Archive for the ‘Daily Devotional’ Category

Lesson for the Lord’s Day

Sunday, October 25th, 2020

The word of the Lord that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam, the son of Joash, king of Israel. Hosea 1:1

Hosea had a rather amazing ministry. The Lord told him to take for his wife a prostitute. That must have been extremely humiliating for a prophet, a man who had a close relationship with his God. And yet, no doubt because of his close relationship with the Lord, we read of no hesitation or questioning on Hosea’s part. He went and took Gomer for his wife, who bore children whose names were messages to the people of Judah and Israel. Hosea was totally faithful and obedient. Why would God place upon Hosea such a demanding and seemingly demeaning responsibility? I believe a look at Hosea’s name is the key.

The name Hosea means Salvation. He is in this situation a little illustration of the Lord Jesus, whose name means Saviour. Just as Hosea was instructed to enter into a relationship with a wicked woman, so the Lord Jesus was given the mission from His Father to come into this word to find for Himself a bride. And make no mistake, we are no better than Gomer, no matter how we like to consider ourselves respectable. And the Lord entered into great humiliation in order to purchase us for Himself. Just as Hosea was obedient, so too was God’s Perfect Servant. Our hearts smite us today with shame, as we recall how we have been unfaithful and faltering in our response to the love of God and the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus.

We appreciate God’s Salvation today. But as we do so, let no thought of pride enter our hearts. Our Salvation is possible only because our Saviour humbled Himself and submitted to His Father’s will. Thank Him for bringing us into His family! -Jim MacIntosh

Sermonette for Saturday

Saturday, October 24th, 2020

My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and Thou sewest up mine iniquity. Job 14:17

A young man with whom I worked one time was a new Christian, and he was a delight to talk with as he enjoyed the reality of his Salvation. ‘I used to be a sinner,’ he told me one day. ‘Now I’m a saint who sometimes sins.’ That sounds like a good way to look at it. As Christians, we are painfully aware that we are still capable of sinning and stumbling and straying. But we need to keep in mind that all of our sins are covered by the Blood, and are no longer on our account. Our text describes them as being sealed up in a bag. Now, that should be something to rejoice about today!

The one-room school that I attended as a child had a stack of beanbags that we used in our daily exercise period. Each bag had about a cup of beans in it. But I have no idea whether the bags contained navy, yellow-eye, Jacob’s Cattle, or whatever types of beans. We never saw the beans because they were sewn inside those stout little bags. They were like our sins, as far as God is concerned. Like us, He is aware of our transgressions, but He does not look upon them. He doesn’t need to, because they are forever covered. Satan is aware of our sins, too, and every day he stands before God to accuse us. In response, the Lord Jesus points to Calvary and the devil loses the argument.

Hebrews 8:12 tells us: For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. In a judicial way, God actually forgets our sins. I have always loved the wonderful words of Napoleon Vandall’s hymn My Sins are Gone: They’re underneath the blood at the cross of Calvary, as far removed as darkness is from dawn. In the sea of God’s forgetfulness, that’s good enough for me. Praise God! My sins are gone! You and I must agree with Mr. Vandall’s declaration and proclaim, ‘What a wonderful Salvation we have!’

Is all your sin sewed up in a bag? It surely is if you are a child of God. Isn’t it about time we shouted Hallelujah! for what God has done for us? -Jim MacIntosh

Food for Friday

Friday, October 23rd, 2020

And I will give her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope, and she shall sing there. Hosea 2:15

What a lovely expression is ‘a door of hope’! This world that knows nothing of peace knows little more about hope. Discouragement and disappointment surge across humanity like tsunamis, with very few situations of any kind showing any improvement. The great leaps forward for humanity that have been prophesied and proclaimed for decades, perhaps centuries, have fizzled and proven false. The great disruptions and discouragements triggered by the coronavirus pandemic have begun to snowball as second waves sweep through much of the world with little reason to believe a third wave, and maybe a fourth, will be along in a matter of months. Hopeless humanity needs a door.

But does humanity need this particular door? The name Achor means ‘trouble’. No, humanity does not need any more trouble, none of us with any sense seeks trouble. But God says a door named ‘trouble’ is to be a door of hope.

