Thursday, May 31, 2007

Day Four - Five Things God Did For The Sinner

Romans 8:29-30, For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (29) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (30)

As a young believer, I struggled with Paul's words in these two verses. I was easily confused when the doctrine of predestination crossed my path. I knew that my Heavenly Father would not want His child to be confused as to where she rested in His family. After all, I would not want my child to wonder if he truly was part of my family or not - or in the family one day then out of the family the next because of something he did wrong. It was then that the Lord began to reveal His Word to me - teaching me as He used my earthly family as His teaching tool and related it with the Scriptures. He revealed to me how I rested in His Kingdom. When we view our relationship with our earthly family, it is easier to see how God has carved out our place in Heaven. It was then that the Word of God finally etched my eternal security deep into my heart and I knew that my place in Heaven was securely held by Him.

In these two verses in Romans 8, we see that God has outlined five things that He did for us. The number five is the number used for grace. Oh what glorious grace is found in these two verses! Join me in the blessing:

(1) He did foreknow: Romans 8:28 shows me that God knew me from the beginning - He did foreknow. The Word of God reveals the complicated issues of life with its own words. When we are confused about a passage, we can find our answers in other passages. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psa 139:16) God knew from the beginning that Kate was going to be His child on April 1, 1980.

(2) He did predestinate: Jesus knew from the beginning that His role was to include redeeming the lost. Yet He came willingly and died willingly for our sins. The redemption story is seen throughout the Word of God and is called the Scarlet Thread of Redemption. What an awesome study that is and promises a blessing to anyone who decides to dig deeper. The first mention in the Word that a Redeemer would be needed is found in the oldest penned book of the Bible. For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: (Job 19:25) Another passage in Genesis gives the promise of a Saviour. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Gen 3:15) How precious it is when the Christian meditates on and realizes that Jesus knew from the beginning that His creation was going to need Him to leave His royal place, take on a pauper's existance, die and take the penalty for the sins of all mankind on His sinless body. He knew from the beginning yet He still went through with it! He knew He was going to be stabbed. He knew from the beginning that He was going to have His beard plucked out. He knew from the beginning that His creation was going to reject Him and mock Him. All this He did so He could be the first born - the first to experience the resurrection! All this so that we could receive this new life as well! Oh my! Does this not place you on shouting grounds? I know it surely does for me! Those who believe on His Name, repent and are saved were known from the beginning of time. Even the lost are known. It does not mean that God had predestined us to be saved and others not to be. It means that God knew us from the beginning.

(3) He did call: The next verse continues to bless - it does not stop there! The Word says that not only did He know from the beginning that a Saviour was needed and that I would need this Saviour, but He called me. Christian, are you not excited? The sentence could have ended after "whom he did predestinate" but it did not. God gives us all an opportunity to make up our own minds. He does not force Himself on us but calls us. This very verse proves the false doctrine of predestination all wrong. That false doctrine says I have no say so. But they fail to read further. It is up to us to answer when Jesus calls. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Rev 3:20) (emphasis mine). Notice who opens the door! God does not open the door in this verse - we open the door. I love this verse! Many use it for salvation but I also see it in another light. Notice that Jesus will come and have a meal with us? This is an intimate relationship. You don't just have anyone into your home to sit at a meal with you. Usually, people who enter your home have a close relationship with you. This totally blessed me! My Precious Saviour is my intimate Friend. He told us in His Word to what extent He would take His friendship. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (Joh 15:13) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 Jo 3:16) Thank You, Lord!

(4) He did justify: Those that God called, those that allowed Him in, are justified by the very death of our Saviour! Noah Webster has the best definition for the word justify:

2. In theology, to pardon and clear from guilt; to absolve or acquit from guilt and merited punishment, and to accept as righteous on account of the merits of the Savior, or by the application of Christ's atonement to the offender.

