Devotional – A Peaceful and Quiet Life

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But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. Jeremiah 29:7 ESV

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV

Jeremiah 29:4-23 records for us a divinely inspired letter written by the prophet Jeremiah to the Jewish exiles in Babylon. The letter, written near the beginning of the Babylonian exile, provided the newly arrived exiles with instructions for daily living, encouragement, and warnings regarding false prophets.

Among other things, the exiles were to “seek the welfare of the city” in which they were living. In other words, the exiles were to live as exemplary citizens. They were to conduct themselves in a manner that would benefit the larger community around them.

The exiles were also instructed to “pray to the Lord on [the city’s] behalf.” In addition to being model citizens the exiles were also instructed to petition God in prayer for the welfare of city– the city that was holding them captive!

In the New Testament we have been given similar instructions: to be good citizens (Romans 13:1, Mark 12:17), to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44), and to pray for those who are in political positions of authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Why?

“That we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” 1 Timothy 2:2.

Lord, it is my desire to live a peaceful and quiet life. I desire to live a life that would reflect your love and character to the world around me. Help me to live godly and dignified in every way. For your glory. Amen.

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Editorial note: Originally published May 9, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

 

 

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Devotional – Stop Waiting!

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He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. Ecclesiastes 11:4 ESV

Are you waiting for the absolute perfect moment to obey God’s calling? Are you waiting for the absolute perfect moment to witness to your neighbor, coworker or classmate? Did you wake up this morning, look at the calendar and think, “Nope, the conditions are not right today. I’ll wait for a better opportunity.”

Stop waiting!

The farmer who waits for the absolutely perfect weather conditions to sow the seed will never plant. Just as the farmer who waits for the perfect weather to reap the harvest will have his crops rot in the field.

Stop waiting…

…for the conditions to be right to obey God’s calling in your life! Step out in faith today! Stop waiting for the perfect opportunity to witness! Share the gospel today!

Jesus Christ said, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” John 4:35 ESV

Stop waiting! Otherwise the crops will rot in the field, the harvest will pass, and it will be too late.

Stop waiting.

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Editorial note: Originally published April 24, 2015 at assemblyHUB.com

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Jottings — Perfected in Perpetuity

“John


The believer’s place with God according to divine grace is not changeable; he is not sometimes on the ground of Christ’s death and sometimes on the ground of his own good behavior. The value of the “one offering” does not fluctuate with his changing moods and feelings, nor with the ebbings and flowings of his joy. It abides as the only and the unchanging ground on which God can have a people for Himself. The believer who apprehends this is on solid ground; he is acquainted with the grace of God, and he knows the secure basis on which all the activities of that grace are based; he is perfected in perpetuity.

 

Coates, C. A. Spiritual Blessings. Chessington, Surrey, England: Bible and Gospel Trust, 2008. 11-12. Print.

 

 

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Jottings – Let Us All Seek to Get Nearer to Christ

“John


O brethren, let us all seek to get nearer to Christ. Let us all take the eagle’s motto, ‘Superior.’ Higher, higher, higher; soar yet beyond. Let us seek to attain what we have not as yet known; and as for the things which remain, let us hold them fast that no man take our crown. ‘Whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.’ Let us not decline from our first love, but rather, ‘not as though we had already attained, either were already perfect,’ let us forget the things which are behind, and press forward to that which is before, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. The Lord bless his church richly…and make us all to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

C. H. Spurgeon, “Backsliding Healed,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 16. Originally preached on March 13, 1870. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1870), 156.

 

Thanks Keith!

 

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Jottings – Who Is Lord of Your Prime Time?

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It is impossible for any Christian who spends the bulk of his evenings, month after month, week upon week, day in and day out watching TV networks or contemporary videos to have a Christian mind. This is always true of all Christians in every situation! A Biblical mental program cannot coexist with worldly programming… we need to allow Christ to be Lord of our prime time.

 

Hughes, R. Kent. Disciplines of a Godly Man. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1991. p75. Print.

 

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Guest Post: Give Me Liberty!

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage”, Gal. 5:1.

Based on God’s righteousness the Christian faith and church, because of the cleansing power of the precious blood of Christ, is the freest “religious” entity on planet earth. But there is a steady “progression” back to the slavery and control of man either in the saving gospel or in the serving church. Man’s legislation can open the door to legalism.

