Sep 30, 2008

Devotional - Victory through Christ who loved us !

"In all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us."-- Rom_8:37.

Can anything separate me from the love of Christ? was the only question that St. Paul felt worth consideration. In this paragraph he takes the extreme conditions of being, and carefully investigates them, knowing that they include all between. First, he interrogates Existence--"death and life"; next, created Intelligences--"Angels, principalities, and powers"; next, the extremes of Time--"things present, things to come"; next, of Space---"height and depth"; lastly, the created Universe --"any other creature." Each of these extremes is passed in review. He is like a man proving every link of the chain in which he is going to swing out over the abyss. Carefully and fervently he has tested all, and is satisfied that none of them can cut him off from the love of God.

We strangely misjudge and mistrust the Love of God our Father, and think that our distresses and sufferings, our sins and failures, may make Him love us less. But in the home, it is not the troop of sturdy children that engross the mother's care so much as the puny feeble life, that lies in the cot, unable to help itself and reciprocate her love. And in the world, death and pain, disease and sorrow, sin and failure, so far from separating us from God's love, bind us closer.
Oh blessed Love! that comes down to us from the heart of Jesus, the essence of the eternal love of God--nothing can ever staunch, exhaust, intercept it. It is not our love to Him, but His to us, and since nothing can separate us from the love of God, He will go on loving us for ever, and pouring into us the entire fullness of His life and glory. Whatever our difficulties, whatever our weakness and infirmity, we shall be kept steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; gaining by our losses, succeeding by our failures, triumphing in our defeats, and ever more than conquerors through Him that loved us.

Yea thro' life, thro' sorrow and thro' sinning He shall suffice me, for He hath sufficed: Christ is the end, for Christ was the beginning, Christ is the beginning, for the end is Christ.

Devotional - Christ - an example for men

"For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you." John 13:15 

EVERY soul re-cast into this model, every mind conformed to this pattern, and every life reflecting this image, is an exalting and a glorifying of the Son of God. There is no single practical truth in the word of God on which the Spirit is more emphatic than the example which Christ has set for the imitation of His followers. The Church needed a perfect pattern, a flawless model. It wanted an impersonation, a living embodiment of those precepts of the gospel so strictly enjoined upon every believer, and God has graciously set before us our true model. "Whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son." And what says Christ Himself? "My sheep follow me." 

We allow that there are points in which we cannot and are not required literally and strictly to follow Christ. We cannot lay claim to His infallibility. He who sets himself up as infallible in his judgment, spotlessly pure in his heart, and perfect in his attainments in holiness, deceives his own soul. Jesus did many things, too, as our Surety, which we cannot do. We cannot drink of the cup of Divine trembling which He drank; nor can we be baptized with the baptism of blood with which He was baptized. He did many things as a Jew-was circumcised, kept the passover &christian.-which are not obligatory upon us. And yet, in all that is essential to our sanctification, to our holy, obedient, God-glorifying walk, He has "left us an example, that we should follow His steps." In His lowly spirit, meek, humble deportment, and patient endurance of suffering: "Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart." In the disinterestedness of His love, His pure benevolence, the unselfishness of His religion: "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others: let this mind be you which was also in Christ Jesus." "For even Christ pleased not Himself." 

Look not every man on his own circle, his own family, his own gifts, his own interests, comfort, and happiness; upon his own Church, his own community, his own minister. Let him not look upon these exclusively. Let him not prefer his own advantage to the public good. Let him not be self-willed in matters involving the peace and comfort of others. Let him not form favorite theories, or individual opinions, to the hazard of a Church's prosperity or of a family's happiness. Let him yield, sacrifice, and give place, rather than carry a point to the detriment of others. Let him, with a generous, magnanimous, disinterested spirit, in all things imitate Jesus, who "pleased not Himself." Let him seek the good of others, honoring their gifts, respecting their opinions, nobly yielding when they correct and overrule his own. Let him promote the peace of the Church, consult the honor of Christ, and seek the glory of God, above and beyond all private and selfish ends. 

This is to be conformed to the image of God's dear Son, to which high calling we are predestinated; and in any feature of resemblance which the Holy Spirit brings out in the holy life of a follower of the Lamb, Christ is thereby glorified before men and angels. 

Sep 28, 2008

Devotional - Preparedness to meet Christ - The believer's joy!

The parable of the ten virgins

In this parable the open enemies of Christ are not mentioned. There are only two classes described—true believers and false professors.

It seems that the difference between the wise and foolish virgins was not discovered until the bridegroom's return was announced. Had the wise virgins been aware of the unprepared state of their companions, they would sooner have recommended them to supply themselves with oil. There are many false professors who are not detected by true Christians. What do they gain by the deception? They gain a name to live; but they lose more than they gain; for they lose those moving exhortations which would be addressed to them, if their real state were known, and which might prove their salvation. They are permitted to remain undisturbed, because they are undetected. They learn to flatter themselves in their own eyes, and to believe that they are secure. But when the bridegroom returns, then their sad condition will be discovered.

What a succession of disappointments will they experience at last! It was a disappointment to the foolish virgins when they found that their lamps had gone out. It will be a bitter disappointment to many when they find that a form of religion will avail them nothing; and that they have no grace in their hearts. The oil seems to represent holy feelings, which the Holy Spirit alone bestows; love, faith, repentance, peace, hope, joy. It is possible to maintain a creditable reputation for piety without possessing any of the fruits of the Holy Spirit; but it is written, "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord."

The first disappointment the foolish virgins met with was finding their lamps had gone out. The second was hearing their companions refuse to share any of their oil. Our Christian friends will not be able to help us in the day of the Lord! They will not be able to impart to us the grace which is in their own hearts. When the foolish virgins returned from buying oil, how great must have been their disappointment to find the door shut! Yet they still entertained hope, and entreated to be admitted. The bridegroom's reply was the last, and the greatest of all the disappointments they had sustained. Those terrible words, "I know you not," cut off every hope, and consigned to eternal despair.

And what does this parable teach? To watch—that is, to prepare for the sudden return of our Lord. He will come with the rapidity of lightning, and those whom he finds unprepared, must continue forever unfit to abide in his presence. He gives notice to the world of the suddenness of his second coming by the suddenness with which he often causes the arrows of death to overtake sinners. Some are cut off so suddenly that they do not even know that they are dying. They fall down in a fit, are stunned by a blow, or dashed to pieces by a fall, before they can say, or even think, "Is this death?" Others have a short warning of their latter end; they are filled with dismay; they know not what to do; they send here and there for some minister to pray with them, but before he can arrive they expire. Few, when they are first taken ill, know that their sickness is unto death; and their last hour often comes upon them with unexpected speed.

