DO YOU GREATLY REJOICE?
This morning my daily reading started in Luke chapter 15, which opens with three absolutely beautiful Parables about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And as I read these over and over, I began to wonder, do I and other Christians greatly rejoice?
Then I felt I guess what I would call sorrow and remorse for sin, because I realized how often and how much I have taken for granted my salvation and realized as I read these parables, they were speaking about you and me as gentiles. We so often take advantage of the things of the world and care about that which is seen, but we care not for the things we do not see.
We cannot see salvation, yet we know it exists because it is what the Bible is mainly written about. We do not see God, but we see evidence of His wonderful and beautiful creation all around us.
I want to encourage you to read the first to parables in Luke 15 and pray that your soul would not only rejoice if you truly are saved, but more so if you truly are not saved, that God would speak to you deeply and personally. I pray that if you have never been broken over your self-righteous keeping of the law, your good works, and that you did something to be saved and to maintain your salvation, you would let all of that go and that God truly would save you!
Also, remember, the parables are not allegories to plug you into the the picture and to read scripture at face value. For example, we are consider gentiles because we are not of true descent. NEVER make at twist scriptures to make it about you and your situations, rather see it as God’s story of His Son, Jesus Christ, the mighty Redeemer who came to seek and save the lost, even the most vile of viles. Now I cannot speak for you, but I know what I wretched sinner I was, and many times in my mind, I still am. That is why it is so important to read His Word daily, that we remember to give thanks and to greatly rejoice in our salvation! It might be a one time event, but it is one that we should celebrate and rejoice daily, for each day until Christ returns, He goes and seeks and saves the lost. He finds them on our streets, our schools, our places of business and workplaces, and many times employs you and I to be the salt an the light to them in these areas! We might hear of a plight, a trial, or maybe even they shared something they heard in church recently, but they are just not sure what to make of it. But dear reader, if you truly are a blood bought born again believer in Jesus Christ, I pray that you share in my pain and sorrow this morning for how little we give thanks for our salvation, how many times we we do not pray for the Salvation work God does 24/7 365 days a year, and especially when those whom He calls through the glorious Gospel, and they hear of His free grace and accept His pardoning mercies through repentance and faith through the works that only Christ could do on the cross of Calvary, we too shall rejoice greatly along with the angels and all of heaven singing GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!
May these words be of encouragement that we should remember daily how great God’s salvation is, what it means every day and what it means when we will one day be with Him for all eternity. If you truly have been saved by God, you will never witness an miracle greater than being once lost and bound for hell, and now redeemed, adopted, brought into His fold where He holds you and nothing can snatch you from His hands!
DO YOU GREATLY REJOICE?
The SAINTS are people near to God!
Do you not know that if you have been truly saved, truly reconciled, truly forgiven, 100% adopted into God’s Kingdom, you are by Biblical definition a saint?
This makes me both happy and sad. Happy because God loved me enough (and hopefully you) to call me out of the World, out of a life of sin, drew me by His Word, hearkened to me by His Holy Spirit, “Come ye sinner, poor and weary, broken-hearted, and I will give you rest”!
And yet, how often do I not draw near!
How often am I busy with the things of the world instead of the good works He has prepared for His saints to do! Or worse yet, waste time doing nothing in this world, or stuffing myself with stubble, chaff, things that do not spiritually feed me at all. I am filled with T.V, sports, hobbies, idolatry.
I confess these things with dry partched lips, coming to church once, maybe twice a week to draw from the waters that He promised that once I drank of, I would thirst no more, and yet, here I come again thirsty because I had not drank of His refreshing waters the other 5 days. I confess these things, but many times it is just that, a confession, many times with little to no action. So it becomes a vicious cycle of the Word and the flesh, what is one to do!
Fret not child of God, for He IS is rich in mercy and grace! He know that we are feeble, fickle, waxing and waining at times, but let those times not also be an excuse to not repent and turn back! For it is the evil one, trying to draw you back to his false promises of a false sense of security that at best lasts in this world for but a brief moment, where as the promises of God, of Christ, of the Holy Spirit are of far greater worth and eternal value!
As I close, remember the last part of Mister Henry’s writing as well, for it is such thoughts as this as we dwell on each day that keep us nigh unto Him!
Every believing sinner owes his nearness to God, and his interest in his favour, to the death and sacrifice of Christ.
Although we are by Christs by His atoning blood on the cross of Calvary, let us also not so foolishly think that we no longer sin, no dear reader, without daily focusing on the Gospel of Christ and staying under the Word of God and the armor therein, we are easily swayed by the world, some more easily than others! In today’s modern world, there are many who are yet but mere babes, and sadly have been this way for years! And as saints of old continue to be called home unto glory, fewer and fewer are being taught to stay on well worn narrow paths to that same glory and rather take the faster wider road unto to destruction!
Dear reader, I leave you with this quite simple question. Are you near and dear to Christ, or are you a wayward prodigal searching for your way to the cross, maybe for the first time. Maybe you thought you were saved in your foolish actions and have not yet humbled yourself at the foot of the cross of Calvary. Maybe you though you knew the Savior, Jesus Christ, but that is it, a brief passing glimpse, a seed once planted, but never nurtured or watered. Maybe you are fearing and trembling after reading this, knowing that if you were to die today, there would be no hope for you, and you would spend and eternity in hell! Dear reader, the beauty of the fountain of the blood of Christ is that it is never closed, never too late, until that day the trumpet sounds, for then all who are His will be called home to glory. Repent of your sins, and put your complete faith and trust in His finished works on the cross, and daily stay near to the Shepherd, the Son of God, who died for your sins, reconciled you unto God who remembers your sins no more, and one day, you too will be called home unto His glory.
