Devotional for June 2019

“Then shall we know, (if) we follow on – to know the Lord – His going forth is prepared as the morning…and He shall come unto us as the rain – as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” [Hos.6:3]

The catalyst behind all the genuine followers – all the true disciples – of Jesus Christ the Lord is none other than the Lord, Himself. He is the alpha and omega of all that pertains to an eternally saving relationship with Him. Hence it connects: His going forth” – to the phrase, we follow on to know the Lord(remember the word “if” is not in the original Hebrew). We who are genuine followers of the Lord Jesus Christ – from the time that we genuinely came to know Him personally as our Lord and Savior – we began a life-long journey in this life of following, growing and getting to know Him more and more. We find ourselves among all those chosen and peculiar peoplewho have received the love of the Truth, that they might be saved! [1Pe.2:9; 2Th.2:10]

It is the Lord who has eternally purposed for this to be the Way for us to be saved and go to heaven. Therefore, it says: His going forthis prepared…”. All of this takes place in perfect accordance with the perfectly established preparation of our sovereign, all-governing Lord God.

The Holy Spirit through Hosea puts all this in direct context with the daily realization of a new morning. The scripture exhorts us by saying: We have also a more sure word of prophecy wherunto we would do well to take heedas unto a light that shineth in a dark place until the day dawn and the day star arise in our hearts.” This verse also looks to the perfect preparation of our Lord and Creator – in the dawn of every new morning.

Our Hosea text describes where we are right now in what we know of our Lord Jesus – and our following on to know Him even more; to love Him even more (and to know more of His love for us). 2Pe.3:18 goes on and exhorts us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. This echoes our following on to know the Lord”.

Our Lord’s perfect preparation is always in line with the perfect Way of His perfect work which will be performed according to His perfect timing. Therefore does the text mention that: He shall come unto usas the rainas the latter and former rain unto the earth.” Here, once again, is emphasized the certainty of God’s grace unto us! From what I understand, in Palestine there were typically just two seasons in the year when rain would occur. It would first come at the end of September, or the beginning of October. This was the beginning of the civil year of the Jews. This rain was regarded as the former or early rain. It came regularly right after the seed was planted so as to soak the soil and aid – or prepare – the seed for its germination. Then, by the end of March and on throughout April there would come what was regarded as the latter rain which would in turn complete the process – or prepare the crop — for the harvest. These two seasons had their own particular purpose to fulfill in God’s perfectly designed decree and plan. Without them there would only be famine and ultimately death. Spiritual growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ works out in just the same precise manner. The Word of the Lord says: For as the rain cometh downand the snowfrom heavenand returneth not thitherbut watereth the earth and maketh it to bring forth and budthat it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater: so shall my Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me voidbut it shall accomplish that which I pleaseand it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” [Is.55:10-11]  Praise His Wonderful Loving and Gracious Name!! Amen.

-For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

 

Devotional for May 2019

[Hos.6:3] “Then shall we know – (if) we follow on to know the Lord. His going forth is prepared as the morning – and He shall come unto us as the rain – as the latter and former rain unto the earth”

That which we are examining now is the blessing this 3rd verse descriptively declares and the certainty of it being bestowed that is bound up with it. The verses that precede this third verse deliver to us the context that explicitly builds up to what is here being stated. Vs.1-2 says (lit.), Come and let us return to the Lordfor He hath tornbut He will heal usHe hath smittenbut He will bind us up (2) He will revive us after two days; in the third day He will lift us upand we shall live before Him.” Obviously this was the message given by our Lord unto Hosea for him to declare to His people. It is typical of the message that is needing to be declared unto God’s people today. It continues to be so amazing how relevant the Word of God is to the true people of God – in every generation. The healing balm of God’s grace of repentance serves to successfully steer us time and time again directly into the merciful, forgiving and restoring presence of our loving Lord. That’s what makes Hos.6:3 such a wonderful gospel text unto us! We need to be reminded of the gospel message of this verse over and over and over again as we sojourn through this fallen and sinful world! Hos.6:1-3 descriptively declares the Lord’s great faithfulness unto us even when we (like Israel) have been, at times, grossly unfaithful to Him and His Word.

From the very beginning verse 3 declares: Then shall we know”. This is a declaration of the sovereign certainty of God’s grace unto us! According to the immediate context of vs.1-2 – after our Savior tears and heals us – after He smites and binds us up – He then leads us down the very same path that He, Himself, had to walk, in His eternally saving us just so we, (lit.) before His face, shall eternally live! “Then” – as the Word of His grace says (in vs.3) – “shall we know.

