Devotional Thought for Today – 04/08/2021

Comfort for the Grieving, Hurting, and Dying Series – Part – VII

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Today’s post will be short because Entergy is about to cut the power to my neighborhood. They announced it yesterday as routine maintenance. We will pick it back up tomorrow (hopefully) when the power is restored.

Being grateful for your Grief may seem like an illogical ideal but we have some Biblical examples. Job and Paul come to mind. Paul is sitting in jail in Rome and in Philippians 3:12-16 writes I do not dwell on the things of the past but reach toward what lies ahead.

No words can express how much the world owes to sorrow. Most of the Psalms were born in the wilderness. Most of the Epistles were written in a prison. The greatest thoughts of the greatest thinkers have all passed through fire. The greatest poets have “learned in suffering what they taught in song.” In bonds, Bunyan lived the allegory that he afterwards wrote, and we may thank Bedford Jail for the Pilgrim’s Progress. Take comfort, afflicted Christian! When God is about to make pre-eminent use of a person, He puts them in the fire.

George MacDonald

Here are two articles I found helpful in this area:

Gratitude and Grief

Grief and Grace

Devotional Thought for Today – 27 March 2021

Death and the Christian

Matthew Henry quote: He whose head is in heaven need not fear to...
https://images.app.goo.gl/S5mdZ4u1SZRiNWGV9

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 – 03/24/2021

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

Romans 6

Just about a year ago, I used this same verse in a devotional entitled Wages of Sin. My focus then was God’s call to salvation. Today however as I read this verse, something completely different bothered me, the actual phrase the wages of sin is death. 

Everyone likes getting “paid” for their work.  Even volunteers get paid in the sense they see the results of their efforts. For those with a job that has a monetary wage, that paycheck is their reward, their payoff for hard work. That is their WAGE, their RECOMPENSE, or REWARD.

I think for the first time I put it all together that “we” work hard for our final payment of death.  In other words, the payoff for all our hard work of living a sinful life, our reward,  is eternal death. Culture tells us to just live life to the fullest and damn the consequences.  The Bible makes clear the consequences. In the end,  there is no one else to blame, no one to turn to except ourselves, we are without excuse.  Maybe it is just me but I can think of far better rewards, can’t you?

As I noted in last year’s devotional; Is the Holy Spirit tugging on your heartstrings? Answer God’s call Repent of your sins and make Christ not only the savior of your life but Lord of your life today. 

Today’s Prayer

Heavenly Father, I am a sinner and deserving of eternal death and the lake of fire, I am not worthy to set my foot in Your heavenly home, but I believe that the Lord Jesus paid the price for my sins through His death on Calvary and I heed Your call, Your free gift of salvation and eternal life IN HIM. I ask that Christ be Lord of my life, let the Holy Spirit guide my paths that I may do Your will.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, AMEN.

Modified from Source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/Romans/6/23

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/22/2021

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2 Corinthians 9 

In short, this Chapter is a reminder to the church in Corinth to fulfill their promise to help the church in Jerusalem.  Paul reminds them that gift-giving should be done willingly and cheerfully, that God blesses those who do so and closes with our ext v.15.

Paul uses v.15, as a reminder that they, the members of the church in Corinth had already received a very special gift.  The CSB, NASB, and NIV all render it “his indescribable gift!”  The ESV is depicted above the KJV uses “unspeakable and the NLT renders it “this gift too wonderful for words!”

What is this gift?  It is interesting (to me at least) here Paul does not clearly spell it out, one has to dig a little, I think he understood the church at Corinth should know and so should all true believers. A clue is given in the previous Chapter 8:9 (AMP)For you are recognizing [more clearly] the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [His astonishing kindness, His generosity, His gracious favor], that though He was rich, yet for your sake, He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich (abundantly blessed).  The Gift that goes beyond measure is none other than Christ.

Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary – Read the whole commentary here

REFLECTIONS

It will be a blessed improvement from this Chapter, Under the Lord’s teaching, to learn, while Paul is speaking of alms-deeds, and liberality to the poor; how pure that source of real charity is, which runs from God, and leads to God. What an astonishment would it induce in the minds of some men, if they were told, that as no alms-giving whatever is real charity, unless it ariseth, as a stream doth from a fountain, from the love of God; the numberless public charities as they are called, which have not this origin for their birth, cease to be real charities; and will be found more the effect of pride, and ostentation, than either intended for divine glory, or human happiness. If all the actions of men on the score of charity, were ascertained by this standard, what a draw-back would be found, in the calculations of self-righteous Pharisees, of their real state before God? Reader! do attend to the Apostle’s character of the love of the heart, in that which comes from God, and leads to God. God loveth a cheerful giver. Not simply self-delight, in the deed; for this is often the choicest fruit the self-righteous character gathers, from his charity, in the offering made to the shrine of his vanity: but a cheerful giver to the Lord, of his own bounty, as the Lord’s Almoner. Cheerful in seeing the Lord’s poor, fed from the Lord’s gifts; in which self hath no gratification of pride, but feels humility. Here it is, the cup of cold water becomes a precious gift. And the hundreds of the affluent, given without it, hath no value in the sight of God.

But, Reader! if things be so, think what a gift was, and is, that which flowed, and will forever be flowing, from the free, pure, disinterested love of God, in the gift of his dear Son? Think, what a sovereign, unlooked-for, boundless, bottomless mercy, in the gift of God the Spirit! Oh! for grace to have a right apprehension, of this unspeakable gift!

Today’s Prayer

Loving heavenly Father – thank You for the unspeakably precious gift of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ – Who has been freely given to me and to all who will sill simply believe in His name. Father the gift of Your only begotten Son is beyond all expression, beyond all measure, and beyond all bounds. I fall on my face and worship You for Your unspeakably precious gift to me – in JESUS’s name I pray, AMEN.

Source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/2-Corinthians/9/15

Sunday Sermon Series – The Guilt and Danger of Such a Nation as This

You may have noticed recently I have been posting many devotional thoughts concerning the trends in America. Here is a sermon from John Newton best known for composing Amazing Grace he was with his friend William Cowper a prolific hymn writer and excellent preacher. 

While Jeremiah was obviously speaking prophetically to the nation of Israel in Chapter 5, every nation that turns its back on the one true God of the universe should be equally forewarned. 

Jeremiah 5:29 Shall I not visit for these things? said the LORD: shall not  my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?

SERMON

The Guilt and Danger of Such a Nation as This

BY JOHN NEWTON

 

THREE times* the Lord God repeats, by his prophet, this alarming question. Their ingratitude and obstinacy were so notorious, their sins so enormous and aggravated, the sentence denounced against them, however severe, was so undeniably just, that, partial as they were to themselves, God is pleased to appeal to their own consciences, and to make them judges in their own cause; inviting, or rather challenging, them, to offer any plea why his forbearance and patience, which they had so long despised, should be still afforded them…

CONTINUED > > 


Today’s Prayer 

Dear God,

We as a nation are in turmoil. We have partisan politics, ungodly laws, and tempers flaring over uncertain times. We ask you, Lord, to dwell among us, to not forsake you remnant, nor lift your hand of divine providence.  We confess our nation’s unworthiness of your mercy. 

We are comforted by the knowledge that You alone are our Savior and Lord, and the sovereign Master of life. We trust our nation to Your loving care, Lord. Send Your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders. Give them the wisdom to know what is right, and the courage to do it. Give us Your light and Your truth to guide us in our ways so that we may seek Your will in our lives and impact the world around us for Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen 

Modified from: prayer

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/20/2021

God is the one who dishes out justice, let Him handle it! - Psalm 37:8-9 eCard - Free Facebook Greeting Cards Online

PSALM 37

SUBJECT. The great riddle of the prosperity of the wicked and the affliction of the righteous, which has perplexed so many, is here dealt with in the light of the future; and fretfulness and repining are most impressively forbidden. It is a Psalm in which the Lord hushes most sweetly the too common repinings of his people and calms their minds as to his present dealings with his own chosen flock, and the wolves by whom they are surrounded. It contains eight great precepts, is twice illustrated by autobiographical statements, and abounds in remarkable contrasts.

