Devotional for November 2017

“Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever. (2) Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can show forth all His praise? (3) Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times. (4) Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people. O visit me with thy salvation; (5) that I may see the good of thy chosen – that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation – that I may glory with thine inheritance.” [Ps.106:1-5]

This Psalm – which declares the foreboding reality of historical Israel’s sinfulness and yet also God’s manifold mercies bestowed upon them — is a demonstration of that which is taught us from Ro.5:20-21> “Moreover, the law entered that the offence might abound, but where sin abounded – grace did much more abound: (21) that as sin hath reigned unto death – even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Consequently, therefore, this Psalm begins and ends with – “Praise the Lord!”. This is the first of the Psalms that are called the “Hallelujah Psalms”. And, as vs.1 goes on to say: We are to (lit.) give praise and thanks unto the Lord for His goodness…and His mercy…forever!

Next is a declaration of pure truth: “Who can utter the mighty acts (or, works) of the Lord?” How can fallen mortals adequately articulate all the wonderful miracles of the Lord? Especially those that describe the eternal redemption of His people by Christ. The conversion and perseverance of them displays the mighty power of God’s great grace! Only He is worthy of all our praise for the eternal salvation of our souls. [See Ps.40:5]

Vs.3 pertains to God’s righteous judgments when it describes: “Blessed are they that keep (or, observe) judgment…” Regeneration – which is only obtained by a work of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God – quickens the eyes of our understanding to reveal to us that God’s judgment and will in all of our providences — is as Ps.19:9 says: “true and righteous altogether”. God’s righteous judgment on all our sins we understand and see by the grace of faith was executed upon our Savior,. He bore our sins in His own body on the tree. Hence, in and through Him – and Him alone — do we fulfill the description of the last phrase of vs.3: “…and He that doeth righteousness at all times.” I think it’s interesting that the first phrase describes all the blessed ones that observe God’s judgment, whereas the second phrase describes He that doeth righteousness at all times. The first may be us – but the last must be Christ our Savior and substitute!

Then comes the request of vs.4: “Remember me, O Lord, with the favor that thou bearest unto thy people – oh visit me with thy salvation.” This is not unlike the request of the thief on the cross to the immediate right of Jesus at Calvary. All of the true people of God can identify with the verbal exchange of that thief and Jesus. The Lord said unto him – “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise!” How wonderful is that!

Finally, vs.5 delivers the rest of the request that is started in vs.4. There are a total of four parts of the request to be remembered by the Lord. The first is seen in the last phrase of vs.4: “O visit me with thy salvation”. The next three are all found in vs.5: “that I may see the good of thy chosen” – “that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation” – “that I may glory with thine inheritance.” This echoes 1Pe.2:9> “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people – that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you…” into the light of life!

– For Christ’s Glory Only

John Carpenter

Devotional for October 2017

“The eternal God is thy refuge – and underneath are the everlasting arms…”

“Looking unto Jesus – the author and finisher of our faith – who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross – despising the shame – and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  [Deu.33:27; Heb.12:2]

Here are two descriptive declarations from the Word of God. The two were made in completely different times in the course of the history of redemption. Nevertheless, these two statements are speaking of one and the same person. The first declaration comes from the Holy Spirit inspired writings of Moses (circa 1451BC) and the second, from Holy Spirit inspired epistle to the Hebrews (circa 61AD).

The verse from Deuteronomy describes immutable God of truly having “no variableness – neither shadow of turning” [Jas.1:17]. In Him we are eternally secure – and upheld with His Almighty arms! Whereas, the verse from Hebrews describes the incarnated eternal Savior and Son of God, Jesus – who is, indeed, indwelt “with all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” [Col.2:9]. In Him all of God’s eternally loved and chosen and blessed in Christ have been placed from before the foundation of the world! Praise His Name!

The Deuteronomy text declares the unchangeable triune God as being the eternal habitation of His people – His redeemed ones. The text from Hebrews 12 declares the Lord Jesus Christ – the only sovereign Savior substitute that there ever was, is, or ever will be – as being the beginning and the end – the alpha and the omega – of our faith – of our truly believing in Him for our eternal salvation.

