Daily Devotionals For July And August 2004
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List of main devotionals written by Jerry for July/August 2004 Devotionals (not posted elsewhere on this site):
The Song Of The Altar - July 26th
The Fire On The Altar - July 29th
At The Feet Of Jesus - August 11th
The Lord Is Able - August 13th
Job's Lessons In Trust: Times Of Testing - August 19th
Be Ye Transformed (Romans 12:2) - August 29th
I have preached some of these devotionals on Fridays at the Gospel Mission. They are now marked with asterisks by the date, for those who might be interested.
Daily Devotional For Monday, July 26th
The Song Of The Altar
2 Chronicles 29:27-28 And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel. And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.
Notice that it was when the burnt offering began that the song began also!
The burnt offering primarily pictures two things:
1) Jesus Christ's complete dedication and devotion to His Heavenly Father. He completely fulfilled the Law and was the perfect (unblemished, without spot), sinless sacrifice needed to die for our sins. (See John 10:17; Romans 5:19; Hebrews 10:10)
2) The Christian's complete dedication (or submission) of himself (or herself) upon the altar of service to the Lord.
This second usage is what Paul refers to in Romans 12:1-2:
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. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Now, back to our passage from 2 Chronicles:
When the burnt offering was offered on the altar, the song began. I believe the picture here is that as long as we give ourselves fully to the Lord, there should be a song to the Lord - until the offering is consumed.
Ephesians 5:18-19 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Leviticus 1:9 But his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.
Is your all on the altar? Is there a song in your heart to the Lord? Is your life a sweet savour unto the Lord?
Is Your All On The Altar?
(Lyrics by Elisha A. Hoffman)
You have longed for sweet peace,
And for faith to increase,
And have earnestly, fervently prayed;
But you cannot have rest,
Or be perfectly blest,
Until all on the altar is laid.
Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
Your heart does the Spirit control?
You can only be blest,
And have peace and sweet rest,
As you yield Him your body and soul.
Would you walk with the Lord,
In the light of His Word,
And have peace and contentment alway?
You must do His sweet will,
To be free from all ill,
On the altar your all you must lay.
O we never can know
What the Lord will bestow
Of the blessings for which we have prayed,
Till our body and soul
He doth fully control,
And our all on the altar is laid.
Who can tell all the love
He will send from above,
And how happy our hearts will be made,
Of the fellowship sweet
We shall share at His feet,
When our all on the altar is laid.
Devotional written July 26th/04
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Daily Devotional For Wednesday July 28th
I thought I would send this out today to remind you of some Scriptures on the theme of not growing weary in our walk with the Lord. This is taken from my study on Ephesus: The Backslidden (Loveless) Church - from the letters to the seven churches in Revelation. You won't mind if I copy from my own studies, will you?
Revelation 2:3-4 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
They had borne (Strong's #941 – endured), and had patience (#5281 – perseverance), and laboured (#2872 - to feel fatigue; by implication, to work hard; toil) for Christ’s name's sake. And they had not fainted (#2577 – become weary).
A trace of the words “fainted” and “weary” throughout Scripture reveal some of the Lord’s intended ways for us to refresh our spirits. We are to continually:
seek God in prayer (Luke 18:1)
wait upon the Lord (Isaiah 40:31)
remember that it is He Himself who fights our battles and delivers us from our troubles and distresses (Deuteronomy 20:3-4; Psalm 107:5-6)
hope and trust in His Word and the promises contained therein (Psalm 119:81)
study His Word and look to the Scriptures for comfort (Isaiah 50:4-5; Amos 8:11-13)
look for Jesus Christ throughout the Scriptures (Isaiah 28:9-13, 16; also see Matthew 11:28 and Acts 3:19)
rely on God’s mercy and grace (2 Corinthians 4:1, 16)
take Christ’s yoke of service upon us (Matthew 11:29)
persevere in well doing (Galatians 6:9)
keep looking unto Jesus and remembering His example (Hebrews 12:1-3)
All these things the Ephesians no doubt did when their love for Jesus was fervent and fresh, but somewhere along the way they took their eyes off of Him. Let us never grow weary in the work of love!
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Daily Devotional For Thursday July 29th/04
The Fire On The Altar
Susannah Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, once said, "Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or removes your desire for spiritual things - that is sin to you."
Leviticus 6:12-13 And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.
According to the New Testament, true believers in Jesus Christ are referred to as priests. (See 1 Peter 2:9) As such we need to always keep the fire of devotion to the Lord burning on the altar of their hearts and not become lukewarm or cold.
Revelation 3:15-16 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Is the fire burning hot on the altar of your heart, or are the embers glowing dim? It is a proven spiritual principle that allowing sin and compromise to dominate in your life will cool your fervour for the Lord Jesus Christ and the things of God.
One passage that has greatly helped me in my service to the Lord has been 2 Timothy 1:6-8:
2 Timothy 1:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
In the above verse, "stir up" means "to bring the fire to life again". We are to use our spiritual gifts - not just keep them on the shelf (in a manner of speaking). The Holy Spirit has divided these gifts among the believers in each local church to edify the body of Christ and to equip them for service. (See 1 Corinthians 12:1, 7, 11 and Ephesians 4:11-16)
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Fear does not come from God - except for the fear of the Lord! The word for "fear" in this passage means "dread; timidity". If I am cowardly and timid in my service and witnessing, then I know I am not submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit; I am not filled with (controlled or influenced by) His Holy Spirit, but am in fact controlled by my flesh or fear caused by Satan. We should never let either of these dictate whether we will be faithful to the Lord or not; whether we will be a witness or not. Some other related verses that have also strengthened me and helped me fight the battle when I am tempted to be timid are: Proverbs 29:25 and 28:1, as well as 1 John 4:18.
What has Jesus Christ given me instead of fear? His power for witnessing (Acts 1:8), His love for the lost (Romans 5:5 and 2 Corinthians 5:14), and a sound mind (notice temperance in Galatians 5:22-23). A "sound mind" means "discipline; self-control". The Holy Spirit gives me the power and ability to resist the fear and the self-control to do the service He requires of me.
Because of the gifts, strength (2 Corinthians 12:9-10), grace (1 Peter 5:5 and 2 Corinthians 9:8), power, love, and sound mind the Lord has given us, we have all we need day by day as we strive to serve Him.
The Apostle Paul goes on to say this:
2 Timothy 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.
Jeremiah 20:9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
"...A sense of the Redeemer's preciousness makes the Christian useful, for that which is much in the heart will soon creep up to the tongue, and the testimony of the heart is a notable method of spreading the gospel. If thou lovest Christ much, thou will speak about him... Thus, telling out, with a burning heart, the things which he has made touching the King, others will hear the good news, and they will ask, 'Who is this Precious One?' and they will, by God's good Spirit, be led to seek him and find him too. So, the Christian valuing Christ will come to be useful to the souls of men...." - Charles Spurgeon.
Fervency is the fire on the altar of your heart that burns the incense of prayer and sends the sweet-smelling savour up to God. - A phrase I coined, loosely based on a statement I had heard but could not quite remember.
"The preacher with fire in his bones does not only await an opportunity; he makes one. He must preach!" - John R. Rice.
The Altar Is Empty
The altar is empty -
The sacrifice has walked away.
The heart's gone cold -
Where's the willingness to pray?
Something is wrong, it shouldn't be,
No peace within, convicting me!
Kindle my heart, stir into a flame.
Restore my soul, as I call on Your name.
Oh Lord above, grant me the grace
To deny myself and put Your will in its place.
The altar is empty -
There are no prayers offered today.
The heart's lukewarm -
Where's the desire to pray?
The field is white, but no reaping done,
No hearts breaking, pleading for God's Son.
The field is empty -
Where are the labourers today?
Those faithful servants
Standing in the gap to pray?
Oh hear God's voice, His Spirit's call;
Repent, you watchmen, upon the wall.
Quicken my heart, in Jesus' name,
Cleanse me from my sin - bring to life again.
Send me, oh Lord, and I will go -
Go and tell the world Jesus loves them so.
Devotional and song written July 29th/04
Jerry (Gerald) Bouey
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Daily Devotional For Friday July 30th/04
Secrets Of The Lord
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I preached a Gospel message on Friday, July 30th/04 entitled Three Appointments, which is about the three appointments that every man, woman, or child will face: The Day Of Death, The Day Of Judgment, and The Day Of Salvation. It is an exhortation to respond positively to the third appointment so they will be ready for the other two! If you feel it needs further clarification or have any other input regarding this study (or any other studies or devotions), please email me. I especially want to make sure that the salvation presentations are quite clear. (The three appointments idea was given to me by one of our preacher boys, Mark Jones, when he preached a message on this theme several months ago. I am just using his three main points and have adapted and modified the rest, but I wanted to give credit where credit was due.)
Here are two devotions for the weekend. By the looks of it, An Honest Doubter actually is my oldest devotional ever written - way back in 1999! It was written to encourage seekers to search the Scriptures to see what the Bible itself says about Jesus Christ and the salvation found in Him.
Daily Devotional For Saturday July 31st/04
An Honest Doubter
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Daily Devotional For Sunday August 1st/04
This is a section of a larger study entitled Is Your Armour On?, and is about how many Christians neglect the having their feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel Of peace; and therefore lose out on the victory that could be theirs in Christ. I would encourage you to read the whole study if you are interested more in looking at this essential component of God's Armour.
Another clear and concise passage about the necessity of witnessing is Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
1) They overcame him (the accuser of the brethren, the devil) by the blood of the Lamb - by being washed in Jesus' blood which He shed at Calvary for their sins (Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7; Revelation 1:5), and by being cleansed by His blood on a daily basis (1 John 1:7, 9).
2) And by the word of their testimony - These Christians were victorious because they were witnesses, they shared their testimonies with others! On the other side of the coin, this verse indicates that if we will not witness about the Lord Jesus Christ and the eternal salvation found only in Him, we will not be overcomers!
3) And they loved not their lives unto the death - They were more concerned with pleasing God than they were about being menpleasers; they were more concerned with being obedient and faithful to the Lord than they were about compromising to keep their lives. They would rather die than turn away from Jesus Christ, rather die than betray their Saviour. (See Matthew 16:24-26; Colossians 3:22-24) Their integrity and spiritual well-being was more important to them than their comfort and physical well-being. (See Daniel 3:16-18)
I would like to give a word of caution at this point: When you share your testimony, don't glorify your sin and the darkness you came out of, glorify the Saviour who saved you. Too many people give details that only fill the minds of others with sinful, graphic thoughts. That is not necessary. Paul never went into detail about how he slaughtered Christians, and never shared the specific ways and words he used to blaspheme God, he just said he murdered Christians and blasphemed the Lord. (See Galatians 1:13, 23-24; 1 Timothy 1:12-16) For example, if you came out of a past of drug and alcohol abuse, just state that. Don't go into detail about what type of drunken binges you've had and how many drugs you've abused. That doesn't glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, only the sin. Only go into as much detail as is appropriate and needed according to the person you are witnessing to. If you were a drug abuser witnessing to someone who is currently in bondage to drugs, you might go into a little more detail about how empty the drugs were, how they affected your family, and how they wrecked your life (so they can see that they also can escape that bondage and life of sin), but you don't need to give that kind of information to everyone you share your testimony with.