It is the height of folly to remain satisfied with having a form of religion; for, at any moment, we may hear the cry, "The bridegroom comes." Then the unconverted will suddenly discover that they are not prepared; but the discovery will be of no use then. How important it is to ascertain now whether we are born again of the Spirit, sprinkled with the blood of Jesus Christ, and meet for the inheritance of the saints in light!

Devotional - Friends in Christ - by our obedience

What an awesome privilege to be called God's friends !! And yet, that is what we are, chosen by Christ to be His friends by our obedience. A beautiful devotional from Morrison. 

“ Ye Are My Friends, if Ye Do the Things Which I Command You ” 
- Joh_15:14

Our Lord has said what He gave as proof of His friendship: He gave His life for us. He now tells us what our part is to be—to do the things which He commands. He gave His life to secure a place for His love in our hearts to rule us; the response His love calls us to, and empowers us for, is that we do what He commands us. As we know the dying love, we shall joyfully obey its commands. As we obey the commands, we shall know the love more fully. Christ had already said: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love.” He counts it needful to repeat the truth again: the one proof of our faith in His love, the one way to abide in it, the one mark of being true branches is—to do the things which He commands us. He began with absolute surrender of His life for us. He can ask nothing less from us. This alone is a life in His friendship. 

This truth, of the imperative necessity of obedience, doing all that Christ commands us, has not the place in our Christian teaching and living that Christ meant it to have. We have given a far higher place to privilege than to duty. We have not considered implicit obedience as a condition of true discipleship. The secret thought that it is impossible to do the things He commands us, and that therefore it cannot be expected of us, and a subtle and unconscious feeling that sinning is a necessity have frequently robbed both precepts and promises of their power. The whole relation to Christ has become clouded and lowered, the waiting on His teaching, the power to hear and obey His voice, and through obedience to enjoy His love and friendship, have been enfeebled by the terrible mistake. Do let us try to return to the true position, take Christ’s words as most literally true, and make nothing less the law of our life: “Ye are my friends, if ye do the things that I command you.” Surely our Lord asks nothing less than that we heartily and truthfully say: “Yea, Lord, what Thou dost command, that will I do.” 

These commands are to be done as a proof of friendship. The power to do them rests entirely in the personal relationship to Jesus. For a friend I could do what I would not for another. The friendship of Jesus is so heavenly and wonderful, it comes to us so as the power of a divine love entering in and taking possession, the unbroken fellowship with Himself is so essential to it, that it implies and imparts a joy and a love which make the obedience a delight. The liberty to claim the friendship of Jesus, the power to enjoy it, the grace to prove it in all its blessedness—all come as we do the things He commands us. 

Is not the one thing needful for us that we ask our Lord to reveal Himself to us in the dying love in which He proved Himself our friend, and then listen as He says to us: “Ye are My friends.” As we see what our Friend has done for us, and what as unspeakable blessedness it is to have Him call us friends, the doing His commands will become the natural fruit of our life in his love. We shall not fear to say: “Yea, Lord, we are Thy friends, and do what Thou dost command us.” 

If ye do. Yes, it is in doing that we are blessed, that we abide in His love, that we enjoy His friendship. “If ye do what I command you!” O my Lord, let Thy holy friendship lead me into the love of all Thy commands, and let the doing of Thy commands lead me ever deeper into Thy friendship. 

Devotional - Persist in the Lord - His word and His promise

Persist in the lord - a beautiful devotional from Spurgeon

“Go again seven times.”
- 1Ki_18:43

Success is certain when the Lord has promised it. Although you may have pleaded month after month without evidence of answer, it is not possible that the Lord should be deaf when his people are earnest in a matter which concerns his glory. The prophet on the top of Carmel continued to wrestle with God, and never for a moment gave way to a fear that he should be non-suited in Jehovah’s courts. Six times the servant returned, but on each occasion no word was spoken but “Go again.” We must not dream of unbelief, but hold to our faith even to seventy times seven. Faith sends expectant hope to look from Carmel’s brow, and if nothing is beheld, she sends again and again. So far from being crushed by repeated disappointment, faith is animated to plead more fervently with her God. She is humbled, but not abashed: her groans are deeper, and her sighings more vehement, but she never relaxes her hold or stays her hand. It would be more agreeable to flesh and blood to have a speedy answer, but believing souls have learned to be submissive, and to find it good to wait for as well as upon the Lord. Delayed answers often set the heart searching itself, and so lead to contrition and spiritual reformation: deadly blows are thus struck at our corruption, and the chambers of imagery are cleansed. The great danger is lest men should faint, and miss the blessing. Reader, do not fall into that sin, but continue in prayer and watching. At last the little cloud was seen, the sure forerunner of torrents of rain, and even so with you, the token for good shall surely be given, and you shall rise as a prevailing prince to enjoy the mercy you have sought. Elijah was a man of like passions with us: his power with God did not lie in his own merits. If his believing prayer availed so much, why not yours? Plead the precious blood with unceasing importunity, and it shall be with you according to your desire.

Sep 25, 2008

Devotional - Remember the christian basics

An excellent article from Steve Troxel (I love the truly evangelistic messages which God sends through him - find him on A very refreshing devotional.

Remember The Basics

As we continue down God's path of sanctification, "being transformed into His likeness" (2 Corinthians 3:18), moving from milk to solid food (Hebrews 5:12), and growing in grace and "all spiritual wisdom and understanding" (Colossians 1:9), it's wise to return often to the basics of our faith.  As we learn more of our Heavenly Father and ponder His "deeper truths," we must never forget that "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).  The truth of all scripture is that God loves us and is inviting us to join Him - to know Him and enjoy Him - for all eternity.

The Apostle Peter understood the importance of fundamentals.  He wrote his second letter to warn us against false teaching and to remind us that, as we step out in faith, we have been given all the necessary tools to accomplish what God desires for our life; "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3).

Peter taught that when we place our trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins, we receive everything we need to live a victorious life; "so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires" (2 Peter 1:4).  The real challenge of our Christian walk is not in acquiring new and "greater" gifts, but in learning how to best utilize what we have already received.

Peter also wanted us to remember that Salvation is not the end of our journey; rather, it's the beginning of a long and wonderful walk which begins in faith and continues by growing ever closer to Christ.  Since we have been given such a wonderful gift, we should "make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love" (2 Peter 1:5-7).  We must continue to grow such that the end result - the highest quality of our Christian life - is love!

Peter believed these to be fundamental truths, but truths which were necessary to often repeat!

2 Peter 1:12-13
"So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.  I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live."

To ensure we don't wander down side paths filled with self-effort and self-importance, or stumble in the world's temptation of corruption and evil desires, we must continually return to the starting point of our faith.  We must never forget that God loves us and desires to walk with us each and every day.  All that we do must be directed by God and accomplished with the tools He has provided.  Let's dig deep at every opportunity, but let's remain lovingly close to His side and always remember the basics.

