Devotional Thought for Today – 01/27/2021

I have written about HUMILITY a lot over the years (you can search in the box to the right). I guess I just need a constant reminder.

10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:10

JAMES 4

Chapter 3 saw James reminding his readers that the world was no place to gain wisdom and knowledge.  

Have you ever noticed that whenever you get tangled up in the world you also get a worldly disposition? James points out this has caused fights among the believers and here in Chapter 4, he calls them to repent and humble themselves before the Lord.

No one likes to say we are wrong, even to God it is not easy to admit our sinful ways. Knowing 1 John 1:9, that He is ready to forgive whatever we confess, sure makes things easier. Still having some help doesn’t hurt either. Of course, Christ is our only advocate interceding with the Father on our behalf. But the third person of the Trinity can not be neglected. The Spirit helps us to pray, even when we do not know how or what to ask for (Romans 8:26; Jude 20). 

Using the guide below ask for some humility in your walk with God today. 

We must beg for the powerful assistance and influence of the blessed Spirit of grace in our prayers.

Lord, we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but let your Spirit help us in our weakness and intercede for us. Romans 8:26(ESV)

O pour upon us a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, Zechariah 12:10(ESV) the Spirit of adoption teaching us to cry, “Abba, Father”; Romans 8:15(ESV) that we may find in our hearts to pray this prayer: Send out your light and your truth; let them lead us, let them bring us to your holy hill and to your dwelling; to God, our exceeding joy. Psalm 43:3-4(ESV)

O Lord, open our lips, and our mouths will declare your praise. Psalm 51:15(ESV)

We must make the glory of God our highest end in all our prayers.

This is what you, O LORD, have said: that you will be sanctified among those who are near you, and before all the people you will be glorified. Leviticus 10:3(ESV) We, therefore, worship before you, O Lord, that we may glorify your name; Psalm 86:9(ESV) and therefore we call upon you, that you may deliver us, and we may glorify you. Psalm 50:15(ESV)

For from you and through you and to you are all things. Romans 11:36(ESV)

Devotional thought for Today – 01/18/2021

14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Philippians 2:14-16

Philippians 2:12-18

This morning among my devotionals and bible verse reads was this gem. It got me thinking about all the grumblings or murmurings  I have done this past year. Not intentionally mind you but I am sure some of my posts related to my frustration with the current political climate in America came across as grumbling and murmurings. 

It is human nature to complain. I do not think it is biblically wrong to complain, I but I strongly believe it is biblically wrong to grumble and murmur,  v.14.

In context, Paul here v.12-18 is explaining how we as Christians ought to live. The emphasis is, look at what Christ has done for us, and you are complaining about a little difficulty in life? 

Again even applying outside the Spiritual, we can point out the issues of the world without seeming like just another angry complainer.  Of course, God through Paul does not leave us on our own, v.15  prove yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness]. 

In other words, if you are going to open your mouth do so in such a manner that Glorifies God and edifies the body of Christ (the church).

Daily Devotional – Angel We have Heard On High

Angels We Have Heard On High - YouTube

Luke 2:13-15


CONTEXT

The angels announce Jesus Birth and call the shepherds to visit.

Angels were heralds of the new-born Saviour, but they were only sent to some poor, humble, pious, industrious shepherds, who were in the business of their calling, keeping watch over their flock. We are not out of the way of Divine visits, when we are employed in an honest calling, and abide with God in it. Let God have the honour of this work; Glory to God in the highest. God’s good-will to men, manifested in sending the Messiah, redounds to his praise. Other works of God are for his glory, but the redemption of the world is for his glory in the highest. – Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

HYMN 

Angels we have heard on high, comes from a traditional French carol, Les Anges dans nos Campagnes that was translated from French to English by Bishop James Chadwick (1813-1882) with the music we sing today  being credited to  Edward S. Barnes somewhere around 1937. It first appeared in Holy Family Hymns (1860) and The Crown of Jesus Music (1864, adapted by Henri Friedrich Hémy). 

The references to our text are quite obvious; Angels,  shepherds,  Bethlehem, him in a manger laid. The most striking however is the refrain itself: 

Gloria in excelsis Deo, which is the Latin translation of v.14 Glory to God in the highest,

Both the Puritan Catechism and the  Westminster Larger Catechism start with the following question and answer:

Q.  What is the chief end of man?

A.  Man’s chief end is to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31), and to enjoy him for ever (Ps. 73:25-26)

There are many things worth Glorifying God for but none top this one event.  God could have chosen so many ways to deal with rebellious and sinful man,  (destruction, forsaken, etc.)  but chose to to send a Savior, His only begotten Son. 