Go into detail about the Saviour and how the Saviour brought you out of the darkness you were previously living in. In my testimony on overcoming my depression, I didn't go into great detail about my thoughts, my sins, and my struggles during that time, only what was necessary, but I did go into detail about the influences, the Scriptures, and the Lord Jesus Christ who helped me get out of that pit.
A perfect example of how witnessing helps us to claim the victory is found in the Song Of Solomon. I believe the primary interpretation of this book is the relationship between Jesus Christ and His bride (born-again Christians). While I don’t understand all the symbolism at this point in time, there is still much I can glean from this book. Chapter 4 verses 11-12 state Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon. A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. First Solomon (and the Lord) declare that the Christian’s speech is comely (see also verse 3), but then He states that she is closed up – there came a point in time, that she stopped telling others about the Saviour, her mouth was sealed. In verse 16, we have the Lord’s solution to get her back on track – blow the winds of affliction and comfort on her. Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon My garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Both these winds, at various times, will cause the fountain of praise to flow again. Affliction, because it causes us to turn back to the Saviour and cling to Him. And comfort, because it makes us realize how much He loves us and cares for us.
In 5:1, we see the King in His garden. In verse 2, we see Him knocking on her door, but she is unwilling to get up and answer to His knock. She is backslidden – I sleep, but my heart waketh. She is filled with excuses why she can’t go out. I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them? It’s just too inconvenient, too uncomfortable. She is at her ease. Finally, she gets up to look for her king, but she goes looking in the city (she knew He was in the garden, the place of fellowship and seeking the Lord. (See Genesis 3:8; Matthew 26:36) She gets into trouble and the watchmen wound her and disgrace her (take her veil away). In her discouragement, she cries out to the daughters of Jerusalem, to tell her where He might be. These daughters then ask her, why is her beloved so special? She gets her eyes back on her King and waxes eloquent, so much so that the daughters now want to go with her to seek the King! (See 5:10-6:1) Suddenly, she remembers where her Beloved has been all along (in the garden!) and reminds herself of her relationship with her Beloved. 6:2-3 My Beloved is gone down into His garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine: He feedeth among the lilies.
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Daily Devotion For Monday August 2nd/04
I am sorry to get this out so late today, but last night and this morning I was quite busy editing and printing up the contents of my second poetry book (The Seasons Of Your Pilgrimage). I am currently in the process of choosing the final poem content, and Scripture verses and quotes to put in it. Lord willing, I will be able to print it up in September or October. We have also been granted permission to use an awesome picture of an empty tomb (with light shining in) that a friend of ours took in Israel. Please keep this book in your prayers, as I need lots of wisdom and want the Lord to be glorified in it and Christians exhorted to greater faithfulness and trust in Jesus Christ. (This project was completed and received back from the printer's in November 2005. Praise God!)
This is taken from a larger study entitled No Never! I have decided to just quote the section dealing with salvation and eternal security. May it be a blessing to you.
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5
I was encouraged recently by tracing this word throughout the New Testament, and wanted to share some of the blessings with you. Wherever the same Greek word underlies a word or phrase in each verse, I have underlined it to make it easier to identify.
The word we are studying is Strong’s #3364 - ou me, and means “a double negative strengthening the denial; not at all.” The word is translated various ways in the New Testament: “any more, at all, by any (no) means, neither, never, no (at all), in no case (wise), nor ever, not (at all, in any wise).”
This word occurs in 84 verses in the New Testament.
In regards to Salvation and Eternal Security:
Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Mark 10:15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
Revelation 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.
The Word of God teaches that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and are worthless in God’s sight. (See Isaiah 64:6) We cannot earn salvation – it is a free gift that we must receive. We must humble ourselves as little children and receive the Gospel, believing that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the complete penalty for our sins, that He was buried, and that He rose again on the third day. His resurrection was proof that He was God manifested in the flesh and that His sacrifice for our sins was accepted by our Heavenly Father. The Lord has written the names of all true believers in the Lamb’s Book of Life and will never, ever remove those names! No never!
Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Hebrews 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
Praise the Lord! The penalty for our sins was eternally paid by Jesus Christ. When we come to Jesus for salvation (through repentance and personal faith in Him), He will never, ever hold our sins against us again! No never!
John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I Am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst. It is interesting to note that the word for never in the last part of the verse is made up of Strong’s #’s 3364 and 4455, which means “at any time.” Why look for fulfillment in the world, when contentment and lasting satisfaction is only found in Him? The Lord Jesus Christ is saying that when we come to Him for salvation, He will completely fill that void inside us and we will never, ever thirst again! No never!
John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I Am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
John 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?
When Jesus is our Saviour, and we are following Him (by abiding in His Word), we will never, ever walk in darkness again! No never!
John 8:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death.
Revelation 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
Death means "separation". The first death is physical - when our spirit separates from our body. (See James 2:26) The second death is when someone dies without having received the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. This second death is spiritual - separation from the presence of God in the Lake of Fire (Hell) for all eternity. (See Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9) Before we were saved, we were spiritually dead in our trespasses and sins, but now we are alive in Jesus Christ and will never, ever face spiritual death again! We will never, ever face separation from the Lord God! No never!
Luke 21:18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.
Perish means "to die, to waste away, to be destroyed or ruined". The Lord is saying that we will not die or be destroyed apart from His will. (See Matthew 10:28-31; 18:12-14; Luke 12:6-7; Revelation 1:18) In the context of the afterlife, perish means to be punished in Hell eternally. (See John 3:16; Luke 13:5; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 2:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:10; 2 Peter 3:9) Those who have accepted Jesus’ gift of eternal life will never, ever perish! No never!
John 6:37 All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name.
The Lord will never, ever turn His back on His children or cast them out of His presence; He will never, ever leave them or forsake them – not for any reason! No never!
1 Peter 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded.
Confounded means "to be ashamed or disgraced". When the Lord returns, all our trust in Him will be rewarded, and the whole world will see that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The unsaved souls will be ashamed at their rejection of Jesus, but in eternity we will never, ever be ashamed of the salvation found in Him! No never!
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I hope this devotional is a blessing to you. It was neat to think of the many simple ways the Lord describes salvation in Christ!
Daily Devotion For Tuesday August 3rd/04
The Simplicity Of Salvation
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Daily Devotion For Wednesday August 4th/04
One Christian theologian I have really come to appreciate these last several months has been Arthur W. Pink. While I am not a Calvinist, there is so much I have gleaned from his writings. This short chapter is taken from a book entitled:
COMFORT FOR CHRISTIANS
Tried by Fire
"But he knoweth the way that I take; when he hath tried me I shall come forth as gold"
Job here corrects himself. In the beginning of the chapter we find him saying: "Even today is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning" (vv. 1, 2). Poor Job felt that his lot was unbearable. But he recovers himself. He checks his hasty outburst and revises his impetuous decision. How often we all have to correct ourselves! Only One has ever walked this earth who never had occasion to do so.
Job here comforts himself. He could not fathom the mysteries of Providence but God knew the way he took. Job had diligently sought the calming presence of God, but, for a time, in vain. Behold I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him. On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him" (vv. 8, 9). But he consoled himself with this blessed fact—though I cannot see God, what is a thousand times better, He can see me—"He knoweth." One above is neither unmindful nor indifferent to our lot. If He notices the fall of a sparrow, if He counts the hairs of our heads, of course "He knows" the way that I take.
Job here enunciates a noble view of life. How splendidly optimistic he was! He did not allow his afflictions to turn him into a skeptic. He did not permit the sore trials and troubles through which he was passing to overwhelm him. He looked at the bright side of the dark cloud—God’s side, hidden from sense and reason. He took a long view of life. He looked beyond the immediate ‘fiery trials" and said that the outcome would be gold refined. "But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me I shall come forth as gold." Three great truths are expressed here: let us briefly consider each separately.
1. The Divine Knowledge of My Life.
"He knoweth the way that I take." The omniscience of God is one of the wondrous attributes of Deity. "For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings" (Job 34:21). "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good (Prov. 15:3). Spurgeon said, "One of the greatest tests of experimental religion is, What is my relationship to God’s omniscience?" What is your relationship to it, dear reader? How does it affect you? Does it distress or comfort you? Do you shrink from the thought of God knowing all about your way? perhaps, a lying, selfish, hypocritical way! To the sinner this is a terrible thought. He denies it, or if not, he seeks to forget it. But to the Christian, here is real comfort. How cheering to remember that my Father knows all about my trials, my difficulties, my sorrows, my efforts to glorify Him. Precious truth for those in Christ, harrowing thought for all out of Christ, that the way I am taking is fully known to and observed by God.
"He knoweth the way that I take." Men did not know the way that Job took. He was grievously misunderstood, and for one with a sensitive temperament to be misunderstood, is a sore trial. His very friends thought he was a hypocrite. They believed he was a great sinner and being punished by God. Job knew that he was an unworthy saint, but not a hypocrite. He appealed against their censorious verdict. "He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me I shall come forth as gold." Here is instruction for us when like circumstanced. Fellow-believer, your fellow-men, yes, and your fellow Christians, may misunderstand you, and misinterpret God’s dealings with you: but console yourself with the blessed fact that the omniscient One knows.
"He knoweth the way that I take." In the fullest sense of the word Job himself did not know the way that he took, nor do any of us. Life is profoundly mysterious, and the passing of the years offer no solution. Nor does philosophizing help us. Human volition is a strange enigma. Consciousness bears witness that we are more than automatons. The power of choice is exercised by us in every move we make. And yet it is plain that our freedom is not absolute. There are forces brought to bear upon us, both good and evil, which are beyond our power to resist. Both heredity and environment exercise powerful influences upon us. Our surroundings and circumstances are factors which cannot be ignored. And what of providence which "shapes our destinies"? Ah, how little do we know the way which we "take." Said the prophet, "O Lord I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps (Jer. 10:23). Here we enter the realm of mystery, and it is idle to deny it. Better far to acknowledge with the wise man, "Man’s goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?" (Prov. 20:24).
In the narrower sense of the term Job did know the way which he took. What that "way" was he tells us in the next two verses. "My foot hath held his steps. his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:11, 12). The way Job chose was the best way, the scriptural way, God’s way—"His way." What do you think of that way, dear reader? Was it not a grand selection? Ah, not only "patient," but wise Job! Have you made a similar choice? Can you say, My foot hath held his steps. his way have I kept, and not declined?" (v. 11). If you can, praise Him for His enabling grace. If you cannot, confess with shame your failure to appropriate His all-sufficient grace. Get down on your knees at once, and unbosom yourself to God. Hide and keep back nothing. Remember it is written "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Does not verse 12 explain your failure, my failure, dear reader? Is it not because we have not trembled before God’s commandments, and because we have so lightly esteemed His Word, that we have "declined" from His way! Then let us, even now, and daily, seek grace from on high to heed His commandments and hide His Word in our hearts.
"He knoweth the way that I take." Which way are you taking?—the Narrow Way which leadeth unto life, or ‘the Broad Road that leadeth to destruction? Make certain on this point, dear friend. Scripture declares, "So every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom. 14:12). But you need not be deceived or uncertain. The Lord declared, "I am The Way" (John 14:6).
2. Divine Testing
"When he hath tried me." "The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the Lord trieth the hearts" (Prov. 17:3). This was God’s way with Israel of old, and it is His way with Christians now. Just before Israel entered Canaan, as Moses reviewed their history since leaving Egypt, he said, "And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, and to know what as in thine heart, whether thou wouldst keep his commandments, or no" (Deut. 8:2). In the same way God tries, tests, proves, humbles us.
