Archive for the ‘Daily Devotional’ Category

Thought for Thursday

Thursday, July 9th, 2020

And in nothing terrified by your adversaries, which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. Philippians 1:27

In his book Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Lee Stroebel declares that one of the greatest proofs of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the confidence of the early Christians, particularly the disciples. These folks were willing to lay down their lives to proclaim the message of eternal life through the risen Lord. Stroebel’s point was that, though some might be willing to die for a lie that they believed was true, nobody would be willing to die for something they knew was a lie. Therefore, those disciples and early saints were telling the truth when they declared that they had seen the Lord Jesus after His resurrection, and courageously accepted death rather than recant. They had seen Him, and so they knew the resurrection was true. We have not seen Him in the flesh, but we have the eyewitness accounts, and we can believe them. This should give us confidence in the face of our adversaries.

Although our lives are not threatened here in North America for our faith, we still have plenty of adversaries. Many would oppose, or at least ignore, the preaching of the Gospel. Many would take offense at a Christian’s stand against the murder of the unborn, the promotion if homosexuality, the willful disregard for morality and decency in today’s society. If we live for God, we will be targeted for ridicule and discrimination. Satan will see to it that we are harassed by his minions. But Paul reminds us that we should not let these things terrify us, because our testimony is proof that the enemies are facing destruction while we are sheltered by God’s salvation.

This is why some missionary martyr stories that seem to us to be tragedies are really triumphant victories by those who allowed God to replace the terror with confidence. This is why Heaven rejoices at all the dear saints – unknown to us – who face death bravely today in the prison camps of communist China and North Korea, before the cursed Sharai law courts of Mohammedanism, and under the Hindu death squads of India. This is why you and I can place our trust firmly in the God Who calls us to serve and follow Him and Who assures us of a righteous recompense if we do so.

The enemies’ terrors today are but a reminder of the glorious morrow that awaits us in Jesus’ presence. Service and suffering for Him is worth it all. -Jim MacIntosh

Word for Wednesday

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again. Philippians 1:26

When you arrive, do people smile at you because they are well mannered or because they are actually delighted to see you? We all know people whose arrival is always a special event, and others whose arrival is always met by inward groans. Most of us fall somewhere in between. The apostle Paul speaks of rejoicing in Philippi when he shows up. The best example of how to make sure our appearance is a welcome sight is given us by the Lord Jesus, during His life.

Not everyone was glad to see the Lord Jesus, of course. When He was born, Herod was bent on killing him, but the shepherds rejoiced. When He began His ministry, the scribes and Pharisees were miffed but the common people thronged to see Him and hear Him preach. When He entered Jerusalem, the priests and Sanhedrin ignored Him but the children danced and sang. When He was hanging on the cross, one of the malefactors cursed but the other blessed Him. But if we dwell on those who recognized the Lord Jesus for Who He is, we can see that His arrival on any scene was cause for pleasure, joy, and blessing. It was all because His life was lived to fulfill His Father’s will. That’s what you and I can do if we want others to rejoice when we arrive.

Jesus devoted His life to serving others. He helped everyone He could, had kind words and gentle comfort to many, and showed compassion to all who were hurting, grieving, and troubled. The needs of others were more important to Him than His own comfort. That’s how we should be. I heard of a man who was disappointed when he arrived home and found his children paid no attention to him. So he decided to do something about it. He began bringing home little treats and toys, promises of interesting trips and events, and soon he found his children eagerly awaiting him at the door when he arrived. Yes, he bribed them, but he thought of what they wanted, and what would interest them. and he was rewarded.

Not everybody will always rejoice to see us coming, but those who matter will rejoice, if we treat them as Jesus would. -Jim MacIntosh

Tidings for Tuesday

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

Nevertheless, to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. Philippians 1:24

Does God make mistakes? Some people think so when they look around the sitting room of a nursing home, and see the vacant faces of some of those old folks sitting in their wheelchairs. None of us wants to be left in such a state, and some people go so far as to say God errs in leaving those old folks alive when their usefulness and ability to function and relate to other people has vanished. On the other hand, we all know some people who were vibrant and productive and valuable contributors to society in general and a good help to the Lord’s people, but were suddenly called Home to Heaven by accident or illness. Of those people, some will say God erred in taking them away too soon. Even the apostle Paul, in today’s text, seems to have a question about what is best for him as he sees the end of his life approaching.