The Deuteronomy passage comes to us from Moses – who was an Old Testament type of Christ. Remember when God through Moses told the Israelites that He would raise up from their midst a prophet like Moses? God said, “unto Him – ye shall hearken” [De.18:15]. Then three verses later He told Moses again: “I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren – like unto thee – and will put my words in His mouth, and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him.” There’s no doubt about it, beloved, that prophet – like Moses – that God raised up – was Jesus!

The incarnated eternal Son of God – whom our history recognizes as being in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ is “the author and finisher of our faith” – just as He.12:2 declares Him to be!

It is He – according to Phil.2:6-8 – the Word says: “who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God (7) but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men (8) and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death – even the death of the cross!”

The Hebrews 12 passage clarifies for us – by telling us that Jesus “for the joy that was set before Him – endured the cross – despising the shame – and is set down at the right hand of God.” So, therefore, our victory is, indeed, in Jesus. We should sing that hymn at the top of our voices! He has done it all – and all our praise and love is due Him! The throne from which He rules over us is a throne of grace. “There is therefore, now, no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesuswho walk not after the flesh – but after the Spirit!” [Ro.8:1] Having successfully purged our sins – our Savior sat down. Our eternal refuge is, indeed, in Him and in Him alone. Glory to His Name!

-For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

Devotional for September 2017

“Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Mt. 5:6

 What exactly is this verse descriptively declaring unto us? It is telling us — whom it truly is — among us — that is an eternally saved one while being still here in this fallen, passing away, sinful and law-cursed world. The “Blessed one” is an eternally loved and saved one! They that truly fit this description – male or female – young or old – are among those whom have been – according to Eph.1:3-4 – blessed by God the Father with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in His eternal Son. That is a biblical description of a sinner who has been blessed by God. A sinner who is one of God’s eternally saved ones!

 This verse is telling us that all of God’s blessed ones – all of His eternally saved ones – “hunger and thirst” after something. Hunger and thirst pertain to ardent desires which are must be satisfied as a vital part of life. The meeting and filling of these desires are necessary aspects and activities of the daily pursuit and routine of the sustenance of life. And, that which the blessed saved one hungers and thirsts for – is not at all of this world! It is not success, or wealth, or fame, or even simple worldly happiness. No. What the blessed saved one daily hungers and thirsts for is that which they absolutely need in order to be allowed in the eternal, heavenly presence of the Lord their God – whom they dearly love. They daily (even hourly) hunger and thirst after righteousness!

Make no mistake about it – dear one — this is not referring to self-righteousness. The blessed saved one does not hunger and thirst after self contrived righteousness. Ro.10:3 plainly describes  the people that pursue self-righteousness. It says: For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” Nor is this referencing a hunger and thirst after what may be referred to as “law-righteousness”. Ro.3:19-20 says: Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the lawthat every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God. (20) Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified [or, declared righteous] in His sightfor by the law is the knowledge of sin!” Fallen-in-sin people of this world cannot produce the righteousness of God’s blessed saved one — by pursuing a righteousness produced by their following the law. All the law does is point out how sinfully guilty we all are! So, the blessed saved one does not hunger and thirst after law-righteousness.

It is plainly declared from Ro.3:21-22: But nowthe righteousness of Godwithout  [or, apart from] the law is manifested [or, revealed] being witnessed by the law and the prophets. (22) Eventhe righteousness of Godwhich is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…” The blessed saved one hungers and thirsts after this particular righteousness! And, when it says that the righteousness of God is through the faith of Jesus Christ – it means that He is the One that we hunger and thirst for! Jer.23:6> “…And this is His name whereby He shall be calledThe Lord our righteousness!”

There is even one more wonderful thing that is descriptively declared to us from Mt.5:6 – and we would be remiss to not emphasize it. It says: Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousnessFOR THEY SHALL BE FILLED!” Praise and glory unto the wonderful Name of our eternal Savior! Oh to be filled with the eternally justifying righteousness of Christ, our God!