"When he hath tried me." If we realized this more, we should bear up better in the hour of affliction and be more patient under suffering. The daily irritations of life, the things which annoy so much—what is their meaning? why are they permitted? Here is the answer: God is "trying" you! That is the explanation (in part, at least) of that disappointment, that crushing of your earthly hopes, that great loss; God was, is, testing you. God is trying your temper, your courage, your faith, your patience, your love, your fidelity.
"When he hath tried me." How frequently God’s saints see only Satan as the cause of their troubles. They regard the great enemy as responsible for much of their sufferings. But there is no comfort for the heart in this. We do not deny that the Devil does bring about much that harasses us. But above Satan is the Lord Almighty! The Devil cannot touch a hair of our heads without God’s permission, and when he is allowed to disturb and distract us, even then it is only God using him to "try" us. Let us learn then, to look beyond all secondary causes and instruments to that One who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11). This is what Job did.
In the opening chapter of the book which bears his name we find Satan obtaining permission to afflict God’s servant. He used the Sabeans to destroy Job ‘s herds (v. 15): he sent the Chaldeans to slay his servants (v. 17): he caused a great wind to kill his children (v. 19). And what was Job’s response? This: he exclaimed "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (1:21). Job looked beyond the human agents, beyond Satan who employed them, to the Lord who controls all. He realized that it was the Lord trying him. We get the same thing in the New Testament. To the suffering saints at Smyrna John wrote, "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer; behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried" (Rev. 2:10). Their being cast into prison was simply God trying them.
How much we lose by forgetting this! What a stay for the trouble-tossed heart to know that no matter what form the testing may take, no matter what the agent which annoys, it is God who is "trying" His children. What a perfect example the Saviour sets us. When He was approached in the garden and Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of Malchus, the Saviour said, "The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18:11). Men were about to vent their awful rage upon Him, the Serpent would bruise His heel, but He looks above and beyond them. Dear reader, no matter how bitter its contents, (infinitely less than that which the Saviour drained) let us accept the cup as from the Father’s hand.
In some moods we are apt to question the wisdom and right of God to try us. So often we murmur at His dispensations. Why should God lay such an intolerable burden upon me? Why should others be spared their loved ones, and mine taken? Why should health and strength, perhaps the gift of sight, be denied me? The first answer to all such questions is, "O man, who art thou that repliest against God?"! It is wicked insubordination for any creature to call into question the dealings of the great Creator. "Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast Thou made me thus?" (Rom. 9:20). How earnestly each of us need to cry unto God, that His grace may silence our rebellious lips and still the tempest within our desperately wicked hearts!
But to the humble soul which bows in submission before the sovereign dispensations of the all-wise God, Scripture affords some light on the problem. This light may not satisfy reason, but it will bring comfort and strength when received in child-like faith and simplicity. In I Pet. 1:6 we read; "Wherein (God’s salvation) ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations (or trials): That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." Note three things here. First, there is a needs-be for the trial of faith. Since God says it, let us accept it. Second, this trying of faith is precious, far more so than of gold. It is precious to God (cf. Ps. 116:15) and will yet be so to us. Third, the present trial has in view the future. Where the trial has been meekly endured and bravely borne, there will be a grand reward at the appearing of our Redeemer.
Again, in 1 Peter 4:12, 13 we are told: "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings: that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." The same thoughts are expressed here as in the previous passage. There is a needs-be for our "trials" and therefore we are to think them not strange—we should expect them. And, too, there is again the blessed outlook of being richly recompensed at Christ’s return. Then there is the added word that not only should we meet these trials with faith’s fortitude, but we should rejoice in them, inasmuch as we are permitted to have fellowship in "the sufferings of Christ." He, too, suffered: sufficient then, for the disciple to be as his Master.
"When he hath tried me." Dear Christian reader, there are no exceptions. God had only one Son without sin, but never one without sorrow. Sooner or later, in one form or another, trial-sore and heavy—will be our lot. "And sent Timotheus our brother . . . to establish you, and comfort you concerning your faith: That no man should be moved by these afflictions; for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto" (I Thess. 3:2, 3). And again it is written, "We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). It has been so in every age. Abram was "tried," tried severely. So, too, were Joseph, Jacob. Moses, David, Daniel, the Apostles, etc.
3. The Ultimate Issue
"I shall come forth as gold." Observe the tense here. Job did not imagine that he was pure gold already. "I shall come forth as gold," he declared. He knew full well that there was yet much dross in him. He did not boast that he was already perfect. Far from it. In the final chapter of his book we find him saying, "I abhor myself" (42:6). And well he might: and well may we. As we discover that in our flesh there dwelleth "no good thing," as we examine ourselves and our ways in the light of God’s Word and behold our innumerable failures, as we think of our countless sins, both of omission and commission, good reason have we for abhoring ourselves. Ah, Christian reader, there is much dross about us. But it will not ever be thus.
"I shall come forth as gold." Job did not say, "When he hath tried me I may come forth as gold," or "I hope to come forth as gold," but with full confidence and positive assurance he declared, "I shall come forth as gold." But how did he know this? How can we be sure of the happy issue? Because the Divine purpose cannot fail. He which hath begun a good work in us "will finish it" (Phil. 1:6).How can we be sure of the happy issue? Because the Divine promise is sure: "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me" (Ps. 138:8). Then be of good cheer, tried and troubled one. The process may be unpleasant and painful, but the issue is charming and sure.
"I shall come forth as gold." This was said by one who knew affliction and sorrow as few among the sons of men have known them. Yet despite his fiery trials he was optimistic. Let then this triumphant language be ours. "I shall come forth as gold" is not the language of carnal boasting, but the confidence of one whose mind was stayed upon God. There will be no credit to our account—the glory will all belong to the Divine Refiner (Jas. 1:12).
For the present there remain two things: first, Love is the Divine thermometer while we are in the crucible of testing—"And he shall sit (the patience of Divine grace) as a Refiner and Purifier of silver," etc. (Mal. 3:3). Second, the Lord Himself is with us in the fiery furnace, as He was with the three young Hebrews (Dan. 3:25). For the future this is sure: the most wonderful thing in heaven will not be the golden street or the golden harps, but golden souls on which is stamped the image of God—"predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son!" Praise God for such a glorious prospect, such a victorious issue, such a marvelous goal.
You can read other books by Arthur Pink here:
Two others I especially recommend are:
The Seven Sayings Of The Saviour On The Cross
This was especially useful in preparing a series of devotionals I preached on this theme.
Why Four Gospels?
This is a good book that deals with the differences and similarities between the four Gospels.
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Daily Devotion For Thursday August 5th/04
This is taken from my unfinished (Lord willing, soon to be finished) study on the letter to Smyrna - The Persecuted (Suffering) Church. The Smyrna study will be part three of my series on the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. (The first study is the Introduction on chapter one of Revelation.)
Revelation 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the First and the Last, Which was dead, and is alive;
Description which Christ gives of Himself: The first and the last, which was dead, and is alive.
The first and the last. The Lord Jesus Christ was the one who had the preeminent place in these believers' lives. Colossians 1:15 and 18 say, Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. Preeminence means first in rank or influence. The church in Smyrna was able to overcome because Jesus Christ had the first place in each of their lives. Does He have first place in yours? Does Jesus have first place in every area of your life, or just the parts that you've decided to give Him, the leftovers so to speak? The word Firstborn is the Greek word prototokos. Protos means foremost (in time, place, order, or importance.) These verses in Colossians teach us that Jesus is the most important person in all creation, greater than every creature He ever created. He is the most important person that ever rose from the dead. Is Jesus Christ the foremost person in your life? Does He have the priority when it comes to your schedule? Does He have first place in your day to day life? Does He come first before your family and friends, before your dreams and goals? Is Jesus the most important person in your life? If you are saved, He should be!
Matthew 6:33 says, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Do you give the Lord the first part of your day in prayer and Bible reading? Do you give Him the first day of your week by attending a solid, Bible-believing church? Do you give Him your firstfruits? This is an Old Testament word that referred to the tithe (10% of your gross income), which were the first fruits gathered when the harvest began to come in. (See Proverbs 3:9-10) He wants all these, but He especially wants the priority, the first place in your life. He wants to be your first love. (See Revelation 2:4) Is He?
"Let me shoot a quiver full of interrogatory arrows into your heart. Has Jesus the supreme place in your desires? Do you esteem all things but loss in comparison with the excellency of Jesus Christ, your Lord? Is He to you as a city of refuge to the manslayer? Is He to you as a spring of water in a dry place? Is He to you as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land? Is He to you, having had experience with Him, a refuge and fortress, a very present help in time of trouble? Is everything in Jesus desirable in your eyes? Do you desire to obey His commandments? Do you desire to have His spirit? Are His holiness and government, His cross and sufferings desirable to you? Are you longing at all times for Him? Have your eyes been opened to see His "want and worth?" Is His righteousness the righteousness you desire? Do you want to do His will - no matter what it may be? Are you willing for Him to dictate wholly your plans, actions, and speech? Is He really your Lord?" (James Crumpton, The Seven Sayings On The Cross)
Jesus was also the author and finisher of their faith. They endured the trials they were facing by keeping their focus on Christ and what He endured to save them. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. The word author is from a Greek word (Strong's #747) meaning chief leader; also rendered captain, prince. In other words, He was the leader of their salvation, the pioneer who blazed the trail they were to follow. (See also Hebrews 5:8-9, though the word here for author is #154, meaning causer, ie. He that causes; the agent by which an effect is produced, in this case our salvation.) The word finisher (Strong's #5051) means completer, consummater. Jesus not only was the focus of their salvation, He was the only person who could bring their faith to completion. He will do that for every one who believes in Him. Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them. Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Which was dead, and is alive. Here Jesus is identifying with the church in Smyrna, by stating that He has already gone through what they are about to face, in this case, death. (See Hebrews 2:9) The fact that He has risen again is proof that those who believe in Him need not fear death, because on some future day they too will also be resurrected. (See John 11:25) John 14:19 says, Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more; but ye see Me: because I live, ye shall live also. 1 Corinthians 15:20 states, But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. While there were other believers that God had raised throughout the Old Testament and during Jesus' personal ministry, Jesus was the first person to ever be raised immortal, never more to die. This He did by His own power! Death could not hold Him in the grave because He was God Almighty manifested in the flesh! (See Acts 2:23-24) Just as the firstfruits of the crop indicated that there was a full harvest yet to come, even so Jesus was the firstfruits from the dead, indicating that all who truly believed on Him for salvation would one day rise from the dead as well! For the believer, death is referred to as a sleep, a brief transition that carries us into the presence of the Lord. (See Philippians 1:21-23 and 2 Corinthians 5:6-8)
Romans 5:10 states, For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. This is referring to Jesus’ resurrected life in Heaven. Yes, He died on the cross for our sins, was buried in the tomb for three days, but He arose triumphantly from the grave and is alive forevermore! Praise the Lord! Jesus is now glorified in Heaven with the glory He had before His incarnation. One day, when He returns in His glory, all true believers will be made like Him. We will then have immortal, glorified bodies for all eternity. (See Romans 8:29-30; 1 John 3:2; and Philippians 3:20-21)
He is our faithful High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses and afflictions because He has gone through anything we will ever have to face in this life.
Hebrews 2:14-18 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted.
Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
The words succour and help from the above passages are from two Greek words (Strong's #s 996 and 997) meaning literally to run to the cry. Whatever trials or afflictions you are going through in life, call out to Jesus in faith for help, and the Bible teaches He will run to your cry. That's comforting! I don't have to face any trial alone. Jesus can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. This phrase is from the word sumpatheo, where we get the word sympathy from. He will have compassion on us, so let us run to Him in all our afflictions.
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Daily Devotion For Friday August 6th/04
Instead of a short devotional today, I decided to send out the link for my new study entitled Come Forth As Gold. It is part two of my Furnace Of Affliction series. I had most of it written last December but did not finish it until early this morning. Both of these studies can be read in any order. They build upon the same general theme - the Christian going through trials and the Lord refining them.
I hope they are a blessing and an encouragement to you.
Isaiah 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
Part One - As Silver Is Tried
Part Two - Come Forth As Gold
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Daily Devotion For Saturday August 7th/04
I have been wanting to send this portion of a study out for the past week, but I could not remember which study it was a part of. Now I found it and hope it is a blessing to you.
One passage that is very appropriate to consider on the subject of remembering the Lord’s past mercies and provisions (and reminding yourself that He is capable of meeting all your present and future needs) is: Romans 5:3-5 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
The above verses state that tribulations (troubles, afflictions) work patience. (Worketh is present tense, which means continually works.) The word patience in the King James Bible means "cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy; to stay under, remain, to bear trials, have fortitude, persevere." As we go through trials, we learn to endure them and persevere through them.
Why? Because patience works experience. Experience here means "trial, proof, test; by implication, trustiness." The more trials we experience, the more we learn to prove God, to put Him to the test and see Him work in our lives.
And lastly, experience works hope. Hope in the Bible does not mean "maybe it might happen, or I wish it would." Hope, according to the Bible, is "to anticipate (usually with pleasure); expectation or confidence." Basically, "confident expectation." Because we have seen the Lord work through our previous trials, because we have seen Him fulfill His promises and provide our needs, because we have received His perfect peace and all the grace that we needed in the past (if we stayed focused on Jesus), we can endure through the current trials, and confidently expect that He is providently working all things out in our lives, for our good and for His glory!
This is part of my study Is God Limited?
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Daily Devotion For Sunday August 8th/04
The price for sin has been paid, and yet the despairing cry goes out, “There is no man to help me!”
The biggest way we can help the lost is by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them. As the Apostle Paul says, “The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation.” But someone must go and bring them the Gospel. Whether it is across the world, or across the street, we are commanded to go and tell others the Good News of salvation. You may not be called to be a missionary, but you are commanded to be an ambassador of Jesus Christ. (See 2 Corinthians 5:20)
Romans 10:14-15 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
The word for beautiful means “belonging to the right hour or season (timely).” There can never be a wrong time to preach the saving Gospel to those who are lost and on their way to Hell. The Good News is beautiful to the soul who comes to Jesus Christ! (See also Proverbs 15:23; 25:11)
We must first show our love for the lost souls around us by doing all we can to reach them for Christ. We must pray fervently for the lost. We must give to missions to send the Gospel out to other countries. And we must go where we can, and share the Gospel with those we personally come in contact with. All our praying for lost souls won’t amount to much if we don’t put feet to those prayers by witnessing to them about Jesus Christ! How can we expect the Lord to save our loved ones if we couldn’t be bothered to share the Gospel with them. Yes, the Lord can use anyone to reach the lost, but He wants to use you (and me)!
We can also show our love for saved souls by teaching and reminding them where refuge is to be found from all of life’s trials and afflictions – in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Psalm 142:4-5 I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto Thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.
Isaiah 50:4-5 The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.
Isaiah 63:7-9 I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He hath bestowed on them according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses. For He said, Surely they are My people, children that will not lie: so He was their Saviour. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
2 Timothy 4:16-18 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Like the impotent man in the Gospel of John, there are many today who need help to reach the healing waters of Shiloah. (See Isaiah 8:6) There are many lost souls who need help to understand the Word of God and find the Saviour revealed therein. (See Acts 8:30-31)
John 5:15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth. The idea here is for Christians to be concerned with the welfare of others around them, particularly spiritually. We need to consider the eternal welfare of those we encounter every day. When the impotent man was healed, he told others that it was Jesus who had healed him. We need to share the Good News of salvation with others that they too may be healed of their sins. The healing waters are available for whosoever will heed the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
The psalmist’s cry, “No man cared for my soul!”
Our response, let’s tell them Jesus cares!
This is part of a larger study entitled No Man Cared For My Soul
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Daily Devotional For Tuesday August 10th/04
Sorry I was not able to get out a devotional yesterday, but I have a study and a devotional for you tonight that will hopefully be a blessing to you:
The study is another one in my series on Lessons In The Valleys. This one is called The Lily Of The Valleys, and is all about Jesus Christ being with us in the valleys of life.
Lessons In The Valleys: The Lily Of The Valleys
This devotional was written by a friend on Online Baptist, and he has given me permission to put it on my website.
The Lord's Deputy
The Lord’s Deputy stands in the night, face covered by the darkness. At the ready the Lord’s Deputy stands, prepared to defend the weak, help the helpless, and protect the innocent. He knows the risk and understands the dangers around him. He knows he may have to pay the ultimate price, the ultimate sacrifice, he knows he may have to give his life.
The Lord’s Deputy is not afraid. His heart is prepared; he is wearing his armor. The Armor is special, different from any other kind of armor ever fashioned. It is stronger than any bulletproof vest, harder than any helmet, more powerful than any weapon.
The Lord’s Deputy wears this special armor, never taking it off.
The Armor girds his loins with truth. Truth has no flaws, it can never change, and it is absolute.
His chest is covered with a special breastplate. It is the breastplate of righteousness. Nothing can penetrate it. Evil cannot stand against righteousness. Evil cannot hurt the Lord’s Deputy who is clad in armor.
On his feet are shoes like no other. Shoes of the gospel of peace. Ready to go to anyone, no matter where or who they are, if they are willing to hear the truth of Jesus Christ and be shown the way to eternal life.
He takes with him a shield. The Shield of Faith, knowing that faith in Jesus Christ is stronger than any weapon the enemy may fashion. He knows the enemy can kill the flesh, but can never hurt the soul. His soul belongs to the Lord.
He carries only one weapon; the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. It is sharper than any two edged sword which is able to penetrate even the heart of stone.
The Deputy of the Lord battles evil on the earth. He fights against not only flesh and blood, but also principalities and powers of this dark world. He must deal with the sin of man for the Lord does not bear the sword in vain.
Yes, the Lord’s Deputy knows the dangers, he knows the cost, but he is ready. He has on the Armor of God.
Written by Tim Fisher
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Daily Devotional For Wednesday August 11th/04
At The Feet Of Jesus
One of my favourite Bible characters is Mary of Bethany, Lazarus' sister. Every time we see her, she is at the feet of Jesus. The circumstances of each situation are different, and we can glean some principles from them.
1) Sitting Submissively
Luke 10:38-42 Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Here we see Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to His Word and learning from her Lord. Jesus commended her for this.
Are you daily reading and studying the Word of God, seeking Jesus in the Scriptures, learning from Him?
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Matthew 11:29-30 Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
2) Seeking Solace
John 11:19, 28-33 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto Him. Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met Him. The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying unto Him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.
Here we see Mary grieving over the loss of her brother, Lazarus. At the first opportunity she quickly went to Jesus to seek comfort and to lay her burdens at His feet.
Are you coming daily to Jesus Christ, laying your burdens at His feet, giving every care to Him in faith, knowing that He alone has the ability to answer them?
John 11:43-44 And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
Mary was indeed comforted, and she received way more than she was expecting from her Lord. Jesus will meet all your needs if you seek Him and His righteousness first in your life.
3) Serving Her Saviour
John 12:2-3, 7 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of My burying hath she kept this.
Here we see Mary offering an act of service that was dear to her. This alabaster box of ointment cost more than a year's wages, but she was willing to give it all in love and gratitude to her Saviour, who had forgiven all her sins.
Are you faithfully serving the Lord in gratitude for all that He has done for you? It is only reasonable that you do!
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.
The Alabaster Box
She did it; she broke it, there was no turning back.
It was all or nothing; now the box was forever cracked.
The ointment was poured forth, diffused throughout the room.
Jesus' body had been anointed, prepared for burial in the tomb.
It was an offering of love and devotion to her Lord,
But He remembered it forever, recorded in His Word.
It wasn't broken for show, only Jesus knew her heart.
But as the spikenard flowed out, the aroma filled every part.
The good work has been done, but there's a lesson to learn:
In all of life's opportunities, now it's my turn.
The alabaster box of my heart was broken one day.
On the altar of service, there the precious ointment lay.
Dedicated to my Lord - fervent and sincere.
I gave it all to Him, and the cost was dear.
The sacrifice was offered, well-pleasing to God.
I presented it with tears, and a soul that was awed.
Thank You, Lord, for Your plan that includes even me.
And in reasonable service, my life is broken for Thee.
Poem written July 23rd, 2002
Devotion written August 11th, 2004
Jerry (Gerald) Bouey
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For those who might have already read my study, The Lily Of The Valleys, that I put up yesterday, I just wanted to let you know that I have edited and expanded the section on The Valley Of Decision to make it clearer, and have also added more Scripture to the section on My High Places.
Daily Devotional For Thursday August 12th/04
I thought this was a neat devotion. Not only is the Lord our inheritance, we are His!
COMFORT FOR CHRISTIANS
by Arthur Pink
Chapter 9 - God’s Inheritance
"For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance"
This verse brings before us a most blessed and wonderful line of truth, so wonderful that no human mind could possibly have invented it. It speaks of the mighty God having an "inheritance," and it tells us that this inheritance is in His own people! God refused to take this world for His inheritance—it will yet be burnt up. Nor did heaven, peopled with angels, satisfy His heart. In eternity past Jehovah said, by way of anticipation, "My delights were with the sons of men" (Prov. 8:31).
This is by no means the only scripture which teaches that God’s inheritance is in His saints. In Psalm l35:4 we read, "For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto Himself, and Israel for His peculiar treasure." In Malachi 3:17 the Lord speaks of His people as His "special treasure" (see margin)—so "special" that the highest manifestations of His love are made to them, the richest gifts of His hand are bestowed on them, the mansions on High are prepared and reserved for them!
The same wondrous truth is taught in the New Testament. In Ephesians 1 we behold the apostle Paul praying that God would give unto His people the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of their understanding being enlightened that they might know "what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints" (v. 18). This is a truly amazing expression; not only do the saints obtain an inheritance in God, but He also secures an inheritance in them! How overwhelming the thought that the great God should deem Himself the richer because of our faith, our love and worship! Surely this is one of the most marvelous truths revealed in Holy Writ—that God should pick up poor sinners and make them His "inheritance"! Yet so it is.
But what need has God of us? How can we possibly enrich Him? Does He not have everything—wisdom, power, grace and glory? All true, yet there is something that He needs, yes, needs, namely, vessels. Just as the sun needs the earth to shine upon, so God needs vessels to fill, vessels through which His glory may be reflected, vessels on which the riches of His grace may be lavished.