We know Who the door is. The Lord Jesus proclaimed himself to be the door. Why trouble? Isaiah tells us that ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities…’ yes, He surely knew what trouble was. As He contemplated Calvary, He could say, ‘Now is My soul troubled’ (John 12:27).

But two chapters later He could twice tell His disciples, ‘Let not your heart be troubled’. Our Door of hope has borne our troubles for us. Now we can bring our troubles to Him, knowing that He has already dealt with them.

We can also point Him out to the unsaved as the Door of hope. As we continue to preach the Gospel and live the Gospel before a world of lost and hopeless sinners, let us proclaim Him as humanity’s only hope. And a sure hope at that! Well might we sing of Him! -Jim MacIntosh

Thought for Thursday

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

He also shall be my Salvation; for an hypocrite shall not come before Him. Job 13:16

Hypocrites take a lot of blame for turning people against God. We have all heard people say they don’t want to have anything to do with God or ‘religion’ because there are so many hypocrites in the churches. It’s true that many of the denominations, and even our Assemblies, have far too many hypocrites in them. There are so many people who pretend to be sweet and holy when they gather on a Sunday but who are vicious, cold, profane, and crooked the other six days of the week. There are always far too many hypocrites around us, that’s true. And sometimes, we can’t tell the difference. But don’t you think that God can always tell the difference?

Our text tells us that hypocrites have no standing before God. The seemingly pious bishop who helped negotiate compensation for victims of abuse was able to hide for years that his computer was filled with pornography and filth, but he was eventually caught. What about those others who have not been caught? They may never face justice here on earth, but there is a Judge Whose knowledge is perfect and Whose judgments are right. What about the pleasant-faced gentleman who collects funds to help supply his church’s soup kitchen but slips half of the collection into his own pocket? There are so many who are not what they seem to be when it comes to goodness and Godliness! Surely we are not among them!

If we examine ourselves carefully, we will see that we harbour little hypocricies in our own lives. We speak against those who have made grave mistakes without mentioning that we too have erred in the same way. We encourage generous donations to help Christians recover from natural disasters, but find ways to avoid contributing from our own pocketbooks. We misrepresent all sorts of things in our lives, to make other Christians think we are in better spiritual condition, more devoted to the work of the Gospel, more involved in Assembly activities, better prayer warriors, or otherwise doing better than we actually are. In many cases, the other Christians will never know any different. But God knows. And He has little room or time for hypocrites.

The God Who has given us His Salvation expects us to be as honest and as sincere as He is. Otherwise, we can’t come before Him. -Jim MacIntosh

Word for Wednesday

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying to one another, What meaneth this? Acts 2:12

Our text marks a crossroads in the history of the world. For the first time in history, the Gospel was being preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, and what an impact it made! Those who heard those early preachers in the streets and marketplaces of old Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost were hearing the ‘Glorious Glad Tidings’ in their own languages. It had two very powerful but conflicting effects on those listeners: amazement and doubt.

The amazement was partly because of the ability of the preachers to spread their messages in whatever languages the hearers understood. This was miraculous indeed! But the amazement was also because of the message that these men were preaching, that Jesus Christ Who had died upon the cross was raised from the dead and that His death and resurrection were for the salvation of sinners. No such message had ever been proclaimed before. it was an amazing message.

But this great event was also accompanied by doubt. Although people could hear the Gospel in their native tongue, some of them were unable to accept what was being said. They had come to Jerusalem for a religious event, and what they were hearing was far outside of anything they could have expected to encounter. They had come to tell God about all that they would do for Him, and the message that all the work God required was completed at Calvary didn’t fit into their plans. The report of the resurrection was just too much for them to accept. They doubted whether any of it was true or whether any of it applied to them.

Sadly, these same two reactions to the Gospel are met today. A few are amazed, and believe. The majority doubt, and reject.

