Devotional Thought for Today – 05/01/2021

God uses unqualified people to accomplish His purposes.

The Master’s Men

“The names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-gatherer; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him” (Matt. 10:2-4).

We live in a qualification-conscious society. Almost everything you do requires you to meet someone else’s standards. You must qualify to purchase a home, buy a car, get a credit card, or attend college. In the job market, the most difficult jobs require people with the highest possible qualifications.

Ironically, God uses unqualified people to accomplish the world’s most important task: advancing the kingdom of God. It has always been that way: Adam and Eve plunged the human race into sin. Lot got drunk and committed incest with his own daughters. Abraham doubted God and committed adultery. Jacob deceived his father. Moses was a murderer. David was too, as well as an adulterer. Jonah got upset when God showed mercy to Nineveh. Elijah withstood 850 false priests and prophets, yet fled in terror from one woman—Jezebel. Paul murdered Christians. And the list goes on and on.

The fact is, no one is fully qualified to do God’s work. That’s why He uses unqualified people. Perhaps that truth is most clearly illustrated in the twelve disciples, who had numerous human frailties, different temperaments, different skills, and diverse backgrounds, yet Christ used them to change the world.

This month you will meet the disciples one by one. As you do, I want you to see that they were common men with a very uncommon calling. I also want you to observe the training process Jesus put them through, because it serves as a pattern for our discipleship as well.

I pray you will be challenged by their strengths and encouraged by the way God used them despite their weaknesses and failures. He will use you too as you continue yielding your life to Him.

Suggestions for Prayer

Memorize Luke 6:40. Ask God to make you more like Christ.

For Further Study

Read 2 Timothy 1:3-5, noting the weaknesses Timothy may have struggled with, and how Paul encouraged him. How might Paul’s words apply to you?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Devotional Thought for Today – 04/22/2021

I have a very early morning doctor’s appointment with the local Pain clinic for my back and neck so I will not have time to write the next in our series this morning. Here is an excellent devotional from Grace to You ministries that was in this morning’s inbox.

Drawing Near

Risking True Peace

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt. 5:9).

True peace exists only where truth reigns.

People often define peace as the absence of conflict, but God sees it differently. The absence of conflict is merely a truce, which might end overt hostilities but doesn’t resolve the underlying issues. A truce simply introduces a cold war, which often drives the conflict underground, where it smolders until erupting in physical or emotional disaster.

James 3:17 says, “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable.” Godly wisdom, purity, and peace go hand- in-hand. Peace is wisdom in action and is never established at the expense of righteousness. It brings righteousness to bear on the situation, seeking to eliminate the source of conflict and create right relationships. Feuding parties will know true peace only when they are willing to admit that their bitterness and hatred is wrong and humbly seek God’s grace to make things right.

Some people equate peacemaking with evading issues, but true peace can be very confrontive. In Matthew 10:34 Jesus says, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” That may seem to contradict Matthew 5:9, but it doesn’t: Jesus knew that sinful people have to be confronted with the truth before they can experience peace. That can be a painful and difficult process because people usually have a hostile reaction to the gospel before they finally embrace it. Even believers will sometimes react negatively when confronted with God’s truth.

Being a biblical peacemaker has its price. You can expect to upset unbelievers who openly oppose God’s Word as well as believers who compromise its truth for the sake of maintaining “peace” among people of differing doctrinal persuasions. Some will call you narrow-minded and divisive for dealing with controversial issues. Some will misunderstand your motives or even attack you personally. But that’s been the path of every true peacemaker— including our Lord Himself. Take heart and be faithful. Your efforts to bring peace show that you are a child of God.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Ask God for the boldness never to compromise His truth.
  • Pray for those you know who are suffering for the sake of the gospel.

Edited Slightly from Source: https://www.gty.org/library/devotionals/drawing-near

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/16/2021

Drawing Near

Every once in a while it is good to share something besides my writing and thoughts. 

Today’s devotional is from John MacArthur’s book Drawing Near and is based upon the text,  “Hallowed be Thy name” (Matt. 6:9).

