Hide In His Pavilion

February 25, 2011 at 6:12 am | Posted in Devotional | Leave a comment
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Hide in His Pavilion

Still Higher For His Highest by Oswald Chambers, February 25

(1)The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?……(5)For He will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; He will conceal me under the cover of His tent; He will lift me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27 ESV)

God give us the energy of an impregnable position, viz: the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and we have to make the effort to be strong from that position. We have not to work up to that position, but to work from it with the full energy of will. It is impossible to live according to Our Lord’s teaching without this secret of position. We do not get to the heavenly places by struggling, or aspiring, or consecration; God lifts us there, and if we will work from that position, He keeps us in His pavilion. No wonder the life of a saint appears such an unmitigated puzzle to rational human beings without the Spirit of God. It seems so ridiculous and so conceited to say that God Almighty is my Father and that He is looking after my affairs; but looked at from the position in which Jesus places us we find it is a marvelous revelation of truth.

This part of my devotional reading this morning was a big encouragement to me. My wife and I are facing some challenges and God is consistently reminding us that HE is in control and knows everything. We only need to trust HIM, praise HIM and rest in HIM. Tears may come to our eyes at times, but there is joy in our hearts and minds because we see the great sovereignty of God displayed all around us. Trust HIM because HE knows what HE is doing and allowing to show HIMSELF mighty in behalf of those who put their faith in HIM.

I hope you are encouraged this day,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

(Romans 15:13; Psalm 5:11-12)

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Our Victory through His

February 20, 2011 at 9:41 am | Posted in Devotional, hymns | Leave a comment
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I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 NIV)

My wife and I are going through a lot of changes right now. Some of these changes are good and challenging and exciting. Some of the changes are difficult, discouraging and life changing in a bad way. But God is in control and is leading and guiding us. He owns us because He purchased us, or redeemed us through the blood the Jesus shed on Calvary. He does know the plan He has for us. We know we can pray and trust Him. He not only expects us to rejoice in Him, we know He will help us rejoice in Him. In light of all of this, part of my devotional reading this morning spoke to me and I wanted to share it with you. It reminded me of a song that I really like too. It is a good old hand clapper, raise your voice in praise and move like you have some rhythm song!

The devotional is found in Still Higher For His Highest by Oswald Chambers for February 20. I hope it encourages you like it did me.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

(Romans 15:13; Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Our Victory through His

I am only healthy according to the fighting corpuscles in my blood, when the fighting millions inside get low, I become diseased and after a while I shall be snuffed out. Morally it is the same, we are not born moral, we are born innocent and ignorant; morality is the outcome of fight. Immediately I am lazy in moral matters, I become immoral. Spiritually it is the same. “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” i.e. everything that is not spiritual makes for our undoing; but, “be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Why did our Lord say that He would help us to overcome? Because we have to imitate Him through the power He has put in us. Think of sitting in a corner before the Almighty and saying, “But my difficulties are so enormous.” Thank God they are! The bigger the difficulty, the more amazing is your profit to Jesus Christ as you draw on His supernatural grace.

Victory in Jesus

(Eugene M. Bartlett, 1855-1941)

1.      I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory,

How He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me.

I heard about His groaning, of His precious blood’s atoning.

Then I repented of my sin and won the victory.

 (Refrain) Oh, victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever! He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood. He loved me ere I knew Him, and all my love is due Him. He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.

 2.      I heard about His healing, of His cleansing power revealing,

How He made the lame to walk again and caused the blind to see.

And then I cried, “Dear Jesus, come and heal my broken spirit”;

And somehow Jesus came and brought to me the victory.

 (Refrain)

 3.      I heard about a mansion He has built for me in glory,

And I heard about the streets of gold beyond the crystal sea,

About the angels singing, and the old redemption story;

And some sweet day I’ll sing up there the song of victory.

(Refrain)

The World and the Church

February 16, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Devotional | Leave a comment
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Still Higher For His Highest

by Oswald Chambers, February 15

so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thin, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:27 ESV)

We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. (1 John 5:19 ESV)

The Church confronts the world with a message the world craves for but resents because it comes through the Cross of Christ. The central keystone for all Time and Eternity on which the whole purpose of God depends is the Cross (Galatians 6:14). When the world gets in a bad way, she refers to the Church; when prosperous, she hates it. If men could blot out the standard of the Christian Church they would do it; but in a crisis they find a need in their own heart. As preachers we are privileged by God to stand stedfast against any element that lowers His standard. We are called upon to confront the world with the Gospel of Christ, not to start off on side tracks of our own. The Church owns a mastery the world can neither ignore nor do without, the mastery of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I am reading through this book as part of my early morning devotional time. It has been a blessing to me and helped me think upon the things of God. Chambers was a godly man who was a very good teacher of the Word. He knew God and was growing in his knowledge of God. He didn’t just know about God. Both his intellectual and practical knowledge of God were in balance. I would encourage you to read anything by him. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Be growing in GRACE,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; Jeremiah 9:23-24)

“I place no value on anything I have or possess except in relation to the Kingdom of Christ. If anything I have will advance that Kingdom, it shall be given or kept, whichever will best promote the glory of Him to whom I owe all my hopes, both for time and eternity.”