“Angels we have heard on high” is a song for believers to invite the world to come and celebrate the most glorious event in all of history, God incarnate as man. 

I pray this year and throughout the next sing praises in your heart, Gloria in excelsis Deo, and and share that joy and glory with the world. 

Abiding in Christ in Bleak Days

 

The Masters Seminary Blog

Abiding in Christ in Bleak Days

To say that 2020 has been chaotic and disappointing would be an understatement. Both nationally and globally, unbelievable challenges and disappointments have abounded again and again … and again. And these challenges have revealed the true nature of the human heart. Despite the culture’s insistence that people are essentially good, the truth of the matter is, 2020 has revealed again what Scripture long ago taught: this is a fallen world…

READ MORE > > 

Daily Devotional – Perspectives

Isaiah 26:10-11 – Linda's Bible Study

AMP and RVR 1960


CONTEXT:

The 26th Chapter of Isaiah is a Song of Praise. Many bible headings have different interpretations of what the “theme” or subject of the Song is, I tend to agree with some of the old scholars in that it is a Song dedicated to the well being and prosperity of the church along with the ruining of its enemies

The church, Israel, God’s chosen, are represented by a strong city v.1,  it is said to have strong (impenetrable) gates which are open to all who are righteous v.2. Here in they (we) can find perfect peace v.3, by trusting in the Lord v.4. 

If anyone thinks himself lofty and more sovereign than God, He will surely bring them down v.5-6 For the path of the chosen is one of righteousness and God judges those travels v.7.  In fact your people have waited and prayed for you oh Lord to make straight our path of righteousness that we may follow you v.8-9.  


BREAKDOWN: 

Let favour be shewed to the wicked, –  Various Bibles translate this differently and I think it changes the meaning (to those who do not thoroughly study) for example: 

AMP: Though the wicked is shown compassion and favor,

ESV: If favor is shown to the wicked

NKJV: Let grace be shown to the wicked

How often is the case that the wicked unrepentant we see in life seem to have it all while we struggle?  What do we do about it? Curse them, that is wish ill upon their favor or pray for their good fortune and repentance. I hope the later.  Isaiah would seem to have us ask for favor to be shown upon our enemies (context) how often do we ask for that? 

yet will he not learn righteousness: –  Isaiah points out that no matter how much of God’s Grace some folks get, their hearts are to harden to accept the free gift of God’s Love that goes along with it.  This does not mean we stop trying to share the Good News or pray for them. 

in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, –  These unrighteous men (and women) will continue to deal unrighteously for a time here on earth. Those who are openly rebellious against God’s word need our intervention (prayer) more than ever. 

and will not behold the majesty of the Lord. –  Do not get discouraged in our efforts some folks no matter how hard we try,  will continue to deny what is clearly before their eyes, the majesty of the Lord. 


APPLICATION:

Isiah is clearly writing about two different Perspectives on Life.

One from the standpoint of God’s chosen people, His elect born again  whom will spend eternity in Heaven. These see reason even during life’s troubling times to Praise Him and Glorify His name forever.

The other from those who are blinded by their own self (pride). They deny what is easy to see in front of them and make up every excuse to not seek the truth. 

The question(s) for today are what Perspective on Life do you have?  Do you see the MAJESTY of God before you today? 

Romans 1:18-20

Thanks to LP, Jr. for the idea behind today's devotional

Daily Devotional – Above All

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

AMP and RVR 1960


CONTEXT:

Do you want a maserati, God can provide. A new house God can provide. Better health God can provide.  Okay before y’all think I have gone over to the dark side of Name it and Claim it theology let me explain. 

Starting way back in verse 14 For this reason [grasping the greatness of this plan by which Jews and Gentiles are joined together in Christ] I bow my knees [in reverence] before the Father [of our Lord Jesus Christ], Paul begins this prayer that concludes with our text. The theme of which is no matter how boldly Hebrews 4:16 we petitions God, He is more than capable of answering all our requests. 


BREAKDOWN:

v.20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, – Paul is clear, above all elseGod is capable of more than we can even imagine. Does God always answer YES! The answer however may not be YES. Sometimes God says no, sometimes He remains aloof teaching us patience and wanting to make us more dependent upon Him (the Holy Spirit indwelling every true believer). 

