Archive for the ‘Daily Devotional’ Category

Lesson for the Lord’s Day

Sunday, June 17th, 2018

But I have greater witness than that of John, for the works which the father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father hath sent Me. John 5:36

 

After the carpenters who worked for the contractor finished all the construction on our new house, they turned the work over to the painters and electricians, who in turn handed the house over to the cleaners. When the new house was clean, the contractor let us know, and we started moving our things in. The movers came to our old house and loaded up our furniture and other belongings, and transferred them to the new house. For the next few days, we worked to put things where they belonged, and gradually became accustomed to our new surroundings. And we learned to laugh when friends kept telling us, ‘Oh, your house is finished’. No, our house certainly wasn’t finished. We still had plenty of work to do to finish the basement. Then we had to build a garage. Then, we had to turn our attention to the lawn, or what we were hoping would be our lawn. As every homeowner knows, no house is ever finished, there is always something more to do. How different the works that the Lord was sent to do; He was sent to finish His works.

One of the hallmarks of the works of men is the inability to finish things. Just as a house is never finished, neither are man’s efforts to improve his circumstances, his behaviour, and his prospects. As a writer, I know the futility of trying to bring any project to the state of perfection. All I can hope for is a high degree of excellence, if I try hard enough. But when God performs a work, He finishes that work. If we recall the days of creation, we remember how the sixth day marked the completion of a work that God was able to call good. We are told that the work of creation was finished (Genesis 2:1). That was a great work, a work that is more than we can even understand and measure. But it is not nearly as great as the work that the Lord Jesus came to do on our behalf.

Although creation was good when God made it, it was soon spoiled by sin. The majesty of that great work has been dulled by man’s disobedience. The work that the Lord Jesus came to do at the Father’s command was designed to restore what the first man lost. So if we draw near to the middle cross as the hours of darkness draw to a close, we can hear a word that tells of a work completed. Finished. Jesus didn’t just say it, He did it. And the Father accepted it.

A finished creation was marred in Eden. A finished salvation was restored at Calvary. – Jim MacIntosh

Sermon for Saturday

Saturday, June 16th, 2018

Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice. John 5:28

According to the experts, more than 60 million babies have been born so far this year in the world. That’s a lot of kids to grow up, although we know in many places, their survival rate is not good. But if we think of all of those babies, with all of their potential for living and doing and everything that comes with occupying their places on the planet, it’s rather frightening to think that, before another 100 years roll by, all of those babies will be in graves. In fact, official statistics tell us that one person dies every second, on average. And as the population grows, that rate will only increase as more people get old and die. Accidents, disease, crime, wars, carry off a great toll in addition to those who just age into eternity. That’s a vast number of graves. And it doesn’t take into account the graves from past centuries all the way back to Adam. Every person whose bodies have been placed in graves, and even those whose bodies were not buried, will wake up some day to the irresistible sound of a powerful Voice. Including us.

We all have loved ones who have died in Christ. The Voice that will wake them is the Voice of their Saviour. What a glorious hope! We also have loved ones who have died without Christ. The Voice that wakes them is the Voice of their Judge. What a frightful dread! This great difference in the response to the Voice reminds us today of the tremendous need to live and preach the Gospel. If those around us do not hear and heed the Gospel now, there is no hope for them then.

Like me, you have probably looked over a large cemetery and marvelled at the vast array of stones, wondering who all of those people were, and what lives they led. We ought to also wonder what Voice they will hear when they awake. If our Lord has not come before our race is run, we will occupy one of those graves. As fearful and uncomfortable as the thought of death is, and as much as we shudder to consider the coming tomb, we do so with a different perspective than those who have no hope, or those whose hope is false. We rest in the comfort of knowing that the Voice that wakes us will not be that of a stranger, but of our own dear Shepherd. We will be called, not to account, but to rest, not to condemnation, but to comfort, not to doom, but to everlasting delight. We have hope.

