Archive for the ‘Daily Devotional’ Category

Sermon for Saturday

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Luke 16:23

In a BBC interview a few years ago, then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, declared that hell is merely a state of mind, not a real place. During the same interview, he also dismissed the Book of Genesis as being not historically correct, and said he ‘trusted’ that there is a God, although he could not say he knew it as a certainty. Dr. Williams is a very influential man. He is the head of the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion, which claims 77 million members, who look to Dr. Williams for spiritual guidance and leadership. It would appear that Dr. Williams is leading his flock into the very hell he refuses to believe in. Not believing in hell will extinguish none of its flames, nor reduce its level of torment one degree. Do we as Christians believe in hell? Of course we do! The Bible declares its reality. Does that belief make any difference in our lives? Good question!

The next time you are among a crowd of people, such as a busy shopping mall or an airport, look about you at the people’s faces. Know this: the vast majority of those folks, in a few short years, will be wailing out their eternal woes in the flames of hell. They are lost, and most don’t know it. They are helpless and hopeless, and they need to hear the Gospel, even if most of them won’t pay any attention to it. Maybe if we took hell more seriously, the unsaved around us might get the message and seek deliverance.

The fact that we have been delivered from the pit is cause for much rejoicing and gives us much peace. But sometimes, we get comfortable in our Salvation, and forget that although we are secure in Christ, there are swarms of people all about us who are still abiding under the wrath of God. What would it take for us to take an interest in the lost? What would it cost us to hand out a Gospel tract, or speak a word in witness to our redemption? What would it take for us to be shaken out of our apathy and see sinners in their desperate peril of hell’s flames?

Get a match, light it, and quickly blow it out. Smell the sulphurous odour that comes from the match… that’s what the lost will smell for eternity, magnified a million times. Do we care that they are going there? May God grant us a love for lost souls, and a desire to see them delivered from perdition! -Jim MacIntosh

Food for Friday

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. Isaiah 55:8

When Don Richardson took the Gospel to the Sawi natives of New Guinea in the 1950s, he found a people who had no concept of most of the things that the rest of the world takes for granted. Along the Yonkel River, he found villages of people who had never seen anyone outside their own clan, had never travelled any more than a dozen kilometers from their birthplace, had no concept of reading and writing, and had no knowledge of the use of tools beyond what they could fashion out of wood, bone, and stone. But what Mr. Richardson found most frustrating in his efforts to reach these dark souls was their concept of treachery and betrayal as the ultimate goal for achievement. It took the missionary a long time to find a key to make any headway with a people who viewed Judas Iscariot as a super hero. We would find it difficult to deal with people whose thought processes were so different from ours. How difficult must it be for God to get through to humanity, whose thoughts and ideas are so far removed from His own!

Scientists who study the human brain tell us that even the most brilliant among us are capable of using less than ten percent of our mental capacity. Perhaps somewhere in that great untapped 90 percent of our minds is an ability to understand God’s thoughts, I don’t know. But it is evident that even the believers fall desperately short of appreciating God’s thoughts. We are so saturated with our own sinfulness, so enwrapped in an environment that has no time and little appreciation for the Almighty, that even our concept of Who God is is woefully inadequate. And yet God would commune and reason with us.

God seeks to reach us through His Word, which He would unfold for us every day as we read and study it. God reached down to earth in the person of His Son, to purchase our redemption in drops of His precious blood. In Jesus words of ministry and of suffering we find a revelation of the loving heart of God. We know that God is far beyond our ability to comprehend. But we must accept what we can grasp, and seek to align our thoughts with His as much as we can.

How do we learn about God’s thoughts? By reading His expression of those thoughts in His Word. And doing so on a regular basis. -Jim MacIntosh

Thought for Thursday

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Isaiah 55:2

A video team in China went to a part of their city where street vendors sold their wares, and filmed one kiosk where people were buying white balls of what appeared to be meat-flavoured pastry. They were tasty and inexpensive, and were selling quickly. The video team found the shop where the white balls were made, and filmed the process they found there. The crew working in the shop was shredding and grinding up paper and cardboard, mixing it with pork fat, flavourings, and some form of leavening agent. As good as they looked and tasted, the white balls were not pastry at all; they were paper fakes. They remind me of what the devil is serving the world today as he seeks to give temporary satisfaction and keep sinners on the road to hell. Unfortunately, too many Christians are sampling from the devil’s platter of deadly dainties.

