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.

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

Devotional Thought for Today – 11/16/21

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken

Isaiah 1:2a KJV

CONTEXT: v.1 identifies the author of the book as Isaiah and there seems to be no argument amongst historians. The following from Reformed Answers is a good summary of the book:

On the one hand Isaiah’s ministry consisted largely of bringing charges, condemnations and judgments as he declared covenant curses on Israel and Judah for their flagrant violations of their covenant obligations (Isa. 1:2-31; 13:1-23:18; 56:9-57:13; 65:1-16). The prophet spoke of many different curses that would come, the most serious of which would be destruction and exile. In fact, both Israel and Judah had fallen so far from the ideals of the covenant that God commanded Isaiah to prophesy in order to harden the people’s hearts so that the judgment of exile might not be averted (Isa. 6:1-13).

On the other hand, Isaiah balanced his message of judgment with words of hope. He spoke of many different kinds of blessings, but for the most part his positive words focused on the principal blessing of restoration after exile (Isa. 40-66). As a result, Isaiah called the godly to persevere in seeking the Lord, in cultivating hope for God’s Kingdom, in experiencing God’s peace within themselves during times of trouble and in responding to God’s new acts of redemption in faith (Isa. 2:5; 8:13-17; 26:20-21; 33:14-16; 40:28-31; 48:20-21; 55:1-12; 60:1-3; 61:10-11; 63:7-64:12; 66:5-6). Isaiah promised that a remnant would survive the exile, return to the land and enjoy the unprecedented blessings of God.

Out text for today convenes a double meaning and may seem confusing to some. How can the heavens and earth both inanimate objects give ear, that is pay close attention to what the Lord or in this case His servant Isaiah has to say?

I am no linguist expert but the Aramaic word Shamayim translated as Universe and the Hebrew word ‘erets that translates as earth, in context here refer to all creation including all the people under or in creation.

So the meaning of this verse is simple, Isaiah by direction of the Holy Spirit is declaring to all creation, that the Lord God, sovereign ruler over all creation has something to say and y’all better listen.

What is God trying to say to you today?


Submitting to Divine Authority

Isaiah 1:2a

God’s Word is the only source of divine authority.

QOTW – Can people in heaven look down and see us?

Question: “Can people in heaven look down and see us?”

Answer: 
Some see in Hebrews 12:1 the idea that people in heaven might be able to look down and see us: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses. . . .”

Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/heaven-look-down.html

QOTW – What is a Christian Work Ethic?

Question: “What is a Christian work ethic?”

Answer: Colossians 3:23-25 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”[…]

Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-work-ethic.html

Devotional Thought for Today – 10/06/21

Rutherford Quote - Earthly Suffering Small Compared To the Glory Of Heaven

Philippians 1

Context: First it is important to remember that Paul is under arrest and house confinement in Rome while writing this letter. He is literally suffering for Christ. Matthew Henry breaks down the chapter this way: He begins with the inscription and benediction (v. 1, 2). He gives thanks for the saints at Philippi (v. 3-6). He speaks of his great affection and concern for their spiritual welfare (v. 7, 8), his prayers for them (v. 9-11), his care to prevent their offence at his sufferings (v. 12-20), his readiness to glorify Christ by life or death (v. 21-26), and then concludes with a double exhortation to strictness and constancy (v. 27-30).

In the most glorious of statements (verses) Paul writes:

21 For to me, to live {and suffer} is Christ [He is my source of joy, my reason to live] and to die is gain [for I will be with Him in eternity]22 If, however, it is to be life here and I am to go on living, this will mean useful and productive service for me; so I do not know which to choose [if I am given that choice]. 23 But I am hard-pressed between the two. I have the desire to leave [this world] and be with Christ, for that is far, far better; 24 yet to remain in my body is more necessary and essential for your sake (AMP. {added}

What a dilemma, going on living and serving others, or die end your suffering and be with Christ. How would you choose?

Again Matthew Henry comments on these verses: Death is a great loss to a carnal, worldly man, for he loses all his earthly comforts and all his hopes; but to a true believer it is gain, for it is the end of all his weakness and misery. It delivers him from all the evils of life, and brings him to possess the chief good. The apostle’s difficulty was not between living in this world and living in heaven; between these two there is no comparison; but between serving Christ in this world and enjoying him in another. Not between two evil things, but between two good things; living to Christ and being with him. See the power of faith and of Divine grace; it can make us willing to die. In this world we are compassed with sin; but when with Christ, we shall escape sin and temptation, sorrow and death, for ever. But those who have most reason to desire to depart, should be willing to remain in the world as long as God has any work for them to do. And the more unexpected mercies are before they come, the more of God will be seen in them.


