Daily Archives: October 5, 2019

October 5 Accepting Our Inadequacies

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:1–6

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 3:5

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.

As we press past all our fears of being inadequate to fulfill the call God has on our lives, we begin to see the full blessing that comes with accepting our inadequacies. Paul wrote, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5 nasb).

Here are some blessings from recognizing our inadequacies:

  • They drive us to God. If we feel we are self-sufficient in all things, we may not seek the Lord’s guidance.
  • They relieve us of the burden of trying to do the will of God in our own strength. The burden rests upon Him.
  • They force us to live our lives and do His work in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • They provide God the opportunity to demonstrate what great things He can do with so little. We know we are incapable and that He is capable of all.
  • They free God to use us to the maximum of our potential. We stop trying to interject our own contributions, giving all of who we are for His purposes.
  • They allow God to receive the full glory for His work. If we know He is responsible, we will point to Him.
  • They enable us to walk in contentment and quietness of spirit. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing God use our willingness to advance His kingdom.

Father, it is a miracle in and of itself that You use my inadequacies to fulfill Your purposes and draw me closer to You in the process. You are an awesome God.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 292). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

October 5 The Cure for a Heavy Heart

Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 2:1–10

Key Verse: 1 Peter 2:9

You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Praise seems to be a natural part of what we want to do when things are going our way. But on the days when the dishwasher breaks or the children are sick or the mechanic gives you bad news about the car, it is much more difficult to be effusive with thanksgiving.

God understands how your emotions are built; He made them. He also knows the cure for a heart weighed down by concerns and irritations—praise.

Praise focuses your attention upon God. When you take a long and deliberate look at the character and ways of the Lord who loved you enough to die for you, your eyes are naturally shifted away from the difficulty and onto His ability to care for you.

Praise increases your faith. Telling God what you love about Him always involves reciting His past actions of might and power on your behalf. You can look back at the times He sent special provision at just the right moment and thank Him for them. This process results in a heart that expands with joy and security in Him.

Praise gives you a sense of identity. When you praise God, you act as one who belongs to Him. According to 1 Peter 2:9 (nasb), you are a member of “a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” That is reason enough to praise Him forever.

Lord, on difficult days—when I don’t feel like it—I still want to praise You. Thank You for delivering me from darkness into light. That is reason enough to praise You forever.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 292). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

October 5 Provision and Instruction

Scripture reading: 2 Timothy 3:14–17

Key verse: Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet

And a light to my path.

Many people approach the subject of God’s will with a good deal of fear and confusion. A certain air of mystery seems to surround it, as though finding His will is a lifelong hunt for a hidden and hard-to-find secret purpose.

It’s true that God doesn’t tell you everything about your entire life right now. You cannot possibly know all that He has in store for you. God is interested in your relationship with Him today, and along the way of day-by-day walking with Him, He unfolds your path according to the light of His Word (Ps. 119:105). He wants you to let Him lead.

In his book Knowing and Doing the Will of God, J. I. Packer explains,

Scripture presents guidance as a covenant blessing promised to each of God’s people in the form of instruction on how to live, both in broad policy terms and in making particular decisions.

How does God guide? By instructing. How does he instruct? Partly by his shaping of our circumstances, and partly by his gift of wisdom to understand and digest the teaching of his word and to apply it to ourselves in our circumstances.

So God’s regular method of guidance is a combination of providential and instructional action … Wisdom will always be given if we are humble and docile enough to receive it.

Father, design my circumstances to lead me to the center of Your will. Give me the wisdom to understand and digest the teaching of Your Word.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 292). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

10/05/19 In Christ — ChuckLawless.com

READING: Isaiah 1-2, Ephesians 1

In Jesus, our life is never again the same. In fact, don’t miss words like “in Christ” and “in Him” in Ephesians 1—a chapter that includes a series of images that remind us who we are in Christ:

  • He has “blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Eph 1:3)
  • God “chose us in him” (Eph 1:4)
  •  He “predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ. . . . “ (Eph 1:5)
  • “to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves” (Eph 1:6)
  • In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Eph 1:10)
  • In him we were also chosen” (Eph 1:11)
  • “you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation”  (Eph. 1:13)
  • “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Eph 1:13)

Other images like these echo in much of the book of Ephesians. At the bottom line, however, is this truth: our salvation is not dependent on us, but on God.  It is entirely in Him and through Him that we have life. He is worthy of our praise and our obedience.