Note the type of things “Christians” should be asking God for v.16 to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit, no cars, houses or health there. Do not get me wrong if you need transportation, housing are ill pray for those needs humbly. But if you have a house why pray for a mansion when we are to be good stewards of all God provides?

v. 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.  Verse 20-21 are a short DoxologyGlory is given to God for all His perfect attributes. These are to be celebrated in the church with Christ as the head. Not for a short period of time but forever. Christ was, is and will always be the Groom and the Church His Bride Ephesians 5:22-25, consecrated to Glorify God. 


APPLICATION:

Above all else I think there are two main takeaways from today’s devotional: 

We can boldly but humbly petition God for our needs in His will

Christians are meant to fellowship and Glorify God together in the Church

Are you a lone wolf not attending church? Are your petitions and supplications aligned with the will of God? Remember to pray daily as Paul, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit.

 

Daily Devotional – Christian Uniqueness

Image result for Unique

1 Peter 2:9

 

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (NKJV)

 

Mas vosotros sois linaje escogido, real sacerdocio, nación santa, pueblo adquirido por Dios, para que anunciéis las virtudes de aquel que os llamó de las tinieblas a su luz admirable; (RVR 1960)

 

How unique are Christians, well it all starts with a “unique” or “distinctive” God. Isaiah 45:5-6 says I am the Lord, and there is no other a theme seen previously in Isaiah 43:11 and repeated in Isaiah 45:21-22. 

This of course would be fodder for the naysayers if it were only found in the Old Testament (they choose to ignore (2 Timothy 3:16)). Of course there are many N.T. scriptures like; Mark 12:29-34, Romans 3:30, Ephesians 4:6, James 2:19, all of which point to the same thing. They declare the God of the bible, the one true God, unique among all gods. 

Man’s uniqueness began at the beginning Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created  them. Not only did God create individuals He created them very well; Genesis 1:31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Of course we all know how that ended with man abusing his uniqueness and being banished from the Garden. His punishment was that sin nature and death have been passed on from generation to generation. 

Yet God still imparts a uniqueness in His chosen believers. Some verses that show us this include:  Psalm 139:14, Matthew 10:30 and Ephesians 2:10 to name a few. This leads us (finally 🙂 ) to our main text for today, so let us break it down: 

CONTEXT: Even though today we are more topical it is important to get context. Peter is describing the “unique” relationship of God’s people. First v.1 having an inheritance through the Blood of Christ is unique among all the religions of the world. Then in v.2-8 being chosen by God to serve Him not as slaves but as willing servants of a loving gracious God is also unique among world religions. . 

But you are a chosen generation: Peter is most likely referring to Isaiah 43:20 here using a implying that just as the Jews of the O.T. were God’s chosen people; so to with the Blood of Christ all whom God chooses are now adopted sons and daughters. Chosen by God as each generation passes. 

a royal priesthood: Again Peter refers to the O.T. this time Exodus 19:6 were God tells the nation of Israel you shall be to me a kingdom of priests… There is a dual meaning here also, as the sacrificial system where only the Levitical Priests could enter the temple and make sacrifices for peoples sins has been done away with at Calvary. So each of God’s chosen people is a “royal priest” unto themselves. That is we can make sacrifices, repent, of our sins without having a human mediator.    

a holy nation: Again referring to Exodus 19:6 this time calling for Israel to separate themselves from other sinful nations. The “Church” today is called to do the same, yet I am convinced it has (in far to many instances) forgotten this mandate. Instead of separating itself from the sins of the world it invites the world into the church all in the name of numbers, being open and affirming and other non-biblical actions.

His own special people: In Exodus 19:5 God calls the people of Israel  a “peculiar treasure” (KJV) or “my treasured possession” (ESV) among all peoples. God’s elect His chosen people are unique among all the people of the earth. While everyone shares in God’s common grace it is only God’s elect that share in the unique benefits of His Irresistible Grace

that you may proclaim the praises of Him:  The Baptist Catechism answers the question as to why God created and chose a special or unique people. It reads: Question 2: What is the chief end of man? Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. Scripture1 Corinthians 10:31Psalm 16:1137:473:25-26Isaiah43:7. Comment: “Glorify” does not mean make glorious. It means [to] reflect or display as glorious. Other words you could use for “end” are “goal” or “purpose”. God chose us for the purpose of proclaim{ing} the praises of Him. 

who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light: I once had someone tell me that He (God) was pretty egotistic, demanding our praises.  I responded He saved me from the punishment of eternal damnation that all men (especially I ) deserve (for all men sin), I think that deserves His praises don’t you?