If we should be called to occupy one of earth’s graves, we are assured that it will be a temporary occupancy. We can also be assured that the Voice that calls us forth is the Same as the One Whose voice we are eagerly listening for today. – Jim MacIntosh

Food for Friday

Friday, June 15th, 2018

Therefore, the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He had not only broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. John 5:18

The two young woman at my door were pleasant and friendly, despite my abrupt greeting. They were there to try to get me interested in their cult. And they had pretty papers to show me and flowery words to share. But their friendliness turned to indignation when I stated that the Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New Testament. They couldn’t accept that. One of the women said it was impossible for Jesus to be Jehovah because He was created. She had read that somewhere in the Bible. Such heresy might well be in her cult’s perversion of the Bible, I don’t know. She frantically looked, but couldn’t seem to find that verse. I told her not to come back and talk until she did. She was an example of those who rankle at the equality of God the Father and God the Son.

The Jews had murderous intentions toward Jesus. It is difficult to believe their hatred could be so fierce and cruel. Although they would never express it that way, the world still has no friendliness toward the Lord Jesus. The atheists and evolutionists (usually the same people) deny Him His deity, His miracles, and His atoning work on the cross. The modernists relegate Jesus to a historical character whose relevance is based on their attitudes. The cults and other false religions deny Jesus’ deity while giving Him some ambiguous slot in their concepts. The apathetic masses accord Jesus a shrug and pass by uninterested. They might not want to kill Him but they ignore or reject everything about Him. As Christians, we need to reinforce our thoughts and our principles with the reality of Who our Lord really is. Even if it angers or turns off those around us.

The Jews who called for Jesus death in our text and who called for His blood at Gabbatha have had two millenia in hell to regret their attitude. That will soon be the lot of all the people who deny, reject, ignore and shrug at the Lord Jesus today. We who know Who the Lord Jesus is will probably make only a small impression on those who need to learn. But remember that somebody made such an impression on us. We need to read the Gospels and instill their messages into our souls. We need to read the prophecies and discover again the timeless purpose of the Father sending the Son to be the Saviour of the world. We need to allow Scripture to fill us with the reality of Christ’s deity.

For most of the world, Jesus is just Jesus. For those of us who accept Him as Lord and Christ, He is God the Son, and our Saviour. – Jim MacIntosh

Thought for Thursday

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day; it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. John 5:10

There is a law in the province of New Brunswick that forbids deer hunting on Sundays, even during the regular hunting season. That law has been on the books for a long time. I remember a similar law being in effect in Nova Scotia when I was a boy. I remember my mother objecting very strongly when my father was tempted to go hunting with some of the neighbours on a Sunday. Most people back then felt it was proper to honour the Lord’s Day enough to not shoot deer. But that attitude is changing. There is a strong push on to have that law abolished, as many feel the restriction is unwarranted and irrelevant. I could argue against that case, just as I could argue against the Jews’ law against carrying beds on the sabbath. The law the Jews were citing was one of their own inventions. The man who was breaking it was obeying a higher law. That’s what we should always do.

We laugh at some nonsensical laws that we hear of, such as England’s prohibition on the door-to-door sale of squirrels. But some of the foolish laws that are appearing actually have serious consequences for those of us who are required to obey God rather than man. Society’s radical swing to wide-open acceptance and promotion of vile lifestyles includes some laws that are forcing Christians to make some painful and expensive decisions. Their faithfulness to the Word of God means some of them have to give up jobs, or move to new areas, or abandon valuable possessions. The disciples’ statement that we ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29) takes on real meaning in such cases. Make no mistake, many more of us are going to have to make that same choice in the coming days.

The impotent man who was healed had received a direct command from the Lord Jesus. As he carried out that simple command, he was accosted by men who were more interested in his behaviour than in his healing. It didn’t matter that only minutes before, this man was unable to get off his bed, let alone carry it. They had their little agenda and it must be followed, and if it challenged Jesus of Nazareth, so much the better. Enemies who are gathering around us these days have the same selfish agenda and the same hatred of the Lord Jesus. Consider those, for example, who are trying to have the Bible banned from public sale because of its condemnation of homosexuality. Will it happen in our lifetime? What about other laws that seek to make a mockery and crime of decency and morality? It’s all possible.

