Devotional – Joy Lost

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.  Psalm 51:12 ESV

Have you lost the joy of your salvation?

There are countless reasons why one might lose the joy of their salvation.  Sickness, personal loss, death of a loved one, disagreements with other believers are just a few examples of joy killers.  David, who wrote Psalm 51, lost the joy of his salvation because of his sinful behavior.

If you have lost the joy of your salvation call out to God as David did!  If sin or unbelief has assassinated your joy cry out to God in confession for He will forgive! 1 John 1:9.  Has someone stolen your joy because they have wronged you? Then forgive them just as God has forgiven you!  Ephesians 4:32.  Has loss or sickness drained you of your joy? Then cling to His promises for “the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 ESV

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Editorial note: Originally published October 15, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – Simple Arithmetic

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.  Genesis 50:20 ESV

 
Recently my son asked me to help him with his math homework.  He was having difficulty correctly calculating the total cost of purchasing several hypothetical items.  Looking over the problem it quickly became clear what was wrong: he forgot to include sales tax in his calculation.  The lesson was clear: failure to include all of the factors in an equation will result in a wrong answer.

When considering the evil acts his brothers perpetrated against him Joseph found purpose and meaning. How? He remembered to include God in his calculation!  “But God meant it for good.”

Failure to include all of the factors in a mathematical equation always leads to a wrong answer. Failure to include God in your search for meaning and purpose in life will always result in disappointment and grief.

As you go through your day today remember God has a plan and a purpose for good.

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Editorial note: Originally published October 21, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Jottings – Encouragement for Those Who are Despised, Illiterate, Ignoble, Unknown, Meek and Quiet in Spirit

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Commenting on Titus 2:2-10:

 

The comment of Chrysostom on these verses is worth quoting: he says that ‘Greeks form their estimate of doctrines, not from the doctrine itself but from actions and life.’ God often gets highest honor from the godly life and testimony of those who are despised by men in general as being illiterate and even ignoble. The meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price, even in cases where a believer is little known or heard of. If slaves in those olden days could bring glory to the name of Christ by the faithful fulfillment of their work, so surely can those whose occupation is in more favored circumstances.

 

W. E. Vine, Collected Writings of W.E. Vine: Titus. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1996).

 

Thanks Keith!

 

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Devotional – The Key to Winning Hide & Seek

You are a hiding place for me. Psalm 32:7a ESV

The key to winning a game of Hide & Seek is obvious: find the best hiding place!  Of course, it helps to be small and limber enough to squeeze into tight hiding places and have the patience and self-control to remain quiet until everyone else is found.

When I was a child I excelled at Hide & Seek. Like a contortionist I could shoehorn myself into the best of hiding spaces– I even had the patience and self-control to silently remain frozen in time and space until everyone else was found.

Now that I’m older Hide & Seek has become much more of a challenge!  Why? Well,  I keep getting in my own way. I’m no longer small or limber enough to squeeze into most hiding spots.  Nor do I have the patience or self-control to quietly hide for any length of time when I could be doing something much more interesting!

The key to living a victorious life is no different than the key to winning at Hide & Seek!  You need a hiding place and there is no better hiding place than the Lord.  Just, don’t let yourself get in the way!

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Editorial note: Originally published October 3, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Jottings – Know Thyself vs. Know Thy God

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Know thyself, O man, and that will make thee miserable; know thy God, O Christian, and that will make thee rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

 

C. H. Spurgeon, “Dilemma and Deliverance,” in The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 6. Originally preached on December 4, 1859. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1860), 9.

 

Thanks Keith!

 

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Devotional – Andrew

[Andrew] brought [Simon] to Jesus… John 1:42 ESV

 Andrew… said to [Jesus] there is a boy here who has barley loaves and two fish… John 6:8,9 ESV

Some Greeks… asked Philip… ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. John 12:20-22 ESV

We only read of Andrew a few times in the Gospels.  But, when we do read of him he is always bringing someone to Jesus. First we read of Andrew bringing his family to Jesus… specifically his brother Simon whom the Lord would latter call Peter.