In closing God calls His elect out of the darkness of sin and despair into His marvelous light  of the sufficiency of His righteousness by the Blood of Christ. No other god, no other religion or no other way can make the same promise. That is what makes Christians Unique. 

 

Call on ME

Image result for Psalm 50:15 Call on Me

“Psalm 50:15”

Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (NKJV) 

E invócame en el día de la angustia; Te libraré, y tú me honrarás. (RVR 1960)

Speaking from experience and many many conversations, it seems that we, as Christians, always wait until when we are knee deep in trouble, until we call upon the Lord for help. 

In our text above God makes it very clear that we are to Call upon Me {Him} in the day {our} of trouble, the question is when is that? When are we as believers in the day of trouble? 

This may come as a surprise to some of you but I would say that we are Daily in Our Day of Trouble. Let see if I  can explain; Jesus said that we He was not of this world John 17:14 and just like Jesus, true Christians, are not of this world John 15:19 and are in fact hated by the world around them. We are so opposed by and anti-world that we are commanded to love not the world 1 John 2:15 nor the things the world loves. We are told to be conformed not to the world but to Godly things Romans 12:2 by focusing on Godly values and things above Colossians 3:2. 

I hope I have made my point that the daily walk (life) of a Christian is full of trouble. One can not read the New Testament Epistles not not get that understanding. Has anything changed since they were written, no. Has the Lord changed the way we are to communicate with Him since the time of Moses, no, Call upon Me, He says.

We all want the promise of the Lord, I will deliver you, the problem is we want it on our terms. That is only when we are desperate for rescue. We seem to forget the last part of the verse; and you shall glorify Me. I know this is fictional but sometimes I think the Lord is sitting up there in Heaven saying, hey what about me, have you forgotten about me? Daily praise through prayer and supplication should be the norm not the exception in our lives. Call on me He says have you done that today?


Matthew Poole’s Commentary

And make conscience of that great duty of constant and fervent prayer to me; which is an acknowledgment of thy subjection to me, and of thy trust and dependence upon me, and therefore is pleasing to me.

In the day of trouble; when trouble comes, do not avoid it by sinful shifts, not’ trust to creatures for relief, as hypocrites generally do, but give glory to me, by relying upon my promises, and expect help from me by hearty and unfeigned prayer.

Thou shalt glorify me: this is mentioned, either,

1. As a privilege; thou shalt have occasion to praise and glorify me for thy deliverance. Or,

2. As a further duty; thou shalt give me the glory of thy deliverance by praising me for it, and improving it to my service and glory.

 

Biblical Contentment, Part VII

Image result for worship

Prayer: Proverbs 16:3 
Study: Psalm 119:11
Fellowship: Hebrews 10:25
Stewardship: 1 Peter 4:10
Worship: 1 Chronicles 16:29

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;[a(ESV)

Tributad[a] al Señor la gloria debida a[b] su nombre;
traed ofrenda[c], y venid delante de El; adorad al Señor en la majestad de la santidad[d].(LBLA)

Sharing: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Walking: 1 John 2:6

Let us begin today with a question¹; What is the chief end of man? Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, ( 1 Corinthians 10:31 ) and to enjoy him for ever. ( Psalms 73:25 Psalms 73:26 ). True worship of God must be built upon the understanding that God is entitled to and deserves to be worshiped.

In the 96th Psalm David quotes from our main text in verses 7-9 

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    bring an offering, and come into his courts!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;[a]
    tremble before him, all the earth!

So the question must be asked what is Worship? Today it can mean anything from dancing and waving flags in the isles to very solemn and ritualistic ceremonies. In other words from one end of the spectrum to the other. The correct answer as usual is somewhere in the middle.

Looking again at the Puritan Catechism we see this: Question 2 What rule has God given to direct us how we may glorify him? Answer The Word of God which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New TestamentsEphesians 2:20 ; 2 Timothy 3:16 ) are the only rule to direct us how we may glorify God and enjoy him.1 John 1:3 ). In other words it is scripture not some worship leader, youth pastor or the tread of the month club that dictates how we worship God.  This applies to both our personal most importantly (as this is where the abuse is so prevalent) corporate worship) 

There are hundreds of verses and instances referring to Worship in the bible we could look at but I will focus on three:

Vain Worship:  Jesus calls out the Pharisees and scribes for worshiping according to the traditions of men; Matthew 15: 7-9  You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” It concerns me that a large percentage of “Evangelicals” in America today fall into this category. One only has to read the survey results from showing church attendance, positions on Abortion, LBGTQ and other anti-biblical ideas. 