PRAYER: “Thank You, God, for all You’ve done for me.”

TOMORROW’S READING: Review and catch-up day

via 10/05/19 In Christ — ChuckLawless.com

October 5, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

God Does Not Forget His Own

For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. (6:10)

God knows who are really His and who are faithful. He will not forget His own or their work for Him. Our names are securely in His book of life. Our salvation will not be lost and our rewards will not be forgotten. “Rest easy,” the writer says. “Don’t worry.”

Many Christians today, as throughout history, experience times of doubt and even anguish at the supposed prospect of losing their salvation. When they read or hear a message of judgment, they are shaken and insecure. They do not know what it is to rest in the finished work of Christ and in their positional standing in Him before God.

After Malachi had given his severe warning of judgment, many of the faithful believers apparently were worried that it applied to them. But the Lord calmed their fear. “A book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. ‘And they will be Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘… I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him’ ” (Mal. 3:16–17). In the next chapter, after still another warning to the wicked, God again reassures His own: “But for you who fear My name the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings” (4:2). God always knows His faithful; He always knows His own. We should not fear the final judgment. If we are in Christ, we can never be condemned. We should not worry about missing the rapture. If we belong to Christ, He will be sure to take us with Him. The sovereignty of God and His faithfulness secure us.

works are evidence of love

A Christian’s works are not what saved him or what keep him saved, but they are an evidence of his salvation. As James tells us, faith without works is dead—not alive, not real, not genuine. Our faith is demonstrated by our works (James 2:18, 26). God is not so unfair and insensitive that He fails to see the works of love His beloved children perform. He clearly sees the fruit of our righteousness.

Paul told the Thessalonian believers that he knew God had chosen them to be His, to be saved, because of their “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 1:3–4). They had the fruit of good works to go along with their statement of faith. Love is a product of faith.

love his name

Love for and service to the brethren is an evidence of salvation (cf. John 13:34–35). But an even more significant evidence is love shown toward His name. God knows when our service is truly for His glory by whether or not it is done out of love for His name.

As important as loving fellow Christians is, loving God is immeasurably more important. In fact, without loving God first and foremost, we are not able to love each other as we should. The Jewish Christians being commended here ministered … to the saints first of all out of their love for God’s name. The very reason they could love each other so much and serve each other so well was because they loved God so much. The key to true Christian service is a burning love for the Lord. All Christians ought to be attractive and lovable; but all are not. In this we often do not differ from unbelievers. But our responsibility, our calling, is to love and serve fellow Christians—and also unbelievers—first of all because of God, not because of themselves.

In the introduction of his letter to the Romans, Paul tells them of his gratitude for their faithfulness and of his longing to visit them (Rom. 1:8–10). But he also tells them that the driving force behind his ministry to them is the sake of God’s name and that it is first of all God that he serves (1:5, 9). God’s name stands for all that He is. To love His name is to have a passionate desire for the glory of all that God is. Speaking of some traveling ministers, John says of them, “For they went out for the sake of the Name” (3 John 7). They ministered because of their overwhelming love for the Lord. When Jesus recommissioned Peter, He did not ask him if he loved men and, if so, then to go out and serve them. He asked Peter three times, “Do you love Me?” After each of Peter’s affirmative replies, Jesus commanded him to feed His sheep (John 21:15–17). Our service to Jesus Christ must be based on an overriding love for Him. We can never properly love men, saved or unsaved, lovable or unlovable, until we properly love Christ.

These faithful believers to whom Hebrews was primarily addressed loved the name of the Lord. This was positive proof that their faith was the real thing. They were ministering to each other because they loved their Lord. We hear a great deal about loving and ministering to the Body of Christ, about serving each other in the life of the Body. No emphasis could be more scriptural—if it is in the right perspective. The genuineness and the effectiveness of the ministry we have to one another as saints is directly related to the love we have for Christ. The more we love God, the more we will want to do His will. Our concern should not be for trying to whip up love for people, but for loving God more and more. When our love for Him is right, our love for others will be right.

an unbroken ministry

Keeping God as our focus and first love not only gives us the desire and power to love others and to serve them, but it also sustains us in our love and service. Only God’s love has such staying power. The faithful, loving Hebrews had ministered and were still ministering. Their love issued in an unbroken ministry to the saints. They just kept loving and serving. They could always speak of their fellowship with the Lord and of their Christian service in the present tense.

