Devotional Thought for Today – 12/10/2020

Morning Prayer: Wed, 15 Mar – Psalm 77:11-14 ~ God works wonders – The  Peanut Gallery

Psalm 77

CONTEXT:  The Psalmist write about being in a state of near desperation v.1-9  until he begins to recall the all the great works God has done v.10-20. He climbs from despair to hope, by seeking the Lord in his day of trouble. 

 Days of trouble must be days of prayer; when God seems to have withdrawn from us, we must seek him till we find him…. READ MORE Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary (concise)

The turning point comes in v.10-11 (KJV) And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. 11 I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. The psalmist id done with the pity party, no more poor, poor pitiful me. Pulling himself up by his boot (or sandal) straps, he concludes that God has allowed this and instead of dwelling on the things afflicting him he will dwell on the Great Works of God.

 And I said, This is my infirmity. He has won the day, he talks reasonably now, and surveys the field with a cooler mind. He confesses that unbelief is an infirmity, a weakness, a folly, a sin. He may also be understood to mean, “this is my appointed sorrow, “I will bear it without complaint. When we perceive that our affliction is meted out by the Lord, and is the ordained portion of our cup, we become reconciled to it, and no longer rebel against the inevitable. Why should we not be content if it be the Lord’s will? What he arranges it is not for us to cavil at. But I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. Here a good deal is supplied by our translators, and they make the sense to be that the psalmist would console himself by remembering the goodness of God to himself and others of his people in times gone by: but the original seems to consist only of the words, “the years of the right hand of the most High, “and to express the idea that his long continued affliction, reaching through several years, was allotted to him by the Sovereign Lord of all. It is well when a consideration of the divine goodness and greatness silences all complaining, and creates a childlike acquiescence.  – C.H. Spurgeon

I will remember. Faith is a considering grace: he that believes will not make haste; no, not to think or speak of God. Faith hath a good memory, and can tell the Christian many stories of ancient mercies; and when his present meal falls short, it can entertain the soul with a cold dish, and not complain that God keeps a bad house. Thus David recovered himself, when he was even tumbling down the hill of temptation: This is my infirmity; but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember thy wonders of old. Therefore, Christian, when thou art in the depths of affliction, and Satan tempts thee to asperse God, as if he were forgetful of thee, stop his mouth with this: No, Satan, God hath not forgot to do for me, but I have forgot what he hath done for me, or else I could not question his fatherly care at present over me. Go, Christian, play over thy own lessons, praise God for past mercies, and it will not be long before thou hast a new song put into thy mouth for a present mercy. . . .

Sometimes a little writing is found in a man’s study that helps to save his estate, for want of which he had gone to prison; and some one experience remembered keeps the soul from despair, a prison which the devil longs to have the Christian in. “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope, “La 3:21. David was famous for his hope, and not less eminent for his care to observe and preserve the experiences he had of God’s goodness. He was able to recount the dealings of God with him; they were so often the subject of his meditation and matter of his discourse, that he had made them familiar to him. When his hope is at a loss, he doth but exercise his memory a little, and he recovers himself presently, and chides himself for his weakness. I said, this is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. The hound, when he hath lost his scent, hunts backwards and so recovers it, and pursues his game with louder cry than ever. Thus, Christian, when thy hope is at a loss, and you question your salvation in another world, then look backward and see what God hath already done for thee. Some promises have their day of payment here, and others we must stay to receive in heaven. Now the payment which God makes of some promises here, is an earnest given to our faith that the others also shall be faithfully discharged when their date expires; as every judgment inflicted here on the wicked is sent as a pledge of that wrath the full sum whereof God will make up in hell.  – William Gurnall.

Today’s question is whom do you turn to when life get tough? Remember daily God and all He has done. 

 

Imitators

They say Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! We also know the bible is full of warnings about pride. While I think it natural and normal for any parent to have some level of it when their child follows in their footsteps think for a moment of how God the Father feels when we imitate Christ Jesus His Son. 

Logos.com

CONTEXT:

This is the Apostle Paul’s first epistle (letter to the church at Thessalonica, v.1 To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: in which he begins Chapter 1 by expounding upon the Faith of and giving thanks for the believers of the church there. v.2-5 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly[a] mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers[b] loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 

That brings us to our text for today so let us break it down: 

And you became imitators – Greek (mimētai), Strong’s Greek 3402: An imitator, follower; so one who follows the example or imitates the example set before them. Should you follow anyone’s example, every pastor? Read on my friend:

of us – Greek (hēmōn), 1st person plural, Strong’s Greek 1473: I, the first-person pronoun. A primary pronoun of the first person I. What is so significant about this is it is Paul writing someone who had direct contact with Christ. Who preaches by Grace Alone, by Faith Alone, By Scripture Alone, in Christ Alone to the Glory of God Alone. Such a person is the only example we should consider following. 

and of the Lord, – Greek (Kyriou) Strong’s Greek 2962: Lord, master, sir; the Lord. From kuros; supreme in authority, i.e. controller; by implication, Master. A lot of folks want to make or claim (you can’t do either on your own) Jesus as savior but refuse to have Him as Lord of their lives. If He is not you are not a Christian! You must imitate the risen Savior by making Him Lord and Master of ALL ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE. 