Ignorant Worship: Paul informs the people at Mars hill how foolish they are to erect and idol to an unknown god, just in case they might have missed someone or something Acts 17:23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. This is the reason for Matthew 28:18-20 the Great Commission. It is our job to share the Gospel message to all who are ignorant of the truth of Christ.  

True Worship: Jesus makes it clear that soon only those who worship in Spirit and Truth will be acceptable to God John 4:21-24 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”  This worship is God centered, is never about me, my experience or my feelings. It is rewarding not because “I” but because “HE” was glorified there are no other motivation for this type of worship except God and Him Glorified. 

To be objective there are two common types (or principles) of worship seen in “Christian” churches the Regulative and Normative Principles. The Regulative principle basically says that it is scripture that dictates what we can do in our worship. An example nowhere in scripture do we see a church service being held in conjunction with a day at the beach or pool party so the Regulative would say it is a no go.  The Normative says if scripture does not forbid it is is good to go so grab your swim suit. An extreme example, maybe but you tube it 😦

I am a strong advocate for the first, or Regulative Principle. God is sovereign and as such His Word (Sola Scriptura) dictates to us how we are to live and act in our daily lives. Most Evangelicals accept this, but want to worship god their own way not His (See Vain Worship above) 

The bottom line if you desire Biblical Contentment you can not exempt yourself from personal and corporate Worship of God and it must be all be done in Spirit and Truth. 


Addition Resources: 

What Is the Regulative Principle of Worship?

The Regulative Principle of Worship by 

The Freedom of the Regulative Principle by Kevin DeYoung

Regulative Principle of the Church by Sam Waldron

 

 

¹ The Baltimore Complete Catechism   (Also know as the Puritan Catechism) Compiled by C. H. Spurgeon

DO HIS WILL

Image result for Hebrews 13:21

The following are from A Puritan Catechism Compiled by C. H. Spurgeon

I am persuaded that the use of a good Catechism in all our families will be a great safeguard against the increasing errors of the times, and therefore I have compiled this little manual from the Westminster Assembly’s and Baptist Catechisms, for the use of my own church and congregation. Those who use it in their families or classes must labour to explain the sense; but the words should be carefully learned by heart, for they will be understood better as years pass. May the Lord bless my dear friends and their families evermore, is the prayer of their loving Pastor. – – C. H. Spurgeon

Q1: What is the chief end of man?
A1: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, ( 1 Corinthians 10:31 ) and to enjoy him for ever. ( Psalms 73:25 Psalms 73:26 )

Q2: What rule has God given to direct us how we may glorify him?
A2: The Word of God which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments ( Ephesians 2:20 ; 2 Timothy 3:16 ) is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify God and enjoy him. ( 1 John 1:3 )

Q3: What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A3: The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man. ( 2 Timothy 1:13 ; Ecclesiastes 12:13)


Our main text has two main themes God is a God of Peace and He is a God of Sanctification. The first is easy to understand or so it would seem.

God wants us to have peace in our lives. Yet if this is so (and it is preached from many a pulpit wrongly today) how can we account for the thousands possibly millions of believers around the world undergoing persecution? So the bible has to be wrong there is no other explanation! Actually there is a very logical (biblically speaking) explanation, God here (and in most cases in the bible) is speaking of spiritual eternal and internal peace. While many in this world do experience physical mental and spiritual peace nowhere does the bible guarantee this. 

The second and in my mind BIGGER issue God is speaking about “equip you with everything good” here is Sanctification. As I have written about many times Sanctification is  According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Q. 35), sanctification is “the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.” It is a continuing change worked by God in us, freeing us from sinful habits and forming in us Christlike affections, dispositions, and virtues. It does not mean that sin is instantly eradicated, but it is also more than a counteraction, in which sin is merely restrained or repressed without being progressively destroyed. Sanctification is a real transformation, not just the appearance of one. This is exactly what Paul meant when he said work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”


 

The following Sermon is a highly recommend read:

The God of Peace and Our Sanctification

By Charles Haddon Spurgeon Aug 5, 1877Scripture: Hebrews 13:20, 21Sermon No. 1,368From: Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Volume 23