How Should We Serve?

First of all we serve by ministering our spiritual gifts (cf. Rom. 12:3–8; 1 Cor. 12:9–11; 1 Pet. 4:10–11). Our frontline of service is through our spiritual gifts. But our spiritual gifts are not given for us to take and use by ourselves, much less for ourselves. They are to be used for God’s glory, in His power and for His name’s sake. Whether our gift is counseling, showing mercy, helping, teaching, preaching, administration, or whatever, it is to be ministered because we love the One who gave it to us.

Much service to one another, of course, has nothing to do with our spiritual gifts but is simply part of every Christian’s responsibility. Every believer’s ministry, for example, involves praying for other believers. We are to “pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18). Our ministry to one another also involves rebuking sin in a brother, seeking to restore him in love, confessing to one another, forgiving, bearing one another’s burdens, caring for the weaker brother, giving to the needs of the saints, and many other responsibilities. All these things are part of our ministry to one another, and none of them can be generated on its own. All must be generated by the right kind of love for Jesus Christ.

The Christian life boils down to one thing: the measure of our love for the Lord. How preoccupied are we with His name—not with saying it sentimentally in a “spiritual” tone or with vainly repeating it in our conversation and prayer—but with doing His will for the sake of His glory? How lofty and exalted is our view of God and how overwhelming are our concern and genuine love for Him? When we love Him with all our “heart and soul and mind and strength,” we will then be able—and only then be able—to love our neighbor as ourselves.

The saints that are ministered to are simply fellow Christians. All true Christians are hagios, “holy ones,” or saints (cf. 1 Cor. 1:2). It goes without saying that we often do not think or act like saints, in the popular sense. But the writer is speaking of our identity in Christ. We are holy ones in our Lord, even when we are unfaithful and act unsaintly. Being a saint has nothing at all to do with one’s degree of spiritual maturity or rank. It refers to any person who is saved, who is set apart by God for Himself in His Son Jesus Christ. Because God sees us as He sees His Son, we are all “holy in His sight.”

The proof that the Hebrews addressed in 6:9–10 were true believers was their loving, faithful, and continuing ministry to fellow believers, fellow saints. The greatest gift our love can give God is that of loving, faithful service to each other, His children. If we love Him, we will serve one another. To say we love God while we have no use for our brothers in Christ is to lie. John, often called the apostle of love, goes into this truth in depth in his first letter. “The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.” A few chapters later, he puts the same truth even more strongly: “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” In the last chapter he summarizes the truth: “Whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him” (1 John 2:9; 4:8; 5:1). Loving one another is not an option or an extra; it is bedrock Christian living.[1]


10 The fruits of righteousness which have shown themselves in their lives are the acts of service performed for their fellow-Christians. There is no good reason for restricting God’s “holy people” (“saints”) here to those in Jerusalem because of the similar language in Rom. 15:25; 1 Cor. 16:1; 2 Cor. 9:1—in those passages it is the context that shows that Jerusalem believers are intended. The “holy people” are as general here as are the “holy brothers” of Heb. 3:1. As for the acts of service referred to here, further details of the circumstances in which they were rendered are given later, in 10:32–34. If the recipients of the letter were resident in Rome, then the behavior for which our author commends them was a precedent for the reputation for Christian charity which the Roman church enjoyed in later times. We may think of Ignatius’s description of that church as “having the presidency of love”; or the words of Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, in his letter to Soter, bishop of Rome (c. a.d. 170): “This has been your custom from the beginning, to do good in manifold ways to all the brothers, and to send contributions to the many churches in every city, in some places relieving the poverty of the needy, and ministering to the brothers in the mines.” The point here, however, is that deeds of kindness done to the people of God are reckoned by God as done to himself, and will surely receive their reward from him.[2]


10 The pastor’s confidence is founded on two of his favorite themes: the faithfulness of God and the corresponding faithfulness due from God’s people. With an emphatic double negative he asserts: “For God is not unjust to forget your work.”6 God’s faithfulness is beyond question, as vv. 13–20 will certify.