for you received the word – Greek (dexamenoi) Strong’s Greek 1209: To take, receive, accept, welcome. Middle voice of a primary verb; to receive. You cannot pick and choose what parts of God’s Holy Word you will follow or imitate it is ALL OR NOTHING. 

in much affliction, – Greek (thlipsei) Strong’s Greek 2347: Persecution, affliction, distress, tribulation. From thlibo; pressure. Life can be hard, full of trails and turmoil but better to have welcomed the Gospel and become imitators of Christ having eternal assurance and…

with the joy of the Holy Spirit, – Greek (charas) Strong’s Greek 5479:  Joy, gladness, a source of joy. From chairo; cheerfulness, i.e. Calm delight. How would you rather go through tough times with no hope or with a source of joy that cannot be defined? The Holy Spirit indwells 1 Corinthians 3:16 and is our source of joy and comfort in times of trouble (the Beatles got it wrong all those years ago). 

CONCLUSION:

Christians are to live their lives as examples to the rest of the world.  That is not always easy to do, there will be trying times both on a large scale (pandemics, disasters, etc.) and more personal level (loss of jobs, sickness, etc.). Yet like the Thessalonians, we can both receive the Word in our afflictions and do so with the joy of the Holy Spirit  that we may share it with others by our example. 

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 05 March

p-day-byGOD’S PROTECTION

AND

RESTRAINT OF US

 …Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. [The rod to protect from wild beasts and the staff to protect from wandering] – Psalm 23:4

 There is a twofold hedge that God makes about his people; there is the hedge of protection, to keep evil from them; and the hedge of affliction to keep them from evil. – John Bunyan

 The Christian like a net must have the lead of a godly fear and the cork of a lively faith. – George Swinnock

 Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent “Walking with God” daily devotional.

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 27 February

p-day-byCHASTENING AND SONSHIP

 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons – Hebrew 12:7

 Chastisement, whereof all are partakers – Hebrews 12:8

 The Lord uses his flail of tribulation to separate the chaff from the wheat. – john Bunyan

 Affliction is a badge of adoption. – Thomas Watson

 A Christian’s life can no more be ‘sine luctibus’ {without grief} than the sea ‘sine fluctibus’ {without waves]. – Thomas Adams

 Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

Check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent “Walking with God” daily devotional

Our Trials and Tribulations… Become Stepping-Stones

Our trials and tribulations… that many have had to endure… become the stepping-stones… to receive so much more….

Continued at Source: Our Trials and Tribulations… Become Stepping-Stones

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 27 January

p-day-byAFFLICTION IN GLORY

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; – 2 Corinthians 4:17

 … Partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also… – 1 Peter 4:13

Shall light troubles make you forget weighty mercies? – John Flavel

 Losses and disgraces are the wheels of Christ’s triumphant chariot. – Samuel Rutherford

 He that rides to be crowned will not think much of a rainy day. – John Trapp

 Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

** Note for a daily devotional this year check out our Faithful Steward Ministry Facebook page and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones excellent “Walking with God”

PURITAN QUOTE(S) FOR TODAY – 20 January

p-day-byTHE BENEFIT OF AFFLICTION         

…It is good for me that I have been afflicted; – Ps. 119:71

Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly, – Jonah 2:1

 Affliction is God’s flail to thresh off our husks. – Thomas Watson

 God uses captivity of people to enlarge the bounds of the gospel. – Stephen Charnock

 Troubles are free schoolmasters. – John Trapp

 Taken from: The Puritans Day by Day © The Banner of Truth Trust 2016

** Note for a daily devotional this year check out our FSM FB page and M.L. Jones’s excellent “Walking with God”

Rebuilding a Future Nehemiah Part IV

Response to Brokenness

 

3 And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

 

4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

           

            Nehemiah 1:2-4

 

            A reminder of where we were last week in this series. I had entitled the sermon “Recognition of Brokenness”. Verse three tells the tale of walls and gates of Jerusalem being in a sad state of affairs. Nehemiah acknowledges that he understands this in verse four when he says And it came to pass, when I heard these words. We then looked at what brokenness was and its effects on mankind.

 

            We determined that mankind, since the fall in Genesis 3 has been in a constant state of brokenness. As a counter to brokenness we looked at what God had intended man to live like. Genesis 1:31 says that all that God created was good and can logically infer from that man was intended to live a good life. Backing up to verse 1:26 we see man was also intended to rule (have dominion) over all the things of the earth. As we turned back to Nehemiah we saw, the report he gets is they (the Jerusalem Jews) are living a broken existence. One not in line with God’s plan, for they are in great affliction and reproach.

 

            Before I move on to today’s theme I do not want anyone left with the wrong impression. God did not have a plan A for mankind and a backup or plan B if man failed at plan A. God is sovereign and in complete control of all things. John MacArthur says of God’s sovereignty: “Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Ps. 115:3). “Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps” (Ps. 135:6). He “works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11). “From Him and through Him and to Him are all things” (Rom. 11:36). “For us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (1 Cor. 8:6).