Mark that God’s people are not only called His "portion," His "special treasure," but also His "inheritance." This suggests three things. First, an "inheritance is obtained through death: so God’s inheritance is secured to Him through the death of His beloved Son. Second, an "inheritance" denotes perpetuity—"to a man and his heirs forever" are the terms often used. Third, an "inheritance" is for possession, it is something which is entered into, lived upon, enjoyed. Let us now consider five things about God’s inheritance:
1. God purposed to have such an inheritance: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance" (Ps. 33:12). The "nation" here is identical with the holy nation," the "chosen generation, royal priesthood, peculiar people" of 1 Peter 2:9. This favored people was chosen by God to be His inheritance: it was not an afterthought with Him, but decreed by Him in eternity past. Ere the foundation of the world God fixed His heart upon having them for Himself.
2. God has purchased His people for an inheritance. In Ephesians 1:14 we are told that the Holy Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory." So again in Acts 20:28 we read of "the Church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood." God has not only redeemed His people from bondage and death but for Himself.
3. God comes and dwells in the midst of His inheritance: "For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance" (Ps. 94:14) —a clear proof that these scriptures are not referring to the nation of Israel after the flesh. Just as Jehovah tabernacled in the midst of the redeemed Hebrews, so He now indwells His church, both collectively and individually. "Know ye not that ye (plural) are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Cor. 3:16). "Know ye not that your body (singular) is the temple of the Holy Spirit?" (1 Cor. 6:19).
4. God beautifies His inheritance: Just as a man who has inherited a house or an estate takes possession of it and then makes improvements, so God is now fitting His people for Himself. He who has begun a good work within His own is now performing it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6). He is now conforming us to the image of His Son: each Christian can say with the Psalmist, "the Lord will perfect that which concerneth me" (Ps. 138:8). Nor will God be satisfied until we have been glorified. The Lord Jesus Christ "shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself" (Phil. 3:21). "When he shall appear, we shall be like him" (1 John 3:2).
5. And what of the future? God will yet possess, live upon, enjoy His inheritance. In the unending ages yet to be, God will make known the "riches of his glory" on the vessels of His mercy (Rom. 9:23). The glory which God shall ever live upon—as upon an inheritance—shall rise out of His people. What a marvelous statement is that which is found at the close of Ephesians 2, where the saints are likened unto a building "fitly framed together (which) groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord," of whom it is said, "in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
A. wonderful and glorious is the picture presented before us in Revelation 21: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God" (vv. 1-3).
What a marvelous statement is that in Zephaniah 3:17: "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." The great God will yet say, "I am satisfied: here will I rest. This is Mine inheritance that I will live upon forever, even the glory which I have bestowed on redeemed sinners." Surely we have to say with the Psalmist, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it" (139:6). May Divine grace enable us to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called.
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I fell asleep earlier than I intended to last night, so I am a day later getting this one out to you. I have decided to send out all the devotionals for this weekend at the same time, as I know that I normally run into a time crunch on my days off!
***Daily Devotional For Friday August 13th/04***
"Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn." Ruth 2:2
Downcast and troubled Christian, come and glean today in the broad field of promise. Here are abundance of precious promises, which exactly meet thy wants.
Take this one: "He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax." Doth not that suit thy case? A reed, helpless, insignificant, and weak, a bruised reed, out of which no music can come; weaker than weakness itself; a reed, and that reed bruised, yet, He will not break thee; but on the contrary, will restore and strengthen thee. Thou art like the smoking flax: no light, no warmth, can come from thee; but He will not quench thee; He will blow with His sweet breath of mercy till He fans thee to a flame.
Wouldst thou glean another ear? "Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." What soft words! Thy heart is tender, and the Master knows it, and therefore He speaketh so gently to thee. Wilt thou not obey Him, and come to Him even now? Take another ear of corn: "Fear not, thou worm Jacob, I will help thee, saith the Lord and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel." How canst thou fear with such a wonderful assurance as this?
Thou mayest gather ten thousand such golden ears as these! "I have blotted out thy sins like a cloud, and like a thick cloud thy transgressions." Or this, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Or this, "The Spirit and the Bride say, Come, and let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will let him take the water of life freely." Our Master's field is very rich; behold the handfuls. See, there they lie before thee, poor timid believer! Gather them up, make them thine own, for Jesus bids thee take them. Be not afraid, only believe! Grasp these sweet promises, thresh them out by meditation and feed on them with joy.
(From Charles Spurgeon's Morning And Evening Devotional)
The Lord Is Able
In light of all these precious Bible promises to claim, I wanted to give you some verses about what the Lord is able to do in our lives:
1) Able to give you an inheritance.
Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.
2) Able to fulfill all His promises.
Romans 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.
3) Able to make you stand.
Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
4) Able to make all grace abound towards you (able to give you all you need to serve Him).
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
5) Able to do exceeding abundantly.
Ephesians 3:20 Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
6) Able to subdue all things.
Philippians 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.
God can subdue the lions in the lions' den, the fire in the fiery furnace, the storms in your life, and the sin in your soul.
Micah 7:19 He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
The Lord can subdue this storm in your life and give you peace; He can subdue the mouth of that old roaring lion (the accuser of the brethren); He can quench and heal the fiery pain in your heart; and He can subdue any sins in your life, and cast them into the depths of the sea where He will never see them anymore.
7) Able to keep those committed to His trust.
2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.
8) Able to aid those that are tempted.
Hebrews 2:18 For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted.
9) Able to save to the uttermost.
Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.
10) Able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless.
Jude 1:24 Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
August 13th, 2004
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Daily Devotional For Saturday August 14th/04
(Taken from Streams In The Desert)
Can Thine Heart Endure
"We know not what we should pray for as we ought" (Rom. 8:26).
Much that perplexes us in our Christian experience is but the answer to our prayers. We pray for patience, and our Father sends those who tax us to the utmost; for "tribulation worketh patience."
We pray for submission, and God sends sufferings; for "we learn obedience by the things we suffer."
We pray for unselfishness, and God gives us opportunities to sacrifice ourselves by thinking on the things of others, and by laying down our lives for the brethren.
We pray for strength and humility, and some messenger of Satan torments us until we lie in the dust crying for its removal.
We pray, "Lord, increase our faith," and money takes wings; or the children are alarmingly ill; or a servant comes who is careless, extravagant, untidy or slow, or some hitherto unknown trial calls for an increase of faith along a line where we have not needed to exercise much faith before.
We pray for the Lamb-life, and are given a portion of lowly service, or we are injured and must seek no redress; for "he was led as a lamb to the slaughter and…opened not his mouth."
We pray for gentleness, and there comes a perfect storm of temptation to harshness and irritability. We pray for quietness, and every nerve is strung to the utmost tension, so that looking to Him we may learn that when He giveth quietness, no one can make trouble.
We pray for love, and God sends peculiar suffering and puts us with apparently unlovely people, and lets them say things which rasp the nerves and lacerate the heart; for love suffereth long and is kind, love is not impolite, love is not provoked. LOVE BEARETH ALL THINGS, believeth, hopeth and endureth, love never faileth. We pray for likeness to Jesus, and the answer is, "I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." "Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong?" "Are ye able?"
The way to peace and victory is to accept every circumstance, every trial, straight from the hand of a loving Father; and to live up in the heavenly places, above the clouds, in the very presence of the Throne, and to look down from the Glory upon our environment as lovingly and divinely appointed. --Selected
I prayed for strength, and then I lost awhile
All sense of nearness, human and divine;
The love I leaned on failed and pierced my heart,
The hands I clung to loosed themselves from mine;
But while I swayed, weak, trembling, and alone,
The everlasting arms upheld my own.
I prayed for light; the sun went down in clouds,
The moon was darkened by a misty doubt,
The stars of heaven were dimmed by earthly fears,
And all my little candle flames burned out;
But while I sat in shadow, wrapped in night,
The face of Christ made all the darkness bright.
I prayed for peace, and dreamed of restful ease,
A slumber drugged from pain, a hushed repose;
Above my head the skies were black with storm,
And fiercer grew the onslaught of my foes;
But while the battle raged, and wild winds blew,
I heard His voice and Perfect peace I knew.
I thank Thee, Lord, Thou wert too wise to heed
My feeble prayers, and answer as I sought,
Since these rich gifts Thy bounty has bestowed
Have brought me more than all I asked or thought;
Giver of good, so answer each request
With Thine own giving, better than my best.
--Annie Johnson Flint
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Daily Devotional For Sunday August 15th/04
Going Forth With Tears
"He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him" (Psalm 126:6).
"He that goeth forth..." I would to God that every Christian in this church felt that he had a call as from the Christ of God exalted on His throne to go out and tell others of the way of salvation. I wish that the men and women who have here banded themselves together in a sacred confraternity felt every one of them commissioned of God, each one according to his ability, to pluck brands from the burning, to rescue souls from going forth from God with His call upon you that you have the prospect of coming back successful.
I say, then, to you Christian workers, reach out after those who have been thought to be beyond the range of hope. Seek to convert those who have been neglected. Let it be the effort of Christian people to go after those that nobody else is going after -- the best fruit will be gleaned from boughs hitherto untouched. "He that goeth forth," not he that sits at home, throwing random handfuls out of his window, and expecting the corn to spring up on his doorstep, but he who obeys the word, "Go ye into the world," and overleaps the hedges which shut in the narrow sphere of nominal Christendom, and labours to have fresh lands, fresh provinces, fresh wilderness broken up for Christ, he is the man most likely to win the reward.
"And weepeth." What means this word? I take it, brethren, that as in the first words, "He that goeth forth," we see the man's mode of service, so here we note a little of the man himself. He goeth forth and weepeth. The man likely to be successful, is a man of like passions with ourselves, not an angel, but a man, for he weepeth. But then he is very much a man; he is a man of strong passions, weeping because he has a sensitive heart.
The man who sleeps, the man who can be content to do nothing, and is satisfied with no result, is not the man to win sheaves. God chooses usually, not men of great brain and vast mind, but men of true-hearted, deep natures, with souls that can desire, and pant and long, and heave, and throb.
It is a great thing that makes a genuine man weep. Tears do not lie quite so fleet with most of us; but the man who cannot weep cannot preach, at least, if he never feels tears within, even if they do not show themselves without, he can scarcely be the man to handle such themes as those which God has committed to His people's charge.
If you would be useful, dear brothers and sisters, you must cultivate the sacred passions; you must think much upon the divine realities, until they move and stir your souls: That men are dying perishing, that hell is filling, that Christ is dishonored that souls are not converted, that the Holy Ghost is grieved, that the Kingdom does not come to God, but that Satan rules and reigns (in the souls of men) -- all this ought to be well considered by us, and our heart ought to be stirred until like the prophet we say, "O that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears."
The useful worker for Christ is a man given to tenderness, not a Stoic; not one who does not care whether souls are saved or not; not one who is so wrapped up on the thought of divine sovereignty as to be absolutely petrified; but one who feels as if he died in the death of sinners and perished in their ruin, as though he could only be made happy in their happiness, or find paradise in their being caught up in heaven.