Signs of his hearers’ faithfulness provide the second foundation for assurance: their “work” encompasses the full scope of their past faithful conduct (cf. 10:32–34). The pastor becomes more specific with “the love which you demonstrated for his name by having ministered to the saints and by ministering to them” (cf. 13:1–6). Their service to other believers has demonstrated their love for God. They have even risked their own security by supporting those subjected to persecution (10:33–34). The use of both aorist and present participles makes it plain that their past demonstration of love continues into the present. We need not wonder at the pastor’s mention of love for God instead of his favorite themes of faith and obedience.9 Mention of this love (evidenced by their service) allows him to affirm the sincerity of their faith. They lack, however, something necessary for their perseverance in that faith—a firm grasp on the reality of God’s promises for the future and his provision for their attainment. The pastor is intent on supplying this lack.[3]


6:10 / God remembers the readers’ laudable performance in the past and is ready to sustain them in the midst of present difficulty. Later in the epistle (10:32–36) the author details some of that past performance and exhorts the readers to remember it themselves. As then, so now, God is on their side and will sustain them. Their good deeds in the past continue (to help them) in the present, and this itself bodes well for the future. niv omits the opening logical connective “for.” His people is literally “the saints,” a technical expression for Christians used in this sense elsewhere in the epistle only in 13:24.[4]


6:10. What had the readers of Hebrews done to make the writer confident that they were believers? The readers’ works and God’s justice convinced him that his friends had given a demonstration of divine grace.

First, he mentioned the work of the readers. They had labored in Jesus’ name. Their works included concern for others, righteous living, and other Christian virtues. Hebrews 10:32–36 points out additional details of righteous living.

Second, he pointed out the love of the readers. They had ministered to other Christians in the past. They continued to follow this ministry. We see a past and a present participation in their ministry.

Third, he cited the justice of God. In the face of such overwhelming moral evidence, it seemed inconceivable to the writer that God would overlook the works and the love which were evident products of divine grace.

We should be careful not to see this verse as offering support for any doctrine of salvation by works. God had no obligation to the readers, nor did they have any claim on him. Their works were the normal fruit which we should expect from believers. We would expect that God would look with favor upon the evidence of transformed lives which they put out.

In 1979, Vladimir Bojev, a tough, hard-drinking Russian unbeliever, barged into a Baptist service in Russia and blustered, “I’m going to destroy you all. You are just religious fanatics.” To his surprise a beautiful young lady suggested that the believers gather around him and pray for him. Bojev said, “The next thing I knew, I was the center of a prayer circle. I had never before known such love.” The Baptists invited him back, and Vladimir returned to meet with the Baptists daily for two months. He received Christ, married the young lady, and became pastor of a Baptist church in Lipetsk, four hundred kilometers southwest of Moscow. Vladimir said, “Their love won me to Christ and I was converted.” Transformed lives convince others that our Christianity is genuine. Transformed lives attract others to Jesus.[5]


6:10. The author knew that God is not unjust. His readers would not be forsaken. God would remember their work and the love they had shown Him in their helping other believers. The author’s words were a skilled touch on the hearts of his fellow Christians. In speaking of them, he reminded his readers of what they had done for their fellow Christians and were still doing. He thus encouraged them to keep it up while assuring them that God was conscious of all their aid and available to help them in any needed way.[6]


10. For God is not unrighteous, &c. These words signify as much as though he had said, that from good beginnings he hoped for a good end.

But here a difficulty arises, because he seems to say that God is bound by the services of men: “I am persuaded,” he says, “as to your salvation, because God cannot forget your works.” He seems thus to build salvation on works, and to make God a debtor to them. And the sophists, who oppose the merits of works to the grace of God, make much of this sentence, “God is not unrighteous.” For they hence conclude that it would be unjust for him not to render for works the reward of eternal salvation. To this I briefly reply,—that the Apostle does not here speak avowedly of the cause of our salvation, and that therefore no opinion can be formed from this passage as to the merits of works, nor can it be hence determined what is due to works. The Scripture shews everywhere that there is no other fountain of salvation but the gratuitous mercy of God: and that God everywhere promises reward to works, this depends on that gratuitous promise, by which he adopts us as his children, and reconciles us to himself by not imputing our sins. Reward then is reserved for works, not through merit, but through the free bounty of God alone; and yet even this free reward of works does not take place, except we be first received into favour through the kind mediation of Christ.