But there was a rich harvest of souls that day. In reality, there will be a rich harvest of souls today, too. Regardless of the antagonism and apathy that we encounter, God will still have us preach the Gospel, because some will believe. -Jim MacIntosh

Tidings for Tuesday

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said ‘the Lord rebuke thee’. Jude 9

Michael’s title indicates that he holds an uppermost rank among the angelic beings, a sphere that we know little about. God did not send ‘regular’ angels to conduct Moses’ funeral and burial, He sent the most senior in rank from among them. That speaks volumes regarding God’s opinion of Moses, even of his body.

But let us not forget that Michael, in confronting Satan, was facing one who had at one time held a position higher than himself. Satan was the greatest of the angelic creation. His power and capabilities, even at this point, may well have exceeded Michael’s, we don’t know. And so, we find Michael exercising restraint, and referring to God’s judgment against Satan. No railing accusation was issued, even though Satan deserved a good tongue-lashing; our text records that Michael did not dare. So too we should recognize Satan’s power and craft, against which we are no match.

But why did Satan want Moses’ body? Here’s a suggestion… Satan knew that if he could present that body to the children of Israel, they would revere it, in time come to worship it; worship and reverence that belong to the Lord alone. Satan could use that body to rob God of what is His by right. It could certainly happen; look how the leaders of the false religions such as Mohammedanism have been worshipped by their followers. Look what an idol the Soviets made of the body of Lenin. And look at the wisdom of God in His order for the Assembly, in making sure that no one man – or woman – ever reaches a position of domination to claim authority or reverence that is not theirs to claim.

What is Satan trying to get you to worship today? Let the Lord rebuke him, and reserve your worship for the One who rightfully and lovingly deserves it. -Jim MacIntosh

Meditation for Monday

Monday, October 19th, 2020

But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. Galatians 3:25

One of our high school teachers was a stickler for proper decorum and respect. Nobody spoke out of turn in his class; nobody addressed him in anything but the most respectful manner. He made sure we understood his authority in the classroom was absolute. He was a good teacher, and he deserved the respect he demanded. Several of our classmates were gathered at the drugstore for a milk shake one day, after we had received our final marks, and were graduates. Our teacher came in the door, and we all addressed him respectfully, as we were accustomed to do. He broke into a grin and declared, ‘You aren’t under my thumb anymore, guys, You can call me Bob now!’ Calling him Bob was difficult to do, after calling him Mr. for so long. It was also hard for the Jewish believers of Paul’s day to step out from under the schoolmaster they had been subject to.

Our school teachers had authority over us as long as we were in school. But when we reached graduation day, that authority ended. The very purpose of those teachers was to bring us to that point in our lives when their authority was to end. It was the same with the law. Its purpose was to take the adherent to the day of faith, the arrival of a better covenant, the fulfillment of all that the law and the prophets spoke. Letting go of that law was difficult for many in the early days. In fact, they sought to mingle law and grace as requirements for the Gentile believers. One of Paul’s major struggles in his dealings with the early Assemblies of his day was to get through to them that the law had completed its purpose and held no more sway. The law even today is a stumbling block, and even among our Assemblies today it arises. But it should not.

Someone told me of an Assembly where the men are required to wear black suits; no other colour is permitted, and a man not wearing a black suit is not allowed to break bread. Sisters are likewise under a rigid dress code. That is wrong. Those who enforce such unscriptural rules are violating the truth of our text. They are adding to the doctrine of faith, making it no more faith. We need to be very careful when we apply rules to God’s people that we do not overstep the Word of God.

No, faith does not give us license to behave unseemly in the House of God. But it also does not give us license to impose on God’s people an unscriptural burden of rules and restrictions. -Jim MacIntosh

Lesson for the Lord’s Day

Sunday, October 18th, 2020

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. Galatians 3:13

The reference here to a curse on those who hang on a tree is to Deuteronomy 21, where a person has committed a crime worthy of death. Such people, if they are hanged on a tree, are cursed, God declares. The two thieves who were crucified on either side of Jesus at Calvary were under such a curse. Their crimes were worthy of death, as one of the malefactors confessed. But the One on the centre cross, as the same thief confessed, had done nothing amiss. But He was still under a curse… not that he had committed a crime worthy of death, but we had. He was there under the curse that each of us deserved. As our Substitute, Jesus was bearing our curse. As we look upon the bread and the cup today, we confess how we deserved that curse, and how the only Man who never deserved that curse bore it willingly for us.

