Archive for the ‘Daily Devotional’ Category

Tidings for Tuesday

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

And He was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow, and they awake Him and say unto Him, Master, carest Thou not that we perish? Mark 4:38

A large ship was struggling through a severe storm that swept across the ocean. There was little the crew could do beyond making sure everything was fastened down. Most of the nervous passengers gathered fearfully in the ship’s lounge, and talked about their concerns for the ship’s safety. After awhile, they noticed one of the passengers stretched out on a cot in the corner, sound asleep. One of the other men approached him, shook him awake and asked him how he could be so calm in such a storm. The man replied that he was a Christian, and had committed his safety to the Lord. He told the others that the Bible declares that God never slumbers or sleeps, so there was no point in his losing sleep over something that was in the Lord’s hands. The account of Jesus sleeping through a Galilean storm is a perfect example of trusting God.

If the disciples had full confidence that Jesus was the Son of God, they would never have worried about the storm. They would also never have accused Him of not caring whether they perished. His sleeping should have given them perfect confidence that the storm could not harm them. But they were more aware of the height of the waves and the rising level of the bilge than they were of the power of the One asleep in the stern. The circumstances and the surroundings took so much of their attention that they became awash in fear as well as water. They were just like us so many times when the storms of life appear to threaten us.

We are human, so it is not easy for us to learn to trust and commit everything to the Lord. We see how big the problems are and forget how big our God is. We need to start with the little issues that arise every day, and practice committing those to the Lord. Such a practice teaches us to trust the Lord, and gives us greater confidence in His awareness of our lives and His care over us. Our faith will grow and so will our appreciation of our Lord. Few things in life are more important for us to learn than that.

Just think about it, does our Lord really care whether we perish? Of course He does; we are his children. He will always take care of us, regardless of the size of the storm, because He is greater than any storm. – Jim MacIntosh

Meditation for Monday

Monday, October 8th, 2018

And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased, and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. Mark 4:8

I remember walking around the fields sown with oats on the farm where I grew up. There were always a few problems, no matter how good the field or favourable the location. Some would have boggy or rocky areas where the seed did poorly, others would bear weeds of various kinds, others would be invaded by murders of crows that would feast on the seed, and one field had a corner that had the soil, seed and all, swept away in a freshet when the brook overran its banks. One field had soil so poor that very few seed actually sprouted, and the crop was thin and stunted. But in the main, those fields were green and well-filled with profitable growth as the season moved along. These main areas of the fields with good growth are like the good ground in our parable. the only areas that are of much concern to God. This is the part of the field where you and I find ourselves.

Even in the good ground portion, there is a wide variety of outcome. There is a huge difference between the thirty and the hundred. And between those two multipliers is a wide spread of differences. What are the factors that make the spread so huge. It is true we are all different in our personalities, our abilities, our backgrounds, and our intelligence. God know that, and takes those factors into account. Outside of these things are the attitudes, teaching, and spiritual encouragements that we avail ourselves of. For example, an Assembly that is very strong in its Gospel outreach can have individuals who have little or no interest in spreading the Gospel, while Assemblies that have little emphasis in Gospel outreach can have individuals who are vibrant in their Gospel testimony and exercise. As we stand side by side, we ought to be the same in our fruitfulness, but we are not.

As I walked around the grainfield when the oats were heading up, I could see the grains forming and bending the stock with their weight. I could appreciate that in a few weeks, the ripened grain would be reaped, and there would be an excellent increase. The coming harvest was worth anticipating, because of the green promise of those heavy stalks.

As Christians, we should be encouraged and excited at the prospects that lie before us as the Gospel is preached. We should eagerly anticipate the sowing, the watering, and the harvesting every day, every Gospel meeting, and every series. We should also seek to increase and improve our efforts and attitudes, so our corner of the field brings the highest possible yield. – Jim MacIntosh

Lesson for the Lord’s Day

Sunday, October 7th, 2018

Hearken, behold, there went out a sower to sow. Mark 4:3

Why does the word ‘hearken’ appear at the beginning of this parable? I suggest it tells us that something very important is about to be presented. Something very profound is being launched in this parable that holds meaning from that moment until now. The sower going out to sow is an illustration of the launching of the Gospel, the same Gospel that was preached in Jesus’ day and down through the centuries, and the same Gospel that is being preached this very Lord’s Day evening. The Sower is the Holy Spirit, enabling and encouraging preachers and witnesses and all who strive together for the furtherance of the Gospel. But the Gospel came about because the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world (1 John 4:14). In the parable of the sower we see the entire purpose of the Trinity, a purpose that included you and me.