Colossians 3:22-25 – Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
This morning as I am reading and studying the end of Colossians 3, a few things going on this morning. As I read I read I hear at the end of the house my wife also listening to a sermon about speaking on that as Christians, we are not to be focusing on the things here on earth, but on the things above.
Today, many still want to break free of many things, currently in this world it has to do with color and race. A very heated topic and debate indeed! But this cane be overcome in Christ when we all focus on Him above. For we are all made in the image of God, we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, yet many do not see this, and that is either because they do not know Christ, or they may know of Him, but not intimately! You can how a basic knowledge of something or someone, but if it is not intimately and with great purpose, we greatly miss out on the purpose of relationship.
So this is what I was reading in Matthew Henry’s commentary this morning.
Servants must do the duty of the relation in which they stand, and obey their master’s commands in all things which are consistent with their duty to God their heavenly Master. Not with eye-service,
as men-pleasers—not only when their master’s eye is upon them, but when they are from under their master’s eye. They must be both just and diligent. In singleness of heart, fearing God—without
selfish designs, or hypocrisy and disguise, as those who fear God and stand in awe of him.
There are too many who have stirred up the past of man, the abuses of man, those who think the the word of God is archaic and needs to be “modernized”. God’s Word is God’s Word, it is HIS authority and headship we are commanded to come under. It does not matter what descriptive word you want to use, but God is master, King, Lord, etc. and we are to be obedient subjects to Him.
Anyway, as I was finishing up this was in the end of the paragraph that caught my eye and heart, and immediately drew to memory the song “I STAND IN AWE OF YOU”. So I wanted to share with you this intimate moment and encourage you, that if you are going through a trial today, look to Him in awe and worship! If you are having a bad day at work or school, look to Him in awe and worship! If you are having a problem with your children, parent, or spouse, look to him in awe and worship! If there is anything else that you are going through, causing you to focus or feel on anything in this world, STOP! and look to him in awe and worship!
I am including a link to the music on youtube as well as the lyrics below, so that you too can stand in awe in Worship!
I Stand In Awe of You – Sovereign Grace Music
You are beautiful
You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of Your love?
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty, enthroned above
And I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God, to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You
You are beautiful beyond description
Yet God crushed You for my sin
In agony and deep affliction
Cut off that I might enter in
Who can grasp such tender compassion?
Who can fathom this mercy so free?
You are beautiful beyond description
Lamb of God who died for me
And I stand, and I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God, to whom all praise…
It is so difficult on where to start this morning as this is not only much to say, but more importantly much to perceive, give great attention of thought to, and especially meditate on. I must apologize ahead of time for my rambling thoughts, and it is my prayer that God would straighten this in your minds as you read for His glory.
Many times we think that we come across things by chance or luck, yet do not think it to be providentially or in Sovereignty place by God. If that is the case, then I dare say we have much of God yet to be known and missing out on many opportunities to know Him. But before we get any deeper, I challenge you to think about; have you ever given thought to your thinking or your thoughts? I say all of us don’t and here’s why.
Many scientists have tried to quantify how people think and there are sciences that are dedicated to thought and behavior sciences, but quantifying thoughts has always been elusive. With that said, these are not “facts” but scientific opinions to kind of help with where I am going. I am not trying to deceive you, but prove a point. Ready? For sake of argument I am going to use a nice even number, 60,000. That is the middle of the road that some scientists believe how many thoughts (between 50,000-70,000) the average person has per day. Now if we divide that by 24 (hours in a day) that is 2500 thoughts per hour, and divide that by 60 (minutes in an hour) that’s 41.67 a minute, divide that by 60 (seconds in a minute) is .6945 thoughts per second. One of the fastest response times recorded was that of a human sprinter. From the sound of the starting gun to reaction time was 150ms WOW!
Okay, I know, to the point already!
So the point of all of this is since we do not give much purposeful thought, capture one tiny piece of it, and meditate on it, I dare say we think very little of our sins against a Holy God either, right? I mean, after all, why would we want to waste our time on something like this? Because we greatly sin every day and they have eternal consequences! This all started because I have been reading and studying Genesis chapter 3, the greatest sin, the greatest most heinous crime ever committed and continues to be committed each day, and begin to see even more how great the value of Christs’ blood is, how much grace and mercy God gives us every moment of every day! Here in Genesis many think only one sin was committed but the eating of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Oh dear reader, go, read Genesis 3:1-14 and ask God to give wisdom! Study other books like commentaries or listen to sermons on the subject for they are many! Like our federal headship of Adam and Eve, we give little no no thought to our many sins, not just a few, M-A-N-Y!!! sins Do you hear God calling us like He did them in the Garden of Eden?