–         David W. Livingstone

The Mark of Maturity

January 4, 2011 at 10:24 am | Posted in Devotional | Leave a comment
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The last couple of weeks I have not blogged regularly. We were doing some travelling and visiting of family and I just wanted a break from blogging. I do want to say thank you to everyone who reads this blog, especially those who read it on a regular basis. I started the blog a year ago and have grown and developed in different ways as a blogger. I think I will try a new pattern starting this week and through next week. There will be some consistency through days, weeks and the coming year.

Tuesday’s will either be an excerpt from a devotional that I am reading through with my wife or an excerpt from a book that I am reading. Most excerpts will come from books I will be posting reviews of. I will keep doing coffee reviews or coffee shop or product reviews on a regular basis. I will also do a weekly study that will take us completely through a book of the Bible. I am hoping to blog on a daily basis, but can’t guarantee that.

Thanks again for helping me and the blog to grow. Give God your whole heart and all of your obedience and you won’t go wrong. Let’s help each other grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To God be the glory! Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

(Romans 15:13; 2 Peter 3:18)

The Mark of Maturity

Day 3

(6)And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (7)It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. (8)For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. (9)And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, (10)so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, (11)filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. – Philippians 1:6-11 ESV

Paul found joy in his memories of the friends at Philippi and in his growing love for them. He also found joy in remembering them before the throne of grace in prayer.

This is a prayer for maturity, and Paul began it with love. He prayed that they might experience abounding love and discerning love. Christian love in not blind! The heart and mind work together so that we have discerning love and loving discernment.

The ability to distinguish is a mark of maturity. When a baby learns to speak, he or she may call every four-legged animal a “bow-wow.” But then the child discovers that there are cats, mice, cows, and other four-legged creatures.

One of the sure marks of maturity is discerning love and loving discernment.

SOMETHING TO PONDER

With daily decisions, do you tend to seek what is good, or do you try to discern what is truly best? – taken from Pause for Power by Warren W. Wiersbe. Published by David C. Cook, 2010; page 6.

An Attitude of Gratitude

October 15, 2010 at 5:50 am | Posted in Devotional, Names of God | Leave a comment
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One of my favorite studies over the years is the Names of God. I have a number of different books by various authors on this subject. I have a couple of favorites that I have read a number of times. There is one that I picked up in the early 1980’s that I used to read once a year just to keep reminding myself of who GOD says HE is. But that is not the focus of this post.

Because of who Jehovah, the triune GOD says HE is, there are certain things we can know. We can know if we have assurance of salvation. You see, a person is either saved or unsaved. A person is either in Christ or not in Christ. A person’s name is either written in the Lamb’s Book of Life or it is not written there. There is only one way to know this truth and it is by repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).

If we have come to God in humble repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we should be glad. We should have the joy of salvation. We have become adopted into God’s family. We have been placed in Christ. We can have assurance of eternal salvation. We have become a part of His Kingdom. Because of those truths we also have a responsibility to have an attitude of gratitude.

(28)Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, (29)for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:28-29 English Standard Version)

Think about these things today. Are you grateful for what you have received and not earned? Are you offering up acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, to God? If not, why not? What needs to change? If you are, please continue to do so, because He is worthy!

Begin to prepare yourself to attend and serve at your local church this Sunday. Don’t be a spectator, be a participant. Part of acceptable worship is service. Think about these things.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13, 12:1-2

P. S. – here is a ministry and websites I encourage you to check out: www.igniteUS.net and www.thetextsays.blogspot.com. I have found them both encouraging and challenging.

No Fruit, No Conversion

October 5, 2010 at 5:26 am | Posted in Devotional, Quotes | Leave a comment
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I want to thank Eric from www.jcrylequotes.com again for today’s quote. It should make you think, read the Word and pray.  Do you agree with Ryle or not? Anything you question about your life? Do you hear much preaching or teaching like this now? Personally I think we are way past easy believe-ism to everyone does what’s right in their own eyes and calls it “church.” We can learn a lot from some of these brothers from days gone by.

(19)The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; (20)idolatory and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions (21)and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

(22)But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23)gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law. (24)Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. (25)Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (26)Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:19-26)

Thank God for His forgiveness and grace! We can trust Him to help us live in such a way as to bring Him honor and glory with our thoughts, words and deeds. We don’t have to live changed lives alone, or try to bear fruit alone. He will help us! Praise His wonderful Name!