Today's definition according to Merriam Webster is

1 a: to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable b (1): to show to have had a sufficient legal reason (2): to qualify (oneself) as a surety by taking oath to the ownership of sufficient property. 2(a) archaic : to administer justice to (b)archaic : absolve (c): to judge, regard, or treat as righteous and worthy of salvation

The world has no concept of what this word truly means. They treat the true meaning of justification as "archaic"! When you read Noah's definition and apply it to our text today, there is more of an impact on what Christ did for you and I. Christ pardoned us - He cleared us from the guilt of sin - He absolved us and acquitted us from guilt and deserved punishment - the Father accepts us as righteous because of the merits of the Saviour - by the application of Christ's precious blood's atonement to me! Glory! Christ did this for me!

(5) Lastly, He also glorified: Noah Webster defined the word glorify in this verse as:

2. To make glorious; to exalt to glory, or to celestial happiness.

Christ will make us glorious, my friend! He will exalt us to glory and celestial happiness because we opened the door of Rev. 3:20 and allowed Him in. We accepted His punishment for our sin.

I think the best Internet story that went around was the allegory by Dennis Hensley about a father having to sacrifice his own son to save people on a train. I wanted to add it here for those who have never seen it.

To Sacrifice a Son - An Allegory
by Dennis E. Hensley

There was once a bridge which spanned a large river. During most of the day the bridge sat with its length running up and down the river paralleled with the banks, allowing ships to pass through freely on both sides of the bridge. But at certain times each day, a train would come along and the bridge would be turned sideways across the river, allowing a train to cross it.

A switchman sat in a shack on one side of the river where he operated the controls to turn the bridge and lock it into place as the train crossed. One evening as the switchman was waiting for the last train of the day to come, he looked off into the distance through the dimming twilight and caught sight of the train lights. He stepped onto the control and waited until the train was within a prescribed distance when he was about to turn the bridge. He turned the bridge into position, but, to his horror, he found the locking control did not work. If the bridge was not securely in position, it would wobble back and forth at the ends when the train came onto it, causing the train to jump the track and go crashing into the river. This would be a passenger train with many people aboard.

He left the bridge turned across the river, and hurried across the bridge to the other side of the river, where there was a lever switch he could hold to operate the lock manually. He would have to hold the lever back firmly as the train crossed. He could hear the rumble of the train now, and he took hold of the lever and leaned backward to apply his weight to it, locking the bridge. He kept applying the pressure to keep the mechanism locked. Many lives depended on this man's strength.

Then, coming across the bridge from the direction of his control shack, he heard a sound that made his blood run cold. "Daddy, where are you?" His four-year-old son was crossing the bridge to look for him. His first impulse was to cry out to the child, "Run! Run!" But the train was too close; the tiny legs would never make it across the bridge in time. The man almost left his lever to run and snatch up his son and carry him to safety. But he realized that he could not get back to the lever. Either the people on the train or his little son must die.

He took a moment to make his decision. The train sped safely and swiftly on its way, and no one aboard was even aware of the tiny broken body thrown mercilessly into the river by the onrushing train. Nor were they aware of the pitiful figure of the sobbing man, still clinging tightly to the locking lever long after the train had passed. They did not see him walking home more slowly than he had ever walked; to tell his wife how their son had brutally died.

Now if you comprehend the emotions which went through this man's heart, you can begin to understand the feelings of our Father in Heaven when He sacrificed His Son to bridge the gap between us and eternal life. Can there be any wonder that He caused the earth to tremble and the skies to darken when His son died? How does He feel when we speed along through life without giving a thought to what was done for us through Jesus Christ?

When was the last time you thanked Him for the sacrifice of His Son?

Devotional by Kate Plourde

60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Day Three - Sevenfold Praise - Part One

Psalms 100:1-5 A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.

Psalm 100 is a short Psalm, but one of the most powerful. Out of all the Psalms, there are only two that are specifically designated as Psalms "of praise" - this one and Psalm 145. In it we find the psalmist listing seven ways to praise the Lord, then giving seven reasons why God's people should do so.

Seven Ways to Praise God:

1. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2. Serve the LORD with gladness:
3. come before His presence with singing.
4. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
5. and into His courts with praise:
6. be thankful unto Him,
7. and bless His name.

How many of these seven ways of praising the Lord have you actually done in your walk with Him?

