Devotional for January 2021

And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

3.“Blessed — the poor in spirit – for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

4.Blessed — they that mourn – for they shall be comforted.

5.Blessed — the meek – for they shall inherit the earth.

6.Blessed — they that hunger and thirst after righteousness – for they shall be filled.

7.Blessed — the merciful – for they shall obtain mercy.

8.Blessed — the pure in heart – for they shall see God

9. Blessed — the peacemakers – for they shall be called the children of God.” [Mt.5:2-9]

“Blessed is the man whom thou choosest and causest to approach unto thee – that he may dwell in thy courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house – even of thy Holy Temple.” [Ps.65:4]

Predominantly, when a New Year comes to pass, this is when people often make personal resolutions to improve themselves. They resolve to better the image of themselves by endeavoring to do something – or to stop doing something. In this way, they hope that they will exude a better personal and individual image of themselves. But, when our Savior opened His mouth and taught these verses from Mt.5 — He descriptively declared what the pure truth of the gospel of God’s grace bestows upon His true disciples. He taught them concerning how they – as sinners – still in this sinful world — can recognizein themselves (and, for that matter, in each other) truly being one of God’s blessed children  — while they are still passing through — this fallen world!

First of all, according to God’s Word, to be a blessed by God sinner – in this world — is to truly be one of His chosen sinner/ children — whom He has chosen and placed in Christ before the foundation of this world [see Eph.1:3-5].Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christwho hath blessed us with all spiritual blessingsin heavenly placesin Christ – (4) according as He hath chosen us in Himbefore the foundation of the world  – that we should be holy and without blame before Himin love (5) having predestinated usunto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself  according to the good pleasure of His will…”

Oh the unfathomable wonders of God’s eternally saving will and grace! That He has been pleased to purpose — and even to predestinate — poor, undeserving, unlovely – even enemy/sinners – to be blessed by almighty God and chosen in Christ – and even to being adopted by Jesus Christ into becoming a part of God’s holy heavenly family! Praise His Wonderful Name!

How can this be true! How can it be possible that any poor sinner who does not possess one iota of ability to do even one thing to merit or earn a place and standing in God’s holy family! How can they even believe that: theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven?! But, this is exactly what the incarnated eternal and holy Son of God – who cannot lie – right up front announced!

Everyone of these descriptive Blessingsbecome descriptions of everyone that the Father has given His Savior/Son – to save. Jesus said, All that the Father giveth to meshall come to meand him that cometh to meI will in no wise cast out. (38) For I came down from heaven not to do mine own willbut the will of Him that sent me. (39) And this is the Father’s will which hath sent methat of all which He hath given me I should lose nothingbut should raise it up again at the last day!”[Jn.6:37-39]  We will look further into this grand context in the future. Praise the Lord!

For Christ’s Glory Only! – John Carpenter

Devotional for December 2020

“Unto us a Child is born – unto us a Son is given – and the government shall be upon His shoulder and His Name shall be called: Wonderful – Counsellor – the Mighty God – Everlasting Father – the Prince of Peace! (7) Of the increase of His government and peace — there shall be no end upon the Throne of David and upon His Kingdom – to order it – and to establish it with judgment and justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (8) The Lord sent a word into Jacob – and it lighted upon Israel.” [Is.9:6-8]

“But thou, Bethlehem – Ephratah! Though thou be little among the thousands of Judah – yet out of thee shall He come forth unto me – to be the Ruler in Israel – whose goings forthhave been of old, from everlasting. (3) Therefore will He give them up until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth. Then the remnant of His brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. (4) And He shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord – in the majesty of the Name of the Lord His God – and they shall abide. For He shall be great unto the ends of the earth!” [Mic.5:2-4]

“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us – and we beheld His glory – the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father – full of grace and truth!” [Jn.1:14]

“But when the fullness of the time was come – God sent forth His Son – made of a woman – made under the Law (5) — to redeem them that were under the Law – that we might receive the adoption of sons. (6) And because ye are sons – God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts – crying: Abba, Father! (7) Wherefore, thou art no more a servant, but a son! And, if a son – then an heir of God through Christ!” [Gal.4:4-7]

“And no man hath ascended up to heaven – but He that came down from heaven – even the Son of Man which is in heaven!” [Jn.3:13]

“Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again and called Jesus and said unto Him: ‘Art thou the King of the Jews?’ (34) Jesus answered him, ‘Sayest thou this thing of thyself – or did others tell it thee of me?’ (35) Pilate answered: “Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me. What hast thou done!?’ (36) Jesus answered: ‘My Kingdom is not of this world. If my Kingdom were of this world – then would my servants fight that  I should not be delivered to the Jews – but now is my Kingdom not from hence.’ (37) Pilate therefore said unto Him: ‘Art thou a king then?’ Jesus answered: ‘Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I bornand for this cause came I into the worldthat I should bear witness unto the Truth. Everyone that is of the Truthheareth my voice!’ (38)Pilate saith unto Him: ‘What is truth?’ And when he had said this – he went out again unto the Jews and saith unto them: ‘I find in Him no fault at all!’ [Jn.18:33-38]

“And all that dwell upon the earth – shall worship him (i.e. the anti-christ) – whose names are not written in: The Book of Lifeof the Lamb SlainFrom the Foundation of the World!” [Rev.13:8]

“For so hath the Lord commanded us – saying – I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles (the nations) that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth! (48) And when the Gentiles heard this – they were glad and glorified the Word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained unto eternal life believed! (49) And the Word of the Lord was published throughout the region.” [Ac.13:47-49]                  

Praise the coming of our Wonderful Savior, Christ Jesus our Lord!

 

Devotional for November 2020

 (14) But continue thouin the things which thou hast learned (15) …the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvationthrough faith which is in Christ Jesus. (17) that the man of Godmay be perfectthoroughly furnished unto all good works.” [2Tim.3:14,15 & 17]

That ye would walk worthy of Godwho hath called you unto His Kingdom and Glory. (13) For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the Word of God which ye heard of usye received it not as the word of menbut as it is in truth, the Word of Godwhich effectually worketh also in you that believe.” [1Thes.2:12-13]

Now the God of peacethat brought again from the dead our Lord Jesusthat Great Shepherd of the sheepthrough the blood of the Everlasting Covenant (21) make you perfect in every good workto do His willworking in you that which is well-pleasing in His sightthrough Jesus Christto whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen!” [Heb.13:20-21]

If the divine purpose of a sinner/child of God – still alive in this worldly flesh – and still traversing through this fallen-in-sin world – is to have a vital and ongoing – or, shall we say, ongrowing  – relationship with the Word of God so that he  may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” – one might ask: How is this even possible?!  Everyone knows that no sinner (and all have sinned and come short of the glory of God) while in this world is perfect. So, how exactly do we possibly fulfill – or, how in the world can we fulfill – this descriptively declared statement that comprises all of 2Tim.3:17?

There’s only one way, dear one – and that’s — through faith (the faith) which is in Christ Jesus!

And, that’s precisely what the last two scripture references from 1Thess. and Heb. point out to us. And, it may be summed up in this way: Only by, Believing, in the Lord Jesus Christ! Let’s take a brief look at these two references one at a time.

  1. 1Thess.2:12-13> Right up front vs.12 begins with the commanding exhortation that we – as being true and genuine children of God – who have – by God’s sovereign grace — received God’s Holy Scriptures by the sovereignty and the personal teaching of the Holy Spirit — would walk worthy of Godwho hath called you unto His Kingdom and Glory. This worthy walkis a walk only by faith in the person and being – of the perfect walk of the Lord Jesus Christ! And for us who are His Believing” in Him is “Believingin the overall reality that He truly is our sovereign Savior/Substitute! His eternally accomplished and totally successful worthy walkwas done on behalf of us for whom He was sent into this world to save! Therefore – in, by and through Him – we are viewed by all of Holy Heaven as He, Himself, is viewed! Hence, through His workwe have been perfected – and thoroughly furnished unto all good worksjust as described in 2Tim.3:17.
  1. He.13:20-21> These two verses list for us nine descriptive declarations concerning God’s all-glorious work in His saving, keeping — instructing and preserving — all of His saved and quickened ones as they live and sojourn through this fallen world. This text makes it clear and plain that if – your soul’s eternal salvation – is not dependent all on Christ – then it’s all wrong! And, right in the middle of the 9 statements is: make you perfect in every good work”. It’s all by His doing – and it’s all being done according to His will –through Jesus Christ! All Praise and Glory unto the Name of the Savior!

