Devotions will be posted Monday through Friday. Friday's devotions will stay up till monday morning. Thank you and God Bless You..
Matthew 5:14 NASB2020
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;,
“Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest?”
These words are for the humbling of God’s people; they are called God’s vine, but what are they by nature more than others? They, by God’s goodness, have become fruitful, having been planted in a good soil; the Lord hath trained them upon the walls of the sanctuary, and they bring forth fruit to his glory; but what are they without their God? What are they without the continual influence of the Spirit, begetting fruitfulness in them? O believer, learn to reject pride, seeing that thou hast no ground for it. Whatever thou art, thou hast nothing to make thee proud. The more thou hast, the more thou art in debt to God; and thou shouldst not be proud of that which renders thee a debtor. Consider thine origin; look back to what thou wast. Consider what thou wouldst have been but for divine grace. Look upon thyself as thou art now. Doth not thy conscience reproach thee? Do not thy thousand wanderings stand before thee, and tell thee that thou art unworthy to be called his son? And if he hath made thee anything, art thou not taught thereby that it is grace which hath made thee to differ? Great believer, thou wouldst have been a great sinner if God had not made thee to differ. O thou who art valiant for truth, thou wouldst have been as valiant for error if grace had not laid hold upon thee. Therefore, be not proud, though thou hast a large estate—a wide domain of grace, thou hadst not once a single thing to call thine own except thy sin and misery. Oh! strange infatuation, that thou, who hast borrowed everything, shouldst think of exalting thyself; a poor dependent pensioner upon the bounty of thy Saviour, one who hath a life which dies without fresh streams of life from Jesus, and yet proud! Fie on thee, O silly heart!
Doth Job fear God for nought?”
This was the wicked question of Satan concerning that upright man of old, but there are many in the present day concerning whom it might be asked with justice, for they love God after a fashion because he prospers them; but if things went ill with them, they would give up all their boasted faith in God. If they can clearly see that since the time of their supposed conversion the world has gone prosperously with them, then they will love God in their poor carnal way; but if they endure adversity, they rebel against the Lord. Their love is the love of the table, not of the host; a love to the cupboard, not to the master of the house. As for the true Christian, he expects to have his reward in the next life, and to endure hardness in this. The promise of the old covenant is adversity. Remember Christ’s words—“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit”—What? “He purgeth it, that it may bring forth fruit.” If you bring forth fruit, you will have to endure affliction. “Alas!” you say, “that is a terrible prospect.” But this affliction works out such precious results, that the Christian who is the subject of it must learn to rejoice in tribulations, because as his tribulations abound, so his consolations abound by Christ Jesus. Rest assured, if you are a child of God, you will be no stranger to the rod. Sooner or later every bar of gold must pass through the fire. Fear not, but rather rejoice that such fruitful times are in store for you, for in them you will be weaned from earth and made meet for heaven; you will be delivered from clinging to the present, and made to long for those eternal things which are so soon to be revealed to you. When you feel that as regards the present you do serve God for nought, you will then rejoice in the infinite reward of the future.
What Are You without Grace?
Son of man, how does the wood of the vine surpass any wood, the vine branch that is among the trees of the forest?
These words are for the humbling of God's people; they are called God's vine, but what are they by nature more than others? They, by God's goodness, have become fruitful, having been planted in a good soil; the Lord has trained them upon the walls of the sanctuary, and they bring forth fruit to His glory. But what are they without their God? What are they without the continual influence of the Spirit, begetting fruitfulness in them?
O believer, learn to reject pride, seeing that you have no ground for it. Whatever you are, you have nothing to make you proud. The more you have, the more you are in debt to God; and you should not be proud of that which renders you a debtor. Consider your origin; look back to what you were. Consider what you would have been but for divine grace. Look upon yourself as you are now. Does not your conscience reproach you? Do not your thousand wanderings stand before you and tell you that you are unworthy to be called His son? And if He has made you anything, are you not taught thereby that it is grace that has made you to differ?
Great believer, you would have been a great sinner if God had not made you to differ. O you who are valiant for truth, you would have been as valiant for error if grace had not laid hold upon you. Therefore, do not be proud, though you have a large influence—a wide domain of grace, for once you did not have a single thing to call your own except your sin and misery. Oh, strange infatuation that you, who has borrowed everything, should think of exalting yourself—a poor, dependent pensioner upon the bounty of your Savior, one who has a life that dies without fresh streams of life from Jesus, and yet is proud! Fie on you, O silly heart!