The phrase, "make a joyful noise" figuratively means "to split the ears (with sound), i.e. shout (for alarm or joy)." Have you shouted out in joy or sang aloud in praise? His Word tells us to make a joyful noise. While there is a place for skilfull playing and singing, God doesn't demand that. He wants praise flowing out of our hearts - even if it is noise to the ears of those who cannot see our hearts, to the Lord it is a joyful noise, and He is pleased with it.

Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines gladness as "Joy, or a moderate degree of joy and exhilaration; pleasure of mind; cheerfulness." Then he adds this comment, "Gladness is rarely or never equivalent to mirth, merriment, gayety and triumph, and it usually expresses less than delight." Have you been serving the Lord with gladness, or with drudgery? Have you been going through the motions out of duty, or has your service been one that sprang forth from a glad heart?

Are you entering into His presence (whether with other believers or on your own) with singing, with thanksgiving, and with praise?

Thanksgiving is defined by Webster's as "The act of rendering thanks or expressing gratitude for favors or mercies." Are you grateful and thankful for the Lord's mercies and goodness in your life? Have you been expressing that to Him? Too often we (myself included!) get too caught up in merely giving our concerns and needs to the Lord in prayer and we forget to thank or praise Him. When was the last time you told your Heavenly Father you loved Him, or truly thanked Jesus for saving your soul and washing your sins away, or praised the Holy Spirit for the work that He is continuing to do in you?

Praise is defined by Webster's as "1. To commend; to applaud; to express approbation of personal worth or actions. 2. To extol in words or song; to magnify; to glorify on account of perfections or excellent works. 3. To express gratitude for personal favors. 4. To do honor to; to display the excellence of."

Praise and thanksgiving are part of worship. It is interesting that the word worship indicates that the person being worshipped is worthy, as that is the root of the word.

Have you poured out your heart in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord - not only for what He has done in your life, but for who He is?

Have you blessed His name? Jesus' name means "the Lord is salvation." Do others know what His salvation means to you?

According to Webster, bless means "To praise; to magnify; to extol, for excellencies." The Way Of Life Encyclopedia defines bless as "To be thankful for and to bestow benefits upon something in a general sense; to speak well of and to desire God's blessing upon." Are you boasting of your Saviour, are you speaking well of Him to all those around you? Webster's defines magnify as "1. To make great or greater. 2. To make great in representation; to extol; to exalt in description or praise. 3. To extol; to exalt; to elevate; to raise in estimation." Are you praising the Lord Jesus Christ and magnifying Him in your life? When others look at you and your walk with the Lord, do they see Jesus, or do they just see you? As John the Baptist stated in John 3:30, He must increase, but I must decrease.

May 24th/05
(Preached May 19th/07)
Jerry Bouey

Dear God...
Behold the Lord, the Lamb of God
Who died upon the tree
We magnify Thy Holy Name
And worship only Thee.

Sevenfold Praise - Part Two (Seven Reasons To Praise God)

60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible

For more studies that use passages in the Psalms as the springboard:

Psalms Series

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Day Two - Bless The Lord

[A Psalm of David.] Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. (Psa 103:1)

David is the master at blessing God. He knew Who provided him with help and Who delivered him. Psalm 103:1-5 is a beautiful picture of a man after God's heart. As our series progresses on the "numbers" which can be found in Scriptures, I was pointed to the seven different ways that David blessed his God.

Psalm 103:1-5, [A Psalm of David.] Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. (1) Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: (2) Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; (3) Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; (4) Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. (5)

David sure had a way in blessing the Lord in song and in word, didn't he? I suppose that the Book of Psalms is near and dear to my heart because I love poetry and I love to write about my God. I noticed that David's style of writing is all from his heart. His life's experiences and how God brought him through are at the center of each psalm. As I meditate on his songs, I can truly relate to many of them. Although I will never go through the same experiences as David, I do experience some of the same results.