God is holy and deserves your highest respect and your humble obedience.

Hallowing God’s Name

Praying with Fervency

Today instead of my writing a devotional I thought I would share this one from the teaching of John MacArthurDrawing Near was published back in the 1990s and is definitely a great read. 

Praying with Fervency

“I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes” (Dan. 9:3).
The more you understand God’s holiness, the more you’ll recognize your own sinfulness.

People view prayer differently. For some it is a last resort after all human options have been exhausted: “All I can do now is pray for you!” Others liken it to a spiritual spare tire—something used only in the event of an emergency. Many who should thrive on prayer have been lulled into complacency by an affluent and godless society.

Daniel, however, saw prayer as an opportunity to express the passion and fervency of his heart to the God he loved and served. In Daniel 9:3 he says, “I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him.” That implies he set apart a specific time to devote to thoughtful, earnest, and fervent prayer. That is further supported by the way he prepared himself through fasting and donning sackcloth and ashes—symbols of humility and deep contrition over sin.

It might seem unusual for a man of Daniel’s spiritual stature to be overwhelmed by his sense of sin, but the closer one draws to God, the more aware he is of his sinfulness. We see that in Paul, who called himself the foremost of all sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). That might seem like a ridiculous statement to us but Paul saw sin for what it was. So did Daniel.

The title “Lord God” in verse 3 emphasizes God’s sovereign rule over all things. Daniel knew that God had permitted the Babylonian Captivity and that He alone could deliver His people from it. Consequently, Daniel gave the Lord his undivided attention as he prayed and sought mercy for himself and his people.

Daniel’s fervency is a rebuke to much of the flippancy we hear in prayer today. It was profound because it was generated by God’s Word and grounded in His will.

James 5:16 says, “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (KJV). Be like Daniel—a righteous person who prays fervently with great effect.

Suggestions for Prayer

      • Ask God to give you a greater sense of fervency in prayer.
      • Be sensitive to any sin that might be hindering your prayers.

For Further Study

Read Luke 11:5-13

      • What parable did Jesus tell to illustrate the benefits of humble, persistent prayer?
      • How did Jesus contrast earthly fathers with their heavenly Father?

 

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

 

 

 

Chaos, Corruption and the Christian Repsonse

Here is a 7 part series from John MacArthur and Grace to You Ministries that I hope will greatly bless you in these troubling times. 
      1. Life Under the Sun
      2. Love and Fulfilling the Law
      3. Rejecting God’s Restraints
      4. The High Cost of Rejecting God
      5. Comprehensive Corruption
      6. The Heart of the Problem Is the Heart
      7. A World Gone Mad

The People Who Missed Christmas

In this 5 part series from Grace to You Blog and John MacArthur we explore those who missed Christmas.  We are not talking all the glitz and party of modern “christmas” but the true meaning of “CHRISTMAS”

Sunday Sermon Series – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

A Christmas Carol's Link to the Gutenberg Printing Press | WQXR Editorial | WQXR

Luke 2:13-14


HISTORY 

When Charles Wesley wrote this carol in 1739, he had no idea it would become famous. He first named it “Hark, how all the welkin ring,” welkin being an archaic English term for the heavens. When George Whitefield published it in 1753, he changed the first line to read, “Hark! The herald angels sing,” and so it has remained that way ever since.

For the first 120 years, the words were sung to various tunes. But that changed in 1856 when William Cummings joined the lyrics with a tune written by Felix Mendelssohn for the Gutenberg Festival in 1840 to celebrate the introduction of printing. Mendelssohn would be surprised by that because he had written that his tune would be welcomed by singers and hearers, “but it will never do to sacred words.”

