Feb 28, 2009

Devotional - Friends of Jesus

“ No Longer Do I Call You Servants; for the Servant Knoweth Not What His Lord Doeth: But I Have Called You Friends; for All Things That I Heard From My Father, I Have Made Known Unto ” 
- Joh_15:15
The highest proof of true friendship, and one great source of its blessedness, is the intimacy that holds nothing back, and admits the friend to share our inmost secrets. It is a blessed thing to be Christ’s servant; His redeemed ones delight to call themselves His slaves. Christ had often spoken of the disciples as His servants. In His great love our Lord now says: “No longer do I call you servants”; with the coming of the Holy Spirit a new era was to be inaugurated. “The servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth”—he has to obey without being consulted or admitted into the secret of all his master’s plans. “But, I have called you friends, for all things I heard from my Father I have made known unto you.” Christ’s friends share with Him in all the secrets the Father has entrusted to Him. 

Let us think what this means. When Christ spoke of keeping His Father’s commandments, He did not mean merely what was written in Holy Scripture, but those special commandments which were communicated to Him day by day, and from hour to hour. It was of these He said: “The Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that he doeth, and he will show him greater things.” All that Christ did was God’s working. God showed it to Christ, so that He carried out the Father’s will and purpose, not, as man often does, blindly and unintelligently, but with full understanding and approval. As one who stood in God’s counsel, He knew God’s plan. 

And this now is the blessedness of being Christ’s friends, that we do not, as servants, do His will without much spiritual insight into its meaning and aim, but are admitted, as an inner circle, into some knowledge of God’s more secret thoughts. From the Day of Pentecost on, by the Holy Spirit, Christ was to lead His disciples into the spiritual apprehension of the mysteries of the kingdom, of which He had hitherto spoken only by parables. 

Friendship delights in fellowship. Friends hold council. Friends dare trust to each other what they would not for anything have others know. What is it that gives a Christian access to this holy intimacy with Jesus? That gives him the spiritual capacity for receiving the communications Christ has to make of what the Father has shown Him? “Ye are my friends if ye do what I command you.” It is loving obedience that purifies the soul. That refers not only to the commandments of the Word, but to that blessed application of the Word to our daily life, which none but our Lord Himself can give. But as these are waited for in dependence and humility, and faithfully obeyed, the soul becomes fitted for ever closer fellowship, and the daily life may become a continual experience: “I have called you friends; for all things I have heard from my Father, I have made known unto you.” 

I have called you friends. What an unspeakable honor! What a heavenly privilege! O Saviour, speak the word with power into my soul: “I have called you My friend, whom I love, whom I trust, to whom I make known all that passes between my Father and Me.” 

Feb 27, 2009

Devotional - Jesus - The fountain of our Life !

 "With You is the fountain of life." Psalm 36:9. 

What a fountain of life is Jesus! The dead, on whose ear falls the sound of His voice, live. There is grace in Christ- quickening, regenerating, life-giving grace; and to whomsoever that grace is imparted, he that was lying cold and inanimate in the valley begins to move, to live, to breathe, and to arise. One touch of Christ, a whisper of His voice, a breath of His Spirit, begets a life in the soul that never dies. What a fountain of life is Jesus! Think of its superabundance . There is a fulness of life in Christ. The grace that is welled in Jesus is as infinite in its source, as it is divine in its nature. An uncreated fulness, it must possess an inexhaustible overabundance. Had the Father deposited this life-giving grace in all the angels in heaven, it had long since been exhausted. Think of the myriads, thirsting for holiness and for happiness, who have knelt and slaked their thirst at this fountain- think of the myriads who have here filled their empty vessels, and have gone away with joy and hope springing high in their minds. Think of the myriads whose sins His blood has washed, whose souls His righteousness has clad, whose corruptions His grace has subdued, and whose sorrows His love has comforted. Think of the iniquities which He has pardoned; of the backslidings which He has healed; of the grief which He has removed; of the tears which He has dried; of the souls which He has saved. Think of the myriads once drinking from the stream below, but who are now drinking from the fountain head in glory. And yet is this fountain as full as ever! Not one hair's breadth has it sunk. Jesus is as full of pardoning grace for the guilty, and of justifying grace for the vile, and of sanctifying grace for the unworthy, as ever. He is full enough to meet the needs of every poor, thirsty, panting soul who ventures near. Oh, what a precious truth is this! Precious, indeed, to him who feels his own insufficiency, poverty, and need. What, reader, is your need? what your sorrow? what your trial? what your infirmity? what your burden? Whatever it may be, repair with it to this fountain of living water, and despair not of a gracious welcome and of an adequate supply. It is a fountain, and a living fountain. It needs no persuasion to flow, for it flows spontaneously; and wherever it flows there is life.   

Feb 26, 2009

Devotional - Walking in the Spirit (and living in the spirit)

Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh . . . If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  (Gal_5:16, Gal_5:25)

The term "walk" is used dozens of times in the New Testament to describe the manner of life that a person is leading. Many of these occurrences depict the Christian life; for example, "walk in love . . .  walk as children of light . . .  walk circumspectly" (Eph_5:2, Eph_5:8, Eph_5:15). In our passages, we are told to "walk in the Spirit." 

Walking is a very insightful description of spiritual life. A walk has a beginning and a destination. Our beginning was in new birth: "born of the Spirit." (Joh_3:6). Our destination is heaven forever with our Lord and Savior: "And thus we shall always be with the Lord." (1Th_4:17). A good walk is steady and progressive. We are called to be faithful: "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Mat_25:21). We are called to press ahead: "forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal" (Phi_3:13-14). 
In addition, a walk has many potential adventures along the way. We are likely to encounter stretching challenges and paradoxical blessings: "in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness. . . as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things" (2Co_6:5, 2Co_6:10). 

Ultimately, a walk must have an available resource that provides sufficient vitality, strength, guidance, and assurance. Here, our passages offer special hope through the injunction to "walk in the Spirit." Day by day, each step of the way, we are to rely upon the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Every issue of life (whether at home, office, school, or church) is to be faced in this manner. Otherwise, the influence of our flesh (our natural humanity) will prevail. "Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." We are not able ourselves to overcome the inadequacies and improper tendencies of the flesh. However, the Holy Spirit is more than able to become our sufficient provider of whatever we need for an effective and fruitful walk. 

This perspective on Christian living makes complete biblical sense, when we connect our daily walk to how we found spiritual life in the first place. "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit," It was strictly by the work of the Spirit that we received life initially; therefore, let's take each step of life "[walking] in the Spirit."

