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Meditation for Monday

September 27th, 2021

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. Colossians 1:15

There must have been something about me when I was a toddler that reminded many people of my father, because I remember people referring to me as ‘a chip off the old block’. By that, they meant that I appeared to be made of the same stuff as my Dad. Looking back on my life and his, I think they were wrong. We had many differences in many areas.

But when we come to the person of the Lord Jesus, He was exactly like his Father. Of course, we know it could not have been otherwise, and He Himself could say, ‘I and my Father are one’. They are both God, with all of the attributes of Deity. And in His coming into the world, Jesus showed to us the character of the Father. So when we come to the second part of our verse, we find the One who is the firstborn is the only One who could live up to what the Father required. As the firstborn, He has the birthright, He is the inheritor, He is the successor. The term firstborn refers to His position among mankind. He had to become a man in order to take on that rank. But He lived up to His Father’s expectations.

What is God like? We have only to study the life of the Lord Jesus as portrayed by the four Gospels. Absolute holiness, unfathomable and unconditional love, perfect in knowledge and wisdom, are all displayed in His life and are manifestations of the Father’s heart and character.

As we consider Him today, we should try to live up to His expectations of us. He has set for us a perfect example. -Jim MacIntosh

Lesson for the Lord’s Day

September 26th, 2021

And the napkin, that was about His head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. John 20:7

There is a special piece of cloth that bears an imprint of a man’s face and that some have suggested is the burial cloth that was used to wrap the body of the Lord Jesus. The Shroud of Turin has been extensively studied, its fabric has been examined and has been confirmed to be likely from the same period of history as the crucifixion. The stains that the cloth bears make it apparent that the person who was wrapped in it had been crucified. Although the Roman Catholic church does not take an official position on this cloth, it also does not, because of the amount of money involved, discourage those who wish to venerate it as possibly the very shroud of our Saviour. But it is not.

All one has to do is read today’s text and see that there was a napkin wrapped about Jesus head, a napkin that would have made the images on the Shroud of Turin impossible. Whoever was wrapped in that shroud, it was not Christ. So we can write that shroud off as irrelevant. But there is great significance to what we read in this verse about that napkin. It was a separate piece of material, although we don’t know anything else about it. But it speaks volumes about the resurrection.

Remember what we read about Lazarus who was raised from the dead? He was still wrapped in graves clothes, and Jesus had to instruct people to unfasten him. But when it came to His own resurrection, Jesus did not need anyone to unbind the graveclothes. He Himself cast off the trappings of death, and folded up the napkin. He who was dead is alive forevermore. Because of the power of His resurrection, we too have the hope that our bodies will be not only changed, but raised incorruptible.

How important is it to you today that Christ arose? Consider the napkin and appreciate that He has everything about His own death, and about yours, in perfect order. -Jim MacIntosh

Sermonette for Saturday

September 25th, 2021

But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned, if the sword come and take any person from among them, he is taken in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. Ezekiel 33:6

Across the Canadian Arctic region is a series of bases and tracking stations that belong to NORAD – the North American Aerospace Defence Command. Although its mission is seen as less critical in these post-Cold War days, it is tasked with preventing enemies from attacking Canada and the United States. At one time, the threat was very real and very much in the minds of our nations’ leaders, as those of us know who remember the Cuban Missile Crisis of October, 1962, in which the world approached as closely as it ever has to the brink of nuclear war. Those of us who remember the pictures of Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev insanely pounding the podium at the United Nations with his shoe understand the threat of the Soviet Union in those days. Moscow’s iron grip had subjected huge segments of humanity to the slavery of its ideology and degradation. Would NORAD’s warning systems alert Canadian and American cities in time to defend against Soviet missiles and bombers approaching over the North Pole? We certainly hoped so at the time. An even greater threat faces humanity now, in the advance of Mohammed’s hellish doctrines into western society. What are our defences and warning systems against that?