The weeping, then, shows you what kind of man it is whom the Lord of the harvest largely employs; he is a man in earnest, a man of tenderness, a man in love with souls, a man carried away with compassion, a man who feels for sinners, in a word, a Christ-like man; not a stone, but a man who is touched with a feeling of our infirmities, a man of heart, a man ready to weep because sinners will not weep -- (Excerpts of a sermon preached by Charles Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on April 25, 1869)
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Daily Devotional For Monday August 16th/04
This is taken from a larger study entitled Leaning On The Lord:
Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of Mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow. Isaiah 50:10-11
The word "stay" in verse 10 means "to support one's self; lean, rely on, rest on." If you want perfect peace even in the midst of trials - when your way is dark and you can't understand why the Lord is allowing certain afflictions in your life – don’t make your own way. Instead, look to the Lord and His Word. Then trust in Him and lean on Him. The verse says "trust in the name of the Lord." In the Bible, a name is who a person is, what they represent. In the King James Bible, every time all the letters in the word LORD are capitalized, it means "Jehovah" - "I Am" - the eternal, self-existent God. (Exodus 3:14-15) The name of the LORD is I Am. Let Jesus be your everything. Let Him be your peace, your strength, your refuge, shield, and your fortress. Let Him be your LORD!
When you are struggling, meditate on the nine compound names (there may also be others) of Jehovah in the Old Testament and Jesus' seven I Am statements in the Gospel of John, and marvel at how the LORD meets every need you could possibly ever face.
The nine compound names and their translations into English are as follows:
1) Jehovah-Jireh, The LORD my Provider. (Genesis 22:8, 13-14)
2) Jehovah-Rapha, The LORD my Healer. (Exodus 15:26)
3) Jehovah-Nissi, The LORD is my Banner. (Exodus 17:15)
4) Jehovah-Qadash, The LORD thy Sanctifier. (Exodus 31:13)
5) Jehovah-Shalom, The LORD our Peace. (Judges 6:23-24)
6) Jehovah-Raah, The LORD my Shepherd. (Psalm 23:1)
7) Jehovah-Sabaoth, The LORD of Hosts. (Isaiah 6:3)
8) Jehovah-Tsidkenu, The LORD our Righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:6)
9) Jehovah-Shammah, The LORD Is There (ie. Present). (Ezekiel 48:35)
The name "Jesus" means "the LORD our Salvation," a further revelation of the magnitude of the LORD. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
Jesus’ seven I Am statements are:
1) I Am the Bread of Life. (John 6:35, 48, 51)
2) I Am the Light of the World. (John 8:12)
3) I Am the Door of the Sheep. (John 10:7, 9)
4) I Am the Good Shepherd. (John 10:11-14)
5) I Am the Resurrection and the Life. (John 11:25)
6) I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6)
7) I Am the True Vine. (John 15:1, 5)
By the way, the number seven in the Bible represents perfection, fullness, completion. Just thought you should know Jesus is all you need!
Keep Leaning On The Lord!
For the complete study, Leaning On The Lord
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Daily Devotional For Tuesday August 17th/04
COMFORT FOR CHRISTIANS
By Arthur Pink
The Beatitudes and Christ
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Daily Devotional For Wednesday August 18th/04
Some of my favourite quotes.
Promise: Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
Polycarp was a personal disciple of the Apostle John. As an old man, he was the bishop of the Church at Smyrna in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). Persecution against the Christians broke out there and believers were being fed to the wild beasts in the arena. Polycarp was brought before the proconsul. Then, the proconsul urging him, and saying, “Swear, and I will set thee at liberty, reproach Christ;” Polycarp declared, “Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?” After repeated threatenings, in which Polycarp sought to witness to the proconsul, the proconsul said to him, “I will cause thee to be consumed by fire, seeing thou despisest the wild beasts, if thou wilt not repent.” But Polycarp said, “Thou threatenest me with fire which burneth for an hour, and after a little is extinguished, but art ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and of eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly. But why tarriest thou? Bring forth what thou wilt.” Polycarp was tied to the stake, but their efforts to burn him to death failed. Instead they chose to stab him and then burn his body. Truly, he was an example of a martyr who was faithful unto death, and I have no doubt there was a crown of life awaiting him in Heaven! (Quotes in italics taken from The Anti-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1, pages 83, 84)
Taken from my study on Smyrna - The Persecuted (Suffering) Church.
These quotes were taken from J. Hudson Taylor - God's Man In China. This was written shortly after he and his wife lost a newborn child, and right after his wife died.
Hudson Taylor wrote:
'How lonesome,' he recalled, 'were the weary hours when confined to my room. How I missed my dear wife and the little pattering footsteps of the children far away in England! Then it was I understood why the Lord had made that passage so real to me, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst." Twenty times a day, perhaps, as I felt the heart-thirst coming back, I cried to Him:
'"Lord, you promised! You promised me that I should never thirst."
'And whether I called by day or night, how quickly He always came and satisified my sorrowing heart! So much so that I often wondered whether it were possible that my loved one who had been taken could be enjoying more of His presence than I was in my lonely chamber.'
'Do not let us change the Saviour's words,' he often said in later years. 'It is not "Whosoever has drunk," but "Whosoever drinketh". It is not of one isolated draught He speaks, or even of many, but of the continuous habit of the soul. Thus in John 6:35 the full meaning is, "He who is habitually coming to me shall by no means hunger, and he who is believing on me shall by no means thirst". Where many of us err is in leaving our drinking in the past, while our thirst continues present. What we need is to be drinking - yes, thankful for the occasion which drives us to drink ever more deeply of the Living Water.'
"Where Christ reveals himself there is satisfaction in the slenderest portion, and without Christ there is emptiness in the greatest fullness." - Alexander Grosse, 1632.
"I have held many things in my hands, and have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." - Martin Luther.
"Faith is not believing that God can, but that God will."
"All God's giants have been weak men, who did great things for God because they reckoned on His being with them." - Hudson Taylor.
"I was not looking at the little in hand, but at the fullness of God," said George Muller when his needs were great and the supply small.
"To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge.
To find the will of God is the greatest discovery.
To do the will of God is life's greatest achievement!" - George W. Truett.
"Prayer moves the arm that moves the world." - Charles Spurgeon.
"Do not, dear reader, look so much upon painful circumstances and difficult situations as unpleasant trials of faith which have to be endured, but rather thankfully regard them as golden occasions for you to prove afresh the sufficiency of Him who never fails those who fully trust Him." - Arthur Pink.
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Daily Devotional For Thursday August 19th/04
Job's Lessons In Trust: Times Of Testing
Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
Eschew means to "avoid, shun, abstain from, keep away from." Here we see a God-fearing (Proverbs 8:13; 16:6 and Job 28:28), upright (saved, righteous) man that sought to please the Lord in his life. He was perfect (meaning "spiritually mature"), and kept himself away from evil. He also strove to ensure that his children didn't forsake the Lord. (See verse 5) Yet, as the story goes on to relate, Job undergoes a tremendous time of testing - all because of his steadfast walk with the Lord!
Job 1:6-12 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not Thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
Job 2:1-7 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst Me against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth Thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse Thee to Thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
Satan, jealous of this godly servant, desires to afflict and test him and his commitment to the Lord. He wanted to see if Job would really serve the Lord if all he had was taken away. Even so, Satan could not break through the hedge about Job, his family, and his possessions unless the Lord allowed him to. (See also Isaiah 5:1-7, especially verse 5 regarding the hedge about God's vineyard, the nation of Israel.)
While Job did not know why these afflictions were happening to him, we can see the whole picture in hindsight. God inspired one of His holy prophets (possibly Elihu - see Job 32:16 and 2 Peter 1:21) to write this portion of Scripture for us. There are many lessons we can learn from Job, but the one I want to emphasize today is: Satan has to get permission for all the tests and trials he desires to afflict upon the children of God. If it is not in God's perfect will for our lives, it will not happen. And inasmuch as God allows any trials from Satan, they are in His sovereign will, and He will work it all out according to the plan He has for each of us. (See Romans 8:28-29)
I don't remember the exact quote, but Martin Luther made a comment about the devil being God's dog, on God's leash. He can only go so far as the Lord allows him to go. We may not understand why God allows certain things to happen to us, but we can know that it is all according to His perfect plan for our lives, and that all that happens to us is caused or allowed by Him.
Another example of the Devil desiring to test God's children is found in the New Testament. In this particular instance it was all the Apostles that he wanted to sift. (Notice the word "you", which is always plural in the King James Bible. "Thou" is singular, and we can see that Jesus prayed specifically for Peter to be restored after he denied the Lord.)
Luke 22:31-32 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Again, we see that the Devil had to get permission to sift (test or afflict grievously) these Christians.
Are you trusting the Lord? Do you believe that God is in control, even in the times of trial? Do you believe that He only allows into your life what is in His perfect will for you? These Bible examples are for us to learn by. (See Romans 15:4) Our Heavenly Father knows what He is doing. Let's put our trust in Him - even when we can't see the larger picture, and let's learn from the example of Job.
Like A River Glorious
Like a river glorious, is God’s perfect peace,
Over all victorious, in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth, fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth, deeper all the way.
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.
Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry, touch the spirit there.
Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do.
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.
August 19th, 2004
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I apologize for not getting any devotionals out since last Thursday. Friday was our last big day for our Vacation Bible School, plus with preaching at the Gospel Mission, and I was not able to put one together. On Saturday we had a power surge and something got fried in my computer or in the cable wires and I cannot access the Internet with my computer. This is very inconvenient, as all my resources, including Bible program, are on my computer. Normally, I would work on something from home (or at work) and then email it to myself so I could work on it at the other location - but this makes it very tough to do so. My work computer does not like accessing files from disk, so I can't copy my work and take it that way. I am sending this out from Angela's computer. Please pray that this problem gets fixed quickly. Thank you.
Daily Devotion For Wednesday August 25th/04
Taken from C.T. Studd - Cricketer And Pioneer, by Norman P. Grubb (Pages 158-160):
(I disagree with the first statement, but the rest is good.)
Christ's call is to feed the hungry, not the full; to save the lost, not the stiff-necked; not to call the scoffers, but sinners to repentance; not to build and furnish comfortable chapels, churches, and cathedrals at home in which to rock Christian professors to sleep by means of clever essays, stereotyped prayers and artistic musical performances, but to raise living churches of souls among the destitute, to capture men from the Devil's clutches and snatch them from the very jaws of Hell, to enlist and train them for Jesus, and make them into an Almighty Army of God. But this can only be accomplished by a red-hot, unconventional, unfettered Holy Ghost religion, where neither Church nor State, neither man nor traditions are worshipped or preached, but only Christ and Him crucified. Not to confess Christ by fancy collars, clothes, silver croziers or gold watch-chain crosses, church steeples or richly embroidered altar cloths, but by reckless sacrifice and heroism in the foremost trenches.
When in hand-to-hand conflict with the world and the Devil, neat little Biblical confectionary is like shooting lions with a peashooter. One needs a man who will let himself go and deliver blows right and left as hard as he can hit, trusting in the Holy Ghost. It's experience, not preaching, that hurts the Devil and confounds the world, because unanswerable; the training is not that of the schools, but of the market; it's the hot, free heart and not the balanced head that knocks the Devil out. Nothing but forked-lightning Christians will count. A lost reputation is the best degree for Christ's service.
I am more than ever determined that no ring nor limit shall be placed around us other than that of our Lord Himself, "to the uttermost parts," "to every creature." I belong and will ever belong to "The Great God" party. I will have nought to do with "The Little God" party.
The difficulty is to believe that He can deign to use such scallywags as us, but of course He wants faith and fools rather than talents and culture. All God wants is a heart, any old turnip will do for a head; so long as we are empty, all is well, for then He fills with the Holy Ghost.
The fiery baptism of the Holy Ghost will change soft, sleek Christians into hot, lively heroes for Christ, who will advance and fight and die, but not mark time. Let us race to Heaven; an accident means dashing into the arms of Jesus - such accidents are God's choicest blessings. Don't be a luggage train.
