by Martin Luther
She gave birth too her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)
All of us should use the gospel to evaluate ourselves. How near or far are we from Christ? How are we doing in faith and love? Many become inflamed with dreamy devotion when they hear about how impoverished Christ was when he was born. They grow furious at the people of Bethlehem and criticize their blindness and ingratitude. They think that if they had been there, they would have served the Lord and his mother. They wouldn’t have allowed them to be so miserable. But these people don’t even notice their own neighbors who are nearby and need their help. They ignore them and leave them as they are. Who on earth doesn’t have miserable, sick, blundering, or sinful people around them? Why don’t they show their love to these people? Why don’t they do for their neighbors what Christ did for them?
Don’t deceive yourself by thinking you would have treated Christ well when you don’t presently do anything for your neighbors. If you had been at Bethlehem, you would have paid just as little attention to him as everyone else did. You only want to serve him because you know who his is. Let’s say that he were to come, lie in a manger, and let you know that he is the one you now know so much about. Of course you would want to do something to help. but before that, you wouldn’t have done anything.
Similarly, if you could see your neighbors now as they will be in the future, and if they were lying in front of you, then you certainly would take care of them. But because you only see them for what they are now, you ignore them. You fail to recognize Christ in your neighbors.
From Faith Alone – A Daily Devotional – General Editor James C. Galvin
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Afflictions, But No Broken Bones
He keepeth all his bones; not one of them is broken. (Psalm 34:20)
This promise by the context is referred to the much afflicted righteous man: "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all." He may suffer skin wounds and flesh wounds, but no great harm shall be done; "not a bone of him shall be broken."
This is great comfort to a tried child of God, and comfort which I dare accept; for up to this hour I have suffered no real damage from my many afflictions. I have neither lost faith, nor hope, nor love. Nay so far from losing these bones of character, they have gained in strength and energy. I have more knowledge, more experience, more patience, more stability than I had before the trials came. Not even my joy has been destroyed. Many a bruise have I had by sickness, bereavement, depression, slander, and opposition; but the bruise has healed, and there has been no compound fracture of a bone, not even a simple one. The reason is not far to seek. If we trust in the Lord, He keeps all our bones; and if He keeps them, we may be sure that not one of them is broken.
Come, my heart, do not sorrow. Thou art smarting, but there are no bones broken. Endure hardness and bid defiance to fear.
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by Mike Ratliff
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15 ESV)
With the ever increasing move away from Orthodox Christianity into various forms of Experiential religion that we are witnesses of here and now, it seems that the bottom is falling out of Christianity, at least in the USA. It’s bad enough that we have all of these “wolves in sheep’s clothing” drawing the unaware into false religions while pretending to be Christian, but there are seemingly endless numbers of our “Christian” leaders falling all over themselves embracing these heretics. It was not that long ago that someone like Robert Schuller was known for the heretic he is. When John MacArthur spoke about Mr. Schuller’s heresies none of our “Christian” leaders objected. Now, we see some of them shaking hands and buddying up with Mr. Schuller as if they have been best friends forever. No one seems to mind either. It’s not that we have heretics among us, we always have them, but there are now many of our leaders either falling in bed with these people or revealing their fleshly side in some of the grossest sins imaginable. What is going on? Continue reading
by Martin Luther
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
"The Word became flesh." We can never fully grasp this teaching concerning our salvation and eternal life using human reason. Nevertheless, we must believe it, and we must cling tightly to what Scripture says about it. The Bible says that Christ, our Lord, is true and natural God and true and natural man. The Bible says that in his divine essence and nature, Christ is coequal with the Father. The heretics have cast doubts on both the divine nature and the human nature of Christ. During the lifetime of the apostles, some heretics claimed that Christ was not human. Some of our contemporaries teach similar things. They claim that because he was conceived solely by the Holy Spirit, Christ could not have been a human being like we are. He could not have had the same kind of body that we do. They insist that because he was a man from heaven, his body must have been from heaven too.
That’s why I urgently warn believers to beware of religious splinter groups. If Christ isn’t true and natural God, born in eternity of the Father, and if he isn’t the Creator of all creatures, then we are doomed. What good are Christ’s suffering and death to us if he was only a human like you and me? If he were just a human, he couldn’t have overpowered the devil, death, or sin. He would have been too weak for them and never would have been able to help us. We must have a Savior who is true God and Lord over sin, death, hell, and the devil. Christ is eternal in nature, lacks nothing in his being, and is perfect in every way.