One of Old Scratch’s most popular and deadly treats is religion. Billions have plunged headlong into the abyss trusting in their adherence to a creed or doctrine, or set of moral standards, expecting their religion to take them to Heaven. There are far more religious people than atheists in the eternal burnings. As Christians, though, we who know better often get caught up in the form and ritual of meetings and the various services and duties we perform, as though they made us better than others. God wants our hearts before he will accept from our hands.

The satanic platter of hellish hors d’oeuvres has plenty of other items to tempt sinner and saint alike. Pleasures, education, sports, politics, power, and popularity are only a few. These not only keep sinners happy in their sins but also keep saints hustling about at unprofitable things.

Instead of feeding on the fluff of the world, God would have us feed on His Word and have us find our greatest delight to be in His presence. There is real satisfaction and fulfillment in the exploration of the Scriptures. There is real joy and contentment in the knowledge of God.

At whose table have you dined today? Did you get real food, or Satan’s fakes? -Jim MacIntosh

Word for Wednesday

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings, and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall. Malachi 4:2

As a boy growing up on a farm, it never ceased to amaze my siblings and me how shy our neighbour’s cows were of us. In our own pasture, we played among the cows and played with their calves. They were accustomed to our presence, and allowed us to pat them, and even to climb onto their backs. Our neighbour’s pasture was next to ours, and often we would cross through it to reach favourite places along the brook that ran through both properties. In our neighbour’s pasture, which had several large, irregular patches of trees, we would come upon a herd of cows. At our appearance, they would wheel and dash away, remaining at a distance from us and watching us with nervous, suspicious eyes. We could never get anywhere near to them. What was the difference in the two herds of cattle? The difference, I believe, is because our herd was composed of ‘calves of the stall’, and our neighbour’s cattle were not. Just as being ‘calves of the stall’ makes a huge difference to cattle, so too does it make a difference to people.

Calves of the stall had an enormous advantage over calves left to fend for themselves in the fields. Calves of the stall were kept in the barn and tended with loving care several times a day. They were groomed, fed with grain and the best of the hay, and protected from enemies that would harrass or hurt them. Because they were in constant contact with people, they were not afraid of us, but rather looked forward to our appearance, and came quickly when we called them. Calves of the stall are just like Christians, who have come to know and appreciate the presence and the care of our Lord.

Christians have a huge advantage over the unsaved. We are under our Master’s watchful eye, as He provides us with His protection and lavishes His care on us. As the unsaved feed on the wild and evil things of the world, they are spiritually unhealthy and stunted. They are at the mercy of their enemy, the devil. But God cares for, and protects His own. The unsaved do not know the Master’s voice, and flee when He tries to approach them. But the Christian has spent time in His presence, and knows of His loving kindness, and therefore rejoices when He draws near.

As calves of the stall, we have all that is the best in this life and the next. As calves of the stall, we ought never to act as the wild calves of the field. -Jim MacIntosh

Tidings for Tuesday

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? Matthew 16:13

Good Question! And the answers He received were rather enlightening, too. The disciples had the information that Jesus was requesting. They had heard people discussing their Lord and had remembered what people were saying. What about us today? Do we know what those around us think of the Lord Jesus?

Sadly, many know Him as nothing more than a curse word, to many more, He is the icon for their religion, and to others, He was a great teacher or wise guide, to others he was a prophet or messenger from God. How sad that so many think they know about him but are so far off the mark!

If He were just a religious icon, we could erect huge buildings in His honour, create ornate rituals and fashion glorious ceremonies and circumstance. There are some who do that. But they have missed the mark. Jesus never came to set up a religion, not even the Christian religion. Because the Christian religion takes the same approach to reaching God as all of the other religions, tossing in a few extra references to Jesus Christ, it is just as wrong as all the others. The pope is leading billions to hell on the platter of religion.

Even the Mohammedans acknowledge that Jesus was a prophet, although they reject His deity. Their false prophet declared that Jesus was a good prophet, too. But he was wrong, as he was wrong about everything else. Jesus who claimed to be the Son of God could not have been a good prophet if he was lying about that. So Mohammed was wrong either way.

What about your neighbours and fellow-workers? What is their estimation of the Lord Jesus? Ah, that is where we come in. The only way they are going to find out who He is is by watching us, listening to us, noting our Christ-like behaviour and compassion.