Fools would "cut" the Devil, pretending they do not see him; others erect a tablet over his supposed grave. Be wise; don't cut nor bury him; kill him with the bayonet of evangelism.
Hugh Latimer was an inextinguishable candle; the Devil lit him, and ever since he has been kicking himself for his folly. Won't someone else tempt the Devil to make a fool of himself again?
Nail the colors to the mast! That is the right thing to do, and, therefore, that is what we must do, and do it now. What colors? The colors of Christ, the work He has given us to do - the evangelism of all the unevangelized. Christ wants not nibblers of the possible but grabbers of the impossible by faith in the omnipotence, fidelity and wisdom of the Almighty Saviour Who gave the command. Is there a wall in our path? By our God we will leap over it. Are there lions and scorpions in our way? We will trample them under our feet. Does a mountain bar our progress? Saying, "Be thou removed and cast into the sea," we will march on. Soldiers of Jesus! Never surrender! Nail the colors to the mast!
Such as look to Jesus become grasshoppers in their own sight, but giants in the estimation of the Devil.
Some wish to live within the sound
Of church or chapel bell,
I want to run a rescue shop
Within a yard of Hell.
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Daily Devotion For Thursday August 26th/04
CHAPTER FOUR of The Life Of David - by Arthur Pink
Slaying Goliath - 1 Samuel 17
When Samuel denounced Saul’s first great sin and announced that his kingdom should not continue, he declared, "The Lord hath sought Him a man after His own heart" (1 Sam. 13:14). To this, allusion was made by the apostle Paul in his address in the synagogue at Antioch, "He raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also He gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after Mine own heart, which shall fulfill all My will" (Acts 13:22). A truly wondrous tribute was this unto the character of David, yet one which the general course of his life bore out. The dominant characteristic of our patriarch was his unfeigned and unsurpassed devotion to God, His cause, and His Word. Blessedly is this illustrated in what is now to be before us. The man after God’s own heart is the one who is out and out for Him, putting His honor and glory before all other considerations.
1 Samuel 17:15 supplies a precious link between what was considered in our last lesson and what we are now about to ponder. There we are told, "But David went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem." Knowing that he was to be the next king over Israel, natural prudence would suggest that his best policy was to remain at court, making the most of his opportunities, and seeking to gain the goodwill of the ministers of state; but instead of so doing, the son of Jesse returned to the sheepfold, leaving it with God to work out His will concerning him. No seeker after self-aggrandizement was David. The palace, as such, possessed no attractions for him. Having fulfilled his service unto the king, he now returns to his father’s farm.
"Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh" (1 Sam. 17:1). Josephus (Antiq. 50:6, c. 9, sect. 1) says that this occurred not long after the things related in the preceding chapter had transpired. It seems likely that the Philistines had heard of Samuel’s forsaking of Saul, and of the king’s melancholy and distraction occasioned by the evil spirit, and deemed it a suitable time to avenge themselves upon Israel for their last slaughter of them (chapter 14). The enemies of God’s people are ever alert to take advantage of their opportunities, and never have they a better one than when their leaders provoke God’s Spirit and His prophets leave them. Nevertheless, it is blessed to see here how that God makes the "wrath of man" to praise Him (Ps. 76:10).
"And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines" (17:2). The king had been relieved, for a season at least, of the evil spirit; but the Spirit of the Lord had not returned to him, as the sequel plainly evidences. A sorry figure did Saul and his forces now cut. "And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath of Gath . . . And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? Am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants; but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid" (vv. 4, 8-11). Ere pondering the haughty challenge which was here thrown down, let us point out (for the strengthening of faith in the inerrancy of Holy Writ) a small detail which exhibits the minute accuracy and harmony of the Word.
In Numbers 13 we read that the spies sent out by Moses to inspect the promised land, declared, "The land through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants" (vv. 32, 33). Now link this up with Joshua 11:21, 22, "And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains . . . there was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained." Here in our present passage it is stated, quite incidentally, that Goliath belonged to "Gath"! Thus, in the mouth of three witnesses—Moses, Joshua and Samuel—is the word established, concurring as they do in a manner quite artless, to verify a single particular. How jealous was God about His Word! What a sure foundation faith has to rest upon!
Goliath pictures to us the great enemy of God and man, the devil, seeking to terrify, and bring into captivity those who bear the name of the Lord. His prodigious size (probably over eleven feet) symbolized the great power of Satan. His accoutrements (compare the word "armour" in Luke 11:22!) figured the fact that the resources of flesh and blood can not overcome Satan. His blatant challenge adumbrated the roaring of the lion, our great adversary, as he goes about "seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). His declaration that the Israelites were but "servants to Saul" (v. 8) was only too true, for they were no longer in subjection to the Lord (1 Sam. 8:7). The dismay of Saul (v. 11) is in solemn contrast to his boldness in 11:5-11 and 14:47, when the Spirit of the Lord was upon him. The terror of the people (v. 11) was a sad evidence of the fact that the "fear of the Lord" (11:7) was no longer upon them. But all of this only served to provide a background upon which the courage of the man after God’s own heart might the more evidently appear.
The terrible giant of Gath continued to menace the army of Israel twice a day for no less than forty days—a period which, in Scripture, is ever associated with probation and testing. Such a protracted season served to make the more manifest the impotency of a people out of communion with God. There was Saul himself, who "from his shoulders and upward was higher than any of the people" (9:2). There was Jonathan who, assisted only by his armor-bearer, had, on a former occasion, slain twenty of the Philistines (14:14). There was Abner, the captain of the host (14:50), a "valiant man" (26:15), but he too declined Goliath’s challenge. Ah, my reader, the best, the bravest of men, are no more than what God makes them. When He renews not his courage, the stoutest heart is a coward. Yet God does not act arbitrarily, rather is cowardice one of the consequences of lost communion with Him: "The righteous are bold as a lion" (Prov. 28:1).
Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. But He does not always, nor generally, act immediately, when we are brought low. No, he "waits to be gracious" (Isa. 30:18), that our helplessness may be the more fully realized, that His delivering hand may be seen the more clearly, and that His merciful interposition may be the more appreciated. But even at this time, when all seemed lost to Israel, when there was none in her army that dared to pick up the gauntlet which Goliath had thrown down, God had His man in reserve, and in due time he appeared on the scene and vindicated the glorious name of Jehovah. The instrument chosen seemed, to natural wisdom and military prudence, a weak and foolish one, utterly unfitted for the work before him. Ah, it is just such that God uses, and why? That the honor may be His, that "no flesh should glory in His presence" (1 Cor. 1:29). Before considering the grand victory which the Lord wrought through David, let us carefully ponder the training which he had received in the school of God. This is deeply important for our hearts.
It was away from the crowds, in the quietude of pastoral life, that David was taught the wondrous resources which there are in God available to faith, There, in the fields of Bethlehem, he had, by divine enablement, slain the lion and the bear (v. 34, 35). This is ever God’s way: He teaches in secret that soul which He has elected shall serve Him in public. Ah, my reader, is it not just at this point that we may discover the explanation of our failures?—it is because we have not sufficiently cultivated the "secret place of the most High" (Ps. 91:1). That is our primary need. But do we really esteem communion with God our highest privilege? Do we realize that walking with God is the source of our strength?
There had been direct dealings between David’s soul and God out there in the solitude of the fields, and it is only thus that any of us are taught how to get the victory. Have you yet learned, my brother or sister, that the closet is the great battlefield of faith! It is the genuine denying of self, the daily taking up of the cross, the knowing how to cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and the bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). Let the foe be met and conquered in private, and we shall not have to mourn defeat when we meet him in public. O may the Holy Spirit impress deeply upon each of our hearts the vital importance of coming forth from the presence of God as we enter upon any service unto Him: this it is which regulates the difference between success and failure. Note how the blessed Redeemer acted on this principle: Luke 6:12, 13, etc.!
"And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren; and carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge" (v. 17, 18). Another beautiful type is this of our Saviour going about His Father’s business, seeking the good of his brethren: a similar one is found in Genesis 37:13, 14. But without staying to develop this thought, let us observe how God was directing all things to the accomplishment of His purpose. Jesse had eight sons (16:10, 11), and only three of them had joined Saul’s army (17:13), so that five of them were at home; yet David, the youngest, was the one sent—though Jesse knew it not, God had work for him to do. Nothing happens by chance in this world: all is controlled and directed from on High (John 19:11).
"And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle" (v. 20). How this evidenced the readiness and eagerness of David to obey his father’s orders! Again we may look from the type to the Antitype, and hear Him say, "Lo, I come, to do Thy will, O God" (Heb. 10: 7). Blessed it is to mark that David was as mindful of his father’s sheep as he was of his commands: his leaving them "with a keeper," evidenced his care and fidelity in the discharge of his office. His faithfulness in a few things fitted him to be ruler over many things. He who is best qualified to command, is the one who had, previously, learned to obey.
"God’s providence brought him to the camp very seasonably, when both sides had set the battle in array, and as it should seem were more likely to come to an engagement than they had yet been all the forty days (v. 21). Both sides were now preparing to fight. Jesse little thought of sending his son to the army just in that critical juncture; but the wise God orders the time, and all the circumstances, of actions and affairs, so as to serve His design of securing the interests of Israel, and advancing the man after His own heart" (Matthew Henry).
Though he had only just completed a long journey, we are told that David "ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren" (v. 22). This reminds of Proverbs 22:29, "Seest thou a man diligent in business? he shall stand before kings." As David talked with his brethren, Goliath came forth again and repeated his challenge. The whole army was "sore afraid" (v. 24), and though reminding one another of the promised reward awaiting the one who slew the giant, none dared to venture his life. Such inducements as Saul offered, sink into utter insignificance when death confronts a man. David mildly expostulated with those who stood near him, pointing out that Goliath was defying "the armies of the living God" (v. 26).
"And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle" (v. 28). How this reminds us of what is said of David’s Son and Lord in John 1:11, etc. There is a lesson here which every true minister of Christ does well to take to heart, for by so doing he will be forearmed against many a disappointment and discouragement. Sufficient for the disciple to be as his Master: if the incarnate Son was not appreciated, his agents should not expect to be—"For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ" (Gal. 1:10). Not only will men in general be displeased, but even the people of God, when in a low state, will neither understand nor value the actings of faith. The man of God must be prepared to be misinterpreted and to stand alone.
Blessed it is to mark David’s reply to the cruel taunt of his brother: it was a real testing of his meekness, but when he was reviled, he reviled not again. Nor did he attempt any self-vindication, or explanation of his conduct—such had been quite wasted upon one with such a spirit. First, he simply asked "What have I done?": what Fault have I committed to be thus chided; reminding us of our Lord’s meek reply under a much stronger provocation—"‘Why smitest thou Me?" (John 18:23). Second, he said, "Is there not a cause?" This he left with him: there was a cause for his coming to the camp: his father had sent him: the honor of Israel—sullied by Goliath—required it; the glory of God necessitated it. Third, he "turned from him toward another" (v. 30).