Carrying our beds could soon prove costly. How willing are we to suffer for obeying our Lord? How soon will we find out? – Jim MacIntosh

Word for Wednesday

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. John 5:3

Every toy store carries brightly coloured bottles of liquid that the children love to play with, a mixture of water and glycerine that is used for making bubbles. Tiny babies are fascinated by watching the bubbles rise and drift in the breeze; older children vie to make the biggest bubbles, and to catch them before they burst. The pretty bubbles make for delightful entertainment for the children, and will occupy them for hours. But many people around us are also occupying themselves with bubbles instead of the worthwhile. All that the folks in the Bethesda porches were interested in were bubbles, and not even the presence of the Lord Jesus walking through the porch was as interesting as their watch for more bubbles from the pool.

For most of the impotent folk, the bubbles offered very little in terms of hope. The likelihood of their benefiting from the bubbles was almost non-existent. And yet, they stayed day and night, hoping against hope that they would be healed. That is so much like people today who look for satisfaction and joy in the world’s bubbles. Pleasures, entertainment, education, travel, business, and religion all are bubbles that the world chases in hope of catching something worthwhile. But, just as a little child is surprised and disappointed when a bubble bursts, so the empty bubbles of earth fail to satisfy the hungry souls around us. Like the folks in the Bethesda porches, people around us don’t need to pursue bubbles, they need to meet the Lord Jesus. That’s why we need to bring the Gospel to them by our testimony, by preaching, and by the printed page.

Do Christians ever chase bubbles? I know many Christians in the denominations who are occupied with different kinds of bubbles. Oh, yes, they speak of the Lord Jesus, but He doesn’t seem to be as important as their wonderful preachers, as their choirs and bands and other special music, as their many programs and activities, as their occupation with new methods and theories. Are there any bubbles floating around our Assemblies? We need to be careful not to let the bubble of new technology toys replace any of our emphasis on the Word of God, or let the bubble of modern Christian music and concerts interfere with our occupation with the Person of our Lord, or let the bubble of social media interfere with our fellowship with the Lord’s people.

I never yet saw a bubble that had anything in it but air. Abandon the occupation with bubbles and enjoy the occupation of Christ. – Jim MacIntosh

Tidings for Tuesday

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

The nobleman saith unto Him, Sir, come down ere my child die. John 4 :49

I had a problem with one of the applications on my computer, so I called the technical support line. The technician who came on the line had some good troubleshooting question to ask, but I couldn’t figure out how to access some of the things he needed. So he asked for permission to take over the controls on the computer so he could work on the issue himself. I agreed and sat back and watched. From hundreds of kilometers away, he began moving the mouse around the screen, opening forms, filling in information, and configuring settings. In a short time, he had the problem resolved, and I was a satisfied customer. The technician’s remote approach was much faster and more efficient than having someone come to the house to work on the problem. Our text today sets up the nobleman for a remote response from the Lord Jesus, who perfected this method long before computer networks were invented.

We know the story, how the nobleman was assured that his son would live, and how that, the next day, he discovered the lad began to mend at the moment that Jesus spoke the words. It wasn’t the way the nobleman expected Jesus to work. That is often the case with us, where God answers our urgent requests in ways that we totally don’t expect. Like the nobleman, we know exactly what we need. But we don’t know the best way for our prayers to be answered. Like the nobleman, we often ask God to move in ways that we expect or desire. The nobleman thought Jesus’ presence at his son’s bedside was required. He failed to understand Jesus’ knowledge and power. Sometimes, we do that, too. Just as Jesus had no need to travel a day’s journey to the nobleman’s house, he has no need today to follow our little plans as to how to carry out His purposes.

Although imperfect, the nobleman’s plea was urgent. His son was dying. He went to the right place for help. There is much we can commend this man for, especially for his faith. Jesus heard his plea, just as He hears all our pleas, and knows all the details behind them. Although not in the way he expected, he did receive what he asked for. We often lack the faith of this nobleman. We ask often in an atmosphere of misunderstanding. But just as Jesus cared about the nobleman’s son, He cares about our troubles today. He hears all of our pleas, although He responds according to His own wisdom.