We know God makes no mistakes, of course. Take those unfunctioning folks in the seniors’ home, many of them are unsaved, and have ignored or rejected the Gospel. God is graciously keeping them in their bodies awhile longer to delay their departure for eternal punishment. But in the case of a Christian facing impending death, is it better if we live or die? Paul makes the case in our text that it is better for the other Christians that we abide in the flesh. But only God knows whether that is best for His great plan. Why is it better for the other Christians that you live awhile longer? Why is it better for them not to have to attend your funeral? If we were all like the apostle Paul, we could understand why. But we’re not.

No, we’re not all great preachers and teachers and pastors and guides. God has not given us all the prominent gifts and abilities. We can easily assume we are of little use to the Lord’s people. But as long as God leaves us in the flesh, we can take it from Him that He deems us useful for Himself and for His people. So, every day and at every opportunity, we should practice that usefulness. We should be kind and considerate, we should be supportive and encouraging, we should be faithful. The other saints really do need us.

God has given each of us a row to hoe in his great garden. Until he takes the hoe from our hands and presents us with a crown, let us make use of the hoe for His people. -Jim MacIntosh

Meditation for Monday

Monday, July 6th, 2020

He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. John 1:23

If Jesus was planning to make a personal visit to your community, how would you prepare to receive Him? Would you tidy up around your place and urge your neighbours to do likewise? Would you get rid of some of the things that you would just as soon not have Jesus know are part of your life? Would you launch a great publicity campaign to let everybody know about the exciting and important Visitor? If you knew His coming was only a few days away, would it prompt you into some frantic action? Then just think about John the Baptist, who knew that the Messiah was just about to appear. And John is given the responsibility to let everybody know and to urge everybody to be ready. Just like John, we also have a responsibility to urge people to be ready for the soon appearing of the Lord Jesus.

John’s message was repentance. He knew that repentance was the path to led to acceptance of the Messiah. He spoke against the sins of his day, against the moral decay and hypocrisy he saw all around him. The Holy Spirit helped him to be effective, and many folks received his message. Because they did so, they were ready to receive Jesus when He arrived. What about the sins of our day? What about the gross immorality, the pathetic apathy, the rank denial, and the new age paganism that swirls all around us? Don’t these people need to be told to repent? Of course they do. Until they are brought to face God’s condemnation of their sin, they can never repent, and they can never find Christ. Just as John’s preaching was needed in his day, so our witness is needed today. Because of John’s preaching, many folks are in Heaven today. Because of our faithful testimony, will there be any souls in heaven? John prepared the road that people need to travel to reach Christ. It’s a road that you and I need to travel today, or sinners will be lost forever.

The religious leaders did not like John. And his fearless preaching landed him in Herod’s jail, and eventually he lost his life because he condemned a woman’s immorality. But John, if he were to speak to us today, would not regret his efforts. Through him, many people found the Saviour. How many people have found the Saviour because of your faithfulness? How much would you be willing to give – or give up – to have more souls in Heaven?

John’s task was to repair the highway that allowed sinners to find Jesus. That highway needs some work today, and some sinners today need to find that road. -Jim MacIntosh

Lesson for the Lord’s Day

Sunday, July 5th, 2020

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same, that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. Hebrews 2:14

Remember the warning that God gave to Adam in the garden, what would happen if he were to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? By partaking of that fruit, Adam handed the keys of death to the devil. For four thousand years, the devil held those keys, and reveled in robbing God of glory as he caused many to perish in their sins. Then came Calvary. One Who was not subject to the devil’s power, One who had no cause to bow before the King of Terrors willingly submitted Himself to death. In doing so, He tore the keys of death from the devil’s grasp and gave you and me the hope of eternal life.

What tremendous power the devil held! From the perfect environment of Eden, the devil’s power dragged mankind into sorrow and heartache, suffering and pain, discouragement and depression, hopelessness and helplessness, bitterness and hatred, envy and strife. Adam lost an incredible amount when he handed those keys to the devil. And the devil used the power of those keys to the full. But the irresistible force of his vengeance against God and His prime creation came up against the immovable object of the love of God! That love led the Lord Jesus to depart Heaven’s glories for earth’s griefs and sorrows. That love directed Him through a perfect life through a shameful rejection and painful crucifixion to an agonizing death on the cross. Our text tells us that though death, He destroyed him that had the power of death.

You and I still feel the ravages of time on our physical frames. We are still subject to weariness, pain, disease, and decay. That great victory that Jesus achieved through His death has not reached our bodies… not yet. But it was in a body like ours that Jesus died on the cross. And it will be in a body like His that we will dwell with Him in glory forever. Our eternal life was secured in His death, and we can truly sing of Victory in Jesus.