Prayer : Lord God Almighty, I am so weak and so easily enticed in my flesh. I cannot produce what is needed for the spiritual walk to which I am called. O Lord, I cry out to You for the indispensable work of Your Spirit within me. Lord, teach me to walk day by day by the grace that Your Spirit alone can provide, Amen.

Feb 25, 2009

Devotional - The temptation of Jesus

Praise the Lord - A truly excellent article on the temptation of Jesus!

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil— Mat_4:1

Christ's Temptation: It Was Real

Whatever view we take of the temptation—whether it was an inward struggle or an actual scene—the one thing to remember is its intense reality. Prayerfully and reverently we must strive to realize that the temptations of Jesus were unutterably severe! It is not difficult to realize Christ's brotherhood in suffering. It is very difficult to do so in temptation. And one great reason of that is, that in our temptations, we are so conscious of sinful impulses within. But when we remember that our temptations sometimes touch not what is worst, but what is noblest in us; when we think that without the sorest and fiercest trial, the thought of sinlessness has little meaning, then we dimly perceive how intense temptation might be to a spotless and holy Savior. There is nothing more heavenly than a mother's love, yet sometimes a mother is tempted most severely just because she loves her children so. If men were always tempted at their weakest, we could hardly understand a tempted Jesus. If our temptations only lit where we were worst, Christ (who had no worst) could not have been tempted. But when we see (and time and again we see it) that the sorest onset may be on the saintliest side, then we know that the temptations of Jesus may have been unutterably sore, since Jesus was unutterably good.

Truth Was His Nature, Not His Pursuit

One of the shining features of the life of Jesus is His great and glorious fidelity. In the largest compass of the words He came to bear witness to the truth, He was supremely true to His brethren of mankind—He was as a brother born for adversity. He was supremely true to Himself and to the moving of His heart of love. He was supremely true to His heavenly Father, in whose unbroken fellowship He lived, and in whose will He found His motive and His peace! One never gets the impression from His life that He was passionately— struggling to be true.

Yet Victory Was an Achievement

There is a largeness and a liberty about Him that tell of a heart which has arrived. One feels that the battle has been fought, that the great determination has been made, before He opened the roll in the synagogue of Nazareth. Now that does not mean that this supreme fidelity was an innate equipment of the Savior. Like His sinlessness it was a vast achievement, wrought out in conflict with temptation. (Editor's note: The Lord Jesus was, however, unlike any other human in that He was born sinless. But His victory over temptation was not an empty one. His practical sinlessness was an achievement. In a similar manner, when we become children of God through our new birth we become positionally sinless in Christ, but practically we are still "sinners saved by grace." Temptation is real and therefore victory against temptation is a practical achievement. We do not acquire sinlessness by our practical victories against temptation but through the sinless Christ who became our substitute on the cross.) And of that conflict we have the vivid history, before His public ministry began, in the narrative of the temptation in the wilderness. There He was tempted, and very really tempted, to be untrue to His brethren of mankind. There He was tempted to be untrue to God and to all that was deepest in Himself. When we view the temptation in that light we catch a glimpse of the terrific struggle that preceded the perfect fidelity of Jesus.

The Time of Its Occurrence on the Threshold of His Glorious Career

With such thoughts we may approach the scene; and if we would hope to understand it, we must remember the time of its occurrence. The place of its occurrence matters less though to a heart filled with the loveliness of Galilee the grimness of the desert would be awful. But the time of the temptation matters much, for the tempter is a master in his choice of hours. Jesus, then, had been baptized in Jordan. He had been endowed with gifts from heaven for His ministry. All He had dimly seen upon the hills of Nazareth now rose before Him as His mission to mankind. In such tumultuous hours men crave for solitude. In such an hour the Spirit drove Jesus to the desert. It was, then, on the threshold of His ministry, and facing His lifework with its infinite issues, that the tempter came to Him. It is in the light of His service and His sacrifice that we shall reach the inward molding of the scene. These are the dark hours through which Jesus passed on the threshold of His glorious career.

The First Temptation Proved Him Faithful to Humanity

The first temptation seems a simple one. "If thou be the Son of God," says the tempter, "command that these stones may be made bread." Jesus had been fasting forty days; now He was in the dire pangs of hunger. What possible harm or danger could there be in satisfying the pangs of hunger so? Had not God rained down manna in the desert? Had not Elijah been miraculously fed by ravens? The real temptation lay in using for Himself the powers that had been given Him to use for man. He was baptized in Jordan that He might show His brotherhood. He did not stand above John on the bank; He went and stood beside John in the river. At His baptism He had gone down into the water—He had stood where sinful man was standing—He had identified Himself with sinful man, as at the end He did upon the Cross. And if here, in the agony of hunger, He had miraculously created bread He would have cut the tie that bound Him to His brethren. When He fed the thousands with the loaves and fishes He was using His divine prerogative for others. That was His God-appointed mission: He was sent to satisfy our need. But had He used these powers for Himself, in an experience common to humanity, He would have broken His brotherhood with man. How could the poor ever have said again that they had a real brother in the Lord? How could the famishing ever had been certain of the perfect understanding of the Savior? Had He miraculously turned these stones to bread, and left His brethren to sweat and toil for bread, no longer would He have been the Son of Man. And when a man is tempted to a selfish life, or to use for himself alone the graces and the means that have been given him in trust for others, then is the tempter whispering to him, as he spake to Jesus in the wilderness. And whenever a man denies himself, and sacrifices something for a brother, he is sharing in the victory of Christ.

The Second Temptation Proved Him Faithful to Himself

As in the first temptation He is true to others, in the second He is true to His own self. That is why He scornfully refused to fling Himself on the astonished populace. It was the common expectation of that populace that the Messiah would appear in sudden splendor. Suddenly He would flash upon their eyes in an epiphany dramatic and divine. But our Lord Jesus, intimate with heaven, knew that epiphanies were not like that, nor were these the signals of His coming. He knew that the Kingdom must grow as does a mustard-seed, nor does it ever come with observation.) He knew that when men say "Lo, here!" it is not the real Christ whom they are hailing. (So, resisting the very real temptation to manifest Himself in splendor to the populace, He was supremely true to His own self) He came by quiet ways, and as the light cometh when the day is breaking. He came as the leaven which does not burst the loaf, but works in secret till the whole be leavened. In the first temptation He fought His lonely way to a perfect fidelity to man. From the second He emerged in triumph perfectly faithful to Himself.

