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January 3, 2021
Salvation in the Spirit
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

Nicodemus was confused the night when Jesus first spoke of the necessity of the new birth and then equated it with the symbol of baptism. Christ then indicated that the reality in both was the supernatural work of God, the Holy Spirit. “Except a man be born of water [that is, the Spirit], he cannot enter into the kingdom of God [with ‘and’ understood as ‘even’].”

The miracle of regeneration is thus a work of the Spirit, and just as “the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). It is not some soul-winning methodology but the Holy Spirit who does the work, and He (like the invisible wind) may work in a great variety of different ways.

This work of the Holy Spirit in bringing salvation to the unsaved is so great and so complex that it must be described in a variety of figures to convey the whole reality. In the first place, He must bring conviction of sin and the need of salvation. “When he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8).

Then, as the sinner repents and believes on Christ, the Spirit baptizes him into Christ. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13). As a member of Christ’s body, he is made a partaker of His resurrection life. Simultaneously, “after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13), and “the Spirit of God dwelleth in you” (1 Corinthians 3:16). All of this becomes the mighty miracle of spiritual birth. “According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5). HMM

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  January 4, 2021
Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:13-14)

Hymns sometimes lift our souls to heights undreamed of. Let us use the familiar hymn “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners” these next few days to take us into scriptural truth. The refrain that accompanies each verse follows.

 
Hallelujah! what a Savior!
Hallelujah! what a Friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.

Hallelujah is sometimes translated “praise ye the Lord.” Praising God is a precious privilege to Christians. The Psalms often give praise to our great Lord and King, and this will continue throughout eternity. “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God” (Revelation 19:1).

He is saving us from sin and its penalty. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” (Hebrews 7:25), helping us in our journey through life. “Therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice” (Psalm 63:7). Through any peril, He is keeping us “by the power of God through faith unto salvation” (1 Peter 1:5) while loving us through it. In fact, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

We can be confident that He will keep us for all time. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 1:24-25). JDM
 
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January 5, 2021
My Savior Makes Me Whole
“Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.” (Isaiah 40:26)

The hymn “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners” mentions the frequent failure of our friends and the persistent opposition of our enemies. Conversely, Jesus Christ, who loves us completely, never fails. “For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

 

Jesus! what a Friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.


The hymnist was not writing for believers only but also for those who still reject God’s gift of salvation. Jesus loves them and came to Earth on their behalf. A favorite Scripture reminds us “for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Abraham was one of those who loved and believed God, “and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God” (James 2:23).

Christ taught His disciples that He would soon die, but they didn’t believe. Jesus taught them that “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13), and “ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (v. 14). They were growing in the understanding that He was God Himself. “Henceforth I call you not servants...but I have called you friends” (John 15:15).

Later, John wrote they were more than friends. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). JDM

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  January 6, 2021
My Strength and Victory
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

“Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners” verse two highlights His attribute of strength. David wrote of encountering and benefitting from it when he hid safely in Him. “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5).

 
Jesus! what a Strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him;
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my Strength, my vict’ry wins.

In times of opposition, we can go to Him for comfort and protection. In Psalm 23:4, we are comforted to read, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” We can likewise pass this along to bolster others in need, for “we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:4).

When conflict comes, our Friend for sinners provides a way out. “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Ultimately, victory is ours through His great strength and wisdom. In eternal glory, we are told that “now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10). Forever we will hide safely in Him. JDM
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  January 7, 2021
A Help in Sorrow
“And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35:10)

Christians have received great joy and hope for the future, but make no mistake, there are troubles in this life. Christ promised that even if we “weep and lament...your sorrow shall be turned into joy” (John 16:20). The third verse of “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners” expresses this well.

 
Jesus! what a Help in sorrow!
While the billows o’er me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my Comfort, helps my soul.

Our text shows that even when Israel was about to be captured and exiled, Isaiah still anticipated their return and ultimate victory. “Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away” (Isaiah 51:11).

