Devotional Thought for Today – 27 March 2021

Death and the Christian

Matthew Henry quote: He whose head is in heaven need not fear to...
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2 Corinthians2 Corintios 5:5 5:5

Over the past few months our family has experienced the death of family members and dear friends. While we can and should mourn their deaths, we also need to look at these events from a Biblical and practical standpoint.

In some cases the individuals were sick and suffering, in other cases the sudden loss was from an accident or in one case a random act of violence. In all but one of these deaths I, was able to provide comforting words to the families because I was convinced the individual was a true believer. For some it was that they were no longer suffering and were as the Bible promises ‘absent from the body and present with the Lord.’ For others we can not begin to explain why things happen, why the guy ran a red light, but we can find comfort in knowing God is in complete control and His ways are always greater and wiser than ours.

The great preach Charles Spurgeon had much to say on the Subject of death having preached many a sermon on the matter. Here are 10 of my favorite quotes of his:

1. “To be prepared to die is to be prepared to live.”

2. “It is the very joy of this earthly life to think that it will come to an end.”

3. “The best moment of a Christian’s life is his last one, because it is the one that is nearest heaven.”

4. “The only people for whom I have felt any envy have been dying members of this very church.”

5. “If I do not think of death, yet death will think of me.”

6. “It is not a loss to die, it is a lasting, perpetual gain.”

7. “Let us learn to hold loosely our dearest friends. Let us love them, but let us always learn to love them as dying things.”

8. “It is a grand thing to see a man dying full of life.”

9. “He who learns to die daily while he lives will find it no difficulty to breathe out his soul for the last time.”

10. “All the glories of midday are eclipsed by the marvels of sunset.”

Today’s Prayer

Pray for the Grace Needed to Die Well

We must pray for grace to deliver us from death* and to carry us well through our dying moments.

Lord, make us know our end and what is the measure of our days; let us know and consider how fleeting we are, that our days are as a few handbreadths and all mankind stands as a mere breath! Psalm 39:4-5(ESV) Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. 1 Chronicles 29:15(ESV)

Lord, so teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom, Psalm 90:12(ESV) and make us to discern our latter end! Deuteronomy 32:29(ESV)

Lord, make us always ready, dressed for action with our lamps burning, Luke 12:35(ESV) for the Son of Man is coming at an hour we do not expect. Luke 12:40(ESV)

Keep us all the days of our service, waiting till our renewal comes; and then shall you call, and we will answer. Job 14:14-15(ESV)

Bring us to our grave like a sheaf gathered up in its season; Job 5:26(ESV) satisfy us with life, whether it be long or short, and show us your salvation. Psalm 91:16(ESV)

And when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, be with us, that we may fear no evil; let your rod and your staff comfort us. Psalm 23:4(ESV)

Let goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our life, and let us dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6(ESV) May steadfast love and faithfulness be with us. 2 Samuel 15:20(ESV)

Ransom our souls from the power of Sheol, and receive us; Psalm 49:15(ESV) guide us with your counsel, and afterward receive us into glory. Psalm 73:24(ESV)

MATTHEW HENRY’S “METHOD FOR PRAYER”

* We must all die (save those alive when the Lord comes), so the author directs us to ask for deliverance not from the inevitable fact of death, but from the fear and power of death. Editor.

OTHER RESOURCES

A Believer’s Last Day, His Best Day – Thomas Brooks

Mortality – Christians Need Not Fear Death by J I Packer

What does the Bible say about death? GotQuestions.org

What Does the Bible Say About Death And Dying? 100+ Bible verses

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/26/2021

GOD ORDAINED

Logos.com

ROMANS 8

Overview of Romans 8: The freedom of believers from condemnation. (1-9) Their privileges as being the children of God. (10-17) Their hopeful prospects under tribulations. (18-25) Their assistance from the Spirit in prayer. (26,27) Their interest in the love of God. (28-31) Their final triumph, through Christ. (32-39) – Matthew Henry

Often called the “more than conquerors” chapter in obvious reference to v.37, it is our main text v.30, shown above along with v.28-29 that contains the greatest of Biblical doctrine concerning God-Ordained Salvation.

In v.28, God says; them who are the called according to his purpose.