That which is also very interesting is the fact that the word “if” that starts the next phrase is not in the original Hebrew. In our English, whenever we read a descriptive statement with an “if” clause – it most often means that the declared description is conditioned on the occurrence of the “if” clause. But, that is not what’s being said here. This passage is not conditional at all upon a response from a fallen sinner human being! What is being declared is an absolute certainty to take place — in a genuinely Christ-cleansed and a Holy Spirit-of-grace converted sinner-saved-by-grace true child of God. You know your Lord – and you follow on to know the Lord even more! When God begins to bestow His grace and mercy upon you – He will go on bestowing His grace and mercy upon you. That makes these words a genuine motivation for you to turn to Him as the context of this passage encourages you to do. Praise His wonderful Name!

It’s the Lord’s going forth on our behalf that brings these wonderful things to pass. Hence the text says that His going forth is prepared”. This word means that His going forth is (lit.) causatively appointed and rendered sure by God, Himself. The Word says that the Lord’s going forth is appointed and rendered as sure to take place – as the morning”. As sure as there is a setting of the Sun in this world – there is also a rising! God has fixed this to be certain to happen. And, here He says that His going forth on behalf of His people is equally as certain. In fact, He says that He shall come unto usas the rain…”. What does that mean? We will get into that certainty in our next newsletter. Until then – may the Lord richly bless you. Amen.

-For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

 

Devotional for April 2019

“Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord. His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain – as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” “For even hereunto were ye called – because Christ also suffered for us – leaving us an example that ye should follow in His steps – who did no sin – neither was guile found in His mouth.” [Hos.6:3; 1Pe.2:21-22]

A wonderful Bible teacher named, J.C. Philpot, so aptly wrote: “There is one feature in true religion perhaps not much insisted upon, but not the less real and genuine; which is this, that all true religion brings the soul into vital and immediate contact with God. False religion – on the other hand – only sets the soul at a distance from Him.” He goes on to say: “the saints of God breathe forth their desires after the Lord.” Then, a little later he concludes by saying: “In opposition to this – there is no mark stamped upon false religion more evidently and plainly than this in that it sets up a false god – an idol god – not perhaps a wood or stone representation – but a god adapted to the carnal mind – suitable to the natural heart – in a word, such a god as we see in all ages – blind, fallen man has worshipped. Thus, were you to analyze and examine all false religion – whatever its name or nature – you would find this feature stamped upon it, that it set up a false god for the true God – a false faith for true faith – and a false righteousness for a true righteousness – and thus worships an imaginary – an idol god – instead of the true and living God – the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.” In regards to these things, Philpot ultimately says: “Now we may be well assured, that nothing short of the work and teaching of God in the heart can ever pull down this false god – and set up in its place, ‘the only true God and Jesus Christwhom He hath sent.’ [Jn.17:3] ”

These observations by Philpot (1802-1869) are amazingly relevant to true believing sinners today! And, this is precisely what our text above from Hosea 6 is talking about. Sinners-saved-by-grace who have been quickened by the Holy Spirit and regenerated by a revelation of the Truth of the Word of God. It is these — who have truly received – by the grace of God – a genuine love of the pure Truth of the gospel of the glory, only, of the Lord Jesus Christ (2Th.2:10). And, it is these – that are the ones who are being referred to by the 1st person plural pronoun we in Hos.6:3, when it says: Then shall we know…”. In addition, this divine clarification is even further “pin-pointed” and described by the next phrase: if we follow on to know the Lord!

There are whole lifetimes of following Christ that are being described in this one phrase! This is referring to the same thing that Ro.8:14 descriptively declares when it says: As many asare led by the Spirit of Godtheyare the sons of God”. And, who exactly are the many? The same as referred to from Acts 13:48: As many aswere ordained to eternal lifebelieved”. These are the same that are also being described from Eph.2:10: For we are His workmanshipcreated in Christ Jesusunto good works which God hath before ordainedthat we should walk in them.”

Truly following in the footsteps of Christ our Lord – is – growing in grace, and in the knowledgeof Him — as our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – as we go! [2Pe.3:18] So, when we are being led by the Spirit of God, we can be assured that – by God’s saving grace – we shall be constantly goingand growing” — according to His will and plan to save us! Praise His Name!