Don’t box the Lord into your idea of answers to prayer. His response may be much more exciting than you expect. – Jim MacIntosh

Lesson for the Lord’sDay

Sunday, June 10th, 2018

Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am He. John 4:26

Did you ever notice how anxious children are to grow up? As adults, we can’t understand their desire to dash through their years. But to a child, the rush to grow up is so intense that they invent fraction birthdays: ‘Now I’m six and a half!’ Why do they want to grow up? Because of the things they believe they can do and have when they are adults. Teenagers can’t wait to turn 16 so they can get a driver’s license. There’s a big push on to get out of school, into a job, and so on. Young adults look forward to marriage, buying a home, raising children, going on dream vacations, even though there’s no money yet to get started on those things. As we get older, we still look for those things we’d like to have and hope to obtain. Even the regrets over failures don’t stop us from hoping for the big events, the big money, the big opportunity. It’s called hope. Few of us realize all our hopes. But there is one area in which everything comes together in the Lord Jesus.

The woman at the well at Sychar spoke of the coming Messiah. All her hopes and expectations for the future lay in that great event. All questions would be answered when He came. Suddenly, He was there! And just as suddenly He was there when He saved us. But even more profound is the wonderful truth that suddenly, He is here now in all the unveiling of his fulfillment of everything that we need today and hope for tomorrow.

Jesus is the fulfillment of all that God had promised during the history of mankind, including the very first promise in the Bible, of the Seed of the woman Who would bruise the serpent’s head. All of the types and illustrations found in the offers, the tabernacle and its furnishings, the words of all the prophets, and the hopes and aspirations of Israel and all true seekers after God have their fulfillment in the Lord Jesus. This the woman of Samaria grasped as she stared at the Stranger at the well. And this you and I have grasped as we came to Him in faith for His salvation. Today, He is still the fulfillment of all those things, and He is everything that God promises and offers us.

Delve into the Scriptures today to find Him to fulfill the dreams of yesterday, to meet the needs of today, and to satisfy the hopes for tomorrow. It pleases the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell. – Jim MacIntosh

Sermon for Saturday

Saturday, June 9th, 2018

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. John 4:23

I noticed a little white building beside the highway with a sign out front urging people to come and worship in the truth. Beside the sign was the name of the organization that met in that little white building. Because of their claim to worship in the truth, I decided to check them out. A Google search on the Internet revealed that this group is in fact a cult that knows very little of the truth. They deny such truth, for example, as Jesus being God the Son, as the existence of the devil, and the reality of salvation by grace alone. They have their own little list of works that must be accomplished to attain salvation. Enough said, it’s pretty obvious that whatever they are worshipping is not the truth. So Jesus was surely not talking about that cult when He spoke of those who His Father sought. So who was He talking about?

In one way, Jesus was speaking about every saved person. We have accepted the truth of our sinnership and Jesus’ Saviourship. Regardless of the form, ritual, tradition, or religious experience and practice, only true believers can truly worship. Many people in many of the denominations, and even those outside any organization, can worship, because they are born again. Some of them are very limited in their abilities to do so because of the stifling power of the religious organizations in which they function. But the more truth they learn and practice, the more they are able to worship. That is why devout and faithful Bible scholars are able to appreciate their times of worship, because they have come into such a deep knowledge of the truth of the Word of God.

So we know that we can worship as individuals as we know the truth. What about collectively, can we worship as a company of believers? The same rule applies, of course. Worship is directly related to truth. If some organizations meet to worship and have in their company some who are not believers, their worship as a company is heavily compromised. So are companies where some believers are living in open and unjudged sin, and where some in the group hold to doctrine that is directly contrary to the truth about the Person of Christ. Worship problems also exist for those who reject the simple truth of God’s pattern for assembling in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. How do we know that we hold the truth? There is a Book that reveals that truth. Those who read and follow that Book are welcome to worship in the Father’s presence.