Sep 22, 2008

Devotional - Liberty by the Holy Spirit

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  (2Co_3:17)

As we have seen, the old covenant of law produces spiritual bondage in those who attempt to live under it. The great heavenly remedy for that bondage is the new covenant of grace, because it produces spiritual liberty. This liberty is a work of the Holy Spirit. "Now the Lord is the Spirit." The life-giving Lord of grace is the Spirit of God: "the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2Co_3:6). 

Living by rules and regulations ("of the letter") has a deadening, binding spiritual effect on people. This is how the Pharisee's "ministered." "For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders" (Mat_23:4). Jesus came to liberate people, to set them free. This is why Jesus ministered by the Holy Spirit. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed" (Luk_4:18). As Jesus, the Son of God, humbly served the Father, the Holy Spirit empowered Him to rescue captives, to release the oppressed. 

Rescuing people from sin and unrighteousness is the fundamental, liberating work of Jesus. "And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness" (Rom_6:18). Now, we are free to grow in a life of righteousness. Our newfound freedom is not for personal indulgence. It is for the serving the Lord. "As free, yet not using your liberty as a cloak for vice, but as servants of God" (1Pe_2:16). Now that we are free, we can use our freedom to lovingly minister to others. "For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another" (Gal_5:13). 

Another wonder of Christ's rescuing, liberating work is that He wants to save us from self-dependent striving to develop a life of godliness and loving service. He accomplishes this by the work of the Holy Spirit. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom_8:2). As we walk in humble dependence, the Holy Spirit imparts to us the life that is in Christ Jesus. This liberates us from the tendency to rely upon fleshly human resources, which are inadequate (due to sin and spiritual deadness).

Dear God of all spiritual liberation, I praise You for setting me free from sin and the service of self. Now I ask You to work in and through me by Your Holy Spirit, setting me free from self-striving in my service of You, in Jesus name, Amen.

Sep 21, 2008

Devotional - God rejoicing over His children

“I will rejoice over them to do them good.”
- Jer_32:41

How heart-cheering to the believer is the delight which God has in his saints! We cannot see any reason in ourselves why the Lord should take pleasure in us; we cannot take delight in ourselves, for we often have to groan, being burdened; conscious of our sinfulness, and deploring our unfaithfulness; and we fear that God’s people cannot take much delight in us, for they must perceive so much of our imperfections and our follies, that they may rather lament our infirmities than admire our graces. But we love to dwell upon this transcendent truth, this glorious mystery: that as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so does the Lord rejoice over us. We do not read anywhere that God delighteth in the cloud-capped mountains, or the sparkling stars, but we do read that he delighteth in the habitable parts of the earth, and that his delights are with the sons of men. We do not find it written that even angels give his soul delight; nor doth he say, concerning cherubim and seraphim, “Thou shalt be called Hephzibah, for the Lord delighteth in thee”; but he does say all that to poor fallen creatures like ourselves, debased and depraved by sin, but saved, exalted, and glorified by his grace. In what strong language he expresses his delight in his people! Who could have conceived of the eternal One as bursting forth into a song? Yet it is written, “He will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” As he looked upon the world he had made, he said, “It is very good”; but when he beheld those who are the purchase of Jesus’ blood, his own chosen ones, it seemed as if the great heart of the Infinite could restrain itself no longer, but overflowed in divine exclamations of joy. Should not we utter our grateful response to such a marvellous declaration of his love, and sing, “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation?”

Sep 20, 2008

Devotional - Access to Grace through Humility and Faith

God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble . . . through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand.  (Jam_4:6 and Rom_5:2)

Thus far in our daily meditations on growing in the grace of God, we have examined various areas of biblical truth: such as, the Old Covenant of law, the New Covenant of grace, God's sufficiency for godly living, living by the promises of God, and Old Testament saints who lived by God's grace. Now, we return to an extended consideration of how we avail ourselves of the glorious riches of God's grace. As noted earlier in our studies, God's grace is accessed through humility and faith.  

If we desire to live by God's grace, we must be willing to renounce pride and to walk in humility. "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." The Lord is opposed to the path of self-sufficiency. When we pridefully assume that we can produce the kind of life God calls us to live, spiritual progress is prevented. Humility involves agreeing with God's pronouncements concerning our inadequacies. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves" (2Co_3:5). The person who is willing to walk humbly before the Lord has an accurate understanding of our comprehensive need for the Lord to work in and through our lives. "Without Me you can do nothing" (Joh_15:5).  

Along with humility regarding ourselves, God wants us to walk in faith regarding Him. The Lord wants to work in our lives by His incomparable grace. Faith accesses grace: "through whom [Jesus] also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand." The Lord is pleased by the path of "Christ-dependency."  

Whenever we face any issue of life by faith in Jesus Christ, we are drawing upon the abounding grace of the Lord. When we dependently accept that God can produce the kind of life He calls us to live, spiritual progress is assured. Faith involves agreeing with God's pronouncements concerning Him being our adequacy: "but our sufficiency is from God" (2Co_3:5). The person who is willing to walk in faith toward the Lord has an accurate understanding of His comprehensive ability to work in and through our lives. "He who abides in Me . . . bears much fruit" (Joh_15:5).  

Also, as noted earlier, humility and faith are relational realities. Neither can be produced by us. They are not the result of human labor. They can only develop as an increasing reality through a growing relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Dear Lord, I humbly admit my own insufficiency to produce the life You want me to live. Nevertheless, I confidently confess Your grace as my sufficient resource for abundant fruitfulness. Lord, I want to know You better, that humility and faith might be growing realities in my life, Amen.

Sep 19, 2008

Bible study - Reasons to praise the lord (WHY?)

None can exhaust the reasons to praise the lord. I am only doing this study to convince us of the enormity of our need to Praise Him ! (I have been fully guided in this study by R.A.Torrey's work)

God (&Christ) is worthy of our praise. 
2Sa 22:4  I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. 
Rev 5:12  Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. 

Praise God for 

His majesty, glory & excellence
Psa 96:6  Honor and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. 
Isa 24:14  They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea. 
Psa 138:5  Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD. 
Psa 148:13  Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven. 

His greatness
1Ch 16:25  For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.
Psa 145:3  Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. 

His holiness
Isa 6:3  And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 

His wisdom
Jud 1:25  To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. 

His power
Psa 21:13  Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power. 

His goodness & mercy
Psa 107:8  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 
Psa 118:1  O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth forever. 

His loving kindness & truth
Psa 138:2  I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. 

His faithfulness
Isa 25:1  O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. 