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13

No Fruit, No Conversion

Let it be a settled principle in our religion that when a man brings forth no fruits of the Spirit, he has not the Holy Spirit within him. Let us resist as a deadly error the common idea, that all baptized people are born again, and that all members of the Church, as a matter of course, have the Holy Spirit. One simple question must be our rule: What fruit does a man bring forth? Does he repent? Does he believe with the heart on Jesus? Does he live a holy life? Does he overcome the world? Habits like these are what Scripture calls “fruit.” When these “fruits” are lacking, it is profane to talk of a man having the Spirit of God within him.

~ J.C. Ryle

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Luke volume 1, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1986], 192.

Wisdom from William Gurnall – Seeking Worldly Admiration

June 15, 2010 at 10:19 am | Posted in Devotional | Leave a comment
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My hope is that these excerpts from The Christian In Complete Armour will encourage you to look into the life, ministry and writings of William Gurnall. Anyone who wants to follow closely to Christ will be challenged by Gurnall’s words.

Christ is not “ashamed to call” the poorest saints “brethren,” but He despise to have His name seen upon a rotten-hearted hypocrite (Hebrews 2:11).

Of all sinners the hypocrite does the most harm in this world and therefore will have the most torment in the other world. And yet it is religion which has consistently proved to be the most effective bait of hypocrites, as they seek to snare others into their error and sin while posing as children of God. Ehud, for example, could not have chosen a better key to open the doors into King Eglon’s presence that to say he had brought a message from God. This caused such expectation and confidence that Eglon welcomed him. When the two were alone, the king rose to hear the Word of the Lord from the deceiver – but what he received instead was brutal death (Judges 3:14-30).

I confess the hypocrite may act his part so well that he may accidentally do some good. His glistening profession, heavenly speech, and eloquent preaching might bring to the sincere seeker a measure of real comfort. Like an actor at center stage who stirs up passion in the audience by counterfeit tears, the hypocrite, playing his religious role, may temporarily spark the believer’s true graces. But that is when the Christian may be in the most serious danger, for he will not readily suspect the person who once helped him spiritually.

It would have been far better had Sisera the Canaanite done without Jael’s butter and milk than to be nailed to the tent floor, having been fooled by that woman’s seeming hospitality. Thus it is to our advantage not to sample the free gifts and give-away graces of stage play saints, applauding and drinking ourselves drunk with their admiration. Sometimes a calculated distance from the hypocrite is the safest way to avoid having our heads nailed by errors.

The Christian In Complete Armour – Aim Your Heart Toward God

June 8, 2010 at 10:33 am | Posted in Devotional, Spiritual Warfare | Leave a comment
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Wisdom from William Gurnall Aim Your Heart Toward God

Today’s excerpt from Gurnall really spoke to me. I read a lot of material regarding men and men’s ministry. I have been involved in helping men grow and starting men’s groups. I have friends, some close and some more like acquaintances that lead or start men’s groups. In some way the simplicity of this spoke to me. I hope it speaks to you too.

“The world’s true man is one who will not wrong another man. Some boldly remind God that they would not steal a dime from their neighbor; yet these same people are thieves in far greater matters than all the money their neighbor is worth. They steal time from God and consistently conform the Sabbath to their personal plans instead of His. They purpose to sanctify God’s name and even pray often for His will but their unholy hearts insist on compromise even though they know His will is sanctification.

But God’s true man desires to be first true to the Father and then to man for His sake. For example, when Joseph’s brothers feared he might deal with them brutally he freed them from suspicion: ‘This do,’ he responded, ‘and live; for I fear God’ (Genesis 42:18). He assured them, ‘Do not expect anything from me except what is right. You might think because I am a man of authority you would have no one to intercede for you if I take advantage. But I see One who is above me – infinitely higher than I seem to be above you; and I fear Him.’ – from The Christian In Complete Armour, edited by James S. Bell, Jr., Moody Publishers.

Have you ever stolen time from God? Sure you have. Have you ever used the Sabbath for your personal pleasure or benefit? Sure you have. There is only one person that we cannot lie to, fool or mislead and you and I know who that is; Almighty God. Yes, our God is a forgiving Father, but He is also a consuming fire.

Let’s try to live upright and holy lives in these last days. Let’s try to live and talk and work and play in a way that shows who we belong to. Any of us who are Christians have been bought with a price, we are no longer our own, we belong to God. What would God want you to change in order for your life to be more conformed to the image of His Son? Let’s redeem the time because the days are evil. Just something to think about.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13

(28)Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, (29)for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:28-29)

Wisdom from William Gurnall – Boldly Profess Your Faith

June 1, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Posted in Devotional | Leave a comment
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Part of my devotional reading this morning is worth passing along. If you read through a devotional book to supplement reading through the Bible each year you may want to consider buying and reading The Christian In Complete Armour by William Gurnall, edited by James S. Bell, published by Moody. My wife and I find this devotional book very interesting and timely.