Christ’s Liberty – Christ has freed us from the curse of the law, i.e. having to continue in all its rules or be cursed, by being made a curse for us on the tree. (Gal. 3:10-13)
Man’s Legalism – adds rules to faith in Christ in order to escape the cursing of hell

Christ’s Liberty – Christ has freed us from the law itself – its letter of legislating sabbath days, diet, robes, and rituals as a lifestyle. We are not under the law but under grace and therefore our liberty is not to be judged in these areas. (Col. 2:14-22 / Gal. 4:5 / Rom7:6)
Man’s Legalism – re-adds these rules and principles to the Christian life to emit holiness

Christ’s Liberty – Christ has freed us from the childhood stage of serving under law where children are legislated what to do and when to do it. He now freely gives us His Spirit that makes us sons – mature adults, not little babies. Thus in the wisdom of the Spirit we can fulfill the rightness of the law (to love God and our neighbor) without being under law! We can now know God’s heart without the law’s legislation. (Gal. 4:1-11)
Man’s Legalism – brings the believer back to childhood control and legislation, where he is told how much to give, how to worship, when to worship, who leads in worship, etc.

Christ’s Liberty – Christ has freed us from mandatory tithing of ten percent. Now as adult sons we have liberty to determine in our own hearts of love what to give. (2Cor. 9:7)
Man’s Legalism – legislates ten percent (and usually ends up with less in the long run).

Christ’s Liberty – Christ has freed us from a selective priesthood where only a part of God’s people was priests (clergy) and could only approach God to serve in His house, (Num. 18:1-7). Because of Christ’s powerful cleansing blood every believer is now constituted a holy priest and may offer up spiritual sacrifices. (1Pet. 2:5, Rev. 1:5, 6)
Man’s Legalism – Re-divides the believers back into clergy and laity. Man legislates that man’s education and training by man qualifies one for divinity titles. This then is what allows them to minister in the house of God, the church.

Christ’s Liberty – Christ’s gospel has freed us from restricted access into His holiest. The temple veil, blocking access to the holiest of God’s presence was torn in two when Christ died. Now all the brotherhood by Christ’s blood has glorious liberty to come into God’s very presence. It is in His Presence that we hear His Word from the Bible by the Spirit speaking to our hearts – like only Moses could do in the OT. We do not need another to do it for us anymore! (Heb. 10:19-23 / 1Cor. 2:10-12 / Ex. 25:22, Num. 7:89)
Man’s Legalism – re-sews the open veil with professional threads that legislates that only “the clergy” hears from God in a special way to minister His Word to others.

Christ’s Liberty – Christ has freed us from limited access to His table. Only Aaron and his sons (males) could eat the bread at the table of showbread. Now every brother and sister, Jew or Gentile, can partake of the Lord’s Supper and table and eat the bread and drink the cup in fellowship. This wonderful NT freedom the church did often upon the first day of every week when it came together. (Lev. 24: 5-9 / 1Cor. 11:20, 26 / Acts 20:7)
Man’s Legalism – Rather than the biblical example of every week, man now decides and legislates how often the church will keep the Lord’s Supper – from once a month to once a quarter, etc. This actually limits this freedom of all believers (including women) to eat and commune with their Lord often at His table.

Christ’s Liberty – Christ’s gospel has freed us from only a select few being able to sing and lead in praise while others watch the performance. In the OT it was the robed Levitical singers who would sing and play their instruments at the house of God while the others listened and bowed in worship. Select singers were commanded (legislated) and appointed that they should praise. Now since every believer has the Spirit we all can make melody in our hearts unto the Lord. The liberty of congregational singing! “Let us offer the sacrifice of praise”. (2Chron. 20:21, 29:25-30 / Eph. 5:18-20 / Heb. 13:15)
Man’s Legalism – Reinvents the worship or praise leader and team where they will perform and you will listen. They decide what will be sung and by whom. It’s not the same as the Spirit leading any brother in the church to freely offer a hymn or psalm unto God with the whole congregation singing from their Spirit-filled hearts.