If the parable of the sower is a launching point for the Gospel, we can be thankful today that the launching has been followed by the faithful centuries of Gospel preaching. From that seaside parable of the Lord Jesus until now, we are in awe at the workings of the Holy Spirit in the lives of mankind. Throughout our world there are precious souls who have received the Seed of the Word of God. All around us are those who are saved, including many that we are unaware of. Whether by the spread of the Bible by underground means in communist lands, or by the humble weekly presentation of messages by local brethren, or by the handing out of Gospel tracts by Believers everywhere, or in however many ways that the Seed is sown, we see the outflowing of the fulfilment of the parable of the sower. What a wonderful plan of Salvation our God has created!

Our parable doesn’t say anything about the Sower, other than His work. The focus is on the Seed and its fruit. This should be a lesson to us today, that if the Holy Spirit is to draw no attention to Himself in the spreading of the Gospel, then neither should we. Of course, we appreciate the gifts and the efforts of our faithful preaching brethren. But they will be the first to assure us that in every Gospel message they preach, they desire to be hidden behind the cross. There is no glory to be perceived for ourselves, because it is not us who save, or even deliver the Seed of the Word.

When there went out a Sower to sow, His work reached us. And now, His work is also ours, that we might be part, not only of the harvest, but of the faithful sowing that brings others into the blessing. – Jim MacIntosh

Sermon for Saturday

Saturday, October 6th, 2018

And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him. Mark 3:6

Do you remember the account in Genesis of the flood that Noah and his family survived? Although we know the population of the earth after the flood was eight souls, we don’t know what the population of the earth was before the flood. Presumably there were millions of people then. Judging by their lack of response to Noah’s preaching, these folks had little time or interest for God and His word. Their lives were filled with rebellion and violence. They were so sinful that God determined to destroy them. And He did, apart from Noah’s family. The magnitude of the flood that swept away the antedeluvian world is difficult to grasp. And yet, a God so capable of destroying His enemies at His will was the same God that the Pharisees and Herodians sought to destroy in today’s text. We marvel at their gall!

It was not just a wandering teacher, an unconventional rabbi, or a challenger of authority that these leaders were trying to tackle. We know they were mistaken about Jesus in many ways. But they had seen, or had heard reports of, His miracles and His power. They should have known that He was far beyond any efforts on their part to destroy. But they launched their plotting anyway, in their rejection and envy. Rejection and envy all around us these days are the hallmarks of those who would try to destroy Jesus and anything to do with Him. And although they might appear to be temporarily successful , they are doomed to fail utterly.

As Christians, we become frustrated to see evil triumph, especially that evil that challenges the Word of God. Those who belong in the abortionist and homosexual camps are making great strides to stifle the Scriptures because the Bible condemns them. The Mohammedans with their vile false prophet, their violence-promoting Koran, and their repressive and hateful laws, do all they can to turn people against the pure and holy, meek and lowly Jesus. Academics and scientists whose theories are condemned by Scripture also have no use for the Truth. Enemies of Christ and His cross seem to grow more numerous and more powerful. And yet, we know what their end is. We know they must fail eventually, much as it frustrates us now to see their foolish efforts.

Those who mocked the Lord Jesus on the Cross must have felt they had succeeded in destroying Him. What they had actually done was craft their own defeat and witness His victory. His victory will soon be ours, too, despite the rebellion around us today. – Jim MacIntosh

Food for Friday

Friday, October 5th, 2018

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 recognizes 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, October 4th, 2018

And He entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there which had a withered hand. Mark 3:1

I remember the old car that brought the mail to our rural mailbox beside the road when I was a little boy. The driver was a former soldier who had lost his right arm in the war. How he was able to drive that car and put the mail into the boxes along his route is beyond me. But he managed. It is surprising how much some people are able to accomplish despite physical disabilities, and their courage and perseverence is an inspiration to the rest of us. But the man in our text who had the withered hand was certainly at a disadvantage. We wonder how he came to be in that condition.