While I studied out the five verses this morning, I was so totally blessed! David opens this beautiful Psalm of praise with blessings to God. He was preparing his heart - focusing it on the Creator and what God had done for him. He did not dwell on his simple needs being met because he knew God would provide. Instead, he focused his entire being on blessing God. Notice in verse one how David says "and all that is within me, bless his holy name." Every fiber of David's being was singing out to God for His provision and benefit. Could an earthly father ignore a child who would approach him in this manner? I doubt it! Our Heavenly Father desires this passion from His children. This display must bless our Father!

There are seven different things David praised and blessed God for.

(1) Who forgiveth all thine iniquities.: David knew the depth of his sin and was deeply remorseful. Noah Webster defines remorse as:
The keen pain or anguish excited by a sense of guilt; compunction of conscience for a crime committed.
There is no finer example of this type of remorse than in David's own life. What a beautiful lesson for the believer! David knew from where his salvation and forgiveness came. When we read the account of David and his hand in Uriah's death in 2 Samuel, we see a David who totally repented of his sin. David was remorseful, David repented and David changed. There are no more accounts of David falling into sin. His repentance brought forth righteous fruit. This is not to say that he never sinned again, but he did not remain in sin. David was able to write about his experiences in Psalm 103. He was able to pen such beautiful words and pour out from his heart a beautiful picture of a repentant man who loves his God. [A Psalm of David, Maschil.] Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (Psa 32:1) David did not take this lightly! He knew who provided his forgiveness and his blessings!

(2) who healeth all thy diseases;: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1 Pet 2:24) Diseases are a by-product of Adam and Eve's sin. Once this happened, death came to us spiritually as well as physically. Everything Adam planted was now subject to weeds and pestilence. However, God loves His children and He provided a way for us to be healed spiritually. Can He heal us physically? Absolutely! Does the Word promise that God will heal us from all physical problems? No! The effect of sin is sickness and disease. As long as we are in these earthly vessels, we will be sick because we sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 Joh 1:8) Only when we are Raptured will we receive our glorified bodies, free from sin and the disease it brings. 1 Cor. 15:50-54, Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (50) Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, (51) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (53) So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (54)

(3) who redeemeth thy life from destruction;: David lived what he believed. He knew that God would keep him. The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate. (Psa 34:22) We are not desolate because we have a Redeemer who stands ready to petition the Father on our behalf. For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee. (Pro 23:11) Christ stands ready to mediate on our behalf. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (1 Joh 2:1) How beautiful our Bible is - so complete from cover to cover. Even David penned that his Redeemer would plead his cause with the Father! Our Redeemer, our Advocate, our Attorney stands before God on our behalf! Ole slew foot stands before God and says, "Look what Kate did! You're a Holy God - Surely You cannot allow her entrance!" And our Beautiful Saviour and Advocate responds, "Father, she is one that I hold in the palm of my hand. My blood covers her sin because she has asked me to be Saviour of her soul!" What a beautiful, beautiful picture! No wonder David was so grateful! No wonder he was so passionate about it! After that, how can you not be?

(4) who crowneth thee with lovingkindness;: The epitomy of kindness can be seen in John 3:16, 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. Noah Webster defines kindness as:
Good will; benevolence; that temper or disposition which delights in contributing to the happiness of others, which is exercised cheerfully in gratifying their wishes, supplying their wants or alleviating their distresses; benignity of nature. Kindness ever accompanies love.
When you look at the definition in this light and compare it with Christ's act of love driving Him to the cross, do you not just want to explode with gratitude? God loves us so much that He displayed this act of kindness while we were yet sinners! But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8) Christ delighted in contributing to our happiness! Christ exercised cheerfully in going to the cross for our benefit! Christ cheerfully supplied our wants and alleviated our distress of hell! The One who loves as no other can, displayed the ultimate kindness to us! Oh that we should be like David and bless the Lord!

(5) who crowneth thee with tender mercies;: Oh my ... tears cannot be held back at this point! Thank You, Lord, for your tender mercies! The phrase "tender mercies" appears ten times in the Book of Psalms alone. David knew the mercy of God. He knew what he deserved. We deserve hell, but praise God that Christ died for us! But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (Eph 2:4)

(6) who satisfieth thy mouth with good things;: Only God can satisfy our soul! At the moment we are born again, we are complete. We are one in Him. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (Joh 17:21) We fill ourselves with the Word of God which renews us day by day. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. (2 Cor 4:16) The Word says God allows it to rain on the just as well as the unjust in Matthew 5:45. However, the unsaved soul cannot be satisfied. David knew how to thank God for satisfying his spiritual needs!