We shall be looking even more closely to that which Hos.6:3 means when it says: His going forth is prepared as the morning”; and also: He shall come unto as the rain”.

For Christ’s Glory Only!
John Carpenter

Devotional for March 2019

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more – unto the perfect day.” “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord. His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain – as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” [Pr.4:18; 1Jn.1:9; Hos.6:3]

The first text above declares the sure and certain – even the predestined – path through this fallen world – that is being followed by all of those that God the Father has given to His eternal, beloved Son — for Him to be both, justand the justifier of himwhich believeth in Jesus[Ro.3:26]  Every true – “born from above” child of God has been, by the sovereign grace of Christ, delivered from “all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish” and have genuinely received the love of the truth, that they might be saved[2Th.2:10]. The pathof the just – is a path that is divinely illumined in the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ! [2Co.4:6] The ongoing prayer of our hearts becomes that which is written in Ps.25:4-5: Show me thy ways, O Lord, teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me. For thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”

The second text above declares the announcement of a descriptive if clause that reveals a divinely induced and motivated pure gospel reception and reaction. This descriptive declaration is something that happens to us by virtue of a divine “cause and effect” reality.

The Word of God makes it clear that we all – without exception – come into being in this world being active lying transgressors from our mother’s womb! [see Is.48:8 and Ps.58:3] Nevertheless, by the gracious work of God the Holy Spirit – effectively using the holy Word of God – we are made to see the sinners that we truly are – and we are granted God’s grace of repentance – and our hearts become broken and contrite — due to the reality of our sins – and we, therefore, confess our sins(or, say the same thing that God does about our sins unto Him). God does all this to us — for us (for our good). Therefore, we – by His enabling grace – fulfill that which is spoken of from Phil.2:12-13: Wework out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God that worketh in youboth to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Then comes to pass the divinely initiated and instituted cause and effect reaction that this text describes: We confess our sinsand “…God is faithful and just to forgive us our sinsand to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Praise His Name! We most definitely want to be regarded by God in this world as His faithful “confessors”.

Then we come to the third text – which actually describes, once again, the genuine leading of the Spirit of God as we live and walk through this sinful world [Ro.8:14]. We shall not be able – at this juncture — to sufficiently mine all the rich treasures that are being put forth in this particular verse in Hosea. So, we will reserve doing so with next month’s prayer letter. But, for now let us attempt to make just a couple of simple, sound observations. In keeping with the other two texts – along with what we have already said in conjunction with them: What may we therefore conclude? Right at the very outset, the answer to this question is obviously going to be in the same vein that we have been looking at in the last couple of month’s newsletters. Where are we right now as far as being led through this fallen-in-sin world? Are we being led astray by the error of the Wicked? Or, are we being led by God the Holy Spirit? [2Pe.3:17; Ro.8:14] Let’s examine this further in next month’s prayer letter…        Amen

For Christ’s Glory Only!
John Carpenter

 

Devotional for February 2019

“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. (13) For if ye live after the flesh – ye shall die; but, if ye – through the Spirit – do mortify the deeds of the body – ye shall live. (14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of Godthey are the sons of God. (15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear – but ye have received the Spirit of adoption – whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spiritthat we are the children of God…” [Ro.8:12-16]

We noted last month the two contrasting realities that in one way or the other describes each one of us – in that all people — are either being led away with the error of the Wicked[2Pe.3;17] or, they are among the as many as are led by the Spirit of God[Ro.8:14]. This gives us the “big picture”! And, I think we all know in which group we want to be found. Therefore, let’s concentrate on the Ro.8:12-16 portion of scripture which describes in more detail all of us who – by God’s sovereign graceare being led by the Holy Spirit of God through the darkness of this law-cursed and fallen world — directly into an holy and heavenly eternity.