For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

Devotional for August 2017

“Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel – I am the Lord thy God — which teacheth thee to profit – which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldst go.” [Is.48:17]

There are many wonderful things that are to be gleaned from this precious text. For example, it is obvious from vs.16 that the speaker in this, vs.17, is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. For it says: Come ye near unto mehear ye thisI have not spoken in secret from the beginningfrom the time that it wasthere am Iand now the Lord God and His Spirit hath sent me.”  The eternal Son of God was the one that was covenanted by the determinant counsel of the Most High — to come, through His incarnation, into this fallen world to save all of God’s eternally loved and chosen children – for all eternity. He is, indeed, the eternal Redeemer! He is the one who has taught us about God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Even as the Christ of God in human image and likeness – He was still one in His being — with the Father and the Spirit. The Father commanded every word and deed that He said and did – and the Holy Spirit led Him throughout His every step in and through this sinful, fallen and cursed world. He is our sovereign, Savior/substitute! He is our propitiation! He is our eternal High Priest! He is our eternal Surety! And, as He was one in nature and purpose from eternity –  with His heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit — even so were they one throughout our Lord’s walk in this world. Nevertheless, they have always been – and always will be — three distinct persons with three distinct parts to play in the eternal fulfillment of God’s divine plan for our eternal salvation! Praise His Name!

 The Father’s part is seen in making sure that we are blessed with all the spiritual blessings that are necessary to secure the accomplishment of our eternal salvation. Ephesians one tells us that He has blessed us “with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ”. The Father’s blessings are bestowed upon us! Grace – like rain falls down on us! Just like the song we sing at camp says. We receive — all the spiritual blessings that the Father and the Spirit have eternally secured and sealed – in Christ! That’s what it says! Plus, the inspired epistle goes on to tell us that God did this – “…according as He hath chosen us in Him (that is: in Christ) before the foundation of the worldthat we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…”! That’s in His everlasting love! The love that Jer.31:3 brings forth. Which verse says: The Lord hath appeared of old unto mesayingI have loved thee with an everlasting lovetherefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” There is a common and often quoted adage among us fallen-in-sin humans that says: “Love conquers all”! And, among our various relationships – it is all too often proven to be false! But, not so with God. His love for us, indeed, does conquer all – even all sin and death! Because, as Jesus tells us from Jn.6:44 – No man can come unto me except the Father that sent medraw himand I will raise Him up at the last day!” The Father – loves us all to Christ!

 Where all of this wonderful grace of Jesus is concerned – Ro.8:14-17 declares unto us: For as many asare led by the Spirit of Godthese are the sons (the true children) of God. (15) For ye have not receivedthe spirit of bondage againto fearbut ye have receivedthe Spirit of adoption (that’s the Holy Spirit’s adoption of all of God’s true children) whereby we cry, Abba, Father!” And then it says from vs.16-17: The Spirit itselfbeareth witness with our spiritthat we are the children of God (17) and if childrenthen heirsheirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ!” Then it goes even further and says: if so be that we suffer with Himthat we may be also glorified together.” It is the Holy Spirit’s part – through the example of the Lord Jesus – to lead us in His steps through this fallen world – unto the Father of glory! Again, Praise His Name!

For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

Devotional for June/July

“…to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.” “But now the righteousness of God – without the law – is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (22) even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ – unto all and upon all that believe; for there is no difference: (23) for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; (24) being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; (25) whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood…” [2Pe.1:1] [Ro.3:21-25]

The gospel of the glory, only, of the Lord Jesus Christ is clearly set forth from the message of these two passages of scripture. The Word of God tells us that there is one Lord and one faith – and this truth is being here set forth. It is being set forth unto all whom Peter says — that have obtained like precious faith – that is the grace of true saving faith. They have done so through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! And, by virtue of our receiving that grace – there is given the evidential proof that we have also received the righteousness of God. The bestowal by God – through Christ – of this grace – is what makes us to be true believers in the Lord Jesus and His righteousness for our eternal salvation.

The apostle Paul from Romans three delivers to us the substance of this the “everlasting gospel”. He does this when he tells us that – now that the Christ of God – who is our Lord Jesus Christ – has appeared in our history and done what He (and only He) could do. He has brought to light the righteousness of God without [or, apart from] the law! Plus, he says, this has been witnessed also in our history – by the law – and all the Godly prophets! Praise and glory only unto our God!