Next, he brings to Jesus a young fellow who was willing to give all that he had – a few barley loaves of bread and two fish.
Lastly, he brought foreigners to Christ.  When some Greeks asked Philip to see Jesus, Philip went and consulted with Andrew! Certainly Andrew would know what to do!

Andrew was never in the limelight.  He was content to work quietly in the background as an evangelist.  In the same way, you do not need to be in the spotlight to do great things for Jesus Christ.

Who will you bring to Jesus today?

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Editorial note: Originally published January 28, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Jottings – Threading Your Way Through the Crowd

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If the whole world shall run headlong down the broad road, be it yours to thread your way through the crowd against the current along the uphill way of life. The dead fish floats down the stream, the live fish goes against it. Show your life by shunning unholy example.

 

C. H. Spurgeon, “A Sermon From A Rush,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 11. Originally preached on September 24, 1865. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1865), 536.

 

Thanks Keith!

 

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Devotional – Getting a Closer Look

And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. Genesis 11:5 ESV

The people desired to make a name for themselves (Genesis 11:4) so they devised an audacious plan on the grandest scale. “Come,” they said, “let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens.”

And, so, they began their great project constructing a tower that would be so large, and so tall it would reach into the heavens. Impressive. Yet, in one of the more humorous Bible verses we are told the Lord “came down to see the city and the tower!” LOL. From God’s viewpoint their tower wasn’t so impressive.

Their building project was so puny! It was so infinitesimally small God implies He couldn’t even see it from Heaven! God ‘had to’ come down to ‘see it.’

What about you? Are you working on ‘great’ projects attempting to make a name for yourself? Or, are you busy making His name known?

Lord, today, would you help me to glorify your name?  And help me to make your name known and glorified on the Earth? Amen.

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Editorial note: Originally published January 11, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Devotional – Recognizing God’s Unconditional Blessings

Devotional Sun Icon

May God give you the dew of heaven Genesis 27:28a ESV

Early this morning as I left the house I was careful to avoid stepping on the grass as I walked to my car. The grass was wet with the morning dew. Walking on wet grass would destroy my shoes and possibly stain the cuffs of my pants.

In biblical times the morning dew was a blessing– not a minor inconvenience. Every morning the dew would bring a refreshing break from the harsh conditions of an arid environment.

While it took much work to retrieve water from a well, the dew would arrive each morning without any effort. It was a blessing of God. An unconditional blessing that fell on the just and the unjust.

So each morning when you see the dew sparkling in the light of the rising sun remember the unconditional blessings of God you have received from Him.

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Editorial note: Originally published August 28, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

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Jottings – All Movements Among Men are Under Divine Control

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Commenting on Ezekiel 1:15-21 ~

 

And there are wheels within wheels, so arranged that we cannot follow their intricacies. But we see them everywhere, different principles working at one and the same time, in the world, in politics, in the church, in all phases of human society. So true is this that the mind becomes bewildered trying to keep all the different movements in mind, until we are tempted to think that all is utter confusion, and there is neither order nor sanity in the universe. But the spirit of the living creature is in the wheels and all are controlled by a higher power than the merely human, or blind chance, or what men call fate. Moreover, there are eyes in the wheels, and these speak of intelligence and careful discernment and discrimination. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3); and, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” (2 Chron. 16:9). Those eyes are ever over the righteous, and His ear is open to their cry (Ps. 34:15). And so as the wheels move on, though so high that we are unable to comprehend fully what God is doing, we may rest in this precious truth, that nothing moves but at His command or by His permission. In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God’s long toleration of evils—His apparent indifference to the cruelties practised against His people and the wicked behavior of those who seemed to triumph for a time while the righteous suffered in silence—will all be made clear, and we shall see that though the wheels were high and the mysteries of the divine government beyond our present ability to comprehend, yet all were under His control who was working according to plan in a way that puny man little realized. The wheels have never been separated from the living creatures. Nothing is left to chance. All movements among men are under divine control, and even Satan can act only as God gives permission, as we see in the account of His dealings with the patriarch Job.

 

Ironside, H. A. Expository Notes on Ezekiel, the Prophet. Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1949. Print.

 

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