The Third Temptation Proved Him Faithful to His Father

And then the third temptation shows our Savior perfectly faithful to His Father. "All these kingdoms will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." We are tempted along the line of our desires, and our Lord was tempted in all points like as we are. He had been dreaming, in the days at Nazareth, of a worldwide and universal reign. And now the devil comes and whispers to Him, "Renounce God and ally yourself with me, and I shall give you the longing of your heart." What a magnificent temptation, tribute to a magnificent Redeemer. What a fierce temptation, when we bear in mind that these kingdoms were the yearning of His being. But our Lord in an instant recognized the treachery, and recoiled from it in an infinite abhorrence, and emerged triumphant because true to God, He took the long, long road which is the road of heaven—the road that was wet with sorrows and with tears—the road that led, through loving human service, to the crown of thorns and to the pierced hands. My meat is to do the will of Him who sent Me. I come to do Thy will, O God. Supremely true to His brethren and Himself, here He is supremely true to God.

Feb 24, 2009

Devotional - Trials, hardship and challenges - Lord's blessing and our opportunity

The Blessing of the Lion

"And there came a lion" (1 Sam. 17:34).

It is a source of inspiration and strength to come in touch with the youthful David, trusting God. Through faith in God he conquered a lion and a bear, and afterwards overthrew the mighty Goliath. When that lion came to despoil that flock, it came as a wondrous opportunity to David. If he had failed or faltered he would have missed God's opportunity for him and probably would never have come to be God's chosen king of Israel. "And there came a lion."

One would not think that a lion was a special blessing from God; one would think that only an occasion of alarm. The lion was God's opportunity in disguise. Every difficulty that presents itself to us, if we receive it in the right way, is God's opportunity. Every temptation that comes is God's opportunity.

When the "lion" comes, recognize it as God's opportunity no matter how rough the exterior. The very tabernacle of God was covered with badgers' skins and goats' hair; one would not think there would be any glory there. The Shekinah of God was manifest under that kind of covering. May God open our eyes to see Him, whether in temptations, trials, dangers, or misfortunes. 

Feb 23, 2009

Devotional - The indignation of the Lord

"I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him." - Mic_7:9

 It is a view of our sins against God that enables us to bear the indignation of the Lord against us and them. As long as we are left to a spirit of pride and self-righteousness, we murmur at the Lord's dealings when his hand lies heavy upon us. But let us only truly feel what we rightly deserve -- that will silence at once all murmuring. You may murmur and rebel sometimes at your hard lot in providence; but if you feel what you deserve, it will make you water with tears of repentance the hardest cross. So in grace, if you feel the weight of your sins, and mourn and sigh because you have sinned against God, you can lift up your hands sometimes with holy wonder at God's patient mercy that he has borne with you so long; that he has not smitten you to the earth, or sent your guilty soul to hell.

 You will see, also, that the heaviest strokes were but fatherly chastenings; that the rod was dipped in love; and that it was for your good and his glory that it was laid on you. When this sense of merited indignation comes into the soul, then meekness and submission come with it, and it can say with the prophet,"I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him."You would not escape the rod if you might. As Cowper says,"Bastards may escape the rod, Sunk in earthly, vain delight; But the true-born child of God Must not, would not if he might."

Feb 21, 2009

The New Covenant of Grace: A Holy Spirit Covenant : A heart of flesh with the spirit

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.  (Eze_36:26-27)

The new covenant is about grace, as contrasted with the old covenant, which is about law. "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (Joh_1:17). The connection between grace and the Holy Spirit can be seen in various scripture passages on the new covenant, including this glorious prophecy. "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." The first verse in this prophetic promise concerns regeneration, spiritual new birth. Through faith in the Lord, our original, hard, lifeless heart is removed, and a new, pliable, living spirit is given to us. 

The second verse pertains to transformation, the ongoing development of this new life. "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes." The developing of a life that increasingly complies with the will of God depends upon the work of the Holy Spirit within us. We know that unredeemed humanity has no hope of living a life that is pleasing to God. Yet, many Christians could be unaware that even the new creature in Christ cannot please God on his own resources. The Spirit of God must be the heavenly cause that produces a heavenly lifestyle in believers. 

What is promised here is not an automatic experience. The life of many Christians does not consistently match what is described here in Eze_36:27. The reason is that they are not relating properly to the Lord in humble dependence. Yes, these two relational realities (humility and faith) also determine whether or not the Spirit of God is our resource, just as they were determinative concerning grace. 

Two statements by Jesus expound upon this fact. "You have no life in you . . . It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing" (Joh_6:53, Joh_6:63). We do not innately possess life as God intends it to be lived. Natural human resources are of no benefit in developing a godly life. Such revelation is very humbling. If we embrace Jesus' evaluation of our personal inadequacy, then we are willing to relate to God in humility. Further, there is truth in which we are to place our trust. "It is the Spirit who gives life."  As we count on this truth, we are relating to the Lord in faith. The result of such humble reliance is God's Spirit becomes our vitality for living godly.

O Lord, the source of true life, thank You for establishing such a gracious arrangement as the new covenant. I praise You that Your Holy Spirit is my heavenly dynamic for godliness. I confess that my fleshly attempts to please You are so inadequate. I humbly ask You to cause me to walk in Your good will, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Devotional - joy in the hour of trial

"Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations. Knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience."-- Jam_1:2-3.

WE ARE bidden to count our trials as pure Joy, since our patient endurance leads ultimately to the finished product of a holy character. All the trials and afflictions that beset us are seen and shared by our Heavenly Father. God did not save Israel from the ordeal of affliction, but passed through it with them (Exo_3:7-9; Isa_63:9). Evidently there was a wise purpose to be served by those bitter Egyptian experiences. So with ourselves. There is a reason for our trials which we do not understand now, but we shall do some day, when we stand in the light with God. Afflictions are not always chastisement, though in some cases that may be so; but more often we are in grief through manifold trials, that the proof of our faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, may be found unto praise and honour and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Let us therefore rejoice, and magnify His lovingkindness. What a theme is here for praise! Sweet psalms and hymns have floated down the ages, bearing comfort for myriads, because those who wrote them passed through searching discipline. And it may be that we who have passed through great tribulation will be able to contribute notes in the Heavenly music that the unfallen sons of light could never sing. The Psalter of Eternity could not be complete without the reminiscences, set to music, of the grace that ministered to us in our earthly trials, and brought us up out of the furnace of pain.
Then we shall tell how God's glorious arm went also at our right hand, as at the right hand of Moses; of how the stony paths became soft as mossy grass; of how He led us out of the scorching heat into green pastures and waters of rest; and how He provided for us to make for Himself a glorious Name. Yes, we will make mention of the Lord, according to all that He shall have bestowed upon us, according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His lovingkindness. We will tell the story of how the Angel of His Presence saved us; how, in His love and pity, He redeemed us; and how He bare and carried us all the days of old. We shall have a great story to tell! "My heart and my flesh fail, but Thou art the strength of my heart and my portion for ever! None of them that trust in Him shall be desolate.'"

Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give me an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give me an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside. AMEN.

Feb 20, 2009

The spirit of God - The word of God

"It is the Spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing -- the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." - Joh_6:63

 It is through the word that the soul in the first instance is cleansed. It is by the word that the soul is begotten again unto eternal life. It is, also, by the word applied to the heart that the blessed Spirit from time to time keeps alive communion with the Lord Jesus Christ. Is it not so in vital experience? Some passage of Scripture drops into the soul, some promise comes warm into the heart, and as it comes it makes way for itself. It enters the heart, breaks down the feelings, melts the soul, and draws forth living faith to flow unto and center alone in the"altogether lovely One."

 There are many times and seasons when the word of God is to us a dead letter; we see and feel no sweetness in it. But there are other times, through mercy, when the word of God is made sweet and precious to us; when we can say, with the prophet of old,"Your words were found, and I did eat them; and your word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart"(Jer_15:16). It was so in the case of David. He says, they are"more to be desired than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb"(Psa_19:10). When this is felt, the sure effect is to bring the soul into communion with the Lord Jesus, who is the true word of God, and makes use of the written word to draw us near unto himself.

Feb 19, 2009

Devotional - Hope in the lord - for mercy and redemption

"Let Israel hope in the Lord -- for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption." - Psa_130:7

what a beautiful message from the lord ! He has inspired the author (unknown) so much to write in concise and poetic manner. 

"Let Israel hope in the Lord."Has she ceased to hope in the creature? Does she despair of salvation from any other source or quarter but the blood of the Lamb? Is she crying, sighing, longing, panting, and begging of the Lord to appear in her soul?"Let Israel,"then,"hope in the Lord -- for with the Lord there is mercy."He will not spurn his waiting Israel from his feet; he will not smite her with the lightnings of his wrath; he will show mercy to the poor, guilty sinner that comes with dust upon his head, clothed with sackcloth and ashes, mourning and lamenting his vileness before the Lord. There is no wrath in the bosom of the Lord against him; there is mercy, pardoning mercy in the bosom of Jehovah for Israel; therefore"let Israel hope in the Lord."

 If Israel looks to herself, she cannot have one grain of hope; if she looks to the law, she cannot have one ray of expectation; or if she looks to an arm of flesh, none can do her good. But if Israel looks"to the hills from whence comes her help"-- to God the Father, in his electing love -- to God the Son, in his redeeming blood -- to God the Spirit, in his sanctifying work; if Israel is thus enabled to anchor within the veil, thus to"hope in the Lord,"her hope shall not be cut off, shall not be disappointed; it shall not be as"the hope of the hypocrite,"a spider's web, that the first gust of eternal displeasure shall forever sweep away.

Feb 18, 2009

(In) Gratitude towards God

“ Ingratitude ” 

Ingratitude-an ugly trait? Especially when it is directed against someone who has made sacrifices for us and done many good things for us. Our ingratitude can hurt such people deeply. What sorrow there is in Jesus' words when only one of the ten lepers that were healed came back to thank Him. "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Luk_17:18. 

But today our ingratitude is even more serious, because we actually do not appreciate the gift that surpasses all understanding-Jesus' forgiveness and His vicarious atonement for us. His sacrifice for us reveals that we as sinners need the redemption of Jesus and that we in no way have deserved love from God. Because everything we receive from God is undeserved, including what He lets other people give us, it should be a matter of course for us to thank Him. But, if we do not give thanks for His grace and undeserved gifts, we are like parasites and we should not be amazed when the wrath of God comes upon us. 

Ingratitude is a serious sin. The Holy Scriptures say that it is one of the characteristics of the antichristian spirit of the last times 2Ti_3:2. It will be judged severely by God. Therefore, we have to overcome all the ingratitude in our hearts if we are to belong to Jesus in eternity. We have to see what an ugly trait it is. We must be resolute and not tolerate it any longer, because it hurts the Father's heart so deeply and provokes His wrath against us. 

How can we overcome our ingratitude? Here too we must first recognize the root. Just like many other sins, its root lies in pride. The proud take it for granted that people will give them things. Consciously or unconsciously they think they have a right to receive gifts. Their eyes are blind towards all the good things that the heavenly Father gives them. In their pride they think, even when they are not consciously aware of it, that they have the right to enough, or more than enough, nourishment, clothing and everything else they need for body and soul in this life. But if they do not have sufficient goods of this life, all of a sudden they remember God and accuse Him for not giving them what they need. Their attitude towards God is like that of a person who has a lawful claim upon someone else. The ungrateful do not see that it is grace, pure grace, when God gives them what they need. So we have to humble ourselves before God and ask Him to forgive us for our pride, which kept us from thanking Him. And we have to ask for a deeper repentance over our proud ingratitude. 

Then we have to take the next step by beginning to record all the good things we receive, either every day or every week. That means not only realizing this in our hearts, but bringing the Father a song or prayer of thanksgiving. It also helps when we have a special "thanksgiving booklet" in which we write down everything we receive. Then at the end of the day, or at the end of the week, either alone or with our family, we can give thanks to God. In this way our hearts practise seeing what good things we have received, from other people as well as God. 

All things work together for good to those who love God

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose." - Rom_8:28

 To look at all our varied circumstances; and then to believe that if we are the lovers of God, all things we experience are working together for our spiritual good, what a view does it give us of the wisdom, grace, and power of a wonder-working God! And we are to measure this good, not by what the creature thinks, but by what God himself has declared to be good in his word, and what we have felt to be good in our soul's experience.

 Have your trials humbled you, made you meek and lowly? They have done you good. Have they stirred up a spirit of prayer in your bosom, made you sigh, cry, and groan for the Lord to appear, visit, or bless your soul? They have done you good. Have they opened up those parts of God's word which are full of mercy and comfort to his afflicted people? Have they stripped off the covering that is too narrow? Have they made you more sincere, more earnest, more spiritual, more heavenly-minded, more convinced that the Lord Jesus can alone bless and comfort your soul? They have done you good. Have they been the means in God's hand of giving you a lift in hearing the preached word, of opening your ears to hear none but the true servants of God, those who enter into a tried path, and describe a gracious experience? Have they made the Bible more precious to you, the promises more sweet, the dealings of God with your soul more prized? They have done you good.