We are no longer flagrant and profane worldly sinners! We are no longer religious false-believing sinners! But, because we believe in, and trust in, this pure gospel truth of God’s great omnipotent grace – we are transformed into becoming true-believing (having obtained like precious faith) – sinners-saved-by-grace! Again, Praise His Name!

All of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God – and, sadly, all of us continue to sin and come short of His glory. However, unto all of us upon whom God has bestowed (by “His great love wherewith He has loved us” Eph.2:4) this eternally saving grace of faith – we have been justified – or, declared righteous – in the eternal Son of God incarnate, even in our Lord Jesus Christ!  How does God, indeed, do this for us sinners?

He does this by His grace-of-faith-reckoned-and-imputed unto us> righteousness of God”. The righteousness of God manifested — completely apart from the law — but found only in — the Lord Jesus Christ! Whom God has set forth to be – for us – a propitiation before Him. He has set forth His incarnated eternal Son — to be our eternal Substitute – to be our eternal Surety. Therefore, we are eternally approved by God — and made eternally accepted with God — by virtue of the person and work of Jesus Christ – His eternal Son – and righteous merits!

He placed us in Him. He gave us His Spirit to forever dwell in us. His victory over Satan, sin and death, is our victory over Satan, sin and death. All of God’s eternally saving spiritual blessings have been blessed upon us according as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world – before even time began [Eph.1:3-4; 2Tim.1:9]!

For Christ’s Glory Only!

John Carpenter

 

Devotional for May 2017

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God – He it is that doth go with thee. He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” [De.31:6]

These wonderful words of life and encouragement were a part of that which was given by God unto Moses for him to declare and deliver unto the children of Israel as they approached the promised land to finally enter into it. This was at the end of 40 long years of wandering in the wilderness. 40 long years of living in a world of trial and tribulation. 40 years of having to depend daily upon the Lord to sustain them throughout their struggles to survive. This should not be an unfamiliar picture to the true child of God that is yet passing through this world in any of their generations throughout this entire age of sin and death.

 

The wilderness experience of the “Children of Israel” is a “type and shadow” of the life, walk and survival of each of God’s eternally loved and chosen children as they each – in their own generation traverse through this “passing-away-world”  upon this timeline of fallen humanity [1Jn.2:17]. In this world, we are fraught with the same challenges – both spiritual and physical – that Israel of old had to face. We, also, need the same grace provided supply of wisdom, strength and patience that comes from a living and vital relationship with the very presence of our Lord in order for us to safely and finally arrive.

 

Earlier from De.29 Moses reminded Israel that as he led them for 40 years, they witnessed – they saw – all that the Lord did to deliver and sustain them. What He did for them from their time in Egypt and up to and through the land of Moab. All the signs and miracles that He performed were testimonies – repeated evidences — of His presence among them as their God! How for 40 years – their clothes and their shoes had not waxen old upon them! Only our God could do such a thing as this for them!

Yet, at the same time, Moses was led to not neglect to solemnly tell them that, the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear unto this day.” [De.29:4]  This is because no matter what we go through in this fallen world – sin is so prevalent and incapacitating that it takes an act of God’s grace to give unto us that “hearing ear” and “seeing eye” so we can hear and see the truth of His wonderful salvation! Pr.20:12 declares: The hearing ear and the seeing eyethe Lord hath made even both of them.” We need the Lord for everything!

 

The Spirit of God through Moses also told the Israelites: “…the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heartand the heart of thy seedto love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and with all thy soulthat thou mayest live.” [De.30:6] Jesus taught from Jn.15:5: for without meye can do nothing!” It is so true what Ps.37:39-40 declares: But the salvation of the righteous is of the LordHe is their strength in the time of trouble. (40) And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them. He shall deliver them from the wickedand save thembecause they trust in Him.”

 

The Spirit of God through the Apostle Paul wrote from Eph.6:10-11: Finallly, my brethrenbe strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (11) Put on the whole armor of Godthat ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” And then he further descriptively declared unto the Philippians from Phil.3:3: For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spiritand rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence [or, put no trust] in the flesh!”

For Christ’s Glory Only!
John Carpenter