The withered hand speaks of inability to serve or work. Spiritually speaking, many Christians have withered hands, and have very little to offer in terms of their service to their Lord. Like a physically withered hand, a spiritual withered hand is a result of a birth defect, a lack of exercise, or a lack of nourishment.

A Christian whose withered hand is a result of a birth defect is a Christian who is still living in the same environment as they were in before they were saved. It is almost like they were never born again. They can do nothing for their Lord while they live in and for the world.

The Christian whose withered hand is a result of lack of exercise is one who has never gotten involved in any Gospel effort or Assembly activities. They can’t do anything because they never have. And there is no initiative on their part to flex their spiritual muscles and actually do anything. Pathetic condition, that.

The third group of Christians with a withered hand due to a lack of nourishment are those who spend no time in the Word of God or in the company of God’s people. They starve their souls by neglecting that which would build them up in their most holy faith. Powerless Christians, those.

There is a fourth group of withered handed people, those who have met with an accident. In the spiritual sphere, this is referring to Christians who have had a fall into sin. Until there is full restoration, there is no ability to serve. But this group of withered hands has hope of a return to strength and service, if they submit to the chastisement of the Lord.

We need to be careful we are not afflicted with withered hands. We also need to help those Christians who have this affliction, to lift them into the sphere of joyful service to Christ. – Jim MacIntosh

Word for Wednesday

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

But the days will come, when the Bridegroom shall be taken away from them; and then shall they fast in those days. Mark 2:20

I had a bachelor uncle who had stayed pretty much on the farm, and had little interest in most of the trappings of town. When he was getting along in years, he made a friend who decided to introduce my uncle to some of the things he had been missing. One night, they went to a restaurant and ordered a big pizza, the first pizza my uncle had ever tasted. He was delighted, and remarked that he regretted waiting so long. He could have had pizza many years before, but chose not to. That’s the opposite of us, who would love to sit down and partake of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, but we have to wait.

Here in Canada, we don’t know what fasting is all about. It’s not a part of our culture in any way, and it’s not something we have to do because of a lack of food. As far as our taste buds and our tummies are concerned, we don’t fast. But spiritually speaking, we are fasting. All the glorious treasures of Heaven are not ours yet. Much as we can enjoy our Bibles, our meetings of the Assembly, the prayers and meditations, the fellowship with other saints, all these are precious and wonderful. But they constitute a fast, when compared with the feast of spiritual delights of Heaven. We hardly know what we are missing, because we can’t understand what that Place and its glories are like. The greatest glory, of course, is the presence of our Lord, and our occupation with Him will satisfy us completely. And the time is drawing near when we will break our fast forever.

Despite our fast, we do not feel deprived. Ours is the promise of our Lord’s soon return and the assurance of our seat at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Ours is the anticipation of the fulfillment of the promises our Lord has made to us, and the hope of glory. We have so much to look forward to that we can put up with the limit that our flesh places on our appreciation of Heaven. Just as the best thing about every fast is its ending, so we can look forward to the ending of our fast.

Our Lord has given us enough spiritual blessings to keep us safe and nourished during our fast. His Word, His Assembly, and His people are enough for now. Maranatha! – Jim MacIntosh

Tidings for Tuesday

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto His disciples, How is it that He eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? Mark 2:16

A quiet man, a stranger to us, joined us at our table during the company’s Christmas banquet. Although he didn’t say much, he acted friendly and pleasant, and enjoyed his meal like the rest of us. He gave only his first name and aroused so little curiosity that we didn’t ask him who he was or where he was from. During the ceremonies after we had eaten, the regional vice-president told us he was not going to be making the speech. Instead, he was going to allow the corporate president to address us. We looked around for the man but could not see him in the dining hall. Imagine our surprise when the vice-president pointed to our table, and introduced the quiet man who had been our table companion! He earned a lot of respect from us, as we realized he was not too important to sit with the regular workers. We should also revere the Lord Jesus all the more to consider His willingness to dine with the lowlife and riffraff of society.