We hence conclude, that God does not pay us a debt, but performs what he has of himself freely promised, and thus performs it, inasmuch as he pardons us and our works; nay, he looks not so much on our works as on his own grace in our works. It is on this account that he forgets not our works, because he recognises himself and the work of his Spirit in them. And this is to be righteous, as the Apostle says, for he cannot deny himself. This passage, then, corresponds with that saying of Paul, “He who has begun in you a good work will perfect it.” (Phil. 1:6.) For what can God find in us to induce him to love us, except what he has first conferred on us? In short, the sophists are mistaken in imagining a mutual relation between God’s righteousness and the merits of our works, since God on the contrary so regards himself and his own gifts, that he carries on to the end what of his own good-will he has begun in us, without any inducement from anything we do; nay, God is righteous in recompensing works, because he is true and faithful: and he has made himself a debtor to us, not by receiving anything from us; but as Augustine says, by freely promising all things.

And labour of love, &c. By this he intimates that we are not to spare labour, if we desire to perform our duty towards our neighbours; for they are not only to be helped by money, but also by counsel, by labour, and in various other ways. Great sedulity, then, must be exercised, many troubles must be undergone, and sometimes many dangers must be encountered. Thus let him who would engage in the duties of love, prepare himself for a life of labour.

He mentions in proof of their love, that they had ministered and were still ministering to the saints. We are hence reminded, that we are not to neglect to serve our brethren. By mentioning the saints, he means not that we are debtors to them alone; for our love ought to expand and be manifested towards all mankind; but as the household of faith are especially recommended to us, peculiar attention is to be paid to them; for as love, when moved to do good, has partly a regard to God, and partly to our common nature, the nearer any one is to God, the more worthy he is of being assisted by us. In short, when we acknowledge any one as a child of God, we ought to embrace him with brotherly love.

By saying that they had ministered and were still ministering, he commended their perseverance; which in this particular was very necessary; for there is nothing to which we are more prone than to weariness in well-doing. Hence it is, that though many are found ready enough to help their brethren, yet the virtue of constancy is so rare, that a large portion soon relax as though their warmth had cooled. But what ought constantly to stimulate us is even this one expression used by the Apostle, that the love shewn to the saints is shewn towards the name of the Lord; for he intimates that God holds himself indebted to us for whatever good we do to our neighbours, according to that saying, “What ye have done to one of the least of these, ye have done to me,” (Matt. 25:40;) and there is also another, “He that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord.” (Prov. 19:17.)[7]


10. not unrighteous—not unfaithful to His own gracious promise. Not that we have any inherent right to claim reward; for (1) a servant has no merit, as he only does that which is his bounden duty; (2) our best performances bear no proportion to what we leave undone; (3) all strength comes from God; but God has promised of His own grace to reward the good works of His people (already accepted through faith in Christ); it is His promise, not our merits, which would make it unrighteous were He not to reward His people’s works. God will be no man’s debtor.

your work—your whole Christian life of active obedience.

labour of love—The oldest manuscripts omit “labor of,” which probably crept in from 1 Th 1:3. As “love” occurs here, so “hope,” Heb 6:11, “faith,” Heb 6:12; as in 1 Co 13:13: the Pauline triad. By their love he sharpens their hope and faith.

ye have showed—(Compare Heb 10:32–34).

toward his name—Your acts of love to the saints were done for His name’s sake. The distressed condition of the Palestinian Christians appears from the collection for them. Though receiving bounty from other churches, and therefore not able to minister much by pecuniary help, yet those somewhat better off could minister to the greatest sufferers in their Church in various other ways (compare 2 Ti 1:18). Paul, as elsewhere, gives them the utmost credit for their graces, while delicately hinting the need of perseverance, a lack of which had probably somewhat begun to show itself.[8]