Feb 16, 2009

God Opens the believer's mind to the word

"Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures." - Luk_24:45

 Blessed opening, when He that has the key of David puts in his hand by the hole of the door, and opens our heart to receive his own word. Then when we go to the Word of Truth, after it has come to us, our fingers drop with sweet-smelling myrrh upon the handles of the lock. It is said that"the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live."O, to hear the voice of the Son of God in our hearts! Surely it shall make our dead hearts, cold frames, withering hopes, drooping love, dying faith, languishing prayers, and fainting minds live; yes, revive as the grain, and grow as the vine.

 What is all religion without a divine beginning, middle, and end --  commencing, carried on, and accomplished with a heavenly power, supernatural life, and spiritual unction? Well may we be ashamed and sick of, and sorry for, all our thoughts, words, and works, all our knowledge and profession that have not stood, or do not stand, in the power, teaching, and wisdom of God. All our talk has been but vain babbling, our prayers lip- service, our preaching wind and vanity, our profession hypocrisy, our knowledge the worst kind of ignorance, and all our religion carnality or delusion, if they have not been divinely communicated.

 Sir Isaac Newton, the wisest philosopher, is said to have remarked to one who congratulated him on his knowledge,"I have been like a little child on the sea-shore taking up a little water in a shell when the vast ocean of truth lay undiscovered before me."Much more may a spiritual man feel how little, how nothing he knows of the unsearchable riches of Christ, and the boundless stores of wisdom hid in them.

Feb 14, 2009

Devotional - Anchor for the soul !

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain." - Heb_6:19

 Anchors, you know, are made of different sizes. You may walk in the Queen's Dockyard, and there you may see anchors for a boat, and anchors for a three-decker. Yet all anchors are made in the same way, and are designed for the same purpose; and the little anchor that holds the boat is as useful and as much an anchor as that which holds the three-decker. So spiritually. There is hope in the heart of the spiritual babe. But the hope in the heart of a babe is but as the anchor of a boat; yet it holds that babe as firmly as the anchor holds the boat to which it is moored. But as the Lord increases hope, he increases the size of the anchor; and as the vessel and its anchor always bear a proportion to each other, so when he enlarges the size of the anchor he increases the size of the ship. No more, as he increases the size of the ship, he increases its burden, for these two are proportionate. Thus hope takes a more vigorous hold within the veil; it enters more deeply into the presence of God; it takes a firmer grasp of covenant engagements, electing love, the immutability of God's purposes, and the unchangeable nature of the great eternal I AM.

 Have you not felt at times your hope sweetly enlarged, so that it almost attained to the"full assurance of hope?"Scarcely a cloud remained between you and God; and you believed you would ride triumphantly into the haven of bliss and peace; and having these blessed sensations in your heart, you could part with life itself at that moment to fall into the embrace of your God.

Christ's conversation with the samaritan woman - spiritual harvest!


The ignorant Samaritan woman was much struck with the conversation of the stranger sitting by the well. It put her in mind of the promise she had heard of a Messiah, who would come into the world and instruct men. She seems at length to have desired instruction. She said, "When he has come, he will tell us all things." He has come already, and has told us all things. Are there not some here who love his words, and desire to keep them? 

What a joyful moment that was when the Lord revealed himself unto the woman, and said, "I who talk unto you am he." In her joy, it is probable, she did not remember that she had refused him a cup of cold water. She was now anxious that others would hear the heavenly stranger, and she ran with haste into the city. She told her countrymen how she had been convinced that Jesus was the Christ. She said, "Come see a man who told me all the things that ever I did. Is not this the Christ?" Now one great proof that the Bible is the word of God, is, that it tells us all things that ever we did—not that it can tell each person his own life in particular, but it describes such men as we are, shows us the secrets of our hearts, and makes us feel that He who wrote it knew everything concerning us. For this reason some hate the bible; they will not believe that their hearts are deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. This woman did not turn away from the Savior's word because it exposed the sins of her life. Had she turned away, what infinite blessings she would have lost! 

The disciples were astonished when they returned from the town with food, to find their Master talking in a friendly manner to a Samaritan woman. They thought that he was as prejudiced as themselves; but He who has made of one blood all the nations upon earth, is no respecter of people. There are white people in some countries at the present day, who treat the poor blacks with as much contempt as if they had no souls to be saved; but these people have not the mind of Christ—"He who despises his neighbor sins." When we look down upon another on account of the circumstances of his birth, we sin against God. 

The disciples showed both respect and affection for their Master in their conduct on this occasion. They had too much respect to ask him why he talked with the woman; and they had so much affection, that they could not bear to see him refuse the food they brought him. But Jesus was too intent upon the souls he was now going to save, to be able to eat. When we are going to enjoy a great delight, our appetite is taken away, and so it was with Jesus; his food was to do his Father's will, and to finish his work. What was that will? What was that work? To seek and to save those who were lost; to glorify his Father by the salvation of sinners. Joh_17:4. O what love Christ had, to take delight in saving us, his enemies! Did He thus spend his life in willing labors for us, seeking no other pleasure than that of doing good; and shall we spend ours in doing our own will, and seeking our own glory? 

Jesus directed his disciples' attention to the people who were thronging to hear him from the town. He compared their conversion to a harvest he was going to reap. Then he explained to his disciples that God often appointed one person to sow and another to reap. A minister who enters a place where the gospel has never been heard, may be compared to one who sows the good seed. Sometimes he is removed without seeing any fruit of his labor. Another follows him, and meets with great success in converting souls; and this last minister may be compared to a reaper. 

Thus it was in Greenland. When Hans Egede first visited that land of ice and snow, he met with neglect and scorn; and though he remained there fifteen years, he could not make an impression upon a single person. Other missionaries from Germany followed in his steps, and they reaped an abundant harvest of souls; and Greenland is now a Christian country. Shall not Hans Egede who sowed the seed rejoice in heaven with the blessed men who reaped the sheaves? Jesus promised his apostles that they would reap many souls when they preached; his prophets had sown good seed long before, and had not reaped. Would God forget those poor persecuted prophets? 

It is a great delight to be permitted to reap; but it is a great comfort to think, that if we only sow, and even shed tears because we meet with no success, yet that our labor is not in vain in the Lord; and that at the last day we shall doubtless come again, bringing our sheaves with us. There have been parents who have died fearing that their instructions had made no impression on the hearts of their children, and yet after their death some friend or minister has reaped those children's souls. Will not the parent rejoice with that friend when they all appear before God? He who sows and he who reaps shall rejoice together. 