Where are you? What have you done? Of course these questions are rhetorical to God, but should drive our wicked sinful hearts to our knees in repentance! There should be many tears that would flood our homes, and if sackcloth and ashes were still a thing in America we would be buried as Achan and his family were in Joshua chapter seven, where all of Israel stoned them and burned them with fire for not obeying God. We belong to each other, we need each other, and our actions affect one another (1 Corinthians 12:12). Achan’s sin had a profound impact on the whole community as our sin today affects the entire body of Christ! In our ignorance we follow man and not Christ as the Apostle Paul rebukes the church in 1 Corinthians chapters 1 and 3. Are we getting the point yet? And just because the word sins is plural, let us not be a prideful modern day pharisee in Luke 18:9-14 by saying something like “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, pedophiles , unjust in my social media posts, a user of pornography, or even like those around me, for I am far more superior. I fast twice a week from all worldly things and yet do not worship you all of the time; I give tithes of all that I get, although reluctantly and in a non-cheerful manner”
Friend, it would do us VERY well to humble ourselves quickly and take heed the admonishment that the Apostle Paul gives in 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” This is so important. so crucial to not only diminish our sinning, but more important how to wage war against our sin and strive for holiness in our living a God honoring life. The Apostle Paul eve repeats this again in Ephesians 6:12-18:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.
Reader, Christ is coming again soon! Much sooner than we think! This time he is no coming so graciously against sinners as He did in the Garden of Eden, this time it is for Judgment, the question is, which side of the battlefield are you on? If you are Christs’, do not fool yourself by letting your guard down or be so foolish as to say you are without sin, for we ALL are, and we are told to confess our sins that we might be cleansed from ALL unrighteousness, and if we say we have no sin, we make Him out to be a liar and the truth is not in us; 1 John 1:9-10.
My prayer is that we all take this way more seriously than we do, but strieve not in the flesh, for it is weak. Seek the Holy Spirit to give supernatural power against sin, for it is far greater a foe that we give credit to, and we too are weak like Adam and Eve without God.
Christian love is the greatest and yet seems to be the hardest and most elusive concept to understand many times. Have you ever felt that way to? Well, I believe the Bible gives us the greatest reason as to why that is, but sadly, many do not take the time to read or study the Bible.
Our open quote (to me anyway) is a simple, yet bold proclamation on what true Christian love should be, and the Bible agrees as well. First God has told the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 6:5, and then Jesus Himself repeats it in the Gospel of Matthew 22:37-38 as well as Mark 12:30, and Luke 10:27.
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.”
My opinion is this. Since Many have Bibles and yet do not take the time to read, to study, to pray, to grow, many love God little if at all. Going to church x amount of days per week, listening to sermons, listening to Christian music, is great and all, but in those times are you hearing God speak to you, is He leading and guiding your life for His glory, or is this just our self-stamping approval that we are “in”?
This is God, and this is His commandment. You shall love the Lord your God! Not others first, not self first, not anything in this world, love the Lord your God! If we cannot get this right, then that means love for anything else with be out of alignment with our faith, and that is where many are today. So first and foremost that needs to be corrected, and that starts by giving up the things of this world to spend more time with Him. After all, if the end of the Christians life with be eternity in heaven worshiping Him, praising Him, having a relationship with Him, don’t you think it is a good idea to start now?
Now the next part gets to be a little controversial in the Christian circles,and again a reason why we need to be in God’s Word. Many people think that the 10 Commandments are not important to the Christians life, that they need to be modified, changed, antiquated, but this is God’s Word, and not only does He make the rules, but said what He meant and meant what He said, so much so in Matthew 5:18 “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
You see, just like in Jesus’ time, people did not like to be under the law, it was a burdensome yoke, and it still is today. Many wonder why it still matters that we know and see the 10 Commandments so clearly and have them on our minds daily, and the answer is very simple, because we are; vile wretched sinful creatures who sin much each day, and the 10 Commandments (God’s laws) remind us of that all the time. Don’t believe me, let’s do a little test then, we’ll start with an easy one. Remember, this is between you and God.
- Have you ever told a lie?
Duh! We all have!
2. Have you ever stole anything? (And just to clarify, stealing means ANYTHING that does not belong to you)
Ummmm. yeah, we all have!
3. Have you EVER looked at anyone with lustful intentions? (I don’t really have to explain this one I hope!)
Of course, we are human after all!
Okay, so by my own admission (I cannot and will not speak for you, but I will give you a hint, the Bible already has) I am a lying, thief, who is an adulterous person at heart! And these are only THREE of the 10 Commandments. If your flesh and pride are saying that you do not agree as of yet, and God has not convicted you guilty, then maybe refresh yourself with the other 7. If it has been awhile since you have read your Bible, they can be found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5.
We have become so self-centered, so worried about ourselves and little if at all about others, we want all the attention and love, and many have gone so far as to make themselves (a false) god. Many of the things I have said are proof positive that we DO NOT do as God command. He is not center of their life (if at all), they spend little time with Him (again if at all), and they do not truly love Him (if they did, the first to points would not exist). I think the great Puritan writer and Pastor Matthew Henry said it best in his commentary on Genesis (the fall of man that got us all into sin in the first place.)
“If sinners will but consider where they are, they will not rest till they return to God.”
Many of us give little to no thought where we are with God, and that my friends is a VERY dangerous place to be! Not only that, like Adam and Eve, that is EXACTLY where Satan wants you to be, separated from God! For if you do not belong to God, you belong to Satan, and He does NOT give up people from their bondage to sin that they may be God’s easily. That is why we need God all the more daily!