Our enemy has been defeated by the very power that he held over us, a Saviour’s death that has forever defeated death for us. -Jim MacIntosh

Sermonette for Saturday

Saturday, July 4th, 2020

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment. Philippians 1:9

I had developed a sore throat, usually the precursor to a head cold, and I mentioned the sore throat to an old friend. The best thing to take, he assured me, was a mixture of molasses and ginger. It was the first I had heard of such a remedy, and I asked for instructions on how to prepare it. The concoction seemed to work, or else enough time had passed, I don’t know, but the sore throat eased. Those two ingredients seemed to me to be an unusual combination to accomplish their purpose. Our text today tells of an unusual combination of ingredients: love, combined with knowledge and judgment. This was Paul’s earnest prayer for the Philippians, and God’s will for you and me.

First of all, is the apostle speaking of love for God or love for our fellow saints and lost souls? Love must always start with God, because He is the originator. We need to love Him before we can truly love others. Love that is not developed on the vertical plane is of little use on the horizontal plane. So our love for God must be abounding in both knowledge and judgment. Let us examine these two ingredients that we are to combine with love.

What does knowledge have to do with our love for God? Think of it this way: doesn’t it just make sense that the more we know about God, the deeper our love will be? The word ‘knowledge’ refers to an understanding of facts or truth. To know more about God, we must read more of His Word. The Bible contains His revelation of Himself to us. We need to read the Book from cover to cover, and we need to meditate on small portions of it daily. We will learn about God’s character, His dealings with mankind, His purposes for our lives, and most important, we will learn about His Son and how to be more like Him. All this knowledge will deepen our love for God.

The word ‘judgment’ in our text refers to perception or understanding, discernment. In other words, it refers to what we do with the knowledge we obtain about God. It refers to the use we make of what we learn when we read the Bible.

When our love for God grows through knowledge and judgment, our love for God’s people also deepens and expands, and our love for lost souls also grows. And this is my prayer for you. -Jim MacIntosh

Food for Friday

Friday, July 3rd, 2020

Then said David, I will shew kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father shewed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David’s servants came into the land of the children of Ammon. 2 Samuel 10:2

Talk about trouble, this world is full of catastrophes, disasters, and calamities. People are suffering and dying all around us and all around the world. Hatred and bloodshed have never been at a higher level. And as the confusion, disillusionment, and discouragement sweeps across the human race, people are wondering why there is so much trouble and pain. But what can they expect, when they spit in the face of God’s kindness and mercy, just as Hanun, the young king of Ammon, did to David?

David’s intentions toward Hanun were nothing but gracious. He sincerely desired to offer comfort to the young king on the death of his father. But if we follow the story beyond today’s text, we find Hanun harkening to those who were suspicious of David’s motives, and he shamefully mistreated David’s emmisaries. He never stopped to think about the mighty force of Israel’s military or the brilliance of David’s generals as he openly insulted the most powerful nation in that part of the world. How like Hunan are the people around us, foolishly defying the God who offers them peace and mercy, taking His name in vain at every opportunity, and ignoring His claims upon them. David was justified in his punishing response to Hunan’s defiance. Is not God also justified when he allows men’s foolish actions to bring upon themselves the fruit of their own actions?

As Christians, we know of God’s kind intentions toward us, and we have responded favourably to that kindness. We have realized that His kindness is in spite of our rebellion and waywardness. We have recognized our need of Him and have accepted the salvation that He purchased for us in drops of His Own Son’s precious blood. We also accept that He Who extends forgiveness to a sinning world cannot clear the guilty if they will not take His forgiveness.

What is our response as we see the world’s travail and trouble, even as some of that trouble touches our own lives? Firstly, we must always recognize and appreciate God’s kindness and goodness, and thank Him that our deliverance will be eternal. Secondly, we must reach out to others, urging them to cease their foolish opposition to an all-powerful God, and pleading with them to accept His gracious kindness and the gift of His salvation. –Jim MacIntosh

Thought for Thursday

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

Go back in your mind to the day you were saved; relive some of those early moments when God’s Salvation became precious to you. Remember the thrill of the first love for your Saviour, and the excitement of entering into the reality of eternal life. All that involved a tremendous change in you at that time, according to today’s text, was just the beginning. The same God Who saved and changed you at that time has not slacked from His efforts. He is continuing that great work which was so well begun on the day you first believed.

How does God continue this work in us? By the work of His Holy Spirit, Who now dwells within us. The Spirit’s work is to bring us into ever closer conformity with the image of Jesus Christ. This work can be hindered by us as we quench the Spirit by allowing our own wills to rule our lives. But if we submit to the will of the Lord Jesus, the Spirit is able to do His work, and we grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus.