The called of God and of Jesus Christ; not to any office, or by the external ministry of the word only, but by special grace; from darkness to light, from bondage to liberty, from the company of sinful men to fellowship with Christ, from a trust in their own righteousness to a dependence on his, to grace here, and glory hereafter; which is done according to the purpose of God: the persons called are fixed upon by God; none are called but whom God purposed to call; those who are called can assign no other reason of it than the will of God; and no other reason but that can be given why others are not called; the time when, the place where, the means whereby persons are called, are all settled and determined by the will, and according to the purpose of God. – John Gill

In v.29 God says; For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son… In other words, God predetermined whom He will save to conform them to the image of Christ.

Our main text v.30 for today tells most of the story if you will, of how we get there. When it comes to Salvation most folks think it all about them, I gave my.., or I went forward and… The fact is this and many other bible verses make it clear that it is all about God and His amazing Grace and not at all about us. God Predestined, Called, Justified, and will eventually Glorify everyone of His Elect.

Below are some posts on the subject of Salvation and the actual order in which the Bible says we are saved. 


Visual Theology – The Order of Salvation

“Ordo Salutis” The Order of Salvation, Part I

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part II

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part III

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part IV

Ordo Salutis The Order of Salvation Part V

Ordo Salutis, the Order of Salvation; Part VI

Ordo Salutis – The Order of Salvation Part VII

Ordo Salutis – The Order of Salvation Part VIII

Ordo Salutis – The Order of Salvation – Part IX

What is the Ordo Salutis / order of salvation?

The Order of Salvation

The Ordo Salutis PDF by A A Hodge
 
The Ordo Salutis by Geerhardus Vos

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/25/2021

Biblical Doctrine: The Lifeblood of the Christian life
https://images.app.goo.gl/BhdfFNJsUfasy47u9

Recently I had a discussion with someone who maintained that doctrine was not necessary, in fact it was ‘old fashion archaic thinking and his time was much better spent working for the kingdom.’

I hope that I am not the only one that saw the issue with that statement. How can one hope to serve the Kingdom with out having a right understanding of God’s Holy Word and how to apply it to your life? Forsaking Biblical doctrine can mean only one thing, we would rather live in the world.

Doctrine after all is in the basic sense, teaching or instruction. The word translated “doctrine” means “instruction, especially as it applies to lifestyle application”  2 Timothy 3:16.

Doctrine is very important in the bible. One can not seriously read the Bible without seeing it as an instruction manual from God as to our moral, ethical and spiritual behaviours. Yet we live in an age, as Paul predicted, 2 Timothy 3:4, when mankind would either reject sound doctrine or doctrine altogether. That is not to say one must get tied up in or argumentative over controversial biblical doctrines. Yet in most areas, the Bible is completely CLEAR and CONSISE

It should be the “DESIRE” the “GOAL” the “HOPE” of every true believer to mature in the Doctrine of God so we can fulfill the mission God has for each of us.

Today’s Prayer

Thank You, Father, for Your Holy Scriptures. Teach me, convict me, correct me and train me through the living, powerful inspired Word of truth, that I may be equipped to carry out the work that You have ordained for me to do. Keep me mindful of the dark days that face the Church in these times and may I live and work to Your praise and glory. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.

Modified from Source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/2-Timothy/3/16

OTHER RESOURCES:

Why is Doctrine Important?

What Is Doctrine and Why Is It Important?

What is doctrine?

What Is Sound Doctrine?

Why is sound doctrine so important?

Bible Verses About Sound Doctrine

Grace to You Blog Series – The Great Exchange

There is nothing more basic in Christianity than the understanding that Christ and Christ alone is the propitiation (substitute payment) for our sins.  In this series of six (6) short studies Grace to You Ministries studies that Great Exchange. 