Listen to those around you. If they have the wrong opinion of the Lord Jesus, could it be your fault? -Jim MacIntosh

Meditation for Monday

Monday, September 18th, 2017

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father. Galatians 4:6

When they were small, there was something very special about watching my granddaughters as they greeted their father when he arrived from work. These were precious little girls, as delicate and fragile as they were delightful and lovely. By themselves, they seemed so tiny and alone, and at times could appear to be fearful in uncertain circumstances. But when their father picked them up and held them in his arms, they seemed so relaxed and content. There was something about snuggling on Daddy’s ample chest that was all they needed to relax and feel secure. Even one-year-old Grace, who might not at that time have grasped the concept of a Daddy, knew that when the big fellow picked her up, all was right with her little world. As God’s little children, so too ought we to appreciate the reality of safety and security in His nearness.

Just as little girls know that Daddy loves them and is deeply committed to all that is good for them, so we also understand God’s great love and care for us. But do we really understand how tender is his care? Do we really appreciate that His affection for us is far more warm and gentle than that of a devoted earthly father? In today’s text, the term ‘Abba’ is one that was used by a small Aramaic child expressing his feelings toward a loving father. It is a term of affection and tenderness, of nearness and preciousness. It is a term that God would love for us to use as we seek to appreciate Him.

How wonderful to know that God’s great love for lost sinners is so great that He sent His Son to die for our sins! How wonderful to know that God’s love is extended to believers in the provision for all our needs!. How wonderful to know that a loving God protects us and is taking us to be with Himself forever. But today, let us also appreciate that God is also a Father of tender affection for His little ones. And we, His little ones, ought to feel and express our affection for Him, too. -Jim MacIntosh

Lesson for the Lord’s Day

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

And to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many, but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. Galatians 3:16

We were having breakfast in at the hotel in Bangor where we were staying, and about a dozen other guests were having breakfast at the same time. As we usually do, we became engaged in conversation with those around us, including some folks from Massachusetts. One older lady asked us if we were from Maine, to which we replied that we were from New Brunswick. A younger woman seated nearby with her husband, turned and said, ‘We’re from New Brunswick, too’. And she told us she lived in the town of Woodstock. My wife admitted to having relatives in Woodstock, and named her uncle who lives there. Said the other woman, ‘He’s my uncle, too!’. It turned out that she and my wife are first cousins, even though they had never met each other before. Isn’t it fascinating when you find somebody unexpectedly to whom you are related? Guess what, you’re directly related to Abraham! Yes, the patriarch!

How are you related to Abraham? He’s your great-grandfather, many times over. Spiritually, you are a direct descendant of his. More directly, you are in the family of the Lord Jesus Christ, who, as a man, was a direct descendant of Abraham. The great patriarch was known as a friend of God. To him, as our text reminds us, were given the great promises, including the promise of the coming of the Messiah. Abraham was greatly blessed in many ways in his lifetime. But it is through his progeny that we find the blessings dispersed to not only the faithful of Israel, but also to the believing Gentile.

As the spiritual descendants of Abraham, we ought also to appreciate the great promises. Those promises were made to Abraham and to his seed, so they were made to you and me. In Hebrews, we read that Abraham was looking for a city with foundations whose builder and maker is God. As he searched for such a city, Abraham dwelt in tents, as did several generations that followed him. He was satisfied with being in temporary quarters until the promises were delivered. I am not saying that you and I should sell our homes, depart our dwellings, and take up residence in tents. But we could all do a great deal more to distance ourselves from this perishing world and identify ourselves with the Promised Land.

What promises of God are you appreciating today? How special is it that you are headed for that great family reunion in Heaven, when you will align yourself with Grandpa Abraham, to delight in the fulfillment of those great promises. -Jim MacIntosh

Sermon for Saturday

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

And the Scripture, forseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, ‘In thee shall all nations be blessed’. Galatians 3:8

Hey Abraham, do you remember that promise God gave you before you ever left Ur, that all families of the earth would be blessed through you? Yes, I remember that great promise. OK, Abraham, look around the world, and tell me, did God keep His promise? Yes, God has blessed all the world with the Gospel, which He first preached to me. So, Abraham, are you glad that you did as God commanded? Of course, but God’s blessings were not a result of what I did. God blessed me because I believed him. But Abraham, you did great things for God, you accomplished so much for Him. Maybe so, but that is not why God blessed me; He blessed me because I believed Him.

Now do you see why we are told that God preached the Gospel to Abraham? He was not looking for Abraham to DO; He was looking for Abraham to believe. The doing would follow as the direct result of his belief. But it was the belief that God was looking for. In our Gospel messages, we never urge people to be baptized, attend prayer meetings and Bible study, distribute Bibles and tracts, witness to their relatives and friends, and other activities that we associate with Christian living. No, we tell them to believe God. After they have believed His word concerning their sinfulness and Christ’s sufficiency, then they can begin to do the works of a Christian.

