternity]: in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” Christ was “made like unto His brethren.” He chose not to go out free without us. He could have left this earth without dying, but He said, “I love My Bride. I love the sinner.” So He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross so that He could redeem us from the slavery of sin. What a picture this is of Christ — placed right here after the giving of the Ten Commandments.
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 2000, c1981.
What is pictured in Exodus 21 is the bondservant - a servant/slave that is set free, and who willingly gives himself in loving service back to his master. In the New Testament, every time you read the word "servant," this is what is in view - the bondservant. And this is what the following verse is referring to - in light of all the Lord has done to save us and give us the victory in Christ, it is only reasonable to give ourselves back to our Heavenly Master in loving service to Him.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
I cannot remember the source of the following illustration, but it certainly fits the subject of the bondservant:
The Purchase Of A Slave
Once there was a Negro girl on a slave block in the South. She was bitter because she did not want to serve as a slave. An old man kept bidding higher and higher for her services, and she became more bitter the higher he bid because she did not want to be a slave. Finally, he won the bidding and bought her to be his slave. She came to him, cursed, swore and said, "I hate to be your slave." He looked at her and said, "Young lady, you don't understand. I did not purchase you to make you my slave. I saw something in your face that made me want to set you free. You may go free. I bought you in order that you might be free." The young lady began to weep. She looked up at the man and said, "Oh, Sir, then I will be your slave forever!"
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Daily Devotional for Saturday January 28th/06
If you are looking for an excellent explanation of those problem passages in the book of Hebrews, here is a great book. It is not a verse-by-verse exposition, but an overall study, bringing other passages into consideration to help open up the harder to understand portions of this book. What I had previously read of this book was very helpful to me 3 or 4 years back when I was studying out what the Bible had to say on "Rest" - he quite thoroughly goes into the Rest of Service (ie. victory in Christ - especially in chapters 3-4 of Hebrews).
Six Part Series On Hebrews - M.R. DeHaan
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Daily Devotional for Sunday January 29th/06
If you want to read a good book on the endtimes, that doesn't get into all the speculation that you find today - but just looks at the main Bible passages dealing with this topic, here is a book that will be of profit to you:
A Brief Outline of Things to Come - Compiled by Theodore Epp
Here is a list of the specific chapters in the book (some of the authors may be familiar to you):
1. A BRIEF SUMMARY OF WHAT WE MAY EXPECT - Keith L. Brooks
2. THE RESTORATION OF PALESTINE - M. R. DeHaan
3. THE GREAT PROPHECY OF THE SEVENTY WEEKS - H. A. Ironside
4. THE RAPTURE AND THE FIRST RESURRECTION - William L. Pettingill
5. THE TRIBULATION - H. A. Ironside
6. DANIEL'S SEVENTIETH WEEK - Theodore H. Epp
7. REWARDS - Norman H. Camp
8. HOW WILL CHRIST JUDGE THE NATIONS? - William L. Pettingill
9. THE MILLENNIUM - C. I. Scofield
10. DOOMSDAY - Theodore H. Epp
11. THE FUTURE STATE - C. I. Scofield
If you are wanting to do a little more study in this area of the endtimes, by some authors that break it down and don't get technical or dry on you, this book will surely help and strengthen your understanding of these crucial Bible topics.
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Daily Devotional for Monday January 30th/06
What God Wrote
I love reading about what God wrote! We know He inspired and wrote the whole Bible, so that is not what I mean here (or not solely - I do love reading His Word!) What I am referring to here is the statements in Scripture like this:
Exodus 31:18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
Exodus 32:16 And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.
Each context is different - but when God writes something (with His finger or His Spirit), it is something only He could do!
Statement made by Pharaoh's lost magicians - who could not copy God's miracles and plagues:
Exodus 8:19 Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
God writing about the judgment of Babylon, literally moments before it happened:
Daniel 5:5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
Sure the Devil can lie and make up his own false prophecies - but here we see God foretelling exactly what He was going to do, and nothing could stop Him or hinder Him from fulfilling His judgment on Babylon.
Jesus' power and authority to cast out devils:
Luke 11:20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.
I find this passage really neat - it doesn't say what Jesus wrote - but here we see the finger of God writing again:
John 8:3-11 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Notice in the above passage, it was the Word of God that Jesus spoke that convicted them of their sins, not what was written on the ground - but perhaps the writing recalled to mind the rest of the Law of Moses. To me, when I read that passage, it makes me think of mercy. Jesus wasn't writing to condemn, but to offer forgiveness and mercy. First, He had to confront them with their sin and the Law they had broken, then mercy was available to forgive.
My favourite, and one that is directly applicable to all believers today:
Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
2 Corinthians 3:2-3 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
2 Corinthians 3:5-8 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
The writing of the Holy Spirit of God upon our hearts is more glorious than the writing of the Law on stone tablets. Written in stone and written in our hearts.
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
As we gaze steadfastly into the Word of God, which the Holy Spirit inspired and moved holy men of God to pen down for us (see 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21), and behold the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ therein - in the volume of the book (Hebrews 10:7), from cover to cover - as we see Jesus in the pages of the Bible and let the Holy Spirit do His wondrous work in our hearts and lives, we are transformed into His image.
What is God writing in you?
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Daily Devotional for Tuesday January 31st/06
Trained To Comfort
"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God" (Isa. 40:1).
Store up comfort. This was the prophet's mission. The world is full of comfortless hearts, and ere thou art sufficient for this lofty ministry, thou must be trained. And thy training is costly in the extreme; for, to render it perfect, thou too must pass through the same afflictions as are wringing countless hearts of tears and blood. Thus thy own life becomes the hospital ward where thou art taught the Divine art of comfort. Thou art wounded, that in the binding up of thy wounds by the Great Physician, thou mayest learn how to render first aid to the wounded everywhere. Dost thou wonder why thou art passing through some special sorrow? Wait till ten years are passed, and thou wilt find many others afflicted as thou art. Thou wilt tell them how thou hast suffered and hast been comforted; then as the tale is unfolded, and the anodynes applied which once thy God wrapped around thee, in the eager look and the gleam of hope that shall chase the shadow of despair across the soul, thou shalt know why thou wast afflicted, and bless God for the discipline that stored thy life with such a fund of experience and helpfulness. --Selected
"God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters." --Dr. Jowett
"They tell me I must bruise
The rose's leaf,
Ere I can keep and use
Its fragrance brief.
"They tell me I must break
The skylark's heart,
Ere her cage song will make
The silence start.
"They tell me love must bleed,
And friendship weep,
Ere in my deepest need
I touch that deep.
"Must it be always so
With precious things?
Must they be bruised and go
With beaten wings?
"Ah, yes! by crushing days,
By caging nights, by scar
Of thorn and stony ways,
These blessings are!"
(Taken from Streams In The Desert devotional)
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