Devotioinal Thought for Today – 03/15/2021

10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:10-12

ACTS 4

Here, I. Peter and John are taken up, upon a warrant from the priests, and committed to jail, Acts 4:1-4. II. They are examined by a committee of the great Sanhedrin, Acts 4:5-7. III. They bravely avow what they have done, and preach Christ to their persecutors, Acts 4:8-12. IV. Their persecutors, being unable to answer them, enjoin them silence, threatening them if they go on to preach the gospel, and so dismiss them, Acts 4:13-22. V. They apply to God by prayer, for the further operations of that grace which they had already experienced, Acts 4:23-30. VI. God owns them, both outwardly and inwardly, by manifest tokens of his presence with them, Acts 4:31-33. VII. The believers had their hearts knit together in holy love and enlarged their charity to the poor, and the church flourished more than ever, to the glory of Christ, Acts 4:33-37. – Matthew Henry 

Christianity is the largest religious group in the world, and in 2020 there were about 2.6 billion adherents globally.[5] What defines a “Christain” [or how one becomes one]  these days man be within some of those denominations up for question, but the bible as our main text proclaims is very clear. 

Salvation is through faith alone in Christ alone. Christianity is dogmatic, it is a narrow way, for God’s chosen, His elect only and here in Acts Luke is relating Peter saying  …there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among people by which we must be saved [for God has provided the world no alternative for salvation].” (AMP)  

In the end, I do not care if you are part of any of these or their various offshoots:

      • Catholicism 
      • Protestantism 
      • Eastern Orthodoxy 
      • Oriental Orthodoxy 
      • Non-trinitarian Restorationism 
      • Eastern Protestant Christianity 
      • Church of the East 

Without the saving power of Christ and Christ alone, you are not a Christian!

Today’s Prayer

I thank You, Father, for Jesus my Saviour. Thank You for Your gift of salvation that has been given to me through Christ alone. Thank You that salvation is so simple, that even a little child can understand it. Give me the strength and wisdom to speak out daily sharing the Good News.  I pray Lord for your Holy Spirit to touch the hearts of my friends, family, and those who read this that know you not, that they too may rest eternally in Christ.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, AMEN.

Modified from source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/Acts/4/12

 

Devotional Thougt for Today – 02/23/2021

Divisive: used to describe something that causes great and sometimes unfriendly disagreement within a group of people:

22 Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.  Proverbs 14:22

PROVERBS 14

When one reads Proverbs 14, we quickly realize it is a series of contrasts with an overarching theme of wisdom vs. foolishness.  There are many sub-topics or other contrasting points but the (in my opinion) all relate to being wise or foolish.

Our text for today must be taken in CONTEXT! Like most verses of Proverbs our text could stand on its own, but here, read along with v.21 and 23 we get a better picture of god’s revealed Word. 

‘He who despises his neighbor sins…But [blessed] is he who is gracious and merciful to the poor.’

Do they not go astray who devise {against their neighbors}evil and wander from the way of righteousness? But kindness and truth will be to those who devise good.

In all labor {divising good} there is profit, But mere talk leads only to poverty.

So God’s revealed Word is pretty clear.  The proverb makes a few key points: 

      • Dispising your neighbor even in your heart is a sin
      • Those that cheerfully help others are happy and blessed
      • Those that seek division, to disrupt the kingdom and the church labor in vain
      • Any deviation from God’s precepts is Sin and leads to evil
      • Not being divisive does not mean compromising the Word of God EVER
      • Those that seek to do righteous acts will profit
      • God expects His elect to be active in the World

TODAY’S PRAYER:

Father God, I know my nature is corrupt from the womb but by your Grace and the sacrifice of my Lord and Savior at Calvary I am a new creature. Yet as the apostle Paul said, still prone to do what I know is wrong. Help me Lord, to never be divisive,  to be gracious and merciful, to always use kindness and truth, and to labor faithfully and steadfast for your kingdom and glory. – Amen 

Sunday Sermon Series – Confession of Sin

Image result for "I Have Sinned" Exodus 9:27

Exodus 9:27, Numbers 22:34, 1 Samuel 15:24, Joshua 7:20, Matthew 27:4, Job 6:20, Luke 15:18

My sermon this morning will have seven texts, and yet I pledge myself that there shall be but three different words in the whole of them; for it so happens that the seven texts are all alike, occurring in seven different portions of God’s holy Word. I shall require, however, to use the whole of them to exemplify different cases; and I must request those of you who have brought your Bibles with you to refer to the texts as I shall mention them…

Confession of Sin – A Sermon with Seven Texts

 