DIVISION. The Psalm can scarcely be divided into considerable sections. It resembles a chapter of the book of Proverbs, most of the verses being complete in themselves. It is an alphabetical Psalm: in somewhat broken order, the first letters of the verses follow the Hebrew alphabet. This may have been not only a poetical invention but a help to memory. The reader is requested to read the Psalm through without comment before he turns to our exposition… C.H. Spurgeon

Our text today v.8-9 imparts an important principle for all believers. Worthless or unrighteous anger, and how to deal with it.

Before I continue I want to make sure we understand that righteous anger is not forbidden in the bible. We should be angry at abortion, same-sex unions, LBGTQ stuff, the lack of Christian fighting the good fight, etc. 

Here v.8, the psalmist is saying stop being so angry at these rich evil men or at God for allowing them to be in power. Remember pent-up anger can turn to wrath and that can lead to ungodly acts of rage. In v.9, we find a twofold promise. Those who do evil will be cut off from the eternal kingdom and those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

They shall inherit the earth. He means that they shall live in such a manner as that the blessing of God shall follow them, even to the grave. John Calvin.

The “Christian” that says I never get angry or it’s a sin to do so, is either not living or never read the book. Most “stuff” in the world today really makes me mad, and Jesus certainly got mad more than 0nce. Yet the Bible is clear Ephesians 4:26–27 says, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (ESV). We are to be angry at the immorality, the unethical behaviors around us without sinning. 

Today’s Prayer

Lord, whenever I see injustice and unbiblical acts I can easily become angry.  Far too often, I keep this anger within, this affects me and those around me.  It prevents me from serving and glorifying you. Help me Lord, to have this righteous anger yet never sin.  To understand your promises concerning those who do evil and to pray for their souls. Teach me to respond to others with graciousness and love.  In the name of Jesus I pray – Amen. 


“What does it mean to not let the sun go down on your anger?”

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/17/2021

Call of Abram

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Genesis 12

Summary: God calls Abram, and blesses him with a promise of Christ. (1-3) Abram departs from Haran. (4-5) He journeys through Canaan and worships God in that land. (6-9) Abram is driven by a famine into Egypt, He feigns his wife to be his sister. (10-20) – MHCC

Our text today is from the first part of the chapter.  There are a few things that strike me as pretty amazing;

      • There is no apparent previous relationship (interaction) between God and Abram (See Previous Chapters)
      • God calls Abram to abandon all he knows (v.1)
      • God makes great promises to Abram (v.2-3)
      • Abram at age 75 obeys unhesitantly (v.4)

Today’s question is simple if you are a child of God, what has God called you to do for the Kingdom that you are not willing to abandon all for? 

Today’s Prayer

Lord God, I pray today for faith like Abram, to be ready and willing to surrender all you have given me in order to go and serve you for the needs of the kingdom and your Glory. I count your promises to watch over and protect me send your Holy Spirit to guide my path. AMEN

 

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

 

Sunday Sermon Series – The Indwelling Word

Logos.com

COLOSSIANS 3

The book of Colossians describes Christ as superior to all other teachers, faiths, and philosophies. In this letter, written from prison, Paul once again tackles false teachings. Among these errors claim that Christians need to give up all physical enjoyments, that they should worship angels, and that they need to rely on the wisdom of an elite few. These problems are consistent with an ancient heresy known as Gnosticism. In response, Paul explains that Christ is supreme and sufficient for our salvation.¹

There are two major themes in Chapter 3, Holy Living v.1-17 and Family Relations v.18 -4:1.  Our text comes from the first part. Paul used some strong words (depending on your translation)  put off v.1-4, put to death v.5-7, remove all v.8-9, put on v.9-10, to remind the church at Colossae and us that we are no longer bound to the world and live the life v.11-17 in Christ. 

SERMON

CHRIST’S INDWELLING WORD

DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON
ON LORD’S-DAY EVENING, APRIL 10, 1881


Other Resources

The Incomparable Christ: Exposition of Colossians: Sing As Though Your Life Depended On ItSermon by Derek Thomas on June 10, 2007

¹ Source