Christ's conversation with the woman of Samaria - contd


When the Lord said, "Go call your husband and come here," the woman may have thought that he knew nothing about her circumstances; but his next words showed that he was acquainted with her whole history. Why then did he desire her to call her husband? He wished to bring her sins to her remembrance. It is probable that she had been divorced from these husbands, or had left them in a wicked manner. It was painful to her to be reminded of the sins of past years, and to be detected in pursuing even at that time an immoral course. But why did Jesus inflict this pain and this shame? That he might afterwards confer on this unhappy sinful woman everlasting glory and felicity. Let us not turn away from the remembrance of our sins. Everyone must be brought low before he can be lifted up. We naturally shrink from being exposed even to ourselves; this is our folly and our sin. 

The Samaritan woman (though now convinced that the stranger was a true prophet) did not like to dwell upon the circumstances of her history. She attempted to turn the conversation, and instead of inquiring how she might obtain forgiveness, referred to the chief points in dispute between the Jews and the Samaritans. The Jews said that Jerusalem was the place where men ought to worship God, and the Samaritans professed to worship him on a mountain in Samaria. Now Jerusalem was the place where God had commanded men to offer sacrifices; but he permitted them to pray to him everywhere. The Samaritans had done very wrong in building a temple on Mount Gerizim; their excuse was, that the Israelites in ancient times had pronounced blessings from this mountain, (as recorded in Deut. 26.) It was to this the woman referred when she said, "Our fathers worshiped in this mountain." 

The Samaritans boasted of being descended from the Israelites, though they were chiefly of Assyrian origin. For when the king of Assyria took captive the last king of Israel and his people, he filled the land with Assyrians. At first these Assyrians worshiped idols, but afterwards they left off idolatry. Yet though they did not worship idols, they did not worship God. 

Jesus said to the woman, "You worship you know not what." There are many in Christian countries who, like these Samaritans, do not worship the true God, though they think they do. God is a spirit. Do those believe that He is a spirit, who while they feel no love, nor reverence for his name, yet bend the knee and move the lip in mere external worship? If we knew that an earthly sovereign could see into our hearts, and if we felt no love, no reverence for him, would we not be afraid of entering into his presence? Until we love God, we cannot worship him. What then is a sinner to do who is conscious that he does not love God? Let him confess his sins; let him ask for a new heart; let him think of God's love in giving his Son to die for a guilty world. 

Though God is surrounded by millions of angels who worship him in spirit and in truth, yet He seeks for other worshipers. He is so condescending, that he delights in the praises of penitent sinners—He even seeks such to worship him. Perhaps last night or this morning He saw you worshiping him alone in your chamber; perhaps your voice was heard by no human creature, but your heart was full of sorrow for past sins, and of gratitude to God for having spared you so long. The Father of your spirit heard that prayer. He will answer it. 

Feb 12, 2009

Christ's conversation with the woman of Samaria

A set of thoughts on our lord's interaction with the samaritan woman. By Farrel Lee Mortimer


Everyone must desire to know what our Savior thought fit to say to a poor ignorant woman, whom he met beside a well. He was always watching for opportunities of doing good to the souls and bodies of men. Though He was weary, and doubtless hungry and thirsty also, he was intent upon his Father's business; while we are continually making excuses for not speaking to people about their souls! 

Observe how he begins the conversation—he asks the woman to give him some water to drink. She returns an uncivil, unfeeling reply—"How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from a woman of Samaria?" It was true that the Samaritans and Jews did live at enmity with each other; but this was very wicked, and our Savior would not follow such wicked customs. However, he did not enter into a dispute on this subject, but passed on to one more important. In talking to people upon religion, we should keep the chief object in view, and not be induced to dispute on less important points. 

How soft an answer did our Savior return to the uncourteous woman! He saw her ignorance, and pitied her—he saw she was ruining her own soul by her refusal to have any dealings with him. How majestic and how touching is his reply! (v. 10.) "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says unto you, 'Give me to drink,' you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water." 

The woman did not understand this answer; she did not know what the stranger meant by the "gift of God." She did not know that He himself was the gift of God, the Father, to a lost world; neither did she know what he meant by "living water;" she thought he meant running water; she did not know that he spoke of the Holy Spirit. She began, indeed, to suspect that he was some great person, though he appeared a poor man; but she could not believe that he was greater than Jacob who had dug the well in old time. Neither could she imagine that any water could be better than the water of that well, and that water she was sure the stranger could not give to her, as he could not procure it for himself. But though she could allow the blessed Lord to remain parched with thirst, He was willing to supply her with the water of everlasting life. 

He continued the conversation by pointing out a defect in the water of Jacob's well. "Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again." There is the same defect in all earthly pleasures and comforts; they seem to satisfy us for a little time, but soon the tormenting thirst returns. Have we not often experienced the truth of this? We have partaken of some pleasure, and have felt satisfied; but O how short was our satisfaction? We soon become restless and uneasy again. Thus we continue to thirst until we are made partakers of the Holy Spirit; then we feel satisfied. Then we find within ourselves a source of happiness. What is this source of never-failing delight? It is the sense of pardoned sin, of God's love in Christ, the hope of heaven, and of meeting our Redeemer there. Have you not heard of people racked with pain, who yet enjoyed a peace that passes all understanding? Perhaps you have seen such people, and have wondered at their case. Behold the mystery explained; they drank, indeed, of no stream of earthly comforts, but there was in them a well of water springing up that never could be exhausted, and therefore they thirsted not after the muddy waters of this world. 

The Samaritan woman did not understand the Savior's meaning, yet she made the right request, for she said, "Give me of this water." O that we might all make this prayer, understanding for what it is we ask! God would certainly grant it. What! did God give his own Son to die for us, and shall He think anything too great to give us? Who could have thought of such a gift? much less who could have dared to ask for it! that the Judge should give his only Son to die for the criminal! But as God has done this, and slain his beloved Son for us, is it not extreme ingratitude in us not to come to Him for the gifts the Savior purchased with his blood! Jesus laid down his life to procure for us the Holy Spirit, the living water; and shall we neglect to ask for this precious gift? God forbid! Let each of us cry earnestly—constantly to God, "Give me this living water, O you who have so loved the world as to give your only-begotten Son!" 

Feb 11, 2009

A promise that I claim - The gift of knowledge

I usually resist in writing about my job and other mundane things. But the fact is, it does take up a larger portion of my life - and it's often difficult to avoid references to it, especially since I am a realist. 