Charles Haddon Spurgeon / January 18, 1857

Scripture: Exodus 9:27/Numbers 22:34/1 Samuel 15:24/ Joshua 7:20/Matthew 27:4/ Job 6:20/ Luke 15:18

From: New Park Street Pulpit Volume 3

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 02/16/2021

Image result for Mercy Seat

Romans 3

 

The Mercy Seat of God really is more like a lid topping the Ark of the Covenant than an actual Chair or seat that we would relate to today.  Yet we must remember this in CONTEXT of where the Jewish nation was when God instructed them to build it Exodus 25:17-22   (also see Heb 3:3-5) They were in their desert wandering days and God was leading them as a Cloud and Fire so the “seat” is symbolic.  Here God was supposed to be seated, and from this place He was supposed to dispense mercy to man when the blood of the atonement was sprinkled there.¹

I have heard some modern-day believers say so what this no longer applies to “us.”  Let me tell you MERCY applies to everyone. Yes, we (Jews and Christians) no longer make blood sacrifices to God for atonement but we still need a blood sacrifice for atonement.  

In Romans Chap 3 Paul carefully lays out the case for  ALL MANKIND being totally entrenched in sin v.1-8 and their need for atonement to be seen or presented as righteous before God. That no one can save themselves from such sin and be justified (atoned) before God v.9-20. Only the free Grace of God and faith in the redeeming Savior Christ can set us free, yet the LAW still remains v.21-31.

This brings us to our text for today Romans 3:21-26. Here again, Paul is clear and concise:

God’s righteousness is separate from the law

God’s righteousness is revealed by the law and prophets

All of mankind is separated from God’s righteousness because of sin

God’s righteousness comes to us by faith in Christ Jesus

Christ Jesus paid the atonement for our sins by His blood at Calvary

It is Christ’s blood upon the Mercy Seat that allows you and I to be freed from the bondage of sin and justified before God. 

Today’s Prayer

Thank You Father – thank You for my salvation. Thank You that His death that gave me life and reconciled me to You forever. Thank You that He took my sin and clothed me in His righteousness. Thank You that He is the propitiation for my sins and took Your wrath upon Himself so that I might have peace with You and receive the peace that passes understanding forever and ever into my life, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.  Source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/Romans/3


 

What is the mercy seat?¹

What is the Mercy Seat?

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 02/10/2021

Image result for Rom. 13:8

Romans 13

As you have seen me write for years CONTEXT is everything and our text for today is no exception.  Romans 13 begins with Paul telling the reader that all civil authority is appointed by God and to resist them is to resist God v.1-2.

 We should submit to human government because they are God-appointed and it is the right thing to do. We must honor them with their due (respect, taxes, etc.) v.3-7. Note Paul does not, and neither will I here,  address something he encountered and many if not all of us have faced in our own lives, corrupt or at least un-Godly governments. 

What I wish to address today is the misapplication of v.8.  Some have built an entire doctrine around this one phrase, Owe no man anything…  If in context Paul had gone on to say do not be indebted to man for anything, or do not take out loans or something but NOWHERE is that even suggested in the bible.  Folks, maybe you are just better or richer than me but I have loans. My goal the biblical mandate is to be a Faithful Steward of all God has given. 

What Paul is saying is do not forfeit any debt, that any and all debts should be paid on time and the greatest debt we owe is to love one another just as Jesus loved us. In doing so we fulfill the law for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 

Today’s Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for all which you have created and entrusted to our care as stewards. In our personal finances, Lord, give us the wisdom to manage money wisely as Faithful Stewards and to practice heartfelt generosity. As we live each day, help us to love one another as you command thereby fulfilling your law through Christ Jesus our Lord. – Amen

 