In today’s reading part of what Gurnall says is, “Paul delivered a strict charge to Timothy concerning a steadfast profession of truth: ‘But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness’ (1 Timothy 6:11). While people all around you aim at the world, run after spiritual riches with a chase as hot as theirs.

But what if this business of seeking righteousness cannot be transacted peaceably? Should we close up shop, put our profession on the shelf and postpone holiness until favorable times have come again? Paul’s solution is to ‘fight the good fight of faith’ (v. 12). Do not abandon your profession of truth but put your life on the line to keep it.”

If some Christians today are pursuing friendship with world and all the trappings that come with it they are in good company. Some Christians were doing that back in Gurnall’s day also. There has been and always will be a problem that goes on in the mind, heart and life of a Christian. That tension has to do with being in the world but not of the world.

It should be no wonder to us that so many churches today offer the things that world has to give in order to get the attention of both the saved and the unsaved. The church has believed a lie that says it is in competition with the world. That could be why it thinks it has to offer every form of entertainment and luxury to its attendees that the world would give them. Otherwise they may go somewhere else.

But I think the Church is to be used by God to show His manifold wisdom and make it known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 3:11). Many in the Church have forgotten that real freedom comes from finding your Master. So I ask you O, man or woman of God, what are you fleeing to pursue spiritual riches? Are you pursuing spiritual riches as intensely as your unsaved neighbor pursues his pleasures?

Have you denied yourself, taken up your cross and followed Jesus (Mark 8:34-36)? Don’t aim at the world, you just might hit it! Focus on Jesus and follow Him and the world just may take a swing at you. But it will be worth it because they first took a swing at Jesus. You will be in good company.

Stay faithful and hopeful,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Don’t Give the Devil a Foothold – William Gurnall

May 24, 2010 at 9:51 am | Posted in Devotional, Quotes, Spiritual Warfare | Leave a comment
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I came upon The Christian In Complete Armour by William Gurnall at the end of last year. The subtitle, Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare also caught my attention. Many years ago one of the first sermons I preached was from Ephesians 6:10-20 on the armor of God. Not counting individual sermons, I have also preached through the entire book of Ephesians as a series. I have a number of good commentaries on Ephesians and books on spiritual warfare. But I’m usually up to adding another one.

This book is meant to be read daily as part of a Christian’s devotional or quiet time. Or personal study time for those who prefer that time. That is how we are using it. I am one who believes that a growing Christian will make time daily to be get to know God better and to pray. To me it is not about being motivated by guilt but by love. It is not about how one feels but about one’s self-discipline.  Enough preaching from me; let me step aside and let William Gurnall speak.

DON’T GIVE THE DEVIL A FOOTHOLD

Satan is an encroaching enemy. Therefore, you must resist him constantly. “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath,” warns the apostle; “neither give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27). A soldier assigned to guard duty on the outskirts of a city must keep watch as faithfully as the king’s personal bodyguard, or the enemy will break through the outer limits and thereby gain access to the heart of the town.

If you yield to temptation along the perimeter of your heart, you give the devil a foothold from which to create havoc in your inner spirit. For example, you may become angry and thoughtlessly spew out some bitter words. At the very moment this unholy language spills from your mouth, the devil finds the floodgates open and enters. Then come gushing forth such things as you never dreamed of saying! He is a cunning opponent and will not easily relinquish any ground he gains. The safest strategy, the, is to give him no ground at all from which to work. If you so much as hesitate as you walk by the door where sin dwells, you give Satan more time to entice you to enter. Then you are on his territory.

Who will stop by a tavern to enjoy the company of drunkards, or frequent places of sin, and yet pretend he does not intend to partake? Who will prostitute his eyes to unchaste objects, and yet remain chaste? Who will lend his ears to any corrupt doctrine of the times, and yet be sound in the faith? Such a person is under a strong delusion. If a man is not strong enough to resist Satan in a lesser thing, how can he believe he will be able to repel a greater temptation? You say you cannot avoid being surrounded by deep waters of temptation, yet you think you have the strength to hold your head above water? The give careful thought to some practical advice: It is far easier, when in the ship, to keep from falling overboard than, when in the sea, to get safely into the ship again. (reading for May 22)

Those are still strong and good words for today. I don’t know when they were first written but I do know that Gurnall lived from 1616-1679. There was a strong Puritan influence in his life and he gave himself to pastoring. One has to wonder what he would think of the times and temptations we face today. Maybe he would have the same advice today as he did then. I recommend this book to purchase and use.

Much GRACE and peace to you,

Bill (a fellow-laborer)

Romans 15:13; JOHN 15:7

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