Jun 10, 2009

Devotional - Seek the kingdom of God - The lord provides

"Seek not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you."-- Luk_12:29-31.

AT THE time when our Lord spoke these words, the fields of Palestine were carpeted with wild flowers, and the air was redolent with their fragrance, bespangling the pastures, clustering in the hedge-rows, and hiding in the woodland glades. Theirs was as careless a life as that of the birds which were flying overhead. "They toil not, neither do they spin." For some plants, like the exotics of the greenhouse and nurseries, there must be extreme care and expense in their cultivation, in the provision of heat and the experienced skill of the horticulturist. But our Lord was not alluding to these, but to the flowers of the grass, which grow amid the wilds of nature, or in the gardens of the poor, and to Him these were very beautiful.

This prodigious growth teaches us that God loves beautiful things, and expends thought and skill in their production. He might have made the world without a daisy, and human life without the beauty of childhood. But since He clothed with beauty the short-lived flowers of the wilds; the ephemeral insects of a summer day; the shells of the minute creatures that build up the solid fabric of the rocks--surely this prodigality, this lavishness, this prolific superabundance of creativeness, must mean that He can and will withhold no good thing from them that trust Him.

Of course we must fulfill our part! We are not to be careless and improvident; we must certainly sow and reap, and toil and spin; but when we have done all, we must rely upon our Heavenly Father whose good pleasure it is to give, believing that it is vain for us to rise up early, and sit up late, and to eat the bread of sorrows, for our God will give us all that we need, even whilst we sleep. He will not allow His trusting children to starve, or to go unsheltered, unclothed, and unshod. "Fear not, little flock," says the comforting voice of the Good Shepherd, "for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."

From Hoekstra:

Jun 9, 2009

Devotional - The Rapture of the Forward View - Marching to Zion

"Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before" (Philippians 3:13).

Scripture encourages us to remember all the way that the Lord has brought us thus far, for in each memory is a meaningful look into the way He works, and the great love He bears for each one of us as He carries us through Life's many, many episodes. Pity the one who has no memory of such Providential occurances. Yet, to live too long in memory, and to over-dwell upon that which is past, may actually work against us — if it is not balanced with the rapture of the forward view.

We have much to look forward to as we press onward and upward to Zion's Hill, where there is a City whose Builder and Maker is God; a place where there is no need of sun nor moon; for the Lord is the light of that blessed place.

There, just beyond the pearly gates, awaits a glory for each one of us that will indeed make whatever it is we are going through now on our journey fade into oblivion. Paul said that "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).

And he repeated himself just to make sure we didn't miss what he meant — "For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

Have you sorrow and heartbreak? Disappointment, and setbacks? Ridicule and rejection? Questions with no answers? Have you labors seemingly unrewarded, efforts coninually unappreciated, and victiorious apparently uncelebrated? Then lift up your head and cast a glance by faith at what awaits you ere you reach the summit of your fondest longings.

There, in that exalted place of unending joy, we will surround the Throne with praise. There we shall see His face; and never, never sin! There, from the rivers of His grace, we will drink in limitless supplies of endless pleasures. And, even now, the holy hill of Zion yields a thousand sacred sweets before we reach the heav'nly fields, or walk the golden streets! Thus, as we journey, let our songs abound and every tear be dry! For even now we are passing through Immanuel's ground to fairer worlds on high!! (adapted from the old hymn, Marching to Zion)

Oh, the rapture of the forward view!


PS: The lyrics of that beautiful song!!

1.                    Come, we that love the Lord,

                        and let our joys be known;

                        join in a song with sweet accord,

                        join in a song with sweet accord

                        and thus surround the throne,

                        and thus surround the throne.


                        We're marching to Zion,

                        beautiful, beautiful Zion;

                        we're marching upward to Zion,

                        the beautiful city of God.


2.                    Let those refuse to sing

                        who never knew our God;

                        but children of the heavenly King,

                        but children of the heavenly King

                        may speak their joys abroad,

                        may speak their joys abroad.



3.                    The hill of Zion yields

                        a thousand sacred sweets

                        before we reach the heavenly fields,

                        before we reach the heavenly fields,

                        or walk the golden streets,

                        or walk the golden streets.



4.                    Then let our songs abound,

                        and every tear be dry;

                        we're marching through Emmanuel's ground,

                        we're marching through Emmanuel's ground,

                        to fairer worlds on high,

                        to fairer worlds on high.