Christ’s Liberty – Christ has freed us from only a select few being able to minister in the house of God. Only the priests could offer sacrifices unto the Lord. The others would pay and obey. Now every believer can offer his or her body as a living sacrifice to serve the Lord. In His church meeting every brother (whether slave or master) could use his gift in the Lord’s orderly way to edify the church. (Ex. 30:20 / Rom. 12:1 / 1Cor. 14)
Man’s Legalism – restricts the full participation of the “common brother” in the house of God. It legislates only “the pastor” and a few “trained” to orally lead in the church meeting (though they might be good at what they do for the Lord). In effect this legislation ties the feet and tapes the mouths of the men from freely offering praise to the Lord along with teaching and comfort to edify the church. It actually deprives the church of the rich variety of the Spirit’s gifts. It can also stunt the believer’s growth by restricting what he can give out what God has put in his heart. A body must exercise.

The very blood of Christ has purchased our liberty and priesthood. Each cleansed believer has received the gift of the Holy Spirit. No one is more professional in the things of God than He. Therefore to restrict a believer’s participation in the church with manmade rules is a restriction of the liberty in which Christ has made us free. It undermines (perhaps without intent) the truth of the gospel in Christ’s blood, and the power and grace of the Holy Spirit using a clay vessel. God save us from legalism.

Yet to have this blood bought liberty and not value it or use it, could be likened to one spending thousands on a doctor’s degree and then after graduation deciding to be a hermit. May we stand fast with courage, endurance and faithfulness in the Lord Jesus’ liberating truths and practices in His NT gospel and church. God save us from apathy.

 

Editorial Note: This is a guest post written by Brother Randy Amos. He maintains the Thinking 7 website. You can also find Randy’s ministry on the Voices For Christ website here.

 

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Jottings – The Blood of Christ in The Presence of God

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Real purity of walk will always be founded on the full assurance which the blood of Christ in the presence of God gives to our souls, and which we behold as having perfectly satisfied God about sin.

 

H.L. Rossier, “The Red Heifer,” in The Christian Friend, Vol. 15 (1888); electronic ed. accessed on 3/23/15 here: http://www.stempublishing.com/authors/rossier/RedHeif.html

 

Thanks Keith!

 

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Jottings – It is an Immense Comfort to be Able to Say Nevertheless God

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Commenting on 2 Corinthians 7:6 ~

 

It is an immense comfort, in the inward storms and conflicts of the heart, to be able to say, “Nevertheless God.” Oh, what a divine solace there is in Him, now made known to us in Christ.

 

Turpin, W. T. “Nevertheless God.” Collected Writings of W.T. Turpin. Morganville, NJ: Present Truth, 1999. 413. Print.

 

 

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Jottings – Theological Arguments

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I beg leave, in my turn, to give you a few advices,

 

1. Be calm. Do not venture into the field again till you are master of your temper.

 

2. Be good-natured. Passion is not commendable; but ill nature still less.

 

3. Be courteous. Show good manners, as well as good nature, to your opponent, of whatever kind.

 

4. Be merciful. When you have gained an advantage over your opponent, do not press it to the uttermost. Remember the honest quaker’s advice to his friend a few years ago: ‘Art thou not content to lay John Wesley upon his back, but thou wilt tread his guts out?’

 

5. In writing, do not consider yourself as a man of fortune, or take any liberty with others on that account. Men of sense simply consider what is written; not whether the writer be a lord or a cobbler.

 

6. Lastly, Remember, ‘for every idle word men shall speak, they shall give an account in the day of judgment.’ Remember, ‘by thy words shalt thou be justified; or by thy words shalt thou be condemned.’

 

John Wesley, “Some Remarks on Mr. Hill’s Farrago Double Distilled,” quoted in Luke Tyerman, The Life and Times of the Rev. John Wesley, Vol. 3. (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1871), 162.

 

Thanks Keith!

 

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Jottings – The One Who Doubts is a Double Minded Man Unstable in All His Ways

“James“


Commenting on James 1:5-8 ~

 

Changeableness is an evidence of an unsubdued will and generally, too, of an inflated ego, which leads one to be occupied unduly with the importance of his own affairs.



 
H. A. Ironside, Expository Notes on the Epistles of James. (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1947), p. 15.

 

Thanks Keith!

 

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