(7) thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.: This seventh blessing was one of perfection and completion. His spiritual strength had been renewed and he was now ready to soar as an eagle. His strength had been made new. He was rejuvenated and able to take on life because he knew from where his strength came. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. (Psa 121:2) He had a new purpose! He took what God taught him and he was able to help many through the years with the words that God gave him to pen.

Do you know how to bless your God? Does your prayer life include this type of prayer time? Do you bless God in the course of your day for what He has done for you? These seven blessings are a good lesson in how to bless our God. [A Psalm of David.] Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. (Psa 103:1)

O Thou My Soul, Bless God the Lord
Words: Scottish Psalter, 1650, alt.

O thou my soul, bless God the Lord;
And all that in me is
Be stirred up His holy Name
To magnify and bless.

Bless, O my soul, the Lord thy God,
And not forgetful be
Of all His gracious benefits
He hath bestowed on thee.

Such pity as a father hath
And shows his children dear,
Like pity shows the Lord to such
As worship Him in fear.

Yea, unto them that fear the Lord
His mercy never ends;
And to their children’s children still
His righteousness extends.

To such as keep His covenant
Nor from it go astray,
Who His commandments bear in mind
And faithfully obey.

Devotional by Kate Plourde

60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible

For more studies that use passages in the Psalms as the springboard:

Psalms Series

Friday, May 25, 2007

Day One - Be Glad And Rejoice

Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines glad in part as "Pleased; affected with pleasure or moderate joy; moderately happy... Expressing gladness or joy; exciting joy." The Way Of Life Encyclopedia states this in regards to joy, "Christian joy and rejoicing is, above all else, steadfast confidence in God regardless of one's circumstances." I have heard it expressed as "a deep-rooted sense of contentment and trust in the Saviour." Happiness depends upon what "happens" to us - if something good happens, we are happy; but, if something bad happens to us, we are sad. However, the true believer can still have joy in the midst of the worst of their trials - knowing that God is still in complete control, and that they are firmly held in His loving hands. When both my parents went home to Heaven within six months of each other, I was not happy - but I did have joy, knowing they were in a much better place, that all their pain was gone, that they both were healed completely and walking in the light of Heaven, and that I would one day see them again. There was sadness, as I did miss them; however, there was peace and joy in clinging to God's promises and knowing He was at work all the while.

Seven times the phrase "be glad and rejoice" is used in the Bible:

1) Psalms 9:2 I will be glad and rejoice in Thee: I will sing praise to Thy name, O thou most High.

There are many things we can run after in our search for pleasure in this dark world - but the things of this world will never truly satisfy. Here we see what David was glad and rejoiced in: the Lord his God. If you are glad and rejoicing in the Lord, are you singing praises to Him?

2) Psalms 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in Thy mercy: for Thou hast considered my trouble; Thou hast known my soul in adversities;

Are you rejoicing in God's mercy? That is certainly something worth being glad about! The Lord knows our souls in the adversities we go through in life - that is worth praising Him for! We are never alone, nor struggling through each trial by ourselves - the Lord is always there! He sees us, considers what we are going through, and truly cares for our souls (see Psalm 142:4-5).

3) Song of Solomon 1:4 Draw me, we will run after Thee: the king hath brought me into His chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in Thee, we will remember Thy love more than wine: the upright love Thee.

The Holy Spirit is drawing you to the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you received His gift of salvation, and are you now running after Him? He desires to fellowship with you each day. Brought into the King of Kings' inner chambers, into His very presence, drawn to the Saviour. As you remember His love, be glad and rejoice!