Charles Wesley’s hymn offers us a good survey of theology. It mentions many of the names and titles of Christ: King, Lord, Prince of Peace, Sun of Righteousness, Everlasting Lord, Desire of Nations, Incarnate Deity, and Emmanuel. After the first stanza’s call to praise “the new-born King,” the following stanzas celebrate the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, the resurrection of the body, and the truth of the new birth. Two phrases, in particular, deserve comment: “Mild he lays his glory by” refers to Christ’s willingness to lay aside the glory of heaven to take on human nature and become one of us. “Late in time behold him come” reminds us of Hebrews 1:2 where we are told “in these last days” God has spoken to us through his Son. – Godtube.com 


SERMON

The First Christmas Carol

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, December 20, 1857

Scripture: Luke 2:14

From: New Park Street Pulpit Volume 4


RELATED SERMONS

Songs of Christmas: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Sermon by J. Ligon Duncan on December 19, 2004

The Announcement of Jesus’ Birth, Part 1

The Announcement of Jesus’ Birth, Part 2, John MacArthur, 1999

The Announcement of Jesus’ Birth, Part 3

Devotional Thought for Today – 12/12/2020

PRAYER

John Bunyan on Prayer,  Three part series we posted earlier this year


  • Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused. — Spurgeon
  • God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil. — E.M. Bounds
  • It is possible to move men, through God, by prayer alone. — Hudson Taylor
  • Worship and intercession must go together; the one is impossible without the other. Intercession means that we rouse ourselves up to get the mind of Christ about the one for whom we pray. — Oswald Chambers
  • Prayer is the exercise of drawing on the grace of God. — Oswald Chambers
  • Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue; God’s voice is its most essential part. Listening to God’s voice is the secret of the assurance that he will listen to mine. — Andrew Murray
  • To desire revival… and at the same time to neglect (personal) prayer and devotion is to wish one way and walk another. — A.W. Tozer
  • God looks not at the oratory of your prayers, how elegant they may be; nor at the geometry of your prayers, how long they may be; nor at the arithmetic of your prayers, how many they may be; not at logic of your prayers, how methodical they may be; but the sincerity of them he looks at. – Thomas Brooks

The following is a list of my top 10 authors, pastors, and theologians along their various resources on Prayer, available by clicking on their names. 

Alistair Begg

A.W. Pink

C.H. Spurgeon

E.M. Bounds

John MacArthur

Martin Lloyd Jones 

Octavius Winslow

R.C. Sproul

Thomas Boston

Thomas Watson

The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions by Arthur  Bennett. The Strength of Purtian char… | Scripture quotes, Reformed  theology, Cool words

 

 

Grace to You Blog Posts

 

This World is not our Home Series

Morality Damns

The Hopelessness of Hope and Change

Don’t Love What God Hates

A Heavenly Worldview

No Place Like Home

When Eternity Is More Important

Hearts in Heaven

In the World, But Not of It Series

The Friction of Faith

The Campaign of Persecution

Inviting Persecution

The Gospel in a Hostile World

Separation, Purity, and Thanksgiving

John MacArthur on Loving One Another in the Midst of Persecution

Separation and Purity

Separation, Purity, and Christmas

MISC Related Posts

Kicking at God’s Restraints

The Pathology of a Doomed Culture

The Futility of Political Change

How to Live in a Pagan Culture

This World Is Not Our Home

The Impotence of the False Church

 

Giving Thanks

Even with  COVID,  Political and Financial uncertainties, we all have much to be grateful for this year.  Maybe, just maybe if we spent more time thinking on that instead of our woes we would be in a better place? 

From all of us at FSM and FSMWO Happy Thanksgiving. 

Remembering All His Benefits

This message was originally preached on September 30, 2018.

It was 1519 in Leipzig, Germany, two centuries before Johann Sebastian Bach came to that city, became the music director in the church there, and wrote new music for every Sunday – a body of work which all of us have come to know and love. But about two centuries before Bach in Leipzig, a powerful force had been unleashed in Germany and all across Europe in the form of Martin Luther. Martin Luther was a Catholic monk, a very powerful personality, a very powerful figure and very capable teacher. He had posted his 95 Theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany – 95 theses, 95 issues that he felt needed to be addressed and corrected in the Roman Catholic Church

Source: Remembering All His Benefits