Many people might now be saying “yeah, well I…” and that proves right away where their focus and attention lies at, their focus is on what they have done, what they can do, and they want the credit (glory) for doing it, and guess what, that too is a sin! And all of these things and so much more is why Christ came to seek the lost, those who are (and still are) sick with sin, and those who have realized apart from God, there is no hope for them but eternal damnation in hell. This is why we need God’s grace and mercy!
Because we ARE so sinful! And until He gives us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26 – And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.), You must be born again by the Holy Spirit (John 3), and the transforming of our minds and knowing God’s will (Romans 12:2) so that we are able to see with our eyes, hear with our ears and understand with our hearts, how sinful we are before a Holy (God’s first and highest attribute, without it there would be no pure law and justice), Righteous, Judging God, whose love is wrapped up in all who He is, and that He would grant us the ability to turn from our sins (repent) and put our faith in trust in Him and that we would be healed (spiritually); Mathew 13:14, Acts 28:26 both quoted from Isaiah 6:9-10. This is a brief nutshell is the Gospel.
There is so much more to say that is upon my heart, but I will leave you with this quote again from Matthew Henry
“Those who by sin have gone astray from God should seriously consider where they are; they are afar off from all good, in the midst of their enemies, in bondage to Satan, and in the high road to utter ruin.”
My prayer is that these words have not fallen upon deaf ears, have broken strongholds of Satans grips of sin on your soul, that it would give you much to think and pray about, so as the Bible commands in 2 Corinthians 13:5-6 “
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 6 I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.” And trust God and His Word, this is NOT one test that you want to fail! For the consequences are eternal!
Last time I wrote about three of many attributes of God, and they were; Omniscience, Holiness, and Wisdom. Now before we continue with part two, I wanted to point out that one of the greatest attributes of God that many people go to first, is love. However, no matter how great we think love is, it would not be possible for God to have a impartial, justified, fair, and true love for His creation without His Holiness, His Righteousness, His Justice, Hi Mercy, His Grace. Dare I say that God’s greatest attribute summed up throughout all of the Bible is His Holiness, yet equally intertwined throughout all of His other attributes, being the foundation for all others if you will. And without that foundation, that perfect standard above and apart from all others, well, that would not be much of a God at all now, would it.
4. Meditate on the POWER of God – This power is visible in the creation, and yet, many want to deny this. You know, the whole “Big Bang Theory (and no, not the T.V. show)”! Ask a stranger or a person you hardly know sometime, in all seriousness, where a tree came from. Some may head right for the evolution argument, others never really thought much about it, and I bet many of us have never even pondered it. Or how about our best friend Fido, or other 4 legged furry friend(s)? You cannot tell me that without a creator, a designer, a master planner who not only put forth everything from nothing and hangs it on the earth (Job 26:7), is not Sovereignly controlling His creation for His glory. If not, there is no powerful God. Yet there is!
Nothing can stand before a creating power; he needs no pre-existent matter to work upon; he needs no instruments to work with; he can work without tools; he is the one before whom the angels veil their faces, and the kings of the earth cast their crowns. He is the one that “shakes the earth out of its place,” Job 9.6. An earthquake makes the earth tremble upon her pillars; but God can shake it out of its place. God can with a word unpin the wheels, and break the axletree1 of the creation. He can suspend natural agents, stop the lion’s mouth, cause the sun to stand still, make the fire not burn. Xerxes, the Persian monarch, threw fetters into the sea, as if he would have chained up the unruly waters; but when God commands, “the winds and sea obey him,” Mat. 8.27. If he speaks the word, an army of stars appears, Jdg. 5.20. If he stamps with his foot, a host of angels are quickly in battle array; if he lifts up an ensign and but whistles, his very enemies shall be up in arms to revenge his quarrel, Isa. 5.26. Who would provoke this God?! “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” Heb. 10.31. Like a lion “he tears in pieces the adversaries,” Psa. 50.22. O meditate on this power of God! t would be a great buttress to faith. A Christian’s faith may anchor safely upon the rock of God’s power. Maybe a more indepth look and commentary on this subject sometime, but I do believe many have a lack of faith or falter in what little they have, because they do not see God as God Almighty, all powerful, basically not only do not believe what little they know, but do not deeply know His attributes. Faith triumphs in the power of God: out of this strong comes forth sweetness. Abraham, meditating on God’s power, did not stagger through unbelief, Rom. 4.20. He knew God could perform his promise, even contrary to the usual course of nature.
5. Meditate on the MERCY of God. Mercy is an innate disposition in God to do good, just as the sun has an innate property to shine: “You Lord are good, and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy to all those who call upon you,” Psa. 86.5. God’s mercy is so sweet, that it makes all his other attributes sweet. Holiness without mercy, and justice without mercy, would be dreadful. Though the children of God are under some clouds of affliction, yet the sun of mercy is never completely out of sight. God’s justice reaches to the clouds; his mercy reaches above the clouds. How slow is God to anger! Justice goes by foot, Gen. 18.21, but mercy has wings, Psa. 57.1. The sword of justice often lies a long time in the scabbard and rusts, till sin draws it out and whets it against a nation. Often meditate upon the mercy of God.