In this life He has not left us without comfort, for Christ promised His disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Even when death and separation are imminent, “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

And in the next life, the “forever” life, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4). JDM
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  January 8, 2021
Guide and Keeper
“For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” (Psalm 31:3)

David wrote often about the trials of life, but he leaned on a wise and good Guide for deliverance. The next verses tell of the grave danger ahead and David’s resolve: “Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength. Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth” (vv. 4-5). “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners” addresses that in its fourth stanza.

 
Jesus! what a Guide and Keeper!
While the tempest still is high,
Storms about me, night o’ertakes me,
He, my Pilot, hears my cry.

There was a time in the gospels when the disciples were overwhelmed by a tempest, but Jesus Christ, their Guide and Keeper, calmed the sea and rescued them. “There arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves....Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm” (Matthew 8:24-26). This was one of their first indications He was more than a mere man. “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (v. 27).

Sailors know the value of a wise and experienced pilot who can guide their ship into safe harbor. In an analogous way, Christ and His Spirit can keep us from ruin—human, natural, or spiritual. Christ promised, “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). We are safe in His care.

The Old Testament contains the precious truth “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3). We have the assurance that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). JDM
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  January 9, 2021
Christ in You, the Hope of Glory
“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)

The last six words of this text have been the theme of many sermons, and surely they are worth our study, for the concept is used throughout Scripture. They also are included in the final verse of “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners.”

 
Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find;
Christ in me, the Hope of glory,
I am His, and He is mine.

Christ does indeed live in each believer and fills and controls as allowed by the individual. But for those filled with His abundance, He provides the certain “hope” of glory. We have assurance of salvation, adoption, grace, Spirit-filled life, and eternal glory as we are in Christ. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Scripture specifically teaches that God loves sinners as they are and moves as a gracious “Friend” to pay the penalty for their sin. “If thou shalt...believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).

The words “believe” and “receive,” while not the same, can often be used interchangeably in Scripture. Once we truly believe, we can receive Him, for when we believe we simultaneously receive God’s forgiveness and salvation. And we can affirm, “I am His, and He is mine.” His sweet “friendship” will last for all time. JDM
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  January 10, 2021
Touch Not Mine Anointed
“And [David] said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.” (1 Samuel 24:6)

These words have been widely misappropriated in later times as a warning to any who would presume to question or rebuke an erring pastor or other Christian leader. In the theocracy of Israel, there were three groups of men specially chosen by God and then anointed for their offices—prophets, priests, and kings—and God indeed “suffered no man to do them wrong” (Psalm 105:14). However, all three offices were completely fulfilled in Christ. The Levitical priesthood has been abolished, and Christ is our eternal high priest. The prophetic office ceased with the completion of the Scriptures, and Christ has inherited David’s throne forever.

As far as New Testament anointing is concerned, this is now accomplished in every true believer. “Now he which...hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Corinthians 1:21- 22). No longer are we dependent on special instruction and guidance from priests and prophets, for we have the inerrant, infallible, written Word of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. “The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him” (1 John 2:27).

Christians can, and should, learn and grow spiritually from godly teachers of the Word and faithful pastors of the flock, but all—leaders as well as learners—must continually be subject to correction from God’s Word, “neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:3). HMM
 
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January 11, 2021
Many Books
“And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12)

It seems amazing, at first, that we should be reading a complaint from almost 3,000 years ago that too many books were already being published. The greatest book, of course, is the collection of 66 books known as the Bible—that is, the Book (which is the meaning of “Bible”). This Book has been “for ever...settled in heaven” and “endureth for ever” (Psalm 119:89, 160).

The first mention of “book” in the Bible is found in Genesis 5:1: “This is the book of the generations of Adam.” Similarly, the first mention of “book” in the New Testament is Matthew 1:1: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ.” These “books” are now incorporated into the Book and, in a striking way, emphasize the continuity of Old and New Testaments—the one dealing with the first Adam, the other with the last Adam.

The final mentions of “book” also are very important, again dealing not with books that are temporal but with books that are eternal. In the Old Testament we have the beautiful promise of Malachi 3:16: “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.”

