Devotional Thought for Today – 11/27/21

John Calvin quote: When God wants to judge a nation, He gives them...

That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation. 15The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. 16The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah. 17The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. 18For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever. 19Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight. 20Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah.

Psalm 9

CONTEXT: Form C.H. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David: The strain so continually changes, that it is difficult to give an outline of it methodically arranged: we give the best we can make. From verses 1 to 6 is a song of jubilant thanksgiving; from 7 to 12, there is a continued declaration of faith as to the future. Prayer closes the first great division of the Psalm in verses 13 and 14. The second portion of this triumphal ode, although much shorter, is parallel in all its parts to the first portion, and is a sort of rehearsal of it. Observe the song for past judgments, verses 15, 16; the declaration of trust in future justice, 17, 18; and the closing prayer, 19, 20. Let us celebrate the conquests of the Redeemer as we read this Psalm, and it cannot but be a delightful task if the Holy Ghost be with us.

The main text v.16 is appropriate for Calvin’s quote and for many nations today. Spurgeon noted on this: Verse 16. Jehovah is known by the judgment which he executeth; his holiness and abhorrence of sin is thus displayed. A ruler who winked at evil would soon be known by all his subjects to be evil himself, and he, on the other hand, who is severely just in judgment reveals his own nature thereby. So long as our God is God, he will not, he cannot spare the guilty; except through that one glorious way in which he is just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. We must notice, secondly, that the manner of his judgment is singularly wise, and indisputably just. He makes the wicked become their own executioners. “The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made,” etc. Like cunning hunters they prepared a pitfall for the godly and fell into it themselves: the foot of the victim escaped their crafty snares, but the toils surrounded themselves: the cruel snare was laboriously manufactured, and it proved its efficacy by snaring its own maker. Persecutors and oppressors are often ruined by their own malicious projects. “Drunkards kill themselves; prodigals beggar themselves;” the contentious are involved in ruinous costs; the vicious are devoured with fierce diseases; the envious eat their own hearts; and blasphemers curse their own souls. Thus, men may read their sin in their punishment. They sowed the seed of sin, and the ripe fruit of damnation is the natural result

We are believers need to pray that all men, all nations will come to the understanding that David pronounced in v.20: Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men, and repent of their evil ways.

Poll: Majority of Christians shrug off ‘Way, Truth, and Life’

This is what a water down Gospel gets you, the failure to PREACH from the pulpit has ruined the Biblical understanding of these folks. I have said it many times, Jesus was the most dogmatic person ever, His declaration in John 14:6 makes it plain and clear (backed by the whole of scripture). Those who would deny this are not true believers.

A poll of born-again Christian believers found that an overwhelming major believe all roads lead to Heaven, a belief that Christian thinkers consider unbiblical and terribly illogical…

SOURCE: Poll: Majority of Christians shrug off ‘Way, Truth, and Life’

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/26/21

When God Said “Do Not Pray” | Thinking on Scripture

If you are like most evangelical Christians this banner is probably disconcerting right now. After all, we have been taught from the beginning of our conversion that we are to Pray without ceasing, and commanded to pray for everything.

Yet there are three incidents in the Bible when God says or implies “Do not Pray.” The first is when Mosses is banned from crossing the Jordon, the last is in 1John 5:16, and then in the middle, we find Jeremiah 7.

Jeremiah 7

CONTEXT: In Matthew Henry’s Commentary we find: The prophet having in God’s name reproved the people for their sins, and given them warning of the judgments of God that were coming upon them, in this chapter prosecutes the same intention for their humiliation and awakening. I. He shows them the invalidity of the plea they so much relied on, that they had the temple of God among them and constantly attended the service of it, and endeavours to take them off from their confidence in their external privileges and performances (v. 1-11). II. He reminds them of the desolations of Shiloh, and foretels that such should be the desolations of Jerusalem (v. 12-16). III. He represents to the prophet their abominable idolatries, for which he was thus incensed against them (v. 17-20). IV. He sets before the people that fundamental maxim of religion that “to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Sa. 15:22), and that God would not accept the sacrifices of those that obstinately persisted in disobedience (v. 21-28). V. He threatens to lay the land utterly waste for their idolatry and impiety, and to multiply their slain as they had multiplied their sin (v. 29-34).

In our text for today the key verse is verse 16, where God tells Jeremiah to stop praying for Judah:

“Therefore, do not pray for this people [of Judah] or lift up a cry or entreaty for them or make intercession to Me, for I do not hear you.

There comes a time in the history of every nation where they decide that they are greater than He who created them. In our text, Judah had again forsaken God, and God was fed up, resolute in His determination to punish that nation he tells the prophet to stop praying for their benevolence.