Often I think; The challenges that face me at work - the ones that the lord has let me overcome - (Praise the Lord!) are not unique to me. They could be faced by every christian professional - and I would be happy to share my thoughts even if it means it is not the usual interesting devotional that I post. 

One of my main challenges that I have faced at work is a lack of knowledge for me and my friends who are involved in the same task. Ours is the victory to claim, in Christ; and if we have God on our side, who else do we need to worry about? Is the mountain unsurmountable if God is with us ? Are we limited by our lack of knowledge or intelligence or indeed any of our mortal limitations if He is guiding us ? Does he leave us without a guide and comfort in these times ? ! 

My friend - Praise the Lord - He has always taken care of me in wonderful ways (Yes! Miraculous ways) in all aspects of my life - And so often at work too. Indeed, I can say that any success I have had in my professional life has been due to the abundant blessings from the Lord. 

Let's glance at a portion from Exodus.
Exo 31:1  And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, 
Exo 31:2  See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: 
Exo 31:3  And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 
Exo 31:4  To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 
Exo 31:5  And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. 
Exo 31:6  And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee; 

How heartening it is for me, when I read this verse again. This is a promise that the gift of the holy spirit is in us and in the people who work with us - so that they may do the work that He has willed for us! He will impart portions of His infinite knowledge to help do the work that He has entrusted with us. 

This is a time when I am worried. And I am quite a baby christian (since the adults in christ do not get worried ! :) ) 

I pray to the Lord to guide me and my friends to achieve the goal that he has destined for us at work - through Him, and all for His glory. Amen. 

Devotional - John's testimony about Jesus

(Joh 3:22)  After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

(Joh 3:23)  And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.

(Joh 3:24)  For John was not yet cast into prison.

(Joh 3:25)  Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.

(Joh 3:26)  And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.

(Joh 3:27)  John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

(Joh 3:28)  Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.

(Joh 3:29)  He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

(Joh 3:30)  He must increase, but I must decrease.

(Joh 3:31)  He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

(Joh 3:32)  And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.

(Joh 3:33)  He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.

(Joh 3:34)  For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.

(Joh 3:35)  The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

(Joh 3:36)  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

How little did the Jews understand the character of John the Baptist! Some of them thought that he would be jealous of the Lord Jesus. How was that possible, when he came into the world to bear witness to Him, and to persuade men to believe in Him? Some people came to John, complaining that Jesus baptized, and that all men came to him. John earnestly desired that all men would come to Christ; not come to him only to be baptized with water, but to be washed from their sins, and baptized with the Holy Spirit. 

John's answer shows in the most beautiful manner the humility of his heart and the sincerity of his love to Christ. Though he had been much admired as a preacher, he was not lifted up with pride. He knew and declared that "a man can receive nothing, unless it be given him from above." O that we could always keep this truth in our minds! Then we would perceive the folly of pride, as well as its wretchedness. What have we that we have not received? Yet how apt we are to be puffed up, as though we had not received, and even to boast to others of our abilities, our possessions, our numerous friends, and amiable qualities! We ought only to feel thankful to God for his gifts, and to humble ourselves in his sight, because we are unworthy of his notice; this is what the angels do who excel in strength, in wisdom, and in beauty. How dreadful it is when we feel proud of God's spiritual blessings! If he has put grace in our hearts, or enabled us to convert others, how unspeakably thankful we should be! To be proud of such mercies is, indeed, the blackest ingratitude. 

John the Baptist was full of love to the Savior; he compared him to a bridegroom, and himself to the bridegroom's friend. The bride is the church, Christ's believing people. It was John's desire to lead all men to love Christ. He had succeeded in persuading some to love him, and now he knew that Jesus was rejoicing over these believers. To hear the bridegroom's voice was his chief joy; he delighted in praising the bridegroom! He called himself earthly, but he declared Jesus to be heavenly, for he came from above. He himself had only received a measure of the Spirit; but Jesus had received the Spirit without measure, that is, in an infinite degree. 

He then described the exceeding happiness of believers in Christ, and the miserable condition of unbelievers. These are John's words—"He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who believes not shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." It is not said, that he who believes shall have everlasting life, but that he has even now everlasting life. It is not said that he who believes not, shall taste the wrath of God, but that now the wrath of God abides on him. Every person is at this moment in one of these conditions; he either has everlasting life, or he is under the wrath of God. How very happy, or how very miserable every person ought to be! Ought not that person to be miserable, who knows that at any moment he may be snatched away from the scene of his enjoyments? If we were to see a man living in splendor, in a magnificent house, surrounded by luxuries, and were told that he had immense debts, and that numerous creditors might at any moment thrust him into prison, would we count him happy? He could not be happy, if he reflected upon his circumstances. Perhaps he would not reflect; perhaps he would run from one diversion to another, and thus endeavor to keep up his spirits. Now all unbelievers owe an immense debt to the justice of God, and they are in danger at any moment of being thrust into prison, even that prison of hell from where none ever escape. They would not enjoy a moment's peace if they reflected on their condition. 

How different is the state of the believer! If you were to see a poor man, coarsely clothed and scantily fed, and if you were to be assured he was the heir of a large estate, you would expect him to bear his present hardships without murmuring. If we believe in the Son of God, we are the heirs of God; we were his debtors, but Christ paid our debt by his blood, and when we believed, we were free from it; and not only so, but we were made the heirs of a heavenly kingdom. Ought we not to rejoice exceedingly, and to reckon nothing of our present losses and disappointments, because of the great inheritance promised to us? 

Feb 9, 2009

Church - likened to a Bride

(Psa 45:1)  To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, for the sons of Korah, Maschil, A Song of loves. My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

(Psa 45:2)  Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee forever.

(Psa 45:3)  Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.

(Psa 45:4)  And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.

(Psa 45:5)  Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.

(Psa 45:6)  Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: the scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter.

(Psa 45:7)  Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

(Psa 45:8)  All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.

(Psa 45:9)  Kings' daughters were among thy honorable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.

(Psa 45:10)  Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house;

(Psa 45:11)  So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.

(Psa 45:12)  And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall entreat thy favor.

(Psa 45:13)  The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.

(Psa 45:14)  She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.

(Psa 45:15)  With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace.

(Psa 45:16)  Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.

(Psa 45:17)  I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee forever and ever.

After a long long time - I am doing a devotional on a full psalm. What a beautiful psalm giving the relation of our God to us. 