The Holy Spirit never ceased performing the good work that began with our salvation. As we look back over our life, we can see those periods of spiritual growth or stagnation, depending on our yielding to the Spirit. We can discern those times when our knowledge of the Word increased, when our appreciation of precious truths deepened, when our commitment to God’s work and God’s people became real and purposeful. That great work that began with Salvation is continuing, and we grow.

But there is a daily aspect of the Spirit’s work in us. Each day is a failure or success, depending on our submission to Him. Each day brings us the opportunity to do small and great things for our Lord, to enjoy His presence and His people, and to commit ourselves to His plan for our lives. Regardless of how well we have allowed God to perform His work in us in the past, we can enjoy His work in our lives today.

God longs to perform His work in our hearts today; let us give Him free reign to do so. -Jim MacIntosh

Tidings for Tuesday

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

And He was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake, and the people wondered. Luke 11:14

Well might the people wonder! Those who had any knowledge of the Old Testament knew the significance of a dumb person speaking. Isaiah 35 plainly speaks of the Messiah, and lists several signs of His coming, including speech – songs, actually – from the dumb. This man was not the first or the last dumb person who Jesus released from their silence. The Messiah had indeed come, and today he gives speech to those who he has saved.

A wise person once said we should do more than speak, we should say something. Everybody around us has no trouble opening their mouths and making a noise, but how much of it is worth listening to? We hear people discussing the weather, gossiping about neighbours, discussing the news, and swapping jokes. Much of the talk around us serves as a social lubricant to keep us in touch with each other. But most of it is very empty, and contains little of real enduring value. But the Lord Jesus is able to loosen our tongues to speak things worthwhile.

In our unsaved days, our tongues at worst uttered blasphemies, and at best muttered religious emptiness. But our Salvation has loosened our tongues to worship, testify, and witness for the One who is our Redeemer. Worship was impossible when we did not know Him. But we have come to know and love Him. We have explored His Word and discovered so much about Him. We have experienced His loving care and guidance since we first trusted in Him. Well might we worship Him.

Folks around us who do not know our Saviour need to hear about Him. And who better to hear from than you and me who have experienced His saving grace and His tender kindness? If we tell them what He has done – and is doing – for us, we might cause them to realize they need to come to know Him too.

We can’t all preach the Gospel. But we can all live the Gospel. And we can all support the furtherance of the Gospel. It meant little or nothing to us when we were unsaved, but now that our tongues have been loosed, we love the sweet strains of the grand old message. We love to tell the story, and to hear it being told. Only those whose lives have been transformed by the power of the Gospel can truly pass on this message.

Yes, we are no longer spiritually dumb. How much use do we make of this wonderful deliverance? -Jim MacIntosh

Meditation for Monday

Monday, June 29th, 2020

For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them, and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. Luke 10:24

During my years as a reporter, I encountered a few people who were willing to share with me some information and details that they were unwilling to share with other reporters. It took me a long time to earn this trust, but it was earned through a lengthy process of building up a reputation as a reporter who kept his word. As a result, I heard many things that no one else has ever heard, some of which I have not revealed to this day. I know a little of what the disciples must have felt when they heard the Lord Jesus tell them that they were privy to things that were hidden to Old Testament saints. We can share in that great privilege too, because we have also access to that which Abraham, David, and Isaiah could not know.

How much of the Bible did Abraham have? What scriptures were available to such men as Job, Moses, Samuel, David, and the major prophets? Only a tiny portion of what we now accept as the Word of God was in the hands of Old Testament saints. God spoke directly to some of them, we know, and He delivered to them revelations and direction. But God’s dealings in the Old Testament were always with the New Testament in view, and the Old Testament saints had never seen directly, nor read from those who had seen directly, anything of the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Christ. Looking back on those saints, we recognize how much more blessed we are, and we accept today’s text as precious.

Abraham, who was known as a friend of God, could understand only in a very sketchy way how God would bless all the world through him. David, identified as a man after God’s own heart, wrote much that tells us of the Saviour Who was to come, but David must surely have wondered at what it all meant. Moses, whose hand delivered the law and all its ordinances, must surely have been puzzled by the detail and the specifics regarding those things, and could not have grasped how it all was an allegory telling us of the wonders of the One through Whom came grace and truth.

Treasure your Bible today, and read it with delight, because it freely reveals to the child of God so much that has been hidden from so many. -Jim MacIntosh