His salvation
Psa 18:46  The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. 
Isa 35:10  And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 
Isa 61:10  I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,
Luk 1:68  Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 

His wonderful works
Psa 89:5  And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. 
Psa 150:2  Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. 
Isa 25:1  O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. 

His solace
Psa 42:5  Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. 
Isa 12:1  And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. 

His righteous judgement
Psa 101:1  A Psalm of David. I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing. 

His counsel
Psa 16:7  I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. 

His true promises
1Ki 8:56  Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant. 

His pardon of our sins
Psa 103:2  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 
Psa 103:3  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 

His gift of spiritual health
Psa 103:3  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 

Our constant preservation
Psa 71:6  By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee. 

Our deliverance
Psa 40:2  He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 
Psa 40:3  And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. 
Psa 124:6  Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. 

Our protection
Psa 28:7  The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. 
Psa 59:17  Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defense, and the God of my mercy. 

Answering our prayers
Psa 28:6  Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. 
Psa 118:21  I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. 

His spiritual blessings
Eph 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 

His temporal blessings
Psa 136:25  Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth forever. 

His constant blessings
Psa 68:19  Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.

I would love to continue this as a series on how to praise the lord. 

Sep 16, 2008

Bible study - on our role as parents for our children

Its been a very long time since I posted a bible study on a topic. Again, I am revisiting a topic which I have written in devotionals and snippets. This is a small post on parents and children.

Children are a gift from God-
Psa 127:3  Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 

Parents need to love their children-
Tit 2:4  That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 

Parents should bring their children to Christ- 
Mat 19:13  Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. 
Mat 19:14  But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Parents should train them up for God-
Eph 6:4  And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 
Pro 22:6  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 

Parents should instruct the children on the word of God-
Deu 11:18  Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. 
Deu 11:19  And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 
Isa 38:19  The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth. 
Deu 4:9  Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; 

Parents should educate their generations on the Lord's judgement-
Joe 1:3  Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. 

Parents should tell the children about His miraculous works-
Exo 10:2  And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD. 
Psa 78:4  We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. 

Parents should command the children to obey God-
Deu 32:46  And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law. 
Deu 32:47  For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it. 
1Ch 28:9  And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever. 

Parents should bless their children - as we have seen the patriarchs bless their children.

Parents should pity their children-
Psa 103:13  Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. 

Parents should provide for the children-
2Co 12:14  Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 
Job 42:15  And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. 

Parents should rule over their children-
1Ti 3:4  One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 

Parents should correct their children-
Pro 13:24  He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him quickly. 
Pro 19:18  Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. 
Pro 23:14  Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. 
Pro 29:17  Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul. 
Heb 12:7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 
Heb 12:8  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 

Parents should not provoke their children-
Col 3:21  Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. 

Parents shall not take an unholy connection for their children-
Gen 28:1  And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. 

Parents should pray for their children's spiritual health-
1Ch 29:19  And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision. 

Parents should pray to God when their children are sick-
2Sa 12:16  David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth. 
(and numerous examples of parental supplication to the Lord in the NT)

The parents should walk in a way as to be a blessing for their children-
Psa 112:2  His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. 

Parents should be an example for the children-
Gen 18:19  For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. 

Sep 15, 2008

Devotional - Abide in the Lord

“ If a Man Abide Not in Me, He is Cast Forth as a Branch, and is Withered; and They Gather Them, and Cast Them into the Fire, and They are Burned ” 
- Joh_15:6
The lessons these words teach are very simple and very solemn. A man can come to such a connection with Christ, that he counts himself to be in Him, and yet he can be cast forth. There is such a thing as not abiding in Christ, which leads to withering up and burning. There is such a thing as a withered branch, one in whom the initial union with Christ appears to have taken place, and in whom yet it is seen that his faith was but for a time. What a solemn call to look around and see if there be not withered branches in our churches, to look within and see whether we are indeed abiding and bearing fruit! 

And what may be the cause of this “not abiding.” With some it is that they never understood how the Christian calling leads to holy obedience and to loving service. They were content with the thought that they had believed, and were safe from Hell; there was neither motive nor power to abide in Christ—they knew not the need of it. With others it was that the cares of the world, or its prosperity, choked the Word: they had never forsaken all to follow Christ. With still others it was that their religion and their faith was in the wisdom of men, and not in the power of God. They trusted in the means of grace, or in their own sincerity, or in the soundness of their faith in justifying grace; they had never come even to seek an entire abiding in Christ as their only safety. No wonder that, when the hot winds of temptation or persecution blew, they withered away: they were not truly rooted in Christ. 

Let us open our eyes and see if there be not withered branches all around us in the churches. Young men, whose confessions were once bright, but who are growing cold. Or old men, who have retained their profession, but out of whom the measure of life there once appeared to be has died out. Let ministers and believers take Christ’s words to heart, and see, and ask the Lord whether there is nothing to be done for branches that are beginning to wither. And let the word Abide ring through the Church until every believer has caught it—no safety but in a true abiding in Christ. 

Let each of us turn within. Is our life fresh, and green, and vigorous, bringing forth its fruit in its season? (See Psa_1:3; Psa_92:13-14; Jer_17:7-8) Let us accept every warning with a willing mind, and let Christ’s “if a man abide not” give new urgency to His “abide in me.” To the upright soul the secret of abiding will become ever simpler, just the consciousness of the place in which He has put me; just the childlike resting in my union with Him, and the trustful assurance that He will keep me. Oh, do let us believe there is a life that knows of no withering, that is ever green; and that brings forth fruit abundantly! 

Withered! O my Father, watch over me, and keep me, and let nothing ever for a moment hinder the freshness that comes from a full abiding in the Vine. Let the very thought of a withered branch fill me with holy fear and watchfulness. 

Sep 14, 2008

Devotional - Divine forgiveness of sins - and a study of penitence

“I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.”
- Psa_32:5
David’s grief for sin was bitter. Its effects were visible upon his outward frame: “his bones waxed old”; “his moisture was turned into the drought of summer.” No remedy could he find, until he made a full confession before the throne of the heavenly grace. He tells us that for a time he kept silence, and his heart became more and more filled with grief: like a mountain tarn whose outlet is blocked up, his soul was swollen with torrents of sorrow. He fashioned excuses; he endeavoured to divert his thoughts, but it was all to no purpose; like a festering sore his anguish gathered, and as he would not use the lancet of confession, his spirit was full of torment, and knew no rest. At last it came to this, that he must return unto his God in humble penitence, or die outright; so he hastened to the mercy-seat, and there unrolled the volume of his iniquities before the all-seeing One, acknowledging all the evil of his ways in language such as you read in the fifty-first and other penitential Psalms. Having done this, a work so simple and yet so difficult to pride, he received at once the token of divine forgiveness; the bones which had been broken were made to rejoice, and he came forth from his closet to sing the blessedness of the man whose transgression is forgiven. See the value of a grace-wrought confession of sin! It is to be prized above all price, for in every case where there is a genuine, gracious confession, mercy is freely given, not because the repentance and confession deserve mercy, but for Christ’s sake. Blessed be God, there is always healing for the broken heart; the fountain is ever flowing to cleanse us from our sins. Truly, O Lord, thou art a God “ready to pardon!” Therefore will we acknowledge our iniquities.