Working at the Gospel Mission, I see many people who pursue wine (ie. alcohol) or drugs, pursue the pleasures of sin for a season. The pleasure is fleeting, the consequences are devastating, and they end up hating the wine they once thought they loved. However, the love of the Lord is so much greater than anything the world could ever offer. Are you glad and rejoicing in His love for you?

4) Isaiah 25:9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.

The primary context of this verse is dealing with the endtimes. In the time of Jacob's trouble, the Jewish nation will be tried in the fires of affliction and many will perish, but through it all, the Lord will reveal Himself to them. They will see the Saviour and God they once rejected, but now they will have their eyes opened and they will rejoice in His as their Messiah. They will see Jesus as He is, and will proclaim in rapture (ie. extreme joy or pleasure), "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him."

Are you rejoicing in your salvation, rejoicing in the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ has saved you and that He is your God? Whenever I read this phrase, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him," it comforts my heart so much, and thrills my soul as I anticipate the rapture (ie. being caught up together with our loved ones to meet the Lord in the air). One day in the future, we will no longer be looking for Him by faith, but seeing Him face to face - "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him!"

5) Joel 2:21 Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.

Be glad and rejoice because the Lord is working on your behalf! When we call upon Him, He will answer us and shew us great and mighty things which we knew not before. (See Jeremiah 33:3)

6) Zephaniah 3:14-15 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, He hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.

Are you glad and rejoicing with all your heart? The Lord is in our midst spiritually (see Matthew 18:20) - and one day He will be physically reigning in our midst, reigning from Jerusalem.

If you want your heart stirred with praise in anticipation of Jesus' return, just meditate on the very next verses in this chapter:

Zephaniah 3:16-17 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

In the first part of this passage, we are exhorted to be glad and rejoice in the Lord our God, but then we see Him rejoicing in us! Ah, what comfort, what assurance, what peace, what love! Be glad and rejoice!

7) Revelation 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.

The Bride of Christ is all true believers in this church age - those who have trusted in Jesus to save them, those who have been washed in His blood and been given His white garments of perfect righteousness. The Bride (wife) has made herself ready by receiving the Groom. A time of great gladness and rejoicing is just ahead!

Weddings are always exciting. Are you anticipating our upcoming wedding with the Saviour? It will be a glorious event - one which all of creation has been looking forward to. Be glad and rejoice! I know I am!

Seven passages teaching us to "be glad and rejoice", seven reasons to take our joy in our Lord and all that is found in Him. Are you glad and rejoicing in Jesus?

May 21st/07
(Preached May 20th/07)
Jerry Bouey

Dear God...
Be glad and rejoice
So Your Word does teach
May we always be open
So our hearts You may reach.

For more devotionals in this series:
60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible

Numbers In The Bible Series

I am so excited to announce that next week, my webpartner on, Kate Plourde, and I will be starting a 30-day (we extended it to 60 days) devotional series. We will be working together to bring you devotionals dealing with "Numbers in the Bible." These devotionals will be posted on both of our blogs, Buy The Truth and Maranatha, so you can catch them at either site. We'll be starting with sevens and eights, but not limiting ourselves just to those numbers because there is so much to glean from in this area! We're looking forward to working together on this and pray that you will join us over the next 60 days and receive a blessing!

This series will be posted each weekday (there will be thirty - now sixty - devotionals altogether in this series, so it it will actually take us more than a month to cover them all). Kate and I will be alternating the studies. We have decided to use one of my devotionals first, then one of hers. Each of us will add their own perspective to each new devotional posted. We want to have a good variety of devotionals to keep you interested, to pass on what has really blessed our hearts from various passages the Lord has impressed on our hearts, and to be a blessing to all those who read our blogs.

Kate has been posting her 30 day devotionals series throughout 2007, and I have been intrigued by the variety and insight in them. We have bounced ideas off of each other - sometimes taking and building upon what the other has written, interacting with one another and further developing newer studies - many times what one of us has written or posted has been the springboard for deeper digging into the Scriptures for the other, for being challenged on various themes or passages. We have been Admins together on a wonderful message board (The Fundamental Baptist Forum), been webpartners on our personal websites (though the content of each site is our own, we are united under one solid banner of, with another friend of ours, Angela Trenholm), and to an extent helped each other develop our own blogs, so I truly am looking forward to working together on this new project.