The final mention of “book” in the Bible, on the other hand, is a sober warning not to tamper with the Book. “If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:19). Let us honor it, guard it, believe it, and follow it. HMM

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  January 12, 2021
A Mighty Man
“And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valor.” (Judges 6:12)

Gideon was not a very promising leader to all outward appearances. He was of the undistinguished and divided tribe of Manasseh, and “my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (v. 15).

But that’s exactly the kind of man God knows He can use, for “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27). God, therefore, greeted him thus: “The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valor” (text verse).

As a matter of fact, there were other qualities in Gideon that must have commended him to God. He was already busy threshing “wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites” (v. 11). He was not sitting idly but was already doing what he could for his people. Furthermore, even though he lived in a time of great apostasy when even his own father kept an altar for the god Baal, he still worshipped the true God and was greatly exercised that “the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites” (v. 13). He was burdened for his people, but all he had been able to do was to try to feed them, hiding his wheat from the invaders. Before the Lord could use him further, however, he had to destroy the family idol and offer his own sacrifice to the true God, even though he knew his family and neighbors might try to kill him (vv. 25-32). God, then, did indeed “save Israel from the hand of the Midianites” through Gideon (v. 14).

If we would be mighty for God, like Gideon, we must begin like him: poor yet faithful, burdened for the Lord’s truth, and doing what we can—putting away every idol of the mind, and acknowledging our Savior’s sacrifice for us. HMM
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January 13, 2021
The Righteous Word
“Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments. Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.” (Psalm 119:137-138)

The writer of the book of Hebrews called God’s Word “the word of righteousness” (Hebrews 5:13). Nehemiah declared that God had “performed thy words; for thou art righteous” (Nehemiah 9:8). Those two concepts merge in the beauty of the Word. “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth” (Psalm 33:4). The written Word is righteous; the cause of the Word is righteous. That theme pervades this stanza of Psalm 119. Several synonyms describe this characteristic of the Scriptures.

  • The Lord is righteous, and therefore His judgments are upright. “Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way” (Psalm 25:8).
  • God’s Word is very pure (Psalm 119:140), like refined gold. “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times” (Psalm 12:6).
  • Because the righteous acts of the Lord have everlasting consequences, the “law is the truth” (Psalm 119:142)—“the righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting” (v. 144).

Since the psalmist dedicated his heart and life to the clarity of God’s Word, righteous jealousy consumed him on behalf of God because the enemies of the Lord forgot His Word (v. 139). Furthermore, even though he felt “small and despised” (v. 141) and trouble and anguish surrounded him, he still delighted in understanding God’s righteous commandments (v. 143).

May the Lord God strengthen our resolve this day to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22). HMM III

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  January 14, 2021
Full
“Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.” (Genesis 25:8)

With the words of our text, Abraham ended a life of faith having walked in such close fellowship with God that “he was called the Friend of God” (James 2:23). But when he died at 175 years old, his standing in the world from a human perspective might not seem to have warranted his nomadic life of sacrifice and faith. He had sojourned in the land given to him by covenant, but he had not taken possession of it in any real sense. Although he had gained a measure of worldly possessions (Genesis 13:2), he had evidently given up a stable and satisfying life of luxury among his people to follow God into the land of promise. Once there, his nephew, Lot, had deserted him, taking the fertile land as his own (13:10-11). Abraham had seen war (chapter 14), famine (12:10), compromise (12:13; 20:2), fighting between his two wives, and had not had children until his old age (chapters 16 and 21), had lived in poor relationship with his neighbors (chapter 20), and had eventually lost his dear wife, Sarah (23:2).

But when Abraham died, Scripture says he died completely satisfied, the literal meaning of the word “full” in our text (the words “of years” added by the translators). He had learned to measure time by eternity, to weigh the value of earthly things by the Spirit. “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). He had “believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3).

The fullness of Abraham was that of a wealth that death could not touch. The seeming fullness of those who walk by sight, and not by faith, is emptied in death. Men and women of faith carry their fullness with them. When the time comes, may we all die as Abraham died—full. JDM
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January 15, 2021
Whosoever Will
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17)

One could not imagine a more clearcut invitation to receive God’s free gift of eternal life than this final climactic invitation of the Bible. Anyone who is thirsting for the water of life may come and drink freely, for Jesus said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37). Whosoever will may come! “There is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11, plus about seven other references), and the Scriptures abound with “whosoever” assurances.

“Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:26). “Whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15).

“Jesus Christ the righteous:...is the propitiation...for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2). Therefore, “by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life” (Romans 5:18).

Such promises as these (and many more in the Word of God) make it very clear that the substitutionary death of Christ is sufficient to “[take] away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), that salvation and eternal life are offered as a free gift of God’s grace to anyone who will accept it, and that anyone who will may come! It is only the voluntary act of our own wills that is required, but there are many of whom Jesus must say: “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life” (John 5:40). HMM

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January 16, 2021
Father of Believers
“And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)

The key New Testament doctrine of imputed righteousness, received through saving faith in the Word of God, is foreshadowed beautifully in the life of Abraham. Because of his strong faith, demonstrated again and again in difficult acts of obedience, Abraham has been called “the father of all them that believe” (Romans 4:11). Our text verse is quoted four times in the New Testament (Romans 4:3, 22; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23) and is made the basis of the great gospel theme of salvation and righteousness. This is obtained not by one’s good works but by imputation, and is received through faith in the gracious promises of God through Jesus Christ. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

“Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure...to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all” (Romans 4:16). Just as “Jerusalem which is above...is the mother of us all” (Galatians 4:26), so faithful Abraham is “the father of us all.” Spiritual Jerusalem speaks of salvation by grace rather than by law, and Abraham testifies of righteousness through faith rather than by works. And yet, 12 of the 40 verses of Hebrews 11, the great “faith chapter,” deal with the outward evidences of Abraham’s inner faith.

There is still another reference to Abraham’s spiritual seed: “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham” (Galatians 3:7). As Abraham’s spiritual children, therefore, we also ought to believe God’s Word at whatever cost, demonstrating the reality of our faith to the world—as did father Abraham—by obeying God. HMM

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January 17, 2021
Divine Logistics
“And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let no man prevail against thee.” (2 Chronicles 14:11)

Asa was one of the better kings of Judah (great-grandson of Solomon), and his prayer is a beautiful model of how a servant of God can pray when all the human odds are against him. Asa’s army consisted of 580,000 foot soldiers, whereas the invading Ethiopians had a million-man army with 300 chariots. Yet “the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa” (2 Chronicles 14:8-9, 12), and his prayer prevailed.

The Bible has many such examples: Abraham (Genesis 14:1-16); Gideon (Judges 7:7; 8:10); King Hezekiah (2 Kings 19:14, 19, 35). Before King Saul gained a great victory over the hordes of the Philistines, it was the courageous testimony of Jonathan, his son, that led the way. “It may be that the LORD will work for us,” he had said, “for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14:6). Later, David won many battles against all odds, including his personal victory over Goliath (1 Samuel 17:40-49). The servants of the Lord do not need a majority to prevail in the battle against sin and Satan, for “if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). That is the key, of course. We must not beseech the Lord to fight on our side. He will be for us if we are first on His side!

This was the message of the prophet Azariah to the godly King Asa: “The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you” (2 Chronicles 15:2). Political power, military might, financial resources—all are futile. “Our help is in the name of the LORD” (Psalm 124:8). HMM

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  January 18, 2021
A Better and an Enduring Substance
“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10:36)

Christians have certain heavenly possessions, and this knowledge helps put our earthly possessions and welfare in proper perspective. Evidently, some to whom this was written had been imprisoned, and others impoverished for their faith. “For ye...took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance” (v. 34). Peter called it “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4).

These possessions are attainable; they are not in question; they are ours, given to us by the One whose name is “Truth” (John 14:6) and whose Word is trustworthy. We “know” (Hebrews 10:34) this beyond all doubt.

Furthermore, these possessions are valuable. We must “cast not away therefore [our] confidence, which hath great recompense of reward” (v. 35). With this assurance, we are able to bear up under any suffering or persecution that comes our way (see also Romans 8:18).

Knowledge of these possessions is prescriptive, for it helps us cope with longstanding troubles. In our text, we “have need of patience” to get through them and do “the will of God.” “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (James 5:7-8).