Devotional - God's yearning love for our souls

"Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled."-- Luk_14:23.

WE CAN never estimate the yearning love of God for the souls of men. He sees us absorbed with farming and industry; business and pleasure; with our homes and family-life, and knows that these will all pass away, as a dream before the first touch of eternity. With intense passion He desires that we shall be really satisfied with abiding joys.
The Feast that He spreads is abundant and ready (Isa_25:6; Isa_55:1-2). A banquet is a happy-making time. As the guests sit together, there is the brilliant flow of conversation, the sparkle of laughter, the enjoyment of the good things provided, the interchange of friendship and fellowship. Everything that a feast stands for God is waiting to give us. "He gives us richly all things to enjoy." How strange it is that men, mocked by the Evil One, are cajoled into forfeiting their places at the banqueting table, which God has spread for them!
The Jewish people were first bidden, but they were too much occupied with material things to respond to the gracious invitation. The excuses offered were shallow and stupid; the real reason lies much deeper, in the disinclination of the soul to arouse itself to lay hold of the life which is life indeed! But God's purpose of Love cannot be defeated (Luk_13:28-30; Act_13:45-48).
"Go out into the highways and hedges.'" Here is our work as His servants! The high-roads, along which the streams of commerce and pleasure, weddings and funerals, statesmen and business men, young men and women, housewives and children--are constantly passing! The hedgerows are the quiet sequestered lanes of the country-side, now covered with spring flowers, and again with autumn tints. The up-to-date motor car, or the slow-jogging country waggon are symbols of different modes of life, but the souls that use them alike need the message of Good News. Let us go forth and constrain them to come in that our Master's House may be filled!

Blessed Lord, have mercy upon those who reject the invitation of Thy Love! Take from us all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of Thy Word; and so fetch us home, dear Lord, to Thy flock, that we may be saved, and become one flock under the Great Shepherd of souls. AMEN.

Sep 12, 2008

Devotional - Being separate from the world

“Be ye separate.”
- 2Co_6:17
The Christian, while in the world, is not to be of the world. He should be distinguished from it in the great object of his life. To him, “to live,” should be “Christ.” Whether he eats, or drinks, or whatever he does, he should do all to God’s glory. You may lay up treasure; but lay it up in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, where thieves break not through nor steal. You may strive to be rich; but be it your ambition to be “rich in faith,” and good works. You may have pleasure; but when you are merry, sing psalms and make melody in your hearts to the Lord. In your spirit, as well as in your aim, you should differ from the world. Waiting humbly before God, always conscious of his presence, delighting in communion with him, and seeking to know his will, you will prove that you are of heavenly race. And you should be separate from the world in your actions. If a thing be right, though you lose by it, it must be done; if it be wrong, though you would gain by it, you must scorn the sin for your Master’s sake. You must have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Walk worthy of your high calling and dignity. Remember, O Christian, that thou art a son of the King of kings. Therefore, keep thyself unspotted from the world. Soil not the fingers which are soon to sweep celestial strings; let not these eyes become the windows of lust which are soon to see the King in his beauty-let not those feet be defiled in miry places, which are soon to walk the golden streets-let not those hearts be filled with pride and bitterness which are ere long to be filled with heaven, and to overflow with ecstatic joy.

Sep 10, 2008

Devotional - Living According to God's Word

You have dealt well with Your servant, O LORD, according to Your word.  (Psa_119:65)

David was a man who basically lived by grace (that is, by depending on the Lord to work in his life). Consequently, he trusted in the word of God ("the word of His grace" — Act_20:32). David lived according to God's word. Psalm 119 bears substantial testimony of what can happen when one lives in this manner. "You have dealt well with Your servant, O LORD, according to Your word." This strategic phrase ("according to Your word" ) has two implications: living in line with God's word and living by the provisions of God's word. Therefore, those who live according to God's word not only find their direction in the Scriptures, they find resource there as well.  
Many fruitful and respected Bible teachers (like C. H. Spurgeon) are convinced that David was the human instrumental author of Psalm 119. Whether this is true or not is incidental to our present meditation. In this majestic Psalm, the Holy Spirit (the ultimate author) depicts the all-inclusive nature of living according to the word.  

Every person on earth begins their life with a sin problem (guilty, condemned, alienated from God). If a person wants to have their life cleaned up spiritually, they can see that accomplished according to God's Word. "How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word" (Psa_119:9). Anyone who will pay close attention to the message of the scriptures will find therein God's provision of forgiveness and salvation. "Let Your mercies come also to me, O LORD — Your salvation according to Your word" (Psa_119:41). God's merciful salvation (from sin and unto godliness) is enjoyed by those who call upon Him wholeheartedly. "I entreated Your favor with my whole heart; Be merciful to me according to Your word" (Psa_119:58).  

Every person who has found new life through the Lord's merciful salvation eventually encounters times when a reviving is needed. The difficulties of life seem to choke all spiritual vitality out of us. It is time to call upon the Lord and turn to His word. "I am afflicted very much; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word" (Psa_119:107). Sometimes, the battle is so intense that our inner man seems to be smashed face down in the dirt. Again, it is time to seek the Lord in His word. "My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word" (Psa_119:25). Yes, in God's word, we find direction for our lives and replenishing of our lives.
Dear Lord of the scriptures, I praise You for giving me new life according to Your word. Now, in the afflictions and battles that I face, I ask You to revive me according to Your word.

Sep 9, 2008

Devotional - Sins washed away and ordinances nailed to the cross

"Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." Col_2:14

THE atonement of the blessed Redeemer was a full and entire blotting out of the sins of the believer. Need we say anything upon the vast importance of this truth? Need we say how closely it stands connected with the peace, the sanctification, and the eternal glory of the sinner that builds on Christ? The phraseology which the Holy Spirit employs in announcing the doctrine of Divine forgiveness confirms the statement we have made-"I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and, as a cloud, your sins: return unto me, for I have redeemed you." Where would be the constraining-power of the motive to "return to God," but on the ground of a full and entire blotting out of all sin? This it is that subdues, overcomes, and wins back God's wandering child. This it is that abases the soul, deepens the conviction of its vileness, makes the sin of departure, of ingratitude, of rebellion, so abhorred, when, on the broad basis of a full and free blotting out of sin, God bids the soul "return"-"I have blotted out all your sins, therefore return. Though you have gone after other lovers-though you have departed from me, forgotten, and forsaken me, yet have I blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions: return, for I have redeemed you." Again, "In those days, and in that time, says the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found." "He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." What an astounding truth is contained in these two passages! In the one it is declared, that if the iniquity of Israel, and the sin of Judah, be sought for, they shall not be found. So entire was the blotting out, so glorious was the work of Jesus, so perfect His obedience, that if the eye of God's holy law searches-and where can it not penetrate?-it cannot discover them. In the other, it is declared, that, so fathomless are the depths of that sea of atoning blood, which Christ has poured out, that in it are cast, never to be found again, all the sins of the believer. So that the trembling soul may exclaim, "You have, in love to my soul, delivered it from the pit of corruption; for You have cast all my sins behind Your back."