David’s speaking to one and another soon reached the ears of Saul, who accordingly sent for him (v. 31). To the king, he at once said, "Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine" (v. 32); only to be met with this reply, "Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him," Ah, "These that undertake great and public services must not think it strange if they be discountenanced and opposed by those from whom they have reason to expect support and assistance. But must humbly go on with their work, in the face not only of their enemies’ threats, but of their friends’ sleights and suspicions" (Matthew Henry). The language used by him in the presence of the king was not the bravado of a boaster, but the God-honoring testimony of a man of faith. Saul and his people were in despair as the consequence of their being occupied with the things of sight: the man of faith had a contemptuous disdain for Goliath because he viewed him from God’s viewpoint—as His enemy, as "uncircumcised." Note how he attributed his previous successes to the Lord, and how he improved them to count upon Him for further victory: see verse 37.
The response made by Saul unto David’s pleading was solemnly ludicrous. First, he said, "Go, and the Lord be with thee," which were idle words on such lips. Next we read that "Saul armed David with his own armour" (i.e., with some that he kept in his armory), in which he had far more confidence than in God. But David quickly perceived that such was unsuited to him: the one who has much to do with God in secret cannot employ worldly means and methods in public; the man of faith has no use for carnal weapons. Such things as ecclesiastical titles, dress, ritualistic ceremonies, which are imposing to the eye of the natural man, are but bubbles and baubles to the spiritual. "And David put them off him" (v. 39), and advanced to meet the haughty Philistine with only a sling and five smooth stones. Should it be asked, But are we not justified in using means? The answer is, Yes, the means which God supplies (the "smooth stones"), but not that which man offers—his "armour."
"When the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him" (v. 42). First, Eliab had taunted, then Saul had sought to discourage, and now Goliath scorns him. Ah, the one who (by grace) is walking by faith must not expect to be popular with men, for they have no capacity to appreciate that which actuates him. But true faith is neither chilled by a cold reception nor cooled by outward difficulties: it looks away from both, unto Him with whom it has to do. If God be "for us" (Rom. 8:31), it matters not who be against us. Nevertheless, faith has to be tested—to prove its genuineness, to strengthen its fiber, to give occasion for its exercise. Well may writer and reader pray, "Lord, increase our faith."
The Philistine blustered, "cursed David by his gods" (v. 43), and vowed he would give his flesh unto the fowls and beasts. But it is written, "the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong" (Eccl. 9:11); and again, "God resisteth the proud" (James 4:6). The response made by David at once revealed the secret of his confidence, the source of his strength, and the certainty of his victory: "I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied" (v. 45). Ah, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it, and is safe" (Prov. 18:10).
The reader is so familiar with the blessed sequel that little comment on it is required. Faith having brought God into the scene could announce the victory in advance (v.46). One stone in its hand was worth more than all the Philistine’s armor on the giant of unbelief. And why? Because that stone, though flung by David’s sling, was directed and made efficacious by the hand of God. It is pitiable to find how some of the best commentators missed the real point here. Verse 5 begins the description of Goliath’s armor by saying "he had a helmet of brass upon his head": some have suggested this fell off when he lifted up his hand to curse David by his gods (v. 43); others supposed he left the visor open that he might see the better. But David’s stone did not enter his eye, but his "forehead"—divine power sent it through the helmet of brass! In David’s cutting off his head (v. 51) we have a foreshadowment of what is recorded in Hebrews 2:14.
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***Daily Devotion For Saturday August 28th/04 ***
Laodicea - The Lukewarm Church
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Daily Devotional For Sunday August 29th/04
Be Ye Transformed (Romans 12:2)
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Conformed - the word is Strong's #4964 and means "to fashion alike, i.e. conform to the same pattern". This is referring to the external condition or outward appearance of something. We are not to be fashioned together according to the likeness of this world, according to the course or philosophy of this present age.
1 Peter 1:14-15 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
Fashions and philosophies change, but God's Word never does! Let's not imitate the things of the world (the fads, the fashions, the lost's way of thinking, the lost's outward appearance). The world does not have the power to change you for the better, but only to corrupt you. God does not want us to live like or look like the lost, but to be holy and separated in the way we live. Let's not put on an outward show, but be transformed internally by the renewing of our minds.
Transformed - the word is Strong's #3339 (metamorphoo) and means "to transform (literally or figuratively, "metamorphose")" This is referring to an inward condition, a change of our nature. Like a caterpillar is metamorphosed into a butterfly, so too we are transformed into new creatures in Christ when we come to Jesus Christ for salvation (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). We are also to be changed, transformed, into the likeness of Christ in our day to day walk with Him.
This same Greek word is also translated as transfigured in Matthew 17:2 and Mark 9:2. Jesus was completely transformed and glorified before His disciples.
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.
We are not to be like the world on the outside, but are to be transformed and renewed on the inside - to become more like Jesus Christ. How does that happen? By the renewing of our mind through the Word of God. When we see ourselves through the mirror (glass) of God's Word and apply the principles that we find therein, we are made more like Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. (See also James 1:22-25 and 1 Corinthians 13:12)
When the child of God
Looks into the Word of God
And sees the Son of God
He is changed by the Spirit of God
Into the image of God
For the glory of God.
Renewing - This word means to renovate. We are to let God's Word tear down the false philosophies, attitudes, and actions that we have in our lives, and build us back up according to the truth.
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.
Colossians 3:9-10 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him:
Ephesians 4:21-24 If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Are you being conformed... Or transformed?
Be ye transformed...
Written August 29th/04
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Daily Devotional For Tuesday August 31st/04
Today I've decided to send out part of a really good sermon I read recently. I did not bother to use ellipses, but left what I really was edified by. I would encourage you to read the whole sermon, if you are so inclined. It can be found here:
Selected Portions of:
The Lad's Loaves in the Lord's Hands
A Sermon by C. H. SPURGEON
"Jesus took the loaves."—John 6:11
LOOK, THERE ARE THE PEOPLE! Five thousand of them, as hungry as hunters, and they all need to have food given to them, for they cannot any of them travel to buy it! And here is the provision! Five thin wafers—and those of barley, more fit for horses than for men—and two little anchovies, by way of a relish! Five thousand people and five little biscuits wherewith to feed them! The disproportion is enormous: if each one should have only the tiniest crumb, there would not be sufficient. In like manner, there are millions of people in London, and only a handful of whole-hearted Christians earnestly desiring to see the city converted to Christ; there are more than a thousand millions of men in this round world, and oh, so few missionaries breaking to them the bread of life; almost as few for the millions, as were these five barley cakes for those five thousand! The problem is a very difficult one. The contrast between the supply and the demand would have struck us much more vividly if we had been there, in that crowd at Bethsaida, than it does sitting here, nearly nineteen hundred years afterwards, and merely hearing about it. But the Lord Jesus was equal to the emergency: none of the people went away without sharing in his bounty; they were all filled. Our blessed Master, now that he has ascended into the heavens, has more rather than less power; he is not baffled because of our lack, but can even now use paltry means to accomplish his own glorious purposes; therefore let no man's heart fail him. Do not despair of the evangelization of London, nor think it hopeless that the gospel should be preached in all nations for a testimony unto them. Have faith in God, who is in Christ Jesus; have faith in the compassion of the Great Mediator: he will not desert the people in their spiritual need, any more than he failed that hungry throng, in their temporal need, long ago.
When things get into Christ's hands, they are in the very focus of miracles.
Christ never is in need but he has somebody at hand to supply that need. Have faith in the providence of God. What made the boy bring the loaves and fishes, I do not know. Boys often do unaccountable things; but bring the loaves and fishes he did; and God, who understands the ideas and motives of lads, and takes account even of barley loaves and fishes, had appointed that boy to be there. Again I say, believe in the providence of God.
Let us also believe in his providence with regard to the church of Christ: he will never desert his people; he will find men when he wants them. There was a monk named Luther, who, while he was reading his Bible, suddenly stumbled on the doctrine of justification by faith; he was the man: yet when he went to a dear brother in the Lord, and told him how he felt, his friend said to him, "Go back to thy cell, and pray and commune with God, and hold thy tongue." But then, you see, he had a tongue that he could not hold, and that nobody else could hold, and he began to speak with it the truth that had made a new man of him. The God that made Luther, knew what he was at when he made him; he put within him a great burning fire that could not be restrained, and it burst forth, and set the nations on a blaze. Never despair about providence. There sits to-night, somewhere in a chimney corner in the country, a man that will turn the current of unbelief, and win back the churches to the old gospel. God never yet did come to a point of distress as to his truth but what suddenly one came forward, a David with a sling and a stone, or a Samson with a jawbone, or a Shamgar with an ox-goad, who put to rout the adversaries of the Lord. "There is a lad here." The providence of God had sent him.
Next, this lad with his loaves was brought into notice. When they were searching for all the provisions in the company, this obscure boy, that never would have been heard of else, was brought to the front, because he had his little basket of biscuits. Andrew found him out, and he came and said to Jesus, "There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes." So, rest assured, that if you have the Bread of Life about you, and you are willing to serve God, you need not be afraid that obscurity will ever prevent your doing it. If all you have is very little—just that pennyworth of loaves and fishes—use that properly, and you will do your Master service; and in due time, when God wants you, he knows where to find you. You need not put an advertisement in the paper; he knows the street you live on, and the number on the door.
Henceforth those loaves do not so much suggest the thought of the lad's sacrifice as of the Savior's power. Is it not a wonderful thing that Christ, the living God, should associate himself with our feebleness, with our want of talent, with our ignorance, with our little faith? And yet he does so. If we are not associated with him, we can do nothing; but when we come into living touch with him, we can do all things. Those barley loaves in Christ's hands become pregnant with food for all the throng. Out of his hands they are nothing but barley cakes; but in his hands, associated with him, they are in contact with omnipotence. Have you that love the Lord Jesus Christ thought of this, of bringing all that you possess to him, that it may be associated with him? There is that brain of yours; it can be associated with the teachings of his Spirit: there is that heart of yours; it can be warmed with the love of God: there is that tongue of yours; it can be touched with the live coal from off the altar: there is that manhood of yours; it can be perfectly consecrated by association with Christ. Hear the tender command of the Lord, "Bring them hither to me," and your whole life will be transformed.
Though high in glory to-day, Christ is still grateful when such offerings are made to him; still he thanks his Father when, with timid trembling hands, we offer to him our best, our all, however small; still is his heart gladdened when we bring him our scanty store that it may be touched by his dear hand, and blessed by his gracious lips. He loves us, not for what we are, but for what he will yet make us; he blesses our offerings, not for their worth, but because his power will yet make them worthy of his praise. May the Lord thus bless every talent that you have! When he puts a blessing into the little gift and into the little grace that we have, good work begins, and goes on to perfection.
And when the loaves had been blessed, the next thing was, they were increased by Christ. If you serve God you will never run dry. He who gives you something to say one Sunday will give you something to say another Sunday. If you are a preacher, do not think of what you will preach about the next time; think of what you are going to preach about now. Tell the people about Christ. Lead them to Jesus, and do not trouble about what you will say next time, but wait till next time comes, and it shall be given you in the same hour what you shall speak.
I do not want you to think much of them, but think much of Christ, and believe that, whoever you may be, if he thought it worth his while to buy you with his blood, and is willing to make some use of you, it is surely worth your while to come and bring yourself, and all that you have, to him who is thus graciously ready to accept you.
We have an old proverb, which is as true as it is suggestive: "Drawn wells have the sweetest waters." So, if you keep continually drawing on your mind, your thoughts will get sweeter; and if you continue to draw on your strength, your strength will get to be more mighty through God. The more you do, the more you may do, by the grace of the Ever-blessed One!
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