The effect of meditating on the mercy of God, we understand it would be the powerful loadstone to draw sinners to God by repentance. God is the Father of mercies,” 2Cor. 1.3. Mercy as naturally issues from him, as the child issues from the parent. God “delights in mercy,” Micah 7.18. Mercy finds out the worst sinner; mercy comes not only with salvation in its hand, but with healing under its wings. Mercy melts a sinner into tears. A prisoner reading a pardon sent to him from the king, fell weeping, and burst out into these words: “A pardon has done that which death could not do; it has made my heart relent.”
6. Meditate on the TRUTH of God.
Truth is one of the easiest, yet at the same time most difficult and complex words to understand these days. Why? Well, because there are two man camps (groups of people) who do not view truth in the same way. You have those who believe in absolute truth, and those who believe in relative (relativism) truth. An absolute truth is something that is true at all times and places, and is always true no matter the circumstances. For example, water is wet. Now it does not matter the kind of water, fresh water, spring water, river water, ocean water, etc. water is wet. That statement is an absolute truth. Now say you froze that water, is it still water? When you go to the drive through, do you say please put some frozen water in my drink? No, it is now ice, yet still water, just in a different state. Now the waters of truth just became kind of muddied (pun intended) didn’t they. A person who believes in relative truth does not always see truth in the same way, and when it comes to Christianity, is very dangerous in their thinking and philosophy much of the time.
Now let’s use some scripture for text proofs and these ways of thinking.
Numbers 23:19 – God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
Titus 1:2 – In hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.
Hebrews 6:18 – So that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.
Now what is the one word that these three verses share? I will give you a hint; it starts with an l and ends with an e. God CANNOT lie! As Christians we either believe that to be 100% true or we don’t, and sadly many times in my life and walk with God I did not believe that way, and that is sin! It is not that I thought God to be a liar, but I had major trust issues because many times we think God to be like us, and if that were the case, we prepare ourselves the best we can to be let down, disappointed, rejected, shunned, etc.
Let us look at one more scripture before we close to get our thinking as a Christian who knows and believes absolute truth. Isaiah 57:7-9:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Now I am not going to break this down, but rather have you, the reader, to use the points of these devotionals to learn how to meditate. But before we close, I also want to use these words from Thomas Watson’s book The Saints Spiritual Delight, as that is where these ideas of truth are coming from.
“Mercy makes the promise, and truth performs it: “I will not allow my faithfulness to fail,” Psa. 89.33. God might as well deny himself as to deny his word. He is “abundant in truth,” Exo. 34.6. What is that? If God has made a promise of mercy to his people, he will be so far from coming short of his word, that he will be better than his word. God often does more than he has said, never less; he often shoots beyond the mark of the promise he has set, never short of it. He is abundant in truth. God may sometimes delay a promise, but he will not deny it. The promise may lie a long time, like seed hidden underground; but all the while it is ripening. The promise of Israel’s deliverance lay four hundred and thirty years hidden underground; but when the time had come, the promise did not go a day beyond its reckoning, Exo. 12.41. “The strength of Israel will not lie,” 1Sam. 15.29. Meditate on the truth of God.
The effects of meditating on the truth of God:
1. It would be a pillar of support for faith. The world hangs upon God’s power, and faith hangs upon his truth.
2. It would make us ambitious to imitate Him. We should be true in our words, true in our dealings. Pythagoras was asked, “What makes men like God?” He answered, “When they speak truth.”
Reader, if you do not fully and completely trust God, repent. I know it’s hard, because we want control, and when we do that, we want to be our own god, and that is sin.
Proverbs 3:5-6 –
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
One of the greatest disservices we as Christians do when studying God’s Word is actually take very little time of studying who God is in depth. Why is this such a great disservice? Well for one, it puts us in danger of a grievous sin in the making of a God of our own choosing, thereby making us no better than the children of Israel when they made the golden calf and worshiped it. Some reading this might be thinking in their pride “How dare he say such a thing!” Granted, we may have not melted down our jewelry and physically made an idol, but we have ignored God and His commandments and made Him not so big and mighty, that we might control him as our genie in a bottle to do our bidding whenever we so choose to call upon Him. But look at out opening quote / scripture this morning. His thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are our ways His ways, and right before that verse, God tells us to repent, although He does not use that very word here and is implied.
In the image of this mornings devotional, it comes from the wonderful book (which I recommend to ALL Christians) called Visual Theology and does a good job (yet humbly admits even they could not do the task of breaking down God’s attributes and justice) of God’s attributes and how they interact with His creation. Before we get down this deep theological journey, I want you to understand two very important pieces of information about God and His attributes, what are referred to as His Communicable and Incommunicable attributes. In the basic sense and form, God’s communicable attributes mean that He shares these attributes with His creation, whereas the incommunicable attributes are for Him and Him alone. For example, we cannot be Omnipresent, only God can, that is an incommunicable attribute of God. In this devotional we are going to focus on six attributes about God and hopefully bring a deeper fear (reverential and holy respect) for God, His Word, and the importance of daily applying it to our lives as His redeemed Children.
- Meditate on God’s OMNISCIENCE –
His eye is continually upon us; he has a window open into the conscience; our thoughts are unveiled before him. He numbers our steps, meaning He knows the number of days appointed to each and every person ever born. He know our thoughts long before we ever think them. He know the number of hairs on our head, yes, even the grey ones we may try to cover up 😉
So why is it important to meditate on this attribute? Well, I believe if we knew and took serious the God of the Bible, it would help us be less sinful and take sin more serious. For example, if you needed to steal something, you would look around to see if anyone is watching or could positively identify you at the scene of the crime, and if you knew you would not be caught, you would commit the crime, right? Yet God knew that you would commit the crime long before you even thought about it. Knowing He is the greatest judge and jury we will all one day stand before, that should either scare us or bring us comfort knowing His justice will one day rid evil for ever!