Ver. 10.—For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and the love (τοῦ κόπου in the Textus Receptus is ill supported, having, perhaps, been interpolated from 1 Thess. 1:3) which ye showed towards his Name, in that ye ministered to the saints, and do minister. It appears that the Hebrew Christians had formerly (some especial occasion being probably referred to) been active in their charity towards fellow-Christians in distress, and that such charity had not ceased. On this is grounded the persuasion that they will be kept steadfast in the faith. Those who had so shown their faith by their works would surely not be allowed to lose it. The very idea of the Divine justice implies that the use of grace, thus evidenced, will be rewarded by continuance of grace. Cf. Phil. 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perfect it (ἐπιτελέσει) until the day of Jesus Christ;” where also there is reference to deeds of charity, shown in the case of the Philippians by their sympathy with the apostle in his bonds, which charity he prays may “abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all discernment.” No difficulty need be felt in this reference to God’s justice, as though it involved the doctrine of human merit, de congruo or de condigno, claiming reward as of debt. The simple and obvious view, that God, in virtue of his justice, will be most gracious to those who have used his grace, by no means contravenes the doctrine of all grace being the free gift of his bounty (cf. 1 John 1:9; Rom. 2:6, etc.). Observe, too, as bearing on the idea of this passage, how the will to do the will of God is said by our Lord to be followed by knowledge of the doctrine (John 7:17), and how works of charity are the very tests of the final judgment (Matt. 25:31, etc.).[9]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 153–157). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Bruce, F. F. (1990). The Epistle to the Hebrews (Rev. ed., pp. 150–151). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[3] Cockerill, G. L. (2012). The Epistle to the Hebrews (pp. 281–282). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[4] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (p. 93). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, p. 113). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Hodges, Z. C. (1985). Hebrews. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 796). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[7] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews (pp. 141–144). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[8] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 454). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[9] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). Hebrews (p. 161). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

October 5 – Marvelling at His grace — Reformed Perspective

Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you too will be cut off. – Romans 11:22

Scripture reading: Luke 4:16-30

As Jesus said, God could have sent Elijah to many widows in Israel. So why to a foreigner? Our multi-tasking God did this for at least two reasons.

First, as a judgment on His own people. God’s prophet was unacceptable in his “hometown” and so he was sent to shower grace to a foreigner. He came to his own but his own did not receive him.

Second, to showcase His grace. Grace comes to those who don’t seek it. Clearly, the widow wasn’t a believer. She speaks about the Lord, Elisha’s God (1 Kings 17:12). But the Lord sought her. Grace comes to enemies. Zarephath is of Sidon. Wicked Jezebel introduced the worship of the Sidonian god, Baal, in Israel and to that place and those people the Lord sends His servant and His grace. As seen in the incarnation of the Lord Jesus and the Great Commission, God directs His grace to enemy-occupied territory. Grace stops at nothing to save the elect. God used the disobedience of the chosen nation to send His prophet to save this chosen foreigner. The Jews’ rejection means salvation for the Gentiles (Romans 11:11) and the death of His Son is a price God is willing to pay to save His own. Grace comes to those who believe. The widow’s faith is evidenced by her works. She trusted the word of the prophet and “did as Elijah said.” Christ, the final Prophet, invites us to come to Him and faith does precisely that, repenting and receiving the offer of salvation.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray for the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your hearts that you may marvel at the glory of His grace and mercy. Pray that your minister may faithfully proclaim God’s Word, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting, with complete patience and teaching and that you would receive Christ as He is offered to you.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. John van Eyk is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta.

via October 5 – Marvelling at His grace — Reformed Perspective

October 5 The Foundation of Faith

scripture reading: Psalm 33
key verse: Psalm 33:21

Our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.

One significant problem concerning faith is reliance upon personal experience. Although the Lord’s answers are cause for celebration, you must be careful not to base your confidence on individual cases.

Many foundational principles govern faith’s exercise. God always responds to faith in a manner that glorifies Him. You were created to glorify the Lord, but not all of your requests are designed to honor Him.

God alone knows how to answer you so that His provision magnifies His name above all else. That is why He meets your needs often in unusual or unexpected ways. In such instances you know the Lord has worked sovereignly, and your praise is amplified. God always responds to your faith so that you are conformed to the image of Christ.

Though marred by sin, you are being molded into Christlikeness. Thus, God’s focus is greater on transforming you into Christ’s image than on answering your requests. That explains why your prayers sometimes seem to go unanswered. The omniscient Lord understands exactly how you can be shaped into Christ’s image. When you place your confidence in God, your faith depends on His criteria, not yours.

Magnify Yourself in me today, Father. Let my faith depend on Your criteria, not mine. I place my confidence in You.[1]

 

[1] Stanley, C. F. (1998). Enter His gates: a daily devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Saturday Selections – Oct. 5, 2019 — Reformed Perspective

Man embraces woman who killed his brother, urges her to give life to Christ

The brother of Botham Jean – a man killed by his neighbor in what she’s says was a tragic mistake — extended forgiveness to his brother’s killer. And to add to the wonder, the judge then went on to give the killer a bible.