We in America and many other “civilized” countries around the world are on that threshold, where God will forsake us, where He will give us over, to our own reprobate minds. Are we there yet? I do not think so and it is incumbent upon every believer to pray for our nation until such time as God clearly says “Do not Pray.” Below is a list of prayers for your nation that you may find helpful.

Pray for the Moral Decency and Civility of your Nation

Pray for the Healing of your Nation’s Unhappy Divisions and Success Against your Nation’s Enemies

Pray for your Head of State

Pray for the Educational Institutions and Common Citizens of your Nation

Pray for the Continuance of your Nation’s Outward Peace and Tranquility

Pray Earnestly for National Mercies and the Blessing of the Gospel Ministry in your Nation

Pray for the Nations of the World and for Your Own Nation

Pray for the Safe and Righteous Continuation of your Civil Government

Pray for all who are Employed in the Conduct of Public Affairs

Pray for your Judges and Judicial Rulers

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/25/21

Prayer is an earnest and familiar talking with God, to whom we declare all our miseries, whose support and help we implore and desire in our adversities, and whom we laud and praise for our benefits received. So that prayer contains the exposition of our sorrows, the desire of God’s defence, and the praising of His magnificent name, as the Psalms of David clearly do teach. 

– John Knox 
Psalm 32:5 - Bible verse (KJV) - DailyVerses.net

Yesterday in Sunday School the theme was prayer and the sermon was repentance. These two go hand in hand. Yet I often find folks praying for needs and desires rather than confessing and repenting BEFORE petitioning God for something.

One way we can get our prayer life back on track so to speak is to study and prayer through the Psalms. They are a guide book of sorts as to differing ways in which to approach God in Prayer.

“The more deeply we grow in the psalms, and the more often we pray them as our own, the more simple and rich our prayer will become.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

“Not without reason, it is my custom to call this book [Psalms] ‘ And Anatomy of All the Parts of the Soul’ since there is no emotion anyone will experience whose image is not reflected in this mirror.” – John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms

Below is a breakdown I found online https://standrews.ws/files/2017/11/Praying-with-the-Psalms.pdf that I thought was helpful:

Praying Through the Psalms
You can choose to work through all 150 Psalms in order or approach them thematically. There are a variety of ways to categorize the Psalms (with some overlap). Below are six commonly used themes:

  • Psalms of Praise & Devotion: 8, 19, 23, 33, 65, 100, 103, 104, 111, 113-115, 117, 134-136, 145-150
  • Psalms of Confession: 14, 32, 38, 51, 130
  • Psalms of Lament (Pain, Complaint, Anger): 12, 22, 42, 44, 58, 60, 74, 79, 80, 83, 90, 106, 123, 137
  • Psalms of Petition (Request): 3, 4, 13, 25, 26, 55-57
  • Psalms of Intercession (Help): 12, 27, 44, 58
  • Psalms of Thanksgiving: 30, 32, 34, 41, 65-67, 92, 105, 116, 124, 138

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/23/21

Psalm 19: ppt download

PSALM 19

CONTEXT: This song very distinctly divides itself into three parts, very well described by the translators in the ordinary heading of our version. The creatures show God’s glory, 1-6. The word showeth his grace, 7-11. David prayeth for grace, 12-14. Thus praise and prayer are mingled, and he who here sings the work of God in the world without pleads for a work of grace in himself within. From Spurgeon’s Treasury of David

It is common to hear refrains in modern music, writings, and even conversations amongst believers using this phrase. Everyone wants that which is sweeter than honey and more precious than Gold. The problem is when it comes down to it we all want it but usually balk at the cost.

The What – What is it that is so precious, v.7 makes it clear the Law of God. David repeats this in v.8 using the term Statutes of the Lord. In the Old Testament, we find three types of laws mentioned. The ceremonial law, the moral law, and the judicial law. David here is speaking primarily about the moral (think Ten Commandments) law. While some argue that these laws no longer apply today, the Bible clearly states otherwise. Jesus said he came not to abolish but to fulfill the law, and when He gives His synopsis of the law in Matthew 22, He says all the Law depends on this.

The Why – God’s Holy Law converts souls and makes simple men wise, v.7. They make the heart rejoice and open the blind (enlighten) eye, v.8. The law in itself does not save, for we know For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. Ephesians 2:8-9 (AMP) Yet it is the word of God, that convicts the soul of man unto righteousness. Without hearing of the Good News, man will always remain in his state of despair.

The Cost – Man will be judged v.9, and that is for many a deal-breaker. Even though there will never be a more righteous judgment many think that it is unfair for any god to judge them. Yet when we look at this view we need to see the complete self-centered, conceited attitude this is. We make ourselves a god, above the true and living God.