Meditate on the HOLINESS of God – Back to our opening scripture, God tells the prophet Isaiah to write my ways are not your ways, and my thoughts are not your thoughts. God gives us all things to know who His is through His Word, and God is Holy. 1 Peter 1:13-19 (emphasis on verse 16) – since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
What benefit does it do the Christian to meditate on the Holiness of God? It would be a means to transform us into the similitude and likeness of God. God ever loves us, till we are like him. By meditation we are looking at the beams of holiness which are gloriously transparent in God. As we do, we grow like him, and become holy as he is holy. Holiness is a beautiful thing, Psa. 110.3. It puts a kind of angelic brightness upon us; it is the only coin that will pass current in heaven, The second half of Hebrews 12:14 “and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” By frequent meditation on this attribute, we are changed into God’s image.
Meditate on the WISDOM of God – He is called “the only wise God,” 1Tim. 1.17. His wisdom shines forth in the works of providence; he sits at the helm, guiding all things regularly and harmoniously; he brings light out of darkness; he can strike a straight stroke with a crooked stick; he can make use of the injustice of men to do what is just; he is infinitely wise; he breaks us by afflictions — and upon these broken pieces of the ship, he brings us safely to shore.
The effects of meditating on the wisdom of God: a. It would sweetly calm our hearts: When we see things go awry in public, the wise God holds the reins of government in his hand; and whoever would rule, God over-rules; he knows how to turn all to good; his work will be beautiful in its season.
b. When things go ill with us in our private concerns, the meditation of God’s wisdom would rock our hearts quiet. The wise God has set me in this condition, and whether health or sickness, wisdom will order it for the best. God will make a medicine of poison; all things shall be useful to me; either the Lord will expel some sin, or he will exercise some grace.
Right now in life is some of the hardest times many of us have seen. Yet, if we take the focus off of ourselves for a moment and look at others lives we might see things differently. Think for a moment of those who may be much older than us, might still be alive from the days of the depression era in the 1920’s and ’30’s. Or what about children who are too young to understand, yet see us living in panic or fear. Yes, things are bad to some right now, but to those who know God and trust Him, there is peace. We must trust in His Wisdom, His providence, and His Sovereignty to have peace and comfort during these trying times. These are other reasons why we must meditate on God.Be sure to come back tomorrow for our conclusion of meditating on the attributes of God. As a bonus, here is another article you can read that has a lot of really good points as well!
The Saints Spiritual Delight by Thomas Watson
Yesterday I wrote about the upcoming theme for the next couple of weeks, and that is the important of one of the greatest and most helpful duties to the Christian, and that is the various purposes on meditating on God’s Word. I also believe it is very important to do so in today’s day and age of the overly busy, instantaneous lifestyles many live today. There are very few that study deeply, and hopefully meditating on God’s Word will draw the church back to studying God’s Word and being about the Father’s business.
When we think of the word duty, what is the first thing that comes to mind? For some it might mean work, to others a form a service, still to someone else it may seem like something forced or demanded. When it comes to Christian duty, it is a good work, yes, and it is a form of service or of worship of God as the end goal. However, God does not want anything done out of force or reluctance.
No, He wants it done out of love, appreciation for what He has done in the sinners life, and growing them to be more like Christ Himself, to be merciful, gracious, kind, loving, giving, selfless, sacrificial, the very same attributes He showed towards us.
Now there are many duties in the Bible, and it is good for us to know these things. Some are very obvious, like in chapter 3 of Colossians where we have two main duties that are very obvious; put on our new (saved) self, and rules (duties) for Christian household living. Now these things are not going to come natural at first, and that is why we need to be about our good works (duties) daily, and not just act Christian (which is actually being a hypocrite) when we are around other Christians, the church, or some event. This is the main reason to meditate on the scriptures, that it becomes natural and we walk by the Spirit not by the flesh.
We also need to keep in mind as we are doing our Christian duties, we are NOT to show that we are better, more perfected, self-exalting ourselves at our tasks, thinking we are better or more special than others. We are not doing this for our glory, but for His. We are doing these things for we are to be obedient, yet humble, for He says “Be holy as I am holy”, and holiness is what we grow in and is the end goal as well. However, the only way we can get there is submitting our lives to the trusting care and guidance of God through His Word daily and the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells inside every believer.
As I said in yesterdays devotional. much of this on Christian meditation is going to come from Thomas Watson’s book titled The Saints Spiritual Delight. When the author open the introduction to meditation he says thus:
A Christian enters into meditation, as a man enters into the bath: so that he may be healed. Meditation heals the soul of its deadness and earthliness; but more of this afterwards.
That is why I chose one of my favorite scriptures in Isaiah 53:5, for there is no greater bath, no greater healing, than in the laver of blood at the cross of Calvary!
Pastor Watson then gives the two positions of meditation; it is either imposed or opposed.