Vs.13 draws a conclusion from what has been presented from Ro.8:1-12. It says: we are debtors”. But, to whom exactly are we indebted? And, more importantly, do we even possess the capability to remit ourselves from the debt that we owe? Well, as far as the first question is concerned, the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul identifies who it is that we are indebted to in two ways. First, by how he addresses us. He calls us, brethren” – or, in other words, we are his fellow family members in Christ. And second, the Spirit through Paul dogmatically eliminates our being indebted to ourselves – or, to our own fallen fleshly nature of thinking and living! This is explicitly described in vs.5-11. We are not debtors to think and walk according to our fallen-in-sin flesh. For if we think and walk in accordance to the flesh – it is certain we shall die! [see vs.6] But – all praise and glory to God – if we, through thinking and walking in accordance to the influence and power of the Holy Spirit – and, by Him, do mortify [or, put to death] the sinful deeds of the body of our flesh – then we shall live! [see vs.6] This is precisely in conjunction with our being led through this passing-away-world by the Holy Spirit. It is thinking and living by the leading of the Spirit of Godthat identifies us as truly being the children of God! This is exactly the message  that’s declared from vs.14. And, this gives a dogmatic “No” answer to the second question above in regards to whether or not we even possess the capability – from ourselves and for ourselves – to remit ourselves from the debt that we owe. Beloved – therefore — behold the manifestation of whom it is that we are obviously forever indebted to – that One to whom we owe the eternal salvation of our very souls! We are forever indebted to the Spirit of Christ, our God!

Vs.15 descriptively declares that we have not received – from our loving and gracious Savior/God the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of Adoptionwhereby we cry, Abba, Father.”! This is a particularly significant blessing that signifies that one has been eternally and assuredly included in the eternally accomplished atonement. The atonement that has been perfectly performed by the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ! That which is presented here in Ro.8 up to this verse — and on through vs.16 – is the same theme as presented to us from Gal.4:4-7 (check it out).

How is it, then, that we come to know that we are among all those whom Christ has eternally redeemed? The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit  – that we are the children of God…” The “Spirit of Adoptiontells us so! Praise His wonderful Name! Thank you, Lord! Amen.

For Christ’s Glory Only!
-John Carpenter

Devotional for January 2019

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before – beware lest ye also – being led away with the error of the wicked – fall from your own stedfastness.” [2Pe.3:17“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. (13) For if ye live after the flesh – ye shall die; but, if ye – through the Spirit – do mortify the deeds of the body – ye shall live. (14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God – they are the sons of God. (15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear – but ye have received the Spirit of adoption – whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” [Ro.8:12-15]

All who are alive on this earth – in this world – right now – are, one way, or another — being described in these two particular portions of God’s Word. We are either being led away with the error of the wicked, or we are being led by the Spirit of God. Therefore, there are two things we must never lose sight of – or, two things we must never forget: First, we must never forget where  it is that we are; and Second, we must remember that we are all being led from here to eternity by one of two influential ways of thinking! In regards to the first premise of where we are – of which we should constantly be conscious — we are in this lost, dark, trial-and-sorrow-filled, sinful and cursed world. Yes, this world truly is (just as Ps.23:4 describes) — the valley of the shadow of death” – and, we are all – one way or the other — being led through it. And, this world is not our friend. 

The context of 2Pe.3:10 describes the firey destruction and end that this fallen-in-sin world is inevitably hastening toward. The Holy Spirit of God, through the apostle Peter, so graphically and explicitly tells us: But the day of the Lord will comeas a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with a fervent heatthe earth alsoand the works that are thereinshall be burned up!” This event will take place the same day that the Spirit through John describes from Re.20:11: And I saw a great white throneand Him that sat on itfrom whose facethe earth and heaven fled awayand there was found no place for them!” This present world has been, and right now is – literally passing away right before our eyes — unto its just and righteous perdition that will most certainly come to pass at the all-glorious and all holy return of the Almighty Lord Jesus Christ.

As true believers and followers of the Lord Jesus, we – by God’s grace – have an unbreakable, eternal relationship with Him. It is Christ – and Christ alone – that will get us safely through the dark and evil “death-valley” of this world! Praise His wonderful Name, what is descriptively declared from 1Jn.5:19 rings completely true for us: And we knowthat we are of God(lit.) and the whole worldin the Wicked One lies.” It is no wonder why 1Jn.2:15-17 imperatively warns us to: 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 eyes, and the pride of lifeis not of the Father, but is of the world! (17) And the world passeth awayand the lust thereofbut he that doeth the will of Godabideth forever.”

It is the way of this world to think of, and bring in, a New Year with a spirit of revelry and riotous activity. But, this is the common way of wantonness in which the Wicked One leads his captives! Nevertheless, let us, by the Holy Spirit of grace remember and heed His divine exhortation: Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, immovablealways abounding in the work of the Lordforasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vainin the Lord.” [1Co.15:58]

For Christ’s Glory Only! – John Carpenter

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