We cannot imagine the glory that the Lord Jesus had before He came to this earth. Angels rushed to minister to Him, and worship and adoration was His right and due. But at the publicans’ banquet, most had little idea Who He was, although they surely appreciated His companionship. But looking back on that dinner, we realize that the scribes and Pharisees asked a good question, although from the wrong motive. How is it that the Lord from Heaven could sit in such a company? What made such an appearance at that meal possible? What’s more, what makes it possible for Him to be our daily companion today? We can start with the grace of God. That grace has brought us into His banqueting house. We can also consider His love. Love so amazing that it brought the Lord Jesus not only into the world but all the way to the cross to bridge the gap between ourselves and the holiness of God!

We often make choices as to who we spend time with, who we associate with, who we allow to share our space and time. There are some people who we choose to exclude. Do you realize that Jesus never made such a discriminatory choice? All those who want His presence will be welcome. After all, we are not any better than those folks who enjoyed His presence at Levi’s house.

Did the Lord Jesus actually enjoy the company of those publicans and sinners? Yes He did! And He enjoys our company today, longing that we would enjoy His companionship more. – Jim MacIntosh

Meditation for Monday

Monday, October 1st, 2018

And it came to pass that, as Jesus sat at meat at his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and His disciples, for there were many, and they followed Him. Mark 2:15

Let’s suppose you were to send out an invitation to everybody that you work with (or go to school with), urging them to come to your home for a Gospel meeting, where they will be told about Jesus’ offering of salvation. In your invitation, you mention that Jesus has saved you and made you one of His disciples. How many would actually show up? Let me guess the percentage would be small. The interest just would not be there. Your invitation would be tossed on the trash heap of disinterest. So how did Levi, or Matthew as he is also known, manage to get such a great turnout to a Gospel supper at his house? For one thing, he actually had the great Healer in attendance. For another, he had his great experience on which to base his excitement when issuing the invitation. Maybe that would help us to get a better response.

No, we can’t have the Lord Jesus physically present when we invite people to a Gospel meeting. So we have to rely on the effectiveness of the invitation. We have to get the message across that the Gospel is an exciting and worthwhile message to hear. Matthew served a supper; perhaps we could serve a Gospel supper as a way to encourage people to come to a meeting. It actually works. Matthew also didn’t discriminate when he issued the invitation. Despite the holiness of his special Guest, he threw the invitation wide open to all the tax gatherers and to the social outcasts who usually consorted with the tax people. These were members of his social circle and Matthew knew they all needed to meet Jesus. He also cared enough them to urge them to come. He serves as an excellent example to us in reaching friends and acquaintances with the Gospel.

We don’t know the result of that Gospel supper in terms of those who came to trust the Lord Jesus. But because those folks were there, they had an opportunity that few have ever experienced. There is coming a great supper at which we will appreciate Jesus’ presence. But it hasn’t happened yet. Those publicans and sinners have enjoyed something we have not yet enjoyed. All because Matthew cared, and because he know Jesus would be glad to meet with his friends.

Would Jesus be glad to meet with your friends? Have you given them the opportunity to meet Him? It may be their only opportunity. – Jim MacIntosh

Lesson for the Lord’s Day

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not. Ruth 2:16

Boaz was very kind to Ruth, and appreciated what Ruth had done for Naomi. So he told his workers to make sure there was plenty of grain for Ruth to glean. His reference to handfuls of purpose is interesting, because Ruth could not help but notice that they were being generous toward her. So too we should take notice that our Heavenly Boaz has arranged for us to have our ‘handfuls of purpose’.

We get far more than we deserve each day from the Lord. We get temporal blessings abundant: we eat well, we sleep safely, and we dress comfortably. Also, we are given spiritual kindnesses every day from the Book. We have dear saints praying for us, we have the Assembly’s care and shelter for us, the list could go on and on. Take a look around and you wll easily see the ‘handfuls of purpose’ that God has arranged for you to glean today.

One of the special ‘handfuls of purpose’ that we receive each week is the word of ministry that is given at the conclusion of the Breaking of Bread. This is always a very special word that we can count on. Do you pay close attention to it? God has given some brother some thoughts that he is exercised to share with us, and he faithfully passes this message along.

Another valuable source of ‘handfuls of purpose’ are the thoughts that are passed on during the Bible readings. Many of these are gems mined by the studious efforts of brethren, are precious to them, and so are presented to the Assembly.

What do you do with the ‘handfuls of purpose’ that God gives you? Gather them for yourself and feed your soul! – Jim MacIntosh