Research into happiness echoes what the Bible has always said 

Randy Alcorn shares how research into happiness has discovered 8 factors that are also found in God’s Word.

BC pays for euthanasia but not full homecare

This is what happens “when euthanasia is legal and the money runs out” – the BC government recently forced a man to choose between being institutionalized or being killed. He chose death.

Why isn’t there online voting in Canada’s federal election?

How do you make an electronic vote both anonymous and verifiable? How can our ballot be secret, and yet still leave a trail to preclude fraud and errors? To say this is a tough problem understates it. Might the security and anonymity that is easy to do with paper be simply impossible to do online? The title link is to an in-depth look, while a briefer case for paper is made here.

40 lessons we tried to teach our children

You only have them for a little while – what do you want to teach your children?

Snopes.com fact-checks Christian satire site Babylon Bee’s jokes (5 min)

Snopes.com is the go-to fact-checker for many online, so it’s important Christians understand they too have their biases and glaring blind spots.

via Saturday Selections – Oct. 5, 2019 — Reformed Perspective

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 10/05/2019

‘For God So Loved the World’: Judge Gives Amber Guyger a Bible After Botham Jean Murder Trial   Oct 03, 2019 07:56 pm

The judge in the murder trial of Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer sentenced to 10 years for fatally shooting her neighbor, caused a stir Wednesday when she gave Guyger a Bible and told her to start reading in John 3:16 and pointed her to the gospels. ‘This is where you start,” Judge Tammy Kemp stated after giving her the Bible. “For God so loved…

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‘Give Your Life to Christ’: Botham Jean’s Brother Forgives, Embraces Cop Who Killed His Brother   Oct 03, 2019 03:44 am

(Faithwire) – Brandt Jean, the brother of a black man who was shot dead by Amber Guyger, a white Dallas Police officer who said she mistook the victim’s apartment for her own, forgave his brother’s killer and hugged her in front of the courtroom Wednesday. As some people outside of the courtroom reacted angrily to the 10-year sentence given to Amber…

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Nigerian ‘Torture House’: Hundreds Freed From Slavery, Abuse in Islamic School   Sep 29, 2019 01:14 pm

Nigeria (BBC) — Nearly 500 men and boys have been rescued from a building in the northern city of Kaduna, where the detainees were allegedly sexually abused and tortured, Nigerian police said. Children as young as five were among those in chains at what was thought to be an Islamic school, officers said. Kaduna police chief Ali Janga told the BBC the building…

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U.K. Christian Doctor Fired for Refusing to Use Preferred ‘Gender’ Pronouns Loses Legal Battle   Oct 04, 2019 10:36 am

A Christian doctor in the United Kingdom, who says he was fired for refusing to use a patients’ preferred “gender” pronoun, has lost his court battle. Dr. David Mackereth, who lost his job after 30 years of employment because he refuses to refer to men as women and vice versa, stated to staff that he could not in good conscience use pronouns that do not align with…

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Planned Parenthood Has Been Secretly Constructing an Abortion ‘Mega-Clinic’ in Illinois   Oct 03, 2019 03:15 am

Fairview Heights, Ill. (CBS News) – After over a year of secret construction, Planned Parenthood announced its newest abortion facility on Wednesday: an 18,000-square-foot mega-clinic in southern Illinois. The new location is just 13 miles away from Missouri’s last remaining abortion clinic, a facility in St. Louis fighting to keep its license. Since…

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Dominican Republic Busts Sex Trafficking Ring, Rescues Dozens of Women   Oct 03, 2019 01:55 am

BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Police in the Dominican Republic have rescued dozens of women from forced sex work in bars and nightclubs across the Caribbean island in its biggest anti-trafficking operation this year, authorities said on Tuesday. The 49 women from the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Venezuela were freed in simultaneous raids in the provinces…

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Christians in Algeria Hit With More Church Closures   Sep 28, 2019 09:18 am

TIZI-OUZOU, Algeria (Morning Star News) – Authorities have sealed shut a church building in Tigzirt, Algeria, two days after shutting another building serving two churches without prior notice, sources said. Acting on orders from the governor of Tizi-Ouzou Province, eight police officers arrived at 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 24) at the Church of Boghni…

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