The Reward – For those who do surrender to God’s judgment there is great reward. In a Word, GRACE, v.10, the Law combined with God’s righteous judgment equals God’s Grace for man. Considering that we are all born into sin, that the wages of sin are eternal death, the reward is truly sweeter than honey and more precious than Gold. God’s word, His law, statutes, precepts, etc… all are a source of righteousness in a true believer’s life.


Drawing Near

The Source of Righteousness

God’s Word is true and produces righteousness in the believer’s life.

QOTW – Could God create a rock so heavy He could not lift it?

The naysayers love to come up with “cute” ways to trick (Matthew 22:15-45), someone into making a false claim. Of course it is always their understanding of God, (doctrine, theology, etc.) that is false and the basis of the trickery.

Question: “Could God create a rock so heavy He could not lift it?”

Answer: 
This question is frequently asked by skeptics of God, the Bible, Christianity, etc. If God can create a rock that He cannot lift, then God is not omnipotent. If God cannot create a rock so heavy that He cannot lift it, then God is not omnipotent. According to this argument, omnipotence is self-contradictory…

Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/God-rock-heavy-lift.html

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/22/21

AW Pink Quote - The Happy Soul Is Awed By the Majesty Of God

I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.

Psalm 145:5

PSALM 145

CONTEXT: C.H. Spurgeon’s Treasury of David gives the best explanation of context: This is one of the alphabetical psalms, composed with much art, and, doubtless, so arranged that the memory might be aided. The Holy Spirit condescends to use even the more artificial methods of the poet, to secure attention, and impress the heart… Continued here.

I still have not found that person who says each morning I want to wake up unhappy. 😢 While there is a B I G difference between Biblical Joy and Happiness (that is a much longer post) for the sake of this devotional we will treat them the same. This is something everyone craves, desires, and for some only dream of. David in this Psalm and A.W. Pink in the quote above understood that it comes only from a right relationship with God.

Almost all translations of this Psalm have it entitled The praise of David or something very similar. Here we have David, near the end of his life extoling the greatness of God. Thomas Goodwin remarks on the title as follows:  It is observable concerning David’s entitling the psalm “The Praise of David”, that in the original no psalm else beareth such a title. It is appropriated to it, because this wholly consists of praise; he was elevated therein to a frame of spirit made up of the pure praise of God, without any touch of what was particular to himself. It was not thanks, but altogether praise, and wholly praise.

In our main text v.5, let us consider that King David who himself is by title and position worthy of honor and praise. Yet David says I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, as if it would be a personal affront if he was not allowed to. Oh how his heart clamors to praise the true King of Kings.

I will speak, etc. I will “muse” is better than “speak”, as being the primary and more usual sense of the Hebrew word. It suggests that these glorious qualities of God’s character and deeds should be not merely talked about and extolled in song, but be deeply pondered, laid close upon our very heart, so that the legitimate impression may be wrought into our very soul, and may mould our whole spirit and character into God’s own moral image.

Henry Cowles.

When was the last time you stood in awe of God’s Majesty?


Devotional Thought for Today – 11/21/21

Romans 5 20 21 20 Moreover NKJV the

ROMANS 5

CONTEXT: The Apostle Paul in Chapter 4, clearly explains how man is justified by faith alone. That the works of man have no effect on our means of obtaining eternal life. Here in this chapter, Paul begins his exposition on the results of being justified before God by Faith Alone.

Matthew Henry breaks down the Chapter as follows: The happy effects of justification through faith in the righteousness of Christ. (1-5) That we are reconciled by his blood. (6-11) The fall of Adam brought all mankind into sin and death. (12-14) The grace of God, through the righteousness of Christ, has more power to bring salvation, than Adam’s sin had to bring misery, (15-19) as grace did superabound. (20,21)

Our text for today is the last of his breakpoints, as grace did superabound. (20,21). I remember the first time I read through Chapter five with MH accompanying me and came across those words, they seemed out of place for a biblical explanation. That is until you realize the absolute marvel of God’s Grace, B.B. Warfield called it “Grace is free sovereign favor to the ill-deserving.” Or as most modern dictionaries put it God’s unmerited favor towards sinners.

We are ALL SINNERS, and God would be wholly justified in our deaths for those SINS, yet by His mercy and Grace, we can be justified through the Blood of Christ Jesus. Think on the simplicity of it we are as sinners, filthy rags unworthy of any mercy or grace before God, and He alone washes us clean as snow. That for me makes God’s Grace superabounding, and more marvelous than I can explain.

Last Sunday in Church we sang Grace Greater than Our Sin, written in 1911 by Julia H. Johnston it is so relevant today the more sin abounds the more God’s Grace is needed.

Refrain:

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

The Reformed Church in America Faces Rupture over LGBTQ Gridlock

Ministry Watch

One would think there is a simple, BIBLICAL, answer to this, but alas modernism and emotionalism have overtaken many once committed conservative denominations.