Devotional - forgive our sins

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."- 1Jo_1:9


 Has the Lord made sin your burden? Has he ever made you feel guilty before him? Has he ever pressed down your conscience with a sight and sense of your iniquities, your sins, your backslidings? And does the Lord draw, from time to time, honest, sincere, unreserved confession of those sins out of your lips? What does the Holy Spirit say to you? What has the blessed Spirit recorded for your instruction, and for your consolation?"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins."


 Not merely on a footing of mercy; still less because you confess them. It is not your confessing them, but it is thus -- your confessing them is a mark of divine light; your confessing them springs from the work of grace upon your heart. If, then, you possess divine life, if you have grace in your soul, you are a child of God, Jesus obeyed for you -- Jesus suffered for you -- Jesus died for you -- Jesus has put away your sin. And, therefore, you being a child of God, and Jesus having done all these things for you, God is now"faithful"to his promise that he will receive a confessing sinner; and"just"to his own immutable and truthful character. And thus, from justice as well as mercy, from faithfulness as well as compassion, he can, he will, and he does --  pardon, forgive, and sweetly blot out every iniquity and every transgression of a confessing penitent.


Amen !!



Jun 8, 2009

Devotional : His word shall come to pass - Look to the creator

“Thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.”

- Num_11:23

God had made a positive promise to Moses that for the space of a whole month he would feed the vast host in the wilderness with flesh. Moses, being overtaken by a fit of unbelief, looks to the outward means, and is at a loss to know how the promise can be fulfilled. He looked to the creature instead of the Creator. But doth the Creator expect the creature to fulfil his promise for him? No; he who makes the promise ever fulfils it by his own unaided omnipotence. If he speaks, it is done-done by himself. His promises do not depend for their fulfilment upon the co-operation of the puny strength of man. We can at once perceive the mistake which Moses made. And yet how commonly we do the same! God has promised to supply our needs, and we look to the creature to do what God has promised to do; and then, because we perceive the creature to be weak and feeble, we indulge in unbelief. Why look we to that quarter at all? Will you look to the north pole to gather fruits ripened in the sun? Verily, you would act no more foolishly if ye did this than when you look to the weak for strength, and to the creature to do the Creator’s work. Let us, then, put the question on the right footing. The ground of faith is not the sufficiency of the visible means for the performance of the promise, but the all-sufficiency of the invisible God, who will most surely do as he hath said. If after clearly seeing that the onus lies with the Lord and not with the creature, we dare to indulge in mistrust, the question of God comes home mightily to us: “Has the Lord’s hand waxed short?” May it happen, too, in his mercy, that with the question there may flash upon our souls that blessed declaration, “Thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.”


Devotional : Complete in every good work to do his will

Now may the God of peace . . . make you complete in every good work to do His will.  (Heb_13:20-21)

Again, our devotional study is from Hebrews 13:20-21. In our previous meditation, we saw that the God of peace makes obedience available through the shed blood of the crucified, risen Christ. That shed blood forgives our sins, making friends out of formerly disobedient enemies. Furthermore, that shed blood establishes the new covenant of grace, which supplies God's sufficiency for all our needs, including, the developing of an obedient life. 

Now, we will reflect upon God being the one who uses His heavenly resources to equip us to do His will. What a hope and joy this is! God Himself is willing to undertake the task of shaping us into His obedient servants: "Now may the God of peace . . . make you complete in every good work to do His will." 

This term, "complete," is exceedingly insightful. It speaks of equipping people for their intended task, getting them ready to do what they are called to do. To equip means to furnish whatever qualities are necessary to perform the task at hand. To equip means to supply whatever is needed for an assigned purpose. Our calling and purpose in the will of God is that we engage in a great variety of good works. God is willing to equip us "in every good work to do His will." 

Long ago, David was inspired of the Holy Spirit to speak boldly in similar terms. "The LORD will perfect that which concerns me" (Psa_138:8). In light of David's calling to obedience (and our own calling to the same), many things concern us. We are called to serve, to sacrifice, to pray, to worship, to love, to evangelize, to edify — and the list continues. How are we to expect progress in such a broad range of obedience? Our confidence is that "The LORD will perfect that which concerns [us]." 

As we have asked previously, is this work of God to equip us unto obedience an automatic issue? Not at all! Remember, we can resist (Act_7:51), quench (1Th_5:19), and grieve (Eph_4:30) the work of the Spirit of grace in our lives. So what is to be our response? Since the Lord is the one who must be equipping us to do His will, we are to be seeking Him. We are to be humbly dependent upon Him. We must not look to ourselves, to formulas, or to any other hope.

O God of peace, please do what only You can do. Equip me to obey You in every type of good work that is in Your will. I do not have what it takes to fulfill Your will for me. I often put my hope in vain places. Lord, I now look to You alone, in Jesus name, Amen.