The law had put us into a great debt to God, a debt so great that it was deserving of death. We understand that the soul that sinneth, it shall die. We understand not only that all have sinned, but that I have sinned and am not worthy to be called God’s child. Our only hope of escaping that great debt and of avoiding that curse was to have a redeemer. So we rejoice today at the truth of today’s text that Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law.

What do we see when we consider the Lord Jesus in Gethsemane’s submission to the Father’s will? A Redeemer! What do we see when we consider the Lord Jesus being rejected and despised at Gabatha? A Redeemer! What do we see today when we ponder the agonies of Golgotha’s crucifixion? a Redeemer! And beholding Him there on our behalf, we declare with the hymn writer, My Redeemer, Thou hast my salvation wrought!

Him Who accepted our curse upon the tree we joyfully bless today, and thank Him for removing forever the curse that we deserved. -Jim MacIntosh

Sermonette for Saturday

Saturday, October 17th, 2020

That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through Faith. Galatians 3:14

Some years ago, one of our little granddaughters would lift up her voice and scream at the supper table for some of what was in a bowl at the other end of the table. What she failed to realize was that if she were to drop her eyes to her own plate, she would see plenty of what was in that bowl. She screamed because she was unaware that she already had what she was screaming for. She was just like some of the Pentecostal groups around us who make a great show of praying for the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Some of those poor folks, of course, are not saved at all. They have some form of religion, and they are caught up in the emotionalism of their services. But they are lost. But, some others among them are truly saved. And as they pray for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, they are ignorant that what they seek is already theirs. The same faith that saved them is the same faith that has brought them into the blessing of Abraham, the promise of the spirit, through faith.

This is amazing, that you and I have received something that faithful Abraham was denied in His lifetime: a Person of the Godhead dwelling within. God spoke directly to Abraham. God led him and directed him and communed with him frequently. God dealt with Abraham in ways that we have never experienced. God even speaks of Abraham has His friend, His personal friend. But Abraham never had the Spirit within. So we look at Abraham and are amazed that he was able to achieve as much and to be as faithful as he was. But then, we look at ourselves, and are amazed that we are able to achieve as little and to be as lacking of faith as we are. We have the Spirit; why do we fall so short of what Abraham achieved?

Yes, Abraham was a special man, God’s man for his time. But he was a man, just like us. And in all his long years of faithfulness to God, he did not have the Comforter that you and I have. He did not have the Encourager that you and I benefit from (or should). He did not have the ever-present Teacher, the ever-necessary Sustainer, the ever-available Enabler. As we think of what we have, in terms of the Holy Spirit dwelling within, we should be ashamed that we are so small in our life of devotion and service.

We have what Abraham was promised. Can we tap into the Spirit’s resources today and, by faith, serve as a friend of God? -Jim MacIntosh

Food for Friday

Friday, October 16th, 2020

Behold He cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him, Even so, Amen. Revelation 1:7

When does this great revelation of Christ to all of humanity take place? Certainly not during our tenure here on earth. Some have linked the great appearance John describes here with the Rapture, but that is certainly not so. This is an appearance before all, not just the saved. We will have been called Home well before this great event.

The clouds that are mentioned here are not rain-bearing mists, but great manifestations of the judgment of God. How different from the age in which we live, in which the rain falls on the just and the unjust, in which God dispenses His blessings and kindnesses to mankind despite incredibly widespread rejection of His greatest kindness, the giving of His Son!

The clouds were beautiful as I took my little granddaughter to her mother’s van, pointing out the lovely shades of pink and red to her, and trying to explain why the clouds had taken on such magnificent hues. We can appreciate clouds at times, and we depend on their bounty of rain far more than we often realize. Storm clouds can be threatening, and can deliver incredible mayhem, but they are signs of God’s goodness, not His judgment. And they have been so ever since the Flood. But the clouds of wrath and judgment are going to come, and untold millions will wail for eternity.

In this age of grace and clouds of goodness, let us praise God that we were brought within the shelter of His Salvation. And let us also push on with the Gospel, to present others with God’s story of love and mercy before they are left behind for His wrath and judgment. -Jim MacIntosh