For Christ’s Glory Only! -John Carpenter

Devotional for October 2020

“Yea, and all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus – shall suffer persecution. (13) But evil men and seducers – shall wax worse and worse – deceiving and being deceived. (14) But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned – and hast been assured of – knowing of whom thou hast learned them. (15) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation – through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (17) that the man of God –  may be perfect – thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” [2Tim.3:14-17]

“That ye would walk worthy of God – who hath called you unto His Kingdom and Glory. (13) For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us – ye received it not as the word of men – but as it is in truth, the Word of God – which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” [1Thes.2:12-13]

“Now the God of peace – that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus – that Great Shepherd of the sheep – through the blood of the Everlasting Covenant (21) make you perfect in every good work to do His will – working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight – through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen!” [Heb.13:20-21]

The Word of God has a definite, all-important place in a true believer’s life and walk through this fallen-in-sin world. In fact, the presence of the gospel truth of God’s Word is really what sets a true sinner/child of God apart from this world’s evil environment. And, it is an environment that is so evil – that it is fraught with “so-called ministers” – who literally, as the Word of God from 2Pe.2:3 says, “…through covetousness shall they with feigned [i.e. molded, artificial and false] wordsmake merchandise of you…”. Which means that they will not only mislead you spiritually but they will do it for the sake of getting your money – your admiration – your time. Nevertheless if we, through the Holy Spirit, prayerfully follow both the admonitions and the exhortations of God’s Word – He will lead us safely through this deceitful and spiritually dangerous world.

Christ is our perfect protective sanctuary – He is our refuge – He is our Light – as we walk through this age of the Valley of the shadow of death. Remember what Jesus says from Jn.8:31-32: If ye continue in my Wordthen are ye my disciples indeed (32) And ye shall know the Truthand the Truth shall make you free!” And, dear ones, the Lord Jesus is the Truth! That is why from vs.36 our Lord goes on to declare: If the Son therefore shall make you freeye shall be free indeed!” May our Lord God ever bless us in fulfilling His own Word’s description of being His true disciples by causing us to continue in our learning – from Him – about Him – in His immut-able and infallible Word! Amen? Amen.

Ps.40:7 has the Holy Spirit of Christ saying: I, Lo, I comein the volume of the Book it is written of me!” And, 2Ti.3:16-17 dogmatically declares that: All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” This means that “All scripture” – is all about Christ! It goes on to say of the instrumentality of the written Word of God in the lives of all of God’s sinner/children, that it is all – profitablefor doctrinefor reprooffor correction” – and then it says: for instruction in righteousness”. There is much that will be said about this verse — and this list of functions that are given — but we want to be sure to tie vs.16 all together contextually with vs.17 – which says: That the man of God may beperfectthoroughly furnished unto all good works.” This is, indeed, a beautiful thing.

For Christ’s Glory Only! – John Carpenter

Devotional for August 2020

Word

(5) For they that are after the flesh – do mind the things of the flesh – but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.(6) For to be carnally minded (or, fleshly minded) is death – but to be Spiritually minded is life and peace.(7) Because the carnal mind (or, the fleshly mind) is enmity against God – for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (8) So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God! (9) But ye are not in the fleshbut in the Spirit if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you! Now, if any man have not the Spirit of Christ – he is none of His!” [Ro.8:5-9]

(16) “This I say thenwalk in the Spiritand ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (17) For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit – and the Spirit against the flesh – and these are contrary the one to the other so that ye cannot do the things that ye would! (18) But if ye be led of the Spirit – ye are not under the law.” [Gal.5:16-18]

(19) “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness (20) idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, (21) envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like – of the which I tell you before, as I also told you in time past – that they which do such thingsshall not inherit the Kingdom of God!” [Gal.5:19-21]

Dear ones, the Word of God is a mirror from which we can see the spiritual reality of our own lives. Are we walking after the flesh, or after the Spirit? Whichever is the reality between the two – the flesh or the Spirit – will be the foundation of all our thinking and living while we are in this fleshly, fallen-in-sin world. Only by beingspiritually minded – will we successfully walk right through this worldly waste land and ultimately right into the eternal Kingdom of God! To be spiritually mindedis to have the mind of Christ! [see: 1Co.2:15-16]  This should be the earnest prayerful plea of our daily lives right now – that we be granted the grace of God to  persevere and continue being led through this world by the Holy Spirit of Christ, our Lord and God.