Sunday Sermon Series – Righteous Hatred

10 Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Psalm 97:10

PSALM 97


CONTEXT

The following is from the Treasury of David by C.H. Spurgeon

SUBJECT. As the fast Psalm sung the praises of the Lord in connection with the proclamation of the gospel among the Gentiles, so this appears to foreshadow the mighty working of the Holy Ghost in subduing the colossal systems of error and casting down the idol gods. Across the sea to maritime regions a voice cries for rejoicing at the reign of Jesus (Ps 97:1), the sacred fire descends (Ps 97:3), like lightning the gospel flames forth (Ps 97:4), difficulties vanish (Ps 97:5), and all the nations see the glory of God (Ps 97:6). The idols are confounded (Ps 97:7), the church rejoices (Ps 98:8), the Lord is exalted (Ps 98:9). The Psalm closes with an exhortation to holy steadfastness under the persecution which would follow, and bids the saints rejoice that their path is bright, and their reward glorious and certain. Modern critics, always intent upon ascribing the psalms to anybody rather than to David, count themselves successful in dating this song further on than the captivity, because it contains passages similar to those which occur in the latter prophets, but we venture to assert theft it is quite as probable that the prophets adopted the language of David as that some unknown writer borrowed from them. One psalm in this series is said to be “in David”, and we believe that the rest are in the same place, and by the same author. The matter is not important, and we only mention it because it seems to be the pride of certain critics to set up new theories, and there are readers who imagine this to be a sure proof of prodigious learning. We do not believe that their theories are worth the paper they are written upon.

DIVISION. The psalm divides itself into four portions, each containing three verses. The coming of the Lord is described (Ps 97:1-3); its effect upon the earth is declared (Ps 97:4-6), and then its influence upon the heathen and the people of God (Ps 97:7-9). The last part contains both exhortation and encouragement, urging to holiness and inculcating happiness (Ps 97:10-12).

EXPOSITION. v.10 Ye that love the Lord, hate evil. For He hates it, his fire consumes it, his lightnings blast it, his presence shakes it out of its place, and his glory confounds all the lovers of it. We cannot love God without hating that which he hates. We are not only to avoid evil, and to refuse to countenance it, but we must be in arms against it, and bear towards it a hearty indignation. He preserveth the souls of his saints. Therefore they need not be afraid of proclaiming war with the party which favours sin. The saints are the safe ones: they have been saved and shall be saved. God keeps those who keep his law. Those who love the Lord shall see his love manifested to them in their preservation from their enemies, and as they keep far from evil so shall evil be kept far from them. He delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. It is not consistent with the glory of his name to give over to the power of his foes those whom his grace has made his friends. He may leave the bodies of his persecuted saints in the hand of the wicked, but not their souls, these are very dear to him, and he preserves them safe in his bosom. This foretells for the church a season of battling with the powers of darkness, but the Lord will preserve it and bring it forth to the light.  


EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 10. Ye that love the LORD, hate evil. It is evident that our conversion is sound when we loathe and hate sin from the heart: a man may know his hatred of evil to be true, first, if it be universal: he that hates sin truly, hates all sin. Secondly, true hatred is fixed; there is no appeasing it but by abolishing the thing hated. Thirdly, hatred is a more rooted affection than anger: anger may be appeased, but hatred remains and sets itself against the whole kind. Fourthly, if our hatred be true, we hate all evil, in ourselves first, and then in others; he that hates a toad, would hate it most in his own bosom. Many, like Judah, are severe in censuring others (Ge 38:24), but partial to themselves. Fifthly, he that hates sin truly, hates the greatest sin in the greatest measure; he hates all evil in a just proportion. Sixthly, our hatred is right if we can endure admonition and reproof for sin, and not be enraged; therefore, those that swell against reproof do not appear to hate sin.—Richard Sibbes.

Hate evil. Sin seemeth to have its name of sana, anv (the word here used) because it is most of all to be hated, as the greatest evil; as that which setteth us furthest from God the greatest good.—John Trapp.

Get mortifying graces, especially love to God, for those that love the Lord, will hate evil. And the more they love him, the more they will hate it.—David Clarkson.

God is a Spirit, and he looks to our very spirits; and what we are in our spirits, in our hearts and affections, that we are to him. Therefore, what ill we shun, let us do it from the heart, by hating it first. A man may avoid an evil action from fear, or out of other respects, but that is not sincerity. Therefore look to thy heart, see that thou hate evil, and let it come from sincere looking to God. Ye that love the LORD, hate evil, saith David: not only avoid it, but hate it; and not only hate it, but hate it out of love to God.—Richard Sibbes.


SERMON

Click here to view and/or download a PDF version of this sermon

Charles Haddon Spurgeon,  August 8, 1858

Scripture: Psalms 97:10

From: New Park Street Pulpit Volume 4