From Faith Alone A Daily Devotional General Editor James C. Galvin
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I decided to post this over the top of last night’s post, The Apostate Church, because I felt led to do so by the Spirit. There are many believers suffering through tribulations right now and it may seem that there is no end in sight. Please read the following devotional from Charles Spurgeon’s Faith Checkbook. It was exactly what I needed to hear today. 🙂 Also, I received the following quote this morning from my friend Mark Kettler and I think it fits very well here.
If you have been reduced to God being your only hope, You are in a good place. – Jim Laffoon
Mike Ratliff Continue reading
by Martin Luther
Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them. (Psalm 111:2)
The works of the Lord are great. But in this passage, the psalmist points out that only a few devout people notice what God has done. Most people don’t praise God or thank him. They never say, “Great are the works of the Lord.” Though they are completely surrounded by his gifts, they have gotten used to them. They take advantage of what God has given them, rooting around in God’s gifts like a hog in a bag of feed. They say, “What’s so special about the fact that the sun shines, fire gives warmth, the ocean provides fish, the earth yields grain, cows have calves, women give birth to children, and hens lay eggs? These things happen every day!”
Is something insignificant just because it happens every day? If the sun wouldn’t shine for ten days, suddenly it would be a great thing when it began shining again. If fire existed only in one place on earth, I think it would be more precious than gold or silver. If there were only well in the world, I would imagine that a drop of water would be priceless.
God showers people with rich and wonderful blessings. But how ungrateful and blind people are! They don’t recognize these blessings as amazing miracles from God, so they don’t admire them, give thanks for them, or act happy about them. However, if a clown can walk on a tightrope or train monkeys, people are ready to admire and praise him for it. The psalmist points out that the Lord’s works are great, but these works are appreciated only in the eyes of God’s faithful followers.
from Faith Alone – A Daily Devotional – General Editor James C. Galvin
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Following Leads to Honor
If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor. (John 12:26)
The highest service is imitation. If I would be Christ’s servant I must be His follower. To do as Jesus did is the surest way of bringing honor to His name. Let me mind this every day.
If I imitate Jesus I shall have His company: if I am like Him I shall be with Him. In due time He will take me up to dwell with Him above, if, meanwhile, I have striven to follow Him here below. After His suffering our Lord came to His throne, and even so, after we have suffered a while with Him here below, we also shall arrive in glory. The issue of our Lord’s life shall be the issue of ours: if we are with Him in His humiliation we shall be with Him in His glory. Come, my soul, pluck up courage and put down thy feet in the blood-marked footprints which thy Lord has left thee.
Let me not fail to note that the Father will honor those who follow His Son. If He sees me true to Jesus, He will put marks of favor and honor upon me for His Son’s sake. No honor can be like this. Princes and emperors bestow the mere shadows of honor; the substance of glory comes from the Father. Wherefore, my soul, cling thou to thy Lord Jesus more closely than ever.
“I must confess I never would have been saved if I could have helped it. As long as I could, I rebelled and revolted and struggled against God. When he would have me pray, I would not pray. When he would have me listen to the sound of the ministry, I would not. And when I heard, and the tear rolled down my cheek, I wiped it away and defied him to melt my heart. Then he gave me the effectual blow of grace, and there was no resisting that irresistible effort. It conquered my depraved will and made me bow myself before the sceptre of his grace.”
True Walking Posture
He that walketh uprightly walketh surely. (Proverbs 10:9)
His walk may be slow, but it is sure. He that hasteth to be rich shall not be innocent nor sure; but steady perseverance in integrity, if it does not bring riches, will certainly bring peace. In doing that which is just and right, we are like one walking upon a rock, for we have confidence that every step we take is upon solid and safe ground. On the other hand, the utmost success through questionable transactions must always be hollow and treacherous, and the man who has gained it must always be afraid that a day of reckoning will come, and then his gains will condemn him.
Let us stick to truth and righteousness. By God’s grace let us imitate our Lord and Master, in whose mouth no deceit was ever found. Let us not be afraid of being poor, nor of being treated with contempt. Never, on any account whatever, let us do that which our conscience cannot justify. If we lose inward peace, we lose more than a fortune can buy. If we keep in the Lord’s own way and never sin against our conscience, our way is sure against all comers. Who is he that can harm us if we be followers of that which is good? We may be thought fools by fools if we are firm in our integrity; but in the place where judgment is infallible we shall be approved.
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