This psalm is an illustrious prophecy of Messiah the Prince: it is all over gospel, and points at him only, as a bridegroom espousing the church to himself and as a king ruling in it and ruling for it. It is probable that our Saviour has reference to this psalm when he compares the kingdom of heaven, more than once, to a nuptial solemnity, the solemnity of a royal nuptial, Mat_22:2; Mat_25:1. We have no reason to think it has any reference to Solomon's marriage with Pharaoh's daughter; if I thought that it had reference to any other than the mystical marriage between Christ and his church, I would rather apply it to some of David's marriages, because he was a man of war, such a one as the bridegroom here is described to be, which Solomon was not. But I take it to be purely and only meant of Jesus Christ; of him speaks the prophet this, of him and of no other man; and to him (Psa_45:6, Psa_45:7) it is applied in the New Testament (Heb_1:8), nor can it be understood of any other. The preface speaks the excellency of the song (Psa_45:1). The psalm speaks,  I. Of the royal bridegroom, who is Christ.  1. The transcendent excellency of his person (Psa_45:2).  2. The glory of his victories (Psa_45:3-5).  3. The righteousness of his government (Psa_45:6, Psa_45:7).  4. The splendour of his court (Psa_45:8, Psa_45:9).  II. Of the royal bride, which is the church.  1. Her consent gained (Psa_45:10, Psa_45:11).  2. The nuptials solemnized (Psa_45:12-15).  3. The issue of this marriage (Psa_45:16, Psa_45:17). In singing this psalm our hearts must be filled with high thoughts of Christ, with an entire submission to and satisfaction in his government, and with an earnest desire of the enlarging and perpetuating of his church in the world.

Feb 7, 2009

Obey my voice - says the Lord

"Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you." --

And oft, when in my heart was heard Thy timely mandate, I deferred The task, in smoother walks to stray; But thee I now would serve more strictly, if I may.


Pray Him to give you what Scripture calls "an honest and good heart," or "a perfect heart;" and, without waiting, begin at once to obey Him with the best heart you have. Any obedience is better than none. You have to seek His face; obedience is the only way of seeing Him. All your duties are obediences. To do what He bids is to obey Him, and to obey Him is to approach Him. Every act of obedience is an approach-- an approach to Him who is not far off, though He seems so, but close behind this visible screen of things which hides Him from us.


As soon as we lay ourselves entirely at His feet, we have enough light given us to guide our own steps; as the foot-soldier, who hears nothing of the councils that determine the course of the great battle he is in, hears plainly enough the word of command which he must himself obey.


Feb 6, 2009

Righteousness - all the time

"Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times." --

"Thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear: because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away." -- 

In the bitter waves of woe, Beaten and tossed about By the sullen winds that blow From the desolate shores of doubt, Where the anchors that faith has cast Are dragging in the gale, I am quietly holding fast To the things that cannot fail.


Even in your darkest hour - Cling to the lord. Do righteousness always. 

Feb 3, 2009

Devotional - holy anointing

From Philpott - Daily wayfarer

"As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit -- just as it has taught you, remain in him."- 1Jo_2:27

 Have you ever had a solitary drop of this holy anointing oil fall upon your heart? One drop, if it be but a drop, will sanctify you forever to the service of God. There was not much of the holy anointing oil used for the service of the tabernacle, when we consider the size and quantity of what had to be consecrated, for Moses had to anoint therewith the whole of the tabernacle of the congregation, as well as all the vessels, with all their various accessories. When he went through the sacred work, he touched one vessel after another with a drop of oil; for one drop sanctified the vessel to the service of the tabernacle. There was no repetition of the consecration needed; it abode. So if you ever had a drop of God's love shed abroad in your heart -- a drop of the anointing to teach you the truth as it is in Jesus; a drop to penetrate, to soften, to heal, to feed and give light, life, and power to your soul -- you have the unction from the Holy One; you know all things which are for your salvation, and by that same holy oil you have been sanctified and made meet for an eternal inheritance.

Feb 2, 2009

Take courage - be glad and joyful in JESUS

A short note from a daily devotional on e-sword. It touched me - since it was in the first person and I really derived strength from it - Like it was my lord speaking to me. 

 Take courage. Do not fear. Start a new life tomorrow. Put the old mistakes away, and start anew. I give you a fresh start. Be not burdened. Be not anxious. If My forgiveness were for the righteous only, and those who had not sinned, where would be its need? 

Remember as I said, "To whom much is forgiven, the same loveth much." 

Why do you fret and worry so? I wait to give you all that is lovely, but your lives are soiled with worry and fret. You would crush My treasures. I can only bless glad, thankful hearts. 

You must be glad and joyful. 

 This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.   Php_3:13  

Feb 1, 2009

Devotional - Strengthened by Grace

Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  (2Ti_2:1)

a beautiful devotional from hoekstra. God bless us all through these words - and may He give us the grace to be strengthened in our difficult worldly life. 

Great strength is necessary for living as God intends. The grace of our Lord Jesus is where that strength is to be found. "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." Some of the specific reasons why we need strength are listed here in the immediate context of this verse. 

Part of our calling as believers in Christ is passing on to others the biblical truths that God has taught us. "And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2Ti_2:2). Discipling others in God's truth can be demanding and discouraging. Strength is needed. "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." 

Another aspect of our life as disciples of Jesus is functioning as spiritual soldiers. "You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (2Ti_2:3). We are the Lord's warriors in a worldwide, lifelong spiritual battle. The battle has been won by our Commander, Jesus. However, the enemy will not stop striking back until he is confined forever.  As Jesus' soldiers, we face many hardships. Again, strength is needed. "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." 

Another perspective on following Jesus is that of an athlete."And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules" (2Ti_2:5). As it is in athletics, the Christian life requires discipline, training, and the exertion of great measures of energy. Yet again, strength is needed. "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." 

One additional analogy of our life in Christ is that of a farmer. "The hard-working farmer must be first to partake of the crops" (2Ti_2:6). As with farmers, we are to sow the seed of the word upon people's hearts. We are to water the seed through prayer. We are to reap a harvest of righteousness. Farming is strenuous work. Once more, strength is needed. "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." 

How wonderful that God did not limit His grace to justification. We need it just as much for sanctification. We need His grace to strengthen us for the extraordinary spiritual roles that God has for us as disciplers, soldiers, athletes, and farmers. For all of this the only sufficient resource is to "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."

Prayer : O Lord of all might and power, I desire to be a faithful discipler, a sacrificial soldier, a disciplined runner, and a laboring farmer. Lord this sounds so right, so good. Yet,You know that I am intimidated by it all as well. I hear the call, and I want to respond; but my strength is so inadequate. So, I look to You and implore You to strengthen me by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, Amen.