Look up, you saints of God, who are disconsolate through fear of condemnation. See all your sins charged to the account of your mighty Surety. Yes, see them all laid upon Him as your substitute. See Him bearing them away-sinking them in the ocean of His blood-casting them behind His back. Look up and rejoice! Let not the indwelling of sin, the remains of corruption, cause you to overlook this amazing truth-the entire blotting out of all your sins, through the atoning blood of your adorable Immanuel. It is truth, and it is your privilege to live in the holy enjoyment of it. Fully received into the heart by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, its tendency will be of the most holy, sanctifying, abasing character. It will weaken the power of sin-it will draw up the heart in pantings for Divine conformity-it will deaden the influence of the objects of sense-expel the love of the world and of self-impart tenderness to the conscience, and cause the soul to go softly-"walking worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God."

Devotional - Scorn & Ridicule for the Christian

"When Sanballat . . . and Tobiah . . . and Geshem . . . heard it, they laughed us to scorn and despised us, and said what is this thing that ye do? Then answered I them, The God of Heaven, He will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build. So built we the wall; for the people had a mind to work." -- Neh_2:19-20; Neh_4:6.

THE BUILDING of the ruined walls of Jerusalem, as the record shows, was undertaken in troublous times. Some of the petty rulers in the neighbourhood, exulted in the low estate of the city, because it left room for the exercise of their authority, and they viewed these renewed activities with chagrin. They plotted for the overthrow of the work, and had to be met by incessant watchfulness.

If you are endeavouring to do God's work in the world, to clear away the rubbish of sin, to rebuild the walls that are broken down, and to seek the welfare of God's people, do not be surprised if your steps are beset with scorn and ridicule, by the secret or open malice of Sanballat and Tobiah. For some it is easier to face bitter opposition than to bear mockery and ridicule. If only these scornful and carping tongues were silenced, we could make more headway, but such persecution drives us back on God, makes Him a living fact in life, and opens the door to the manifestation of the saving health of His right hand (Neh_4:4, Neh_4:9, Neh_4:20). How good it is, at such times, to cease from man, and to remember the Lord who is the great and terrible One (Neh_1:5; Isa_51:12-13). Be quite sure that you are on His plan, doing His work in His way; then go forward in His Name, and he will make all the mountains a way.

The lesson for us all is the threefold aspect of the Christian life. There is our up-look into God's face--"I prayed to the God of Heaven." We must never forget to pray, for more things are wrought by prayer than we realize. Second, there is our up-look against our foes and the foes of God--"we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night." We must watch as well as pray. Lastly, there is our dawn-look towards the work entrusted to us, at which we must labour with unslacking devotion, in fellowship with our Lord (1Co_3:9). Let each inquire: "Am I inside the city amongst its builders, or outside amongst its detractors and foes?"

O God, teach us day by day what Thou wouldst have us to do, and give us grace and power to fulfil the same. May we never from love of ease, decline the path which Thou pointest out, nor, for fear of shame, turn way from it. AMEN.

Sep 8, 2008

Psa 46:1 - Refuge in times of trouble

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Ps. 46:1). 

The question often comes, "Why didn't He help me sooner?" It is not His order. He must first adjust you to the trouble and cause you to learn your lesson from it. His promise is, "I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him." He must be with you in the trouble first all day and all night. Then He will take you out of it. This will not come till you have stopped being restless and fretful about it and become calm and quiet. Then He will say, "It is enough." 

God uses trouble to teach His children precious lessons. They are intended to educate us. When their good work is done, a glorious recompense will come to us through them. There is a sweet joy and a real value in them. He does not regard them as difficulties but as opportunities. 

Sep 6, 2008

Devotional - Shine forth as lights in this world !

“In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.”
- Phi_2:15

We are really living in evil times - times when it is so refreshing to find a genuinely good person. Christ expects us to have a calling in this world. It is to be beacons in this evil age. A Christian man should so shine in his life, that a person could not live with him a week without knowing the gospel. His conversation should be such that all who are about him should clearly perceive whose he is, and whom he serves; and should see the image of Jesus reflected in his daily actions. Lights are intended for guidance. We are to help those around us who are in the dark. We are to hold forth to them the Word of life. We are to point sinners to the Saviour, and the weary to a divine resting-place. Men sometimes read their Bibles, and fail to understand them; we should be ready, like Philip, to instruct the inquirer in the meaning of God’s Word, the way of salvation, and the life of godliness. Lights are also used for warning. On our rocks and shoals a light-house is sure to be erected. Christian men should know that there are many false lights shown everywhere in the world, and therefore the right light is needed. The wreckers of Satan are always abroad, tempting the ungodly to sin under the name of pleasure; they hoist the wrong light, be it ours to put up the true light upon every dangerous rock, to point out every sin, and tell what it leads to, that so we may be clear of the blood of all men, shining as lights in the world. Lights also have a very cheering influence, and so have Christians. A Christian ought to be a comforter, with kind words on his lips, and sympathy in his heart; he should carry sunshine wherever he goes, and diffuse happiness around him.

Prayer : Lord, help us to be beacons of light in this evil generation. Thus, may many who are thirsting for (and in need of) true and lasting peace, be guided to you ! May we reflect your glory by our lives and by being living testimonies of your grace, leading your children away from the world and drawing them nearer to you. We ask this in the name of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Sep 5, 2008

Little by Little

Proverbs 13:11
Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow. (NIV)

Most of what is good in life develops little by little. A marriage relationship. Friendships. Physical conditioning. Parenting. Spiritual growth. So, today, make a little progress. In what areas of your life have you been making a little progress?

Devotional - A song in the night

The lord's message for a sorrowful believer out there. Remember - His eye is on the sparrow. My lord cares for YOU! A beautiful message of love and one of encouragement.  