Pilate asked, ‘What is truth?’ And he walked away. We ask, ‘What is truth?’ And we draw near. – Jim MacIntosh

Food for Friday

Friday, June 8th, 2018

Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again. John 4:13

A recent study probed into the happiness of people at all levels of life and made an interesting discovery. It made no difference where they went, they found people were no different in their levels of happiness and dissatisfaction. In fact they found that some of the most unhappy, despondent, and dissatisfied people in the world had achieved the most in terms of making – or inheriting – money, rising to the top in entertainment and sports, advancing the furthest in the arts, science, and other studies, and seizing the most power and influence. The more people get, it seems, the more they want, and the more they want, the more they realize they can’t hold onto what they already have. Jesus is talking about those people when he speaks of thirsting again after drinking their fill at earth’s wells.

When I am at work, I like to have a glass of water or a mug of coffee nearby. I notice that the sip I had a few minutes ago won’t do for the thirst I am feeling right now. That’s the same staying power as earth’s pleasures and achievements. Those things that people obtain and reach are fleeting, and have no power to truly satisfy. Just as the smoker craves his next puff and the drunk his next guzzle, the things that pertain to earth can never bring us the happiness of satisfaction for more than the briefest of moments. That’s why the Lord Jesus came, to give us the living water that brings us into the possibility of truly satisfying our souls’ thirst.

The living water that Jesus brings is available to us who have eternal life. It is not only available, but it is as abundant as we can possibly use. Why is it then that we neglect the living water to sample the empty wares of earth? If we know that seeking the things of Christ will give us the only true satisfaction, why do we dabble in the things that we know will shortly be burned up? We know better, but we don’t do better, because we are like the ancient Israelites in the wilderness, who hankered after the leeks and onions and garlic of Egypt.

We know we need our times of recreation and entertainment, to keep our minds from atrophy, but we are in danger if we seek those things in the world’s pleasures. We are like the little child who sucks on a straw in an almost empty cup; we get nothing but an irritating noise. We can do better.

Knowing the world’s wells bear water that can never slake thirst, let us seek our refreshment from the things of Christ, His people, and His word. We will never be disappointed. – Jim MacIntosh

Thought for Thursday

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Art Thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? John 4:12

The vice president of our company was a man who took great pride in running all the affairs of the portion of the firm that he was responsible for. His responsibility was for the Canadian branch of the company, and for the most part the American owners allowed him a free hand to run the branch. He held daily meetings with the heads of every department and often visited every employee’s desk to make sure he was fully informed of everything that was happening. Because he was so involved in the day-to-day operations, we had no thought of anybody else as being our boss. We might not always agree with what he told us to do, but we never questioned his authority or his knowledge of all operations. His word was law, and it never crossed our minds that the ceiling was higher than him. Not until the company president in New York came to visit. During that visit, the vice-president was almost invisible. Just like Jacob is when we consider the King of Israel.

From our vantage point, it seems almost hilarious that this woman would wonder if Jesus were greater than Jacob. But she didn’t know who He was, and she did know who Jacob was. Jacob was very important, in her opinion. Not only had Jacob given the nation of Israel its name, but he had also given a tremendous heritage through his sons, and had even given the well that provided the woman her daily refreshment. How could anybody be greater than Jacob? Sometimes we think that way too. We can’t imagine a higher authority, for example, than the Assembly elders, or the preachers. We often set our ceiling no higher than the greatest and best men and women among us. And we miss the reality that Jesus is with us and is deeply involved in our lives.

Yes, it was Jacob who dug the well at Sychar. But it was Jesus Who created the water that flowed into that well. Yes, it was Jacob who established the family that eventually became the nation of Israel. But it was Jesus Who Jacob acknowledged as Lord and to Whom he committed his life. All of the heritage that the Samaritan woman received through Jacob faded away when she came into contact with the One Who truly was greater than Jacob. We also should never lose sight of the lordship of Jesus, and always accord Him the highest place in all our considerations.

What a privilege the Samaritan woman had to give a drink of water to the One greater than Jacob! It is also our privilege today to recognize His greatness, and to serve Him. – Jim MacIntosh