Another term for faith is believing God. We read His Word to find out what He is like and what He expects of His children. And we believe what the Word says; we believe God. The proof that we believe God lies in our response to it. Just like Abraham, we venture forth on the path God sets before us, regardless of where it takes us. Because we believe God. If we don’t believe God, we won’t set forth. We won’t do what He wants.

Just as Abraham did not stop believing God as soon as he set forth for Canaan, but believed Him for each stage of his victorious life, so we continue to believe God as we move from one step to the next, from one act of obedience to the next, from one victory to the next. God’s victories for us are not based on our actions, but on our beliefs. We believe He is true. We believe that His Word contains all that we need for our satisfaction, encouragement, edification, guidance, and inspiration. We believe that whatever He has for us is for our best and highest. We believe this, and we are able to perform. If we doubt God, we don’t perform.

How much do you and I really believe God? What are we doing about it? -Jim MacIntosh

Food for Friday

Friday, September 15th, 2017

I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who lived me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Near the peak of a high mountain is a spring, from which flows a steady stream of clear water. As it makes its way down a rocky bed, the flow from the spring strikes a wedge-shaped boulder, which divides the stream in two. Half of the stream flows eastward, and in time makes its way through the streams and lakes to a river that flows at last into the Atlantic Ocean. The other half flows westward, and eventually arrives at the Pacific Ocean. The great difference in the destination of the two sides of the stream begins with a single boulder. Just so, the great difference in the destinations at which we arrive at during our lifetimes is often the result of what we think is a small decision. Those decisions turn out to be life-changing moments, pivots on which our entire existence swing.

When Paul speaks of the ‘life which I now live in the flesh’, he was referring to a life that was different from what it might have been had he remained in the Jew’s religion. For him, it was a day trip to Damascus, rather than spending the time in Jerusalem. But what a difference! For us, it might be a course selected in school, a particular person befriended, a meeting attended, a book read, the possibilities are endless. But back there in our past were small decisions that had incredibly huge consequences. Those decisions determined our destiny, in many ways. What about the decisions that we make today, what effect will they have on what our life is like in ten years’ time?

When you get up tomorrow morning, you will put on certain articles of clothing. Those items may not seem to make much difference to you, after all, they are just clothes. But they will make a difference in how people perceive you. They will impact what people think of you, whether they should allow your appearance to affect their attitude or not. And if your choices of clothing were inappropriate for a Christian, your testimony is negatively affected by the decision you made about what to pull out of your closet. Today, you will make many decisions, most of them small and seemingly insignificant. No, it will make no difference to anyone if you scratch your nose with your right hand or your left. But it could make a huge difference to another Christian if you give them a word of encouragement or a word of criticism.

Think about your decisions today, pray for the Lord to guide you into right decisions, You have no idea how much difference it will make in your life, or someone else’s. -Jim MacIntosh

Thought for Thursday

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

But they had heard only that he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed, and they glorified God in me. Galatians 1:23-24

In a country far away from here, a small group of Christians had built a radio station, from which they faithfully sent forth the Gospel message, and which proved to be a great blessing to saint and sinner alike. Their faithfulness resulted in many souls being saved. But the radio station and its transmitter tower were on property that was next to a powerful supporter of the traditional religion in that country. This man proved to be a powerful opponent, doing everything he could to harass the staff of the station, and to interrupt power to the transmitter. Several times he succeeded in forcing the station off the air for short periods. He had threatened violence against the station workers, and on one occasion tried to burn down the building. His opposition exhausted the resources of the Christians, and they came to the point where they realized they would need to shut down the station. As the station workers arrived for what they believed would be the last day of broadcasting, they were met by the very man who had opposed their presence. With tears in his eyes, he handed them a large sum of money, apologizing for his previous actions. This man told them that he had been injured in a car accident, and while in hospital, he had heard the Gospel on the radio station, and God had reached and saved him. From that point onward, this man was the most stalwart supporter of that radio station. His testimony reminds us very much of that of the Apostle Paul, as he describes in today’s text.

Do you know of anybody who has professed to be saved, but has not been any different from what they were before. For good reason, you doubt whether their profession is real. On the other hand, you also know people who have undergone great changes in their life, entire transformations, as a result of their conversion. You have very little doubts about those people. Not everybody undergoes such a dramatic change as Saul of Tarsus. But we all have experienced some degree of change, otherwise something is wrong.

What is different about you today from your unsaved days? What do you appreciate now that you did not before? What direction has your life taken that it would never have ventured had you remained in your sins? Today, give thanks to God that He has delivered you from a wasted life, and given you something worthwhile to live for. -Jim MacIntosh