Arise, O Lord; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight. Put them in fear, O Lord: that the nations may know themselves to be but men.
It is frightening to listen to the decrees made by some of our world leaders. They hold the lives of so many people in their hands, and all too often they seem bent on destruction, not only of themselves, but of as many people as they can take with them. Were it true that they really had the ultimate power, there would be no reason for hope.
We know better, however. The only true power in this world is the power of God, and our fate will not be decided by men and women, but by God. WE are created for eternity, and so we do not need to fear the decisions made by corrupt human beings in this age. Our trust is in the Lord of all creation, and in Him there is never reason to fear or doubt.
Prayer: Father God, sustainer of life and giver of sanity in an insane world, hear the prayers of Your people and give us peace and confidence of a bright new age to come. Amen.
SEEKING GOD'S FACE
Psalm 27:8 NIV
My heart says of you, "Seek His face!" Your face, LORD, I will seek
"If the sun is shining in the morning, I'll do it." "If he's there when I open the door, I'll know he's the one." "If I pass the class on world missions, I'll be a missionary. If not, I'll be a local pastor."
We all know better than this, but it's amazing how often scenarios just like these pop into our minds. Such propositions are referred to as "laying a fleece" before the Lord or "seeking a sign."
The term fleece comes from the account of Gideon. In Judges 6, Gideon is called by God to deliver Israel from the Midianites. Gideon questions whether God is even for Israel (verse 13), and he doubts his own ability (verse 15). So he asks God for a sign (verse 17). God gives him one, then tells him to tear down the altar of Baal. Gideon is afraid to go during the day, so he goes at night.
Then he questions again whether God will deliver Israel. This time he puts a lamb's fleece on the ground. If God will deliver Israel, then the lamb's fleece will be wet in the morning and the ground around it will be dry. The next morning it is so. That ought to satisfy him, right? Wrong! Wanting to be sure, and hoping that God won't get too mad, Gideon asks Him to do it again, but this time with the opposite result (i.e., the fleece dry and the ground wet). Not exactly the stuff heroes are made of. But God answers Gideon's request and then He reduces Gideon's army down to 300 men!
The whole point of the passage is that God, not man, is the deliverer. God chose a man desperately seeking assurance and reduced an army down to nothing so that the victory would clearly be His. The fleece wasn't a means of demonstrating faith; it was just the opposite. And it certainly wasn't used to determine God's will. God had already told Gideon what to do. Gideon was questioning the integrity of God, just as we do if we ask for a fleece when God has already shown us His will. "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign" (Matthew 12:39). As God's people, let's seek the face of God.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I have looked for sign instead of seeking Your face. I commit myself today to walk only in the faith revealed in Your Word.
The New and Living Way
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us. (Hebrews 10:19-20)
Here, life under the new covenant of grace is described as the "new and living way." This could be contrasted with the "old and dying way" of attempting to live under the old covenant of law. The "newness" of grace is not really a matter of time sequence, because the grace of God actually precedes the law in man's history with God. The "tree of life" in the garden of Eden was God's provision of grace for Adam and Eve. The promises of God to Abraham (given hundreds of years before the law) depended upon the faithful grace of God, not the legal performance of Abraham.
The "newness" of grace is its everyday freshness and vitality. Day by day, by the grace of God, fresh measures of life are abundantly available to those who look to the Lord as their supply. This makes life with God fresh and new every day.
Under the old covenant, only one person, the High Priest, could enter into the intimate presence of God in the Holy of Holies. Furthermore, this was only allowed one day a year. Such limited access would certainly "get old" in the hearts of all who hungered after the living God.
Now, under the new covenant of grace, every believer in Jesus (our great High Priest) can confidently approach the Lord personally any moment of every day: "Having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus." Through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, which forgives all of our sins, we can speak to the Lord and enjoy His presence in our lives continually.
Jeremiah gave some early insight into this kind of fresh and vital relationship with God. "Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I hope in Him!'" (Lamentations 3:22-24).
The Apostle Paul wrote profoundly concerning such "newness." "But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter" (Romans 7:6). This is the "new and living way." This will never "get old."
O Lord of life, my heart yearns for this new and living way. O, how I long to dwell in Your presence day by day! Lord, I confess that every attempt to base intimacy with You on my best performance has always become so old and dying, so stale and lifeless. My soul is stirred with hope in You and this better way. O Lord, teach me to walk by this new and living way, in the name of Jesus, my great High Priest, Amen.