"But none says, Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night?" Job_35:10

Who but God could give songs in the night? No saint on earth, no angel in heaven, has power to tune our hearts to a single note of praise in the hour of their grief; no, nor could any creature above or below breathe a word of comfort, of hope, or of support, when heart and flesh were failing. Who but the incarnate God has power enough, or love enough, or sympathy enough, to come and embosom Himself in our very circumstances-to enter into the very heart of our sorrow-to go down into the deepest depth of our woe, and strike a chord there that, responding to His touch, shall send forth a more than angel's music? It is God who gives these songs. He is acquainted with your sorrows: He regards your night of weeping: He knows the way that you take. He may be lost to your view, but you cannot be lost to His. The darkness of your night-grief may veil Him from your eye, but the "darkness and the light are both alike to Him." Then repair to Him for your song. Ask Him so to sanctify your sorrow by His grace, and so to comfort it by His Spirit, and so to glorify Himself in your patient endurance of it, and so to make you to know the why of your trial, and your trial so to answer the mission on which it was sent, as will enable you to raise this note of praise-"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing: You have put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; to the end that my glory may sing praise to You, and not be silent."

In giving you a throne of grace, God has given you a song, methinks, one of the sweetest ever sung in the house of our pilgrimage. To feel that we have a God who hears and answers prayer-who has done so in countless instances, and is prepared still to give us at all times an audience-oh! the unutterable blessings of this truth. Sing aloud then, you sorrowful saints; for great and precious is your privilege of communion with God. In the night of your every grief, and trial, and difficulty, do not forget that in your lowest frame you may sing this song-"Having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, I will draw near, and pour out my heart to God." Chant, then, His high praises as you pass along, that there is a place where you may disclose every need, repose every sorrow, deposit every burden, breathe every sigh, and lose yourself in communion with God-that place is the blood-besprinkled mercy-seat, of which God says, "There will I meet with you, and I will commune with you."

Ah! but perhaps you exclaim, "Would that I could sing! I can weep, and moan, and even trust, but I cannot rejoice." Yes, but there is One who can give even you, beloved, a song in the night. Place your harp in His hands, all broken and unstrung as it is, and He will repair and retune it; and then, breathing upon it His Spirit, and touching it with His own gentle hand, that heart, that was so sad and joyless, shall yet sing the high praises of its God. How much of God's greatness and glory in nature is concealed until the night reveals it! The sun is withdrawn, twilight disappears, and darkness robes the earth. Then appears the brilliant firmament, studded and glowing with myriads of constellations. Oh the indescribable wonder, the surpassing glory, of that scene! But it was the darkness that brought it all to view; thus is it in the Christian's life. How much of God would be unseen, how much of His glory concealed, how little should we know of Jesus, but for the night- season of mental darkness and of heart-sorrow. The sun that shone so cheeringly has set; the grey twilight that looked so pensively has disappeared; and just as the night of woe set in, filling you with trembling, with anxiety, and with fear, a scene of overpowering grandeur suddenly bursts upon the astonished eye of your faith. The glory of God, as your Father, has appeared-the character of Jesus, as a loving tender Brother, has unfolded-the Spirit, as a Comforter, has whispered-your interest in the great redemption has been revealed-and a new earth redolent with a thousand sweets, and a new heaven resplendent with countless suns, has floated before your view. It was the darkness of your night of sorrow that made visible all this wonder and all this glory; and but for that sorrow how little would you have known of it. "I will sing of mercy and of judgment: unto You, O Lord, will I sing."

Suffering, sorrowful believer! pluck your harp from your willow, and, with the hand of faith and love, sweep it to the high praises of your God. Praise Him for Himself-praise Him for Jesus-praise Him for conversion-praise Him for joys-praise Him for sorrows-praise Him for chastenings-praise Him for the hope of glory-oh praise Him for all! Thus singing the Lord's song in a strange land, you will be learning to sing it in diviner sounds- "With those just spirits that wear victorious palms, Hymns devout, and holy psalms Singing everlastingly."

"And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God almighty; just and true are Your ways, O King of saints. Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? for You only are holy: for all nations shall come and worship before You."

1Cor 13:1-3 - Love

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 

(1Co 13:1-3 NIV)

Any of the gifts of the holy spirit is very empty without the ultimate fruit of the spirit - Love. Works is often empty if not filled with the spirit of love. Love is the essence of Christian life. It is indeed the only thing God expects from us. It is the essence of God. It is His nature to love. And His glory shines through us, when we reflect this fruit of the spirit. 

Sep 4, 2008

2Ki 22:19 - A tender heart (One touched by God)

"Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people, that they would become accursed and laid waste, and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord."2Ki_22:19

Tenderness of heart is effectively the fear of the Lord, or the fear of God's jusdgement. This tenderness of heart was a mark in Josiah, on which the Lord, so to speak, put his finger; it was a special token for good which God selected from all the rest, as a testimony in his favor. The heart is always tender which God has touched with his finger; this tenderness being the fruit of the impression of the Lord's hand upon the conscience. You may know the difference between a natural conscience and a heart tender in God's fear by this -- that the natural conscience is always superstitious and uncertain; as the Lord says, it"strains out a gnat, and swallows a camel."It is exceedingly observant of self-inflicted austerities, and very fearful of breaking through self-imposed rules; and while it will commit sin which a man who has the fear of God in his heart would not do for the world -- it will stumble at mere unimportant trifles at which an enlightened soul would not feel the least scruple.

But here is the mark of a heart tender in God's fear -- it moves as God the Spirit works upon it. It is like the mariner's compass, which having been once touched by the magnet, always turns toward the north; it may indeed oscillate and tremble backwards and forwards, but still it will return to the pole, and ultimately remain fixed at the point whence it was temporarily disturbed. So when the heart has been touched by the Spirit, and has been made tender in God's fear, it may for a time waver to the right hand or to the left, but it is always trembling and fluctuating until it points towards God, as the only and eternal center of its happiness and holiness.

Sep 3, 2008

1Th 5:6 - Snippet - be sober

A short note - but a very strong message !!

"Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober."1Th_5:6

Here sobriety is opposed to sleepiness, and is connected with walking in the light and in the day; just as sleepiness and its frequent cause, drunkenness, are connected with darkness and night. One of the greatest curses God can send on a people and its rulers, its prophets and seers, is a spirit of deep sleep, as the prophet speaks --"For the Lord has poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes; the prophets and your rulers, the seers has he covered."But to be sober is to be awaked out of this sleep, and, as a consequence, to walk not only wakefully but watchfully. It implies, therefore, that careful, circumspect walking -- that daily living, moving, speaking, and acting in the fear of God, whereby alone we can be kept from the snares spread for our feet at every step of the way. How many have fallen into outward evil and open disgrace from lack of walking watchfully and circumspectly, and taking heed to their steps. Instead of watching the first movements of sin and against, as the Lord speaks,"the entering into temptation,"they rather dally with it until they are drawn away and enticed of their own lust which, as unchecked, goes on to conceive and bring forth sin, which, when it is finished or carried out and accomplished in positive action, brings forth death.