This week, North America’s oldest denomination will confront its gridlock over LGBTQ ordination and same-sex marriage. Votes cast in Tucson, Arizona, at the Reformed Church in America’s General Synod—delayed 16 months due to the pandemic—will chart the course for the already-splintering denomination.

In the past year, conservative factions have broken ties with the RCA, with other churches threatening to follow. Delegates to the synod, which starts today (Oct. 14) and will continue through Tuesday, will determine how the denomination might restructure to entice congregations to stay, if the church will establish an external mission organization, and whether departing congregations can plan on taking their church buildings with them…

Source: The Reformed Church in America Faces Rupture over LGBTQ Gridlock

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/20/21

Stephen Charnock Puritan Quote - Self Above God In Anything Is Idolatry

HEBREWS 10:25

Who is the focus of your worship? Is it you and your needs or God alone? Stephen Charnock the Puritan theologian of the 1600’s understood (as I have repeated far to many times) it is always about God and never about us.

Contemporary perspectives on worship
In considering the debates about worship in the Church in our day, it is necessary to keep four things in mind. First, the form of contemporary Sunday services of evangelical churches lacks continuity with much of the past worship practices of the Christian Church. Worship in American churches, and increasingly in other countries, has been greatly influenced by the practices of American evangelicalism which grew out of the 19th century camp meeting. In the camp meeting there was a three-part form: music (to attract a crowd and put it in the right mood), preaching (to convert sinners), and an altar call (to secure a decision). The goal was the conversion of sinners, not the service of God by the converted saints. Neither the doctrine of salvation nor the doctrine of the Church was soundly represented in camp meetings. Second, the Western mind has grown hostile to making distinctions (male/female, marriage/cohabitation, truth/falsehood, man/animal). It is therefore not surprising that the distinction between the public worship of God and the rest of the Christian life should appear to be problematic to many. Third, dispensational theology has robbed much of the evangelical church of the sense that it can really learn from the Old Testament, let alone that Old Testament teaching might still be binding. So it approaches the issue of worship as it does ethics and doctrine (but not prophecy!), with only the New Testament in its hands and with suspicion toward the past. In this climate of thought, many Reformed and Lutheran (and even Roman Catholic) Churches imitate what seems to succeed in the “megachurches,” often with little thought given to the doctrinal consequences of their decisions. The fourth thing to bear in mind is the constant effort on the part of the unseen enemy, the devil, to distort or corrupt the worship of God (Mat 4:9; Eph 6:11-12; Jas 4:7). Surely Reformed Christians must remember the lessons of Scripture and history.

Reformed confessional perspective on worship
As a confessional Reformed church, we must not approach worship in the pragmatic manner prevalent in many evangelical churches. We must not view ourselves as a generation of practical innovators moving the Church forward to ever greater successes. We are humble servants of Christ, exhorted “to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Through our Confession and Testimony, we recognize the spiritual unity we share with our fathers in the faith, both in doctrine and in practice. We affirm the continuity between the Old and New Covenants, and the continuity of the Church through the generations. In our Confession, we treasure the solemn and holy nature of the assembly of God’s people on the Lord’s Day and the means of grace instituted by God and blessed by his Spirit. We hold firmly to the holy and spiritual nature of the Church and to her place in God’s design for the world. She alone is the pillar and ground of the truth, and that truth which she upholds is the truth of God’s Word in its purity, apart from men’s traditions (Mark 7:7). Our goal is to glorify God and to enjoy Him in worship. This requires thoughtful and careful study of God’s will. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24). Christ joins Spirit and truth together, governed by one preposition: EN PNEUMATI KAI ALHQEIAI. In making this statement, Christ does not reject the relevance of Old Covenant worship to the practice of the New Covenant Church, but gives us a concise restatement of the New Covenant promise that God’s Law will be written on our hearts (Jer 31:33-34; Ezek 36:26-27; cf., Heb 8:10; 10:16; 2Cor 3:3). Though there is indeed an element of discontinuity — Christ’s body is the true temple — a discontinuity that fulfills the gospel’s universal vocation (“…neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem shall you worship the Father…”), the conjunction of Spirit and truth directs us to worship God in every place according to His Word (“we know what we worship”) in the new dispensation of the Spirit, now that Christ has come. Christ gives no liberty to think that the leading of the Spirit will open vistas of truth apart from His Word. The worship of God continues to be covenantal and directed by God’s Word while being opened to all nations and all places through faith in Jesus Christ (John 12:32; Isa 49:6; 1Jn 2:2; Rev 5:9).

The above is an extract from A Reformed Theology of Worship, Paper submitted to the 170th Synod, of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America

Calvin and the Worship of God