Lastly, realization of these possessions is imminent. “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37). “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). JDM
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  January 19, 2021
The Blindness of Israel
“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” (Romans 11:7)

One of the saddest aspects of our world is the blindness of Israel. Even the Orthodox Jews, who strongly affirm their belief in the Old Testament Scriptures, seem unable to see what the Scriptures clearly show, that their Messiah has come and gone. In the first book of the Torah, we read: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (Genesis 49:10). Ancient Jewish commentators agreed that Shiloh was another name for Messiah, but this very fact should prove to modern Jewish expositors that Messiah has already come, for the scepter (the symbol of national leadership) did depart from Judah, very soon after Jesus was crucified.

King David was the first descendant of Judah to attain the scepter of leadership among the tribes of Israel, and the divine promises were clear that Messiah would be in David’s lineage. That Jesus’ legal father, Joseph, and human mother, Mary, were both in that lineage was shown in the genealogies of Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38, respectively, both of which were written when the genealogical records in the Temple were still intact. No one at that time ever questioned their validity, in spite of intense opposition by the Jews to the claims of Jesus and His disciples that He was the Messiah. In 70 AD, the records and the Temple were destroyed so that no later claimant to the title could ever prove his right to the throne. Messiah had come, and was slain, so the scepter departed from Judah until He comes again. It is certain that Jesus was, indeed, the Jews’ promised Messiah, and we should pray that God will soon open their eyes to see and believe. HMM
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  January 20, 2021
Prayer for the Word
“I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes. I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.” (Psalm 119:145-146)

One of the great privileges we have is the ability to speak directly to our heavenly Father, the Creator of the universe! However, our prayers are often “amiss” (James 4:3) and lack faith (James 1:6).

Not so with this psalmist! He prayed with his whole heart, begging that he “might be filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:9). His petition shows a deep spiritual connection to God “with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22).

Note that although the prayer of need recorded in this stanza (Psalm 119:145-152) mentions those who “follow after mischief” (v. 150), most of his conversation with the Father verifies his love for and his hope in God’s Word (v. 147).

This prayer was not routine. “I prevented the dawning of the morning,” the psalmist wrote, and his “eyes prevent the night watches” (vv. 147-148). The matters that drove him to his knees to seek God’s face had kept him awake all night!

Songwriter Mosie Lister wrote “How Long Has It Been?” based on this stanza of Psalm 119:

 
How long has it been since you talked with the Lord
And told him your heart’s hidden secrets?
How long since you prayed, how long since you stayed
On your knees till the light shone through?

Fortunately, Jeremiah recorded this promise from our Lord: “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). HMM III
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  January 21, 2021
The Prayer of Moses
“O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” (Psalm 90:14)

This majestic yet reflective psalm is the oldest of all psalms. The superscript of the psalm identifies it as “a prayer of Moses, the man of God.” While we are not directly told to do so, it is helpful to consider this psalm as the dying song of this man of God as he reflected back on his long life, including the 40 years in Egypt, the 40 years in Midian, and most importantly the recent 40 years of wilderness wanderings. As we survey this psalm, think of Moses pondering his life’s work shortly before he died.

The first stanza of the psalm (vv. 1-2) contrasts the unchanging eternity of the Lord, “even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (v. 2), with the perpetual changes of the recent wilderness wandering in which the people had no “dwelling place” (v. 1). The next stanza (vv. 3-6) notes the frailty of man and the death of a whole generation. But God is the ever-living One; His years do not fail (v. 4). God is also a holy God, justly exercising righteous wrath. The open iniquities and secret sins of all mankind, particularly the people of God, merit His judgment (vv. 7-8).

In verses 9-12 we see the transient, carnal experiences of man contrasted with the permanent, spiritual nature of God. We need to recognize the intensity of His anger (v. 11) and govern our lives accordingly. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (v. 12).

Perhaps the climax of this psalm is reflected in verses 13-15, where we see the beauty of the Lord our God described as the crowning adornment of human character. The only assurance of the permanent establishment of the work of a man is in its identity with the work of God. Our request of God should be: “Establish thou the work of our hands upon us” (v. 17). JDM
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