We like to think that the Gospel is reaching souls and that progress is being made in penetrating areas where Christ and His saving grace have not yet been proclaimed. That may be true. But it’s not true in North America. The number of Moslems is rising rapidly, while the number of Christians – even nominal Christians, is rapidly declining. When those numbers intersect, when the number of Moslems exceed those of Christians, we will have to hide our Bibles, close our Gospel Halls, and gather to worship in secret. Women will have to remain at home, prophet deniers will be jailed and tortured, or worse, and all important decisions in the nation will have to be approved by fanatic religious leaders. The CBC’s so-called comedy about a mosque on the prairie will not be so funny then. Experts tell us that the trend is definite, and probably irreversible. It is going to happen, the only question is when.

Why am I speaking so bluntly about this horrendous danger that is Mohammedanism? Because I must, according to today’s text. Unless I issue a warning about this oncoming horror, I will be responsible for what harm comes on you for not being aware.

Will the Rapture occur before the Moslems take over? Will we use this warning to reach out in deep concern to the unsaved, while there is yet time? -Jim MacIntosh

Food for Friday

September 24th, 2021

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 some 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 was a very influential man. He was the head of the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion, which claims 77 million members, who looked to Dr. Williams for spiritual guidance and leadership. It would appear that Dr. Williams was 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

Thought for Thursday

September 23rd, 2021

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

Word for Wednesday

September 22nd, 2021

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

Tidings for Tuesday

September 21st, 2021

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

Meditation for Monday

September 20th, 2021

And again He entered into Capernaum after some days, and it was noised that He was in the house. Mark 2:1

My mother agreed one time to look after a baby so his parents could have a brief vacation. The presence of that baby in the house made a remarkable difference in how the rest of us acted. As feeding time approached, there was no doubt that a baby was in the house. During nap time, the house was abnormally quiet as we tried to keep sounds to a minimum. When visitors came, it was very obvious to them that there was a baby in the house. With all of their needs, noises, and attention, babies have a way of making their presence obvious. But they don’t make as much difference as if the Lord Jesus was in the house.

I remember a family that was in constant poverty and hunger, because the father drank up most of the income. As poor as we were, we tried to give the children food and clothing because of their obvious need. But the Gospel reached that family, and the parents were saved. What a difference in that home! Money that used to run out the booze rathole was available for improving the family’s living conditions. We saw the improvements in the children’s health and appearance, in the parents’ happiness, in the new car in the driveway, in the repairs and renovations to the house, and many other ways. It became a delight to visit that home and rejoice in the difference that made it obvious that Jesus was there.

Your home, and mine, should be different from those around us because of the presence of our Lord. Those who live in the house should be different as we allow the Lord Jesus to determine how we dress and speak and act. The house should be obviously that of a Christian, with nothing present that would cause us shame if the Lord Jesus were to physically walk in the front door. Gospel texts and Christian literature should be in evidence. And the neighbours should be able to readily notice our regular departures for, and arrivals from, the meetings of the Assembly. Perhaps we can also dispense Gospel tracts and calendars, to let them know that our house is different because of Jesus’ presence.

Very few people in Capernaum were unaware that Jesus was in that house that day. How many of the people around us know that Jesus lives in our house? -Jim MacIntosh

Lesson for the Lord’s Day

September 19th, 2021

He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied. By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:11

A certain man was scheduled to appear in court on a certain day to face a criminal charge against him. But when the court was convened, the man was not present. Instead, the man’s son stood up and informed the judge that there were 23 reasons why his father was unable to appear. The judge, angry at the man’s lack of appearance, demanded to know what those 23 reasons were. The son told him that the first reason was that his father had died about three weeks earlier. The judge thought a moment and informed the son, ‘The first reason is sufficient, there is no need to hear the remaining 22. Case dismissed’. Just as Reason 1 satisfied all of the court’s requirements, so too there is a sacrifice that fully satisfies Almighty God when it comes to the matter of our sins. We have no idea whether the man facing charges would have been able to clear himself had he appeared in court. But we do know that there is no possibility that you and I could ever have cleared ourselves of our record of lawlessness, disobedience, and rebellion. But there is One Who could, and Who did.

The reason that God is satisfied with the offering of His Son on the cross is simply that when Christ