Please leave your comments and suggestions for further devotionals in this series, as we are still choosing which passages, etc. to cover over the course of the next month or so. We would love to hear your feedback, as well as what studies or portions of a study really spoke to you.

As a guy, I am a little impatient and cannot wait until next Monday to post the first in this new 60 day devotional series, so I am going to post that right away... But we will still have to wait for Tuesday for Kate's first devotional in this series. We hope you like learning about praising the Lord, because that is the theme of the first several devotionals that will be posted. See you next week!

Day One - Be Glad And Rejoice
Day Two - Bless The Lord (by Kate)
Day Three - Sevenfold Praise - Part One: Seven Ways To Praise God
Day Four - Five Things God Did For The Sinner (by Kate)
Day Five - Sevenfold Praise - Part Two: Seven Reasons To Praise God
Day Six - The Nine Cares Of A Shepherd (by Kate)
Day Seven - Fourfold Picture Of Water From The Rock
Day Eight - The Lord's Eight Provisions (by Kate)
Day Nine - The Eight Rocks Of Scripture (by Kate)
Day Ten - Grace To Fret Not
Day Eleven - Paul's Final Exhortation To Timothy - Part One: The Preacher And His Preaching
Day Twelve - Seven Reasons God Wrote To Believers (by Kate)
Day Thirteen - Paul's Final Exhortation To Timothy - Part Two: The Preacher And His Living
Day Fourteen - Five Ways God Is With Us (by Kate)
Day Fifteen - God Gives Perfect Rest (by Kate)
Day Sixteen - Paul's Final Exhortation To Timothy - Part Three: The Preacher And His Graduation
Day Seventeen - Eight Ways The Lord Gets Personal (by Kate)
Day Eighteen - Paul's Final Exhortation To Timothy - Part Four: The Preacher And His Victory
Day Nineteen - I Am The Lord That... (by Kate)
Day Twenty - Eight Reasons David Loved The Lord
Day Twenty One - Five Peculiar People (by Kate)
Day Twenty Two - I Am Thine
Day Twenty Three - The Seven Comforters (by Kate)
Day Twenty Four - Is Your Name Written Down?
Day Twenty Five - Seven Points Of Prayer (by Kate)
Day Twenty Six - Eight Daily Blessings
Day Twenty Seven - The Three In One Blessing (by Kate)
Day Twenty Eight - Eight Things God Requires Of Man
Day Twenty Nine - Overcoming (by Kate)
Day Thirty - Gracious And Compassion Come In Threes (by Kate)
Day Thirty One - The Threes Found In Psalm 1 (by Kate)
Day Thirty Two - Twelve People That God Blesses (by Kate)
Day Thirty Three - Jesus' I Am Statements - Part One
Day Thirty Four - The Armour Of God
Day Thirty Five - Jesus' I Am Statements - Part Two
Day Thirty Six - The Perfect Holy Spirit (by Kate)
Day Thirty Seven - The Seven Depictions Of Christ In Revelation (by Kate)
Day Thirty Eight - My Seven Most Used Passages
Day Thirty Nine - Ten Plagues (by Kate)
Day Forty - My Seven Favourite Verses
Day Forty One - Given By The Father To The Son
Day Forty Two - The Son Of God (by Kate)
Day Forty Three - Be Strong And Of A Good Courage
Day Forty Four - The Perfect Water Of Life (by Kate)
Day Forty Five - Laodicea, The Lukewarm Church
Day Forty Six - The Gift Of God (by Kate)
Day Forty Seven - God's Perfect Grace (by Kate)
Day Forty Eight - Precious And Growing Faith
Day Forty Nine - He Is Their Help (by Kate)
Day Fifty - Happy Is The Man (by Kate)
Day Fifty One - Forgiven
Day Fifty Two - Fear And Wisdom (by Kate)
Day Fifty Three - Behold: A Fivefold Picture - Part One
Day Fifty Four - Jesus' I Am Statements - Part Three (by Kate)
Day Fifty Five - Behold: A Fivefold Picture - Part Two
Day Fifty Six - Be Ye Holy (by Kate)
Day Fifty Seven - Turning Bitter Waters To Sweet
Day Fifty Eight - Five-Fold Trust (by Kate)
Day Fifty Nine - The God Of Second Chances
Day Sixty - Three Steps To Christ In A Two-Fold Way (by Kate)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

What's Your Net Worth?