 

            Ok let’s look at Nehemiah’s Response to Brokenness in verse four. He says when I heard these words that I sat down and wept and mourned certain days. Nehemiah is moved to tears. The bible is full of stories that describe folks weeping and or mourning for a variety of reasons. Let us look at a few:

 

Death – especially the death of a loved one Gen 50:10 And they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days

 

Disobedience –  Ezra 9:4-7 Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice 5 And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God,

6 And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. 7 Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day.

 

DesolationJoel 1:9-10  The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the Lord; the priests, the Lord’s ministers, mourn.

10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.

 

In DefeatRev 18:11 10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.

11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:

 

When Diseased –  Job 2:28 7 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.

8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.

 

When we lose something valuableGen 27:34-38 34 And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father. 35 And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing. 36 And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me? 37 And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son? 38 And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.

 

            We are naturally sorrowful when the above events occur. Many of us like Nehemiah are moved to tears when we hear of the suffering and tribulations of saints in lands around the world. But there is no greater event in our lives that should move us to tears than when we come to the realization that our life is a broken mess. Like Nehemiah’s realization of broken walls and gate the realization of our broken lives; is a cause for weeping and mourning.

 

            I have often stated that man cannot fully appreciate the Love of God until he understands the Depravity of Man. One can easily substitute brokenness for depravity. This may seem a hard statement but if you are not brought to tears and your knees with that realization you do not fully comprehend it. Some of your authority, your superiority complex is still alive and kicking.

 

            Lest I leave you thinking all tears are because of sorrow and brokenness there is more to the story. Our old self must die a mournful death in order that we may shed new tears of joy. Again the Bible is full of these stories too:

 

Hard work has joyful payoffPsalm 126:5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy

 

Depending upon GodJeremiah 31:9-13 They shall come with weeping, and with supplications  will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble : for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. 10Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say , He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. 11 For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. 12 Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. 13 Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.

 

Joy in knowing the God of LovePs 30:5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

 

Reunions are times of joyful weeping  Gen 33:4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.

 

 

“The catalysts for brokenness don’t have to be huge, tragic or devastating, though sometimes they are. Suffering comes in all sizes and shapes every day of our lives. And when it comes, we often bury the pain of it somewhere deep inside us where it simmers and stews and gnaws away at our peace, faith and health, turning our hearts even stonier, compounding our pride and unbroken- ness layer by layer.”

 

Mark Buchanan wrote in his book Your God is Too Safe, that there is one soil that usually withers pride. It is brokenness. He goes on to write that broken- ness “molds our character closer to the character of God than anything else. To experience defeat, disappointment, loss—the raw ingredients of broken- ness—moves us closer to being like God than victory and gain and fulfillment ever can.”

 

Frederick Buechner in his book Whistling in the Dark  “Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention. They are not only telling the secret of who you are, but more often than not of the mystery of where you have come from and are summoning you to where you should go next.”

 

Ken Gire wrote in Windows of the Soul, “In each tear is distilled something of eternity, something of love and compassion and tenderness, all things that originate in heaven and come to earth as a sacrament to the soul, if only I am willing to take and to eat. The closest communion with God comes, I believe, through the sacrament of tears. Just as grapes are crushed to make wine and grain to make bread, so the elements of this sacrament come from the crushing experiences of life.

 

“So much is distilled in our tears, not the least of which is wisdom in living life. From my own tears I have learned that if you follow your tears, you will find your heart. If you find your heart, you will find what is dear to God, and if you find what is dear to God you will find the answer to how you should live your life.”

 

            I had planned on closing tonight’s sermon with the joyful knowledge that our victory is won and are tears are temporary. Then this morning’s devotional from the Institute of Creation Research said it all better than I:

 

 

 

 

Tears in Heaven

“He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isaiah 25:8)

 

It may be surprising to learn there are tears in heaven, but there are three places in the Bible where we are told that God will wipe away our tears there. This promise appears first in the Old Testament in our text—a text which is quoted in the New Testament as applying to the events of the second coming of Christ. “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). The graves will be emptied and death itself will die when Christ comes again! But there will still be those tears, even after death, which God must wipe away.

 

The other two occurrences are in the last book of the Bible, both again in the context of the return of Christ, “[who] shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Finally, in the new Jerusalem, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 7:17; 21:4).

 

But why should there be tears at all when death has passed away? The Scriptures do not say specifically why, but it seems probable that these may be tears of regret at lost opportunities and tears of sorrow for unsaved friends and loved ones. It does say that in the new earth we shall somehow “look upon” the lost (Isaiah 66:22, 24) and that even some of the saved “shall suffer loss” when their works in this life do not “abide” in the judgment (1 Corinthians 3:13-15). But then, after these tears are shed, God will graciously wipe them away, and there will never be sorrow or crying anymore. HMM

 

Institute for Creation Research;  

Days of Praise devotionals:  http://www.icr.org/article/8315

 

 

Next time Response to Brokenness continued, Fasting and Prayer

 

In HIS Service

Mike