- Meditation is a duty imposed – “Meditation is not arbitrary. The same God who bid us to believe, has bid us to meditate.” Joshua 1:8-9 – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” These words, though spoken to the person of Joshua, concern everyone; just as the promise made to Joshua concerned all believers (Jos. 1.5 compared with Heb. 13.5).2 So this precept made to the person of Joshua, you shall meditate in this book of the law, takes in all Christians. It is the part of a hypocrite to enlarge the promise, and to narrow the precept; you shall meditate in this book of the law; the word you is indefinite, and reaches every Christian; as God’s word directs, so his will must enforce obedience to it.
- Meditation is a duty opposed – “We may conclude it is a good duty, because it is against the stream of corrupt nature. We shall find, naturally, a strange averseness to meditation. We are swift to hear, but slow to meditate.” Galatians 5:16-17 – But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
Ephesians 6:11-13 – Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
To think about the world, if it were all day long, is delightful; but as for holy meditation, how the heart wrangles and quarrels with this duty! Now truly, no other reason is needed to prove a duty is good, than the reluctance of a carnal heart to do it. For instance, in the duty of self-denial: “Let a man deny himself,” Mat. 16.24. Self-denial is as necessary as heaven; but what disputes are raised in the heart against it! What! To deny my reason, and become a fool that I may be wise? No, not only deny my reason, but my righteousness! What! To cast it overboard, and swim to heaven upon the plank of Christ’s merits? This is such a duty that the heart naturally opposes and enters its dissent against it. Yet this is an argument to prove that the duty of self-denial is good. It is just so with this duty of meditation: the secret antipathy the heart has against it, shows it to be good; and this is reason enough to enforce meditation.
Like myself, I hope this excites you to go deeper into the Word of God, to meditate on all things that He has given us to know Him, to worship Him, to praise and glorify Him. In doing so, may it also help us to crucify the flesh, to repent of our many sins, to seek His grace and growth in holiness that only the Holy Spirit can work in us! Yes, we have duties to do, but it is God who does ALL of the sanctifying work in us!
I have touched on the subject in past writings and think I am going to go back to it and this time go a lot deeper. The problem that has been proposed to new Christians and even those who have been acting like Christians for some time is “How do I know what God’s Will (for my life) is?” Now I put the for my life in parenthesis because there is the basic will of God for all Christians lives and then is a called will of God beyond those of the general call such as a Pastor or teacher of the Word of God.
So in the opening quote of this devotional, we see listed two very important points of God’s will for the Christians life, one of which we do a whole lot more than the other. The other point we need to clarify when we are talking about God’s will is we need to look at it from the standpoint of duty or of service to Him. Not that He “needs us” but He desires us to worship Him, glorify Him, make Him known to the world in which we live in. Also, when thinking about it as a duty, do not think of it as work or a menial task, something taken lightly, that would be sinful and disdainful towards God. Rather look at you as the adopted child of God that you are, you have been called to work in the King’s court and all of duties assigned to the King’s servants are of great importance and God honoring; both to God’s glory as well as the child of God’s daily living and survival as well. Sometimes spending a lot of time in the presence and glory of God, is known as the Shekinah glory.
Now some of you who know me might think I am off my rocker and have switched to the word of faith movement, I assure you, I have not, and the link above clearly spells out what I mean by God’s shekinah glory. People who spend a great deal of time with God show evidence of it, not necessarily because they talk a good Christian walk, but because you can see they spend time in the Word of God often and you see what the Bible calls the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-25:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
So again, the opening quote speaks of the two what I would consider the most important duty of new as well as seasoned Christians, and that is prayer and meditation, and both of these need serious and humble attention if one truly wants to do God’s will. One of the jokes I have heard is “God gave man one mouth and two ears for a reason… To listen twice as much as he talks!” and there is A LOT of truth to that saying. Now I will leave the praying part up to you, but will give this one suggestion, don’t go to God with a laundry list of what you need, for He already knows the all situations in your life, and secondly, don’t try playing “Let’s make a deal”. But do talk to Him as your Father who has great care for you and your life, pour out your heart, cry your tears of sincerity, for He again knows. The part we are going to focus on the next two weeks is meditation (remember, listening) to what God is telling us. Here is the plan and the breakdown I am planning on using and comes from a section of the wonderful book by Puritan Pastor and writer Thomas Watson titled “The Saints Spiritual Delight” and you can either download a copy or read it for free over at Monergism books, a GREAT site for solid Christian writings and teachings. So Thomas Watson speaks in great detail the importance of meditation and what we should be focused on all the time, and that is God the Father, Christ the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
He starts out by saying “the subject-matter of meditation: what a Christian should meditate upon. I am now entered on a large field, but I will only glance at things; I will only do as the disciples did: pluck some ears of corn as I pass along. Some may say, Alas, I am so barren I do not know what to meditate upon. To help Christians therefore in this blessed work, I will show you some choice select matter for meditation. There are fifteen things in the law of God which we should principally meditate upon.” Here are the devotional / lessons for the next two weeks at least.