Of course, you probably started thinking about your monetary value, your assets – any property you may have, houses and cars, perhaps other valuable items like stocks and bonds, or antiques. But I am not referring to any kind of worldly wealth, but actually thinking about spiritual matters.

In your walk with the Lord, what's your net worth? What value do you place on your net?

Matthew 4:18-22 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

Luke 5:2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.

In the above passages, we saw how Simon Peter and Andrew, James and John, put tremendous value upon their physical net – the net they used to catch their fish. You see, they were fishermen, and they lived or died by what they could bring in through their nets. Their net worth depended upon the worth of their net. Because of the value of their nets, these fishermen used them and mended them as often as they needed to. They washed their nets and took care of them.

However, the Lord Jesus Christ called them into a new line of work – work in service to Him. Now their physical nets were no longer of the same value to them. They left these nets and followed their Saviour.

As Jesus spoke to those early disciples, even so He speaks to us today:

Matthew 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Have you received His free gift of salvation? Have you received the Saviour? Now you have a new occupation – serving the Lord.

Let's be honest here: what's your net worth? Have you neglected it? Have you despised the value of your spiritual net? Perhaps you have let sin contaminate your life and cool your fervour for the souls around you. If so, you now need to repent and repair those areas of your life, you now need the precious blood of Christ to wash you (and spiritually-speaking, your net) from your sins. You cannot catch the souls of men with the truth of the Gospel if your net (your life, and walk with the Lord) is tattered and in need of mending. The fish will swim away and be lost forever – unless you allow the Holy Spirit to quicken your heart and create anew that desire to reach others with the message of salvation.

What's your net worth to you?

On the theme of fishing, I want to ask you about a few more items in your sea chest:

How much is your Pearl of Great Price worth?

Matthew 13:45-46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

I believe the primary interpretation of this parable is the Lord Jesus Christ leaving all of Heaven's glory, giving all He had, to find that one pearl of great price (the church) and purchase it – but I would like to present this application:

Many people will give all they have for worldly wealth or treasures, but what would you give all for? If you have trusted in the Lord for salvation, He is yours – the only thing you had to give up to receive Him was your sins. He paid the complete price for your pardon and all you could do was receive it (the free gift of eternal life), and receive Him.

Now, my question is, how much is Jesus worth to you? Would you give the whole world, all you have, to cling to that Pearl of Great Price? Or is fellowship with the Lord something you don't value as highly as you once did? Our relationship with our Saviour is eternal, but our fellowship can be broken. Have you left your First Love? Is your love for Jesus so great that when sin hinders you, you desire to give it up and hold onto the Saviour – or have you become so worldly and compromising that you consider your pleasures of more value than your Beloved who gave all for you?

1 Peter 2:7a Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.

How much is your anchor worth?

An anchor is what holds a ship in place in the midst of a storm on the raging sea.

Webster's 1828 Dictionary gives this as one of its definitions of anchor:

In a figurative sense, that which gives stability or security; that on which we place dependence for safety.

Hebrews 6:18-20 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

How much is your anchor worth? How much do you value the promises of God, the hope that He has given you through His Word to keep you sure and steadfast in your trials?

2 Peter 1:3-4 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

It is the anchor of God's Word that will hold you securely in place in the midst of life's storms, by anchoring your soul in Heaven, where your Saviour is.

How much is your net worth? Does your service to the Lord reflect that?

How much is your Pearl worth to you? Is your devotion to your Saviour evident to those around you?

How much is your anchor worth? Is it apparent in the way you cling to and and meditate upon God's Word?

The next time someone asks you, "What's your net worth?", what will your answer be?

May 3rd/07
Jerry Bouey