Sep 2, 2008

Devotional - Trust in Him always and for everything

A good thought from Charles Spurgeon. There are lots of areas in my life, in our life, where we would do better to trust our lord.

"Trust in him at all times."
- Psa_62:8

Faith is as much the rule of temporal as of spiritual life; we ought to have faith in God for our earthly affairs as well as for our heavenly business. It is only as we learn to trust in God for the supply of all our daily need that we shall live above the world. We are not to be idle, that would show we did not trust in God, who worketh hitherto, but in the devil, who is the father of idleness. We are not to be imprudent or rash; that were to trust chance, and not the living God, who is a God of economy and order. Acting in all prudence and uprightness, we are to rely simply and entirely upon the Lord at all times.

Let me commend to you a life of trust in God in temporal things. Trusting in God, you will not be compelled to mourn because you have used sinful means to grow rich. Serve God with integrity, and if you achieve no success, at least no sin will lie upon your conscience. Trusting God, you will not be guilty of self-contradiction. He who trusts in craft, sails this way to-day, and that way the next, like a vessel tossed about by the fickle wind; but he that trusteth in the Lord is like a vessel propelled by steam, she cuts through the waves, defies the wind, and makes one bright silvery straightforward track to her destined haven. Be you a man with living principles within; never bow to the varying customs of worldly wisdom. Walk in your path of integrity with steadfast steps, and show that you are invincibly strong in the strength which confidence in God alone can confer. Thus you will be delivered from anxious care, you will not be troubled with evil tidings, your heart will be fixed, trusting in the Lord. How pleasant to float along the stream of providence! There is no more blessed way of living than a life of dependence upon a covenant-keeping God. We have no care, for he careth for us; we have no troubles, because we cast our burdens upon the Lord. -C.H.S

Sep 1, 2008

Rom 9:8 - snippet - Adoption by promise

Rom 9:8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

The theme of adoption is one of the best in the bible - since it is abundant with grace and love - the essence of our Lord. This is a small topic in that, wherein we (the children of promise, the believers) are counted as the children of promise. (It is not the descent which matters to the lord (i.e. the descendants of Abraham need not be counted children, but those whom God chose by their belief in His promise become the children of God - also known as children of the covenant) )

Thoughts for your own reflection :



Devotional - The lord of our righteousness (Jehovah - Tsidkenu)

"This is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness."Jer_23:6

What a sweet view does this give of Jesus! We look sometimes at Christ's righteousness as distinct from Christ. Shall I use a figure? We look at the garment as distinct from the maker and wearer of the garment. We look at the righteousness so much, that we scarcely look at him who wrought out that righteousness. Now, we must not separate Jesus from his righteousness. We must not look merely at the garment, the imputed robe, and forget him that wrought it out, that puts it on, and that keeps it to this day in firm possession. But when we can see, that not only the obedience of Christ, but Christ himself -- all that Jesus is -- all that Jesus has, as head of his Church, as the risen Mediator, as the great High Priest over the house of God -- when we can see that this God-man, Immanuel, is made unto his people righteousness, how it expands the prospect! Then we look, not merely at the robe itself, beautiful, lovely, and glorious; we look farther -- we look at Him that made it. We do not look merely at the robe as distinct from him. We look at him who made that robe what it is -- Jesus, who ever lives at the right hand of the Father to make intercession for us. This, to my mind, is a sweet view.

If I sink down into creature sinfulness, shame, and guilt, and see Jesus made of God unto me righteousness, what need I more? Has God made him so? Who can unmake him so? Has God made the Son of his love, righteousness to my soul, that I may stand in him without spot, speck, or blemish? Who is to alter it? Can sin alter it? That is atoned for. Can the devil alter it? He is chained down unto the judgment of the great day. Can the world alter it? They cannot stretch forth their finger to touch one thread of that robe, to touch one lineament of the Redeemer's countenance. If he is made unto me righteousness, what more do I need? If I can find a shield, a shelter, and a refuge in him as my righteousness, what more can I need to preserve me from the charge of men or devils?

Devotional - He restores my soul !

"He restores my soul." Psalm 23:3

THE first point we would look at is the love of the Lord Jesus in restoring a wandering believer. Nothing but infinite, tender, unchanging love could prompt Him to such an act. There is so much of black ingratitude, so much of deep turpitude, in the sin of a believer's departure from the Lord, that, but for the nature of Christ's love, there could be no possible hope of His return. Now this costly love of Christ is principally seen in His taking the first step in the restoring of the soul: the first advance is on the part of the Lord. There is no more self-recovery after, than there is before, conversion; it is entirely the Lord's work. The same state of mind, the same principle, that led to the first step in declension from God, leads on to each successive one; until, but for restraining and restoring grace, the soul would take an everlasting farewell of God. But mark the expression of David-"He restores my soul." Who? He of whom he speaks in the first verse as his Shepherd-"The Lord is my Shepherd." It is the Shepherd that takes the first step in the recovery of the wandering sheep. If there is one aspect in the view of this subject more touching than another, it is this-that such should be the tender, unchanging love of Jesus towards His wandering child, He should take the first step in restoring him. Shall an offended, insulted Sovereign make the first move towards conciliating a rebellious people?-that Sovereign is Jesus: shall an outraged Father seek His wandering child, and restore him to His affections and His house?-that Father is God. Oh, what love is that which leads Jesus in search of His wandering child! love that will not let him quite depart; love that yearns after him, and seeks after him, and follows after him through all his devious way, his intricate wanderings, and far-off departures; love that no unkindness has been able to cool, no forgetfulness has been able to weaken, no distance has been able to destroy!

Not less conspicuous is the power of Jesus in the restoring of the soul. "He restores my soul,"-He, the omnipotent Shepherd. We want omnipotence to bring us back when we have wandered; nothing less can accomplish it. We want the same power that converted to re-convert; the power that created, to re-create us: this power Jesus possesses. It was essential to the full salvation of His Church that He should have it; therefore, when praying to His Father, He says, "As You have given Him power over all flesh,"-why this power?-"that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him." It was necessary that He should have power over all flesh, yes, over all the powers leagued against the Church, that He should bring to glory all that were given to Him in the covenant of grace.

Now this power is gloriously exerted in the restoring of the soul. Jesus works in the believer, in order to his recovery. He breaks down the hard heart, arrests the soul in its onward progress of departure, places upon it some powerful check, lays it low, humbles, abases it, and then draws from it the blessed acknowledgment, "Behold, I am vile; but he restores my soul."