- ) Meditate on God’s attributes
a) Meditate on the Holiness of God
b) Meditate on the wisdom of God
c) Meditate on the power of God
d) Meditate on the mercy of God
e) Meditate on the truth of God
- ) Meditate on the promises of God
a) The promises of remission
b) The promises of santification
c) The promises of renumeration
- ) Meditate upon the love of Christ.
a) It would make us love Him again
b) It would cause out eyes to flow with tears for our Gospel unkindness
c) It would make us love our enemies
d) It woule be a means to support us in the case of Christ’s absence
- ) Meditate upon sin
a) Meditate on the guilt of sin
b) Meditate on the curse of sin
- ) Meditate on the vanity of the creature
- ) Meditate on the excellence of grace
a) Grace is precious in itself
b) Grace makes us precious to God
c) Grace is the best blessing
- ) Meditate upon your spiritual estate
a) Meditate about your debts
b) Meditate about your will
c) Meditate about your evidences
- ) Meditate upon the small number of those who will be saved
- ) Meditate upon final apostasy
- ) Meditate upon death
a) Meditate on the certanity of death
b) Meditate on the proximity of death
c) Meditate on the unvertanity of the time
d) Think seriously that dying is done but once
- ) Meditate upon the day of judgment
a) Meditate on the solemnity of this trial
b) Meditate on the universality of this trial
c) Meditate on the impartiality of the trial
d) Meditate on the exactness of the trial
e) Meditate on the outcome and consequence of this trial
- ) Meditate upon hell
a) Meditate on the pain of loss
b) Meditate on the pain of sense
- 13) Meditate upon heaven
- ) Meditate upon eternity
a) Meditate on eternal punishment
b) Meditate on eternal life
- ) Meditate on your experiences
a) Has God not provided liberally for you
b) Has not God prevented many dangers
c) Has not God spared you a long time
d) Has not God often come in with assisting grace
e) Has not God vanquished Satan for you
f) Have you not had many remarkable deliverances
It is going to be kind of a lengthy, yet very profitable journey, one of which I am excited and yet nervous at the same time. I do not know about you, but times of growth are great for me, but sometimes can be painful too. For their may be sins that we have not discovered about ourselves or have covered for a long period time that rotten flesh has covered and needs to salve of the Gospel to properly heal. So I hope you will be sure to check back each day for the journey and growth in learning about true Christian meditation and the importance of this God given duty!
I am super excited this morning to write on this devotional! Why? Because when you get to be my age and you learn something new, you learn to appreciate it more, especially when it is ordained by God! 🙂 However, I must apologize ahead of time for any rambling or disconnects, but shall do my best.
The quote above comes from Archimedes who was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer and considered to be the greatest mathematician of ancient history. However, it was another great Greek mathematician who discovered how to figure out the circumference of the earth. Can you imagine the knowledge between these two alone, the hours spent studying, the discipline, and the contributions to what we know today, long before any supercomputers or other modern day methods. So what do two dead Greek math geeks have to do with God and today’s devotional? When you think about it and put it all together, everything!
First off, I would like to give credit where credit is due, for this new found and heart changing view of sin and forgiveness goes to my previous Pastor from Grace Christian Assembly in Smyrna TN, Pastor Jim McClarty, and the wonderful sermon – Be The Christian Part 4 – The Benefits. The whole be the Christian series is fantastic and there is A LOT of other deep theological teachings and resources available on the rest of the churches web site as well.
Okay, so paraphrasing from Pastor Jim in part of this sermon, Pastor Jim mentioned that he was thankful that God allowed King David to understand the basics of geography, because King David mentions in Psalm 103:12 – as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. Okay, as if that is not amazing enough in itself, here is the teaching part that blew my mind!
What we know now, King David did not know then, and that was how big the world actually is. Back in that time they did not know about the rest of the unexplored world that had existed like modern day North American and other continents. As the world was explored and developed over thousands of years, in 1909 the North Pole was discovered, and two years later, the South Pole in 1911. Now that you got a free geography refresher, have you ever wondered why there are not east and west poles (I’ll let you research that one for yourselves 😉 Okay, back to Pastor Jim’s preaching.
So If one were to walk towards the North Pole and keep walking, they would eventually be heading south. However, if one were to walk due east or due west, they would always remain going in that direction with no directional change end. One would always either be heading east or always west. Now when you put that together with what Kind David said in verse 103:12, we need a deeper and more impactful context. So Psalm 103:8-14
The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
Look at all of these promises! Merciful, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love! He does not discipline us forever, nor keep His anger. He does NOT deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our inequities! King David comparing the heights of the heavens to the earth (perhaps a conversation for another time) is how great the Father’s love is towards those who fear Him! Have you ever experienced such love on earth? I have experienced deep love, sincere love, but never perfect love, until knowing God’s love; for we are all sinners and incapable of such a love. Then we get to the east from the west portion, and speaks of how far He (God) removes OUR transgressions (sins) from US. This is something that we cannot do for ourselves, and why Christ came to die.
Even years later, the self-professed (at the time) chief of sinners, the Apostle Paul who says to His pupil Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:15 – The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
Christ came! Christ came! CHRIST CAME!!!! to save sinners, came for all hear of His great salvation. Yet, hearing does not mean saved. A changed heart, a changed mind by God and for God, that puts faith in us to believe that Christ is the Son of God. The gift of repentance and confession that God shows us how sinful we are and the heinous acts we have referred to as “transgressions” that we commit against Him daily, and not only give little to no thought to, we definitely forget quickly how far those sins are forgiven and forgotten for those that fear Him.
May this be of encouragement for you to read and meditate on Psalm 103 today, learn to fear God, trust Him completely if you do not already, surrender all of yourself to Him if you have not already, for He is Lord of all! And if you are a Christian, give thanks ALWAYS!! God loves that His children are happy and well taken care of, but likes that He too is thanked and praised because of the blessings given as well.