Other Resources:

8 Ways God Works Suffering for Our Good – Tim Challies

Spurgeon’s advice for suffering Christians

The fellowship of his sufferings

The Seminary of Suffering

The Sweet Surprise of Suffering

Devotional Thought for Today – 10/06/21

Martin Luther Quote - Bondage Of the Will Against Free Will

Psalm 51:5

The above verse is one of many in the Bible that clearly show man’s inability to save himself in any fashion. In Reformed or Covenant Theology this is known as Total Depravity.

The doctrine of Total Depravity is often seen as a bad thing in evangelical circles. their reasoning is not based upon Biblical thinking but man’s thinking. If one assumes man is basically good, (an unbiblical fact if ever there was one) then it is easy to dismiss the doctrine of Total Depravity. They will argue things like God created and it was good, all true all pre-fall. They will use terms like we were created in God’s image and are only marred, implying an easy fix, you go hang on a cross at Calvary with the weight of mankind’s sin on your shoulders and tell me how easy a fix that is! Another popular response is ‘Christianity isn’t meant to be a downer’ really so we should avoid speaking on sin or hell, Jesus certainly didn’t.

If however, one takes in the Whole Counsel of God on the matter, there are a overwhelming number of verses declaring man is anything but good and we should never shy away from preaching, teaching and sharing that Whole Counsel in Spirit and Truth.

My favorite is:

John 3:19-20 KJV - And this is the condemnation, that light is come into  the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds  were evil.

RELATED RESOURCES:

Charles Spurgeon on Calvinism — Total Depravity – Ligonier …

Total depravity – is it biblical? | GotQuestions.org

 Radical Depravity Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952)

Devotional Thought for Today – 10/06/21

Logos.com

Colossians 1

CONTEXT: Paul in writing to the church at Colossae begins, after his normal salutations, with the Supremacy of Christ, v.13-23. He focuses on two main issues the preeminence or supremacy of Christ in Creation v.13-17 and Redemption v.18-23.

Our text today deals with the first theme and is a clear Biblical truth of who and how the earth and heavens were created, For by him were all things created

Yet as noted in yesterday’s devotional, where we look at the Theory of Evelution, many still try to argue against these facts. Today let us explore the “Big Bang Theory” (not the TV show, I didn’t know it existed) and its unbiblical foundations.

These systems attempt to box God into a government confined within the  perspective of man. Yet

Harmonizing Science and Scripture? (and How the Big Bang Theory Contradicts Scripture)

Christian Apologists Should Abandon the Big Bang, Jonathan F. Henry (Free PDF)

Refuting the Big Bang Theory (Using Science and the Bible)

Refuting William Lane Craig and Hugh Ross (Creation and Bible Compromisers) Scroll to the bottom of page

Earth’s Magnetic Field: Evidence that the Earth is Young by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati

Devotional Thought for Today – 10/05/21

Logos.com

CONTEXT: Genesis 6 & 7 are of course the Biblical account of the Great (Noahtic) Flood. Here in Chapter 8, we begin to see the restoration of the earth as the floodwaters recede. Our text today is the final verse of this chapter and is the great promise of God to never again flood the earth as in these days.

I chose this text today for a few simple reasons, first, only God could bring the flood as described not only in the Bible but in many other cultures. Second only the omnipotent God of all creation could dry out the land and hold make such a promise.

Yet many still cling to Darwin, Dawkins, and the Theory of Carbon Dating as gospel. Here today I want to debunk some of these theories, which many so-called evangelicals in recent years have claimed have merit.

Let me make it clear the Theory of Evolution is just that a non-factual theory, the Holy Word of God is a Fact! As True Christians, we MUST believe the Word of God is true.


Refutations of Richard Dawkins and Evolution

Dawkins’ Delusion by David Silversides (Blog)

Dawkins’ eye revisited by Peter Gurney (Web, Text at Creation Ministries International)

The “new atheists” by Ken Ham (Web, Text at Answers in Genesis)

Review of Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins by Jonathan Sarfati (Web, Text)

Deconstructing a Deluded Dawkins by Paul Taylor (Web, Text at Answer in Genesis)


OTHER RESOURCES:

6 Day Creation & The Presuppositions of Science: How Important Is Creationism

Six Days & The Eisegesis Problem