If we are walking through this world after the flesh” –  then while we are walking physically – we are, nevertheless, spiritually — dead! At the same time, if we are walking through this world after the Spiritwe are experiencing through God’s grace spiritual life and peace. Is.26:3 declares dogmatically: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peacewhose mind is stayed upon thee”. Remember, the fleshly mind is enmity against God! There is no peace in being God’s enemy!

Quite simply, the “flesh” pertains to anything and everything that is a part of this sinful and cursed world. This is why 1Jn.2:15-17 says: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the worldthe love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the worldthe lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of lifeis not of the Fatherbut is of the world. (17) And the world passeth away, and the lust thereofbut he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” This world is not our home. This world is a battleground that is entirely behind enemy lines! All of us were born into this fallen-in-sin world as fit sinner constituents to populate it – because we are all sinners! This world is the very stage upon which is being lived out all of the works of the flesh of this age of sin and death.

May the Holy Spirit of our God bear witness with our spirit that we are truly His children and heirs of His Kingdom [see: Ro.8:16-17]. Then also, we shall know that we are being led by Him.

For Christ’s Glory Only!  -John Carpenter

 

Devotional for July 2020

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection on things above – not on the earth.(3) For ye are dead – and your life is hid with Christ in God.” [Col.3:1-3

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world – the love of the Father is not in him! (16) For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life – is not of the Father, but is of the world. (17) And the world passeth away and the lust thereof – but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever!” [1Jn.2:15-17]

“For what the law could not do — in that it was weak through the flesh — God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh – and for sin – condemned sin in the flesh (4) that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us – who walk not after the flesh – but after the Spirit. (5) For they that are after the flesh – do mind the things of the flesh – but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.(6) For to be carnally minded (or, fleshly minded) is death – but to be Spiritually minded is life and peace.(7) Because the carnal mind (or, the fleshly mind) is enmity against God – for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (8) So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God! (9) But ye are not in the flesh – but in the Spirit – if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you! Now, if any man have not the Spirit of Christ – he is none of His!” [Ro.8:3-9]

The evil man (or, woman) of this world is described in the Book of Proverbs in this way: as he thinketh in his heartso is he!” Therefore, from the above descriptive declaration he would fit the bill of one who loves this world and the things of this world. The way of this world – and the desires of this world – are motivated by -and oriented towards — what the Word of God refers to as the flesh. The flesh of this fallen world and its corrupt system. However, everyone whom God the Father has sent God the Son into this sinful world to seek and to save them from their sins has been united with the Lord Jesus Christ in His sin atoning death and resurrection. Therefore, if we have been raised up with Christ – then we will not seek the things of this sinful world, but rather we will seek those things which are above where Christ sits on the right hand of God the Father! We have died with Christ and our new life is hid with Him – where He now is – in God.

This is why we, who are Christ’s, do not love this sinful world – nor the fleshly things of it. The things of this world are not at all the things of our holy God – nor the things that are in our holy God! For “the world passeth away and the lust thereof – but He that doeth the will of God abideth forever!” And, the He that doeth the will of God – is the God/man, Christ Jesus, our Surety – in whom we have been placed from before the foundation of this world! [see Eph.1:3-5]

This brings us to the Ro.8 context and its wonderful descriptive declaration. When God gave His Law unto Moses on Mt. Sinai, He did not give it in order for fallen sinful man to achieve keeping it in their fallen and sinfully fallen flesh. No! It was to manifest clearly and completely how miserably weak our sinful flesh really and truly is! As God’s Word declares from Ro.3:20: Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in His sightfor by the Law is the (full) knowledge of sin.” This is why God sent His own Beloved Eternal Son – in the likeness of sinful fleshand for sincondemned sin in the flesh! He condemned His people’s sin – in His own Son’s flesh – so that – the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in uswho walk not (right now, through this sinful, fallen and passing away world) after the flesh, but after the Spirit!” Praise the Name of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus! We shall continue to elaborate on this wonderful pure gospel truth in even more detail. Until then – may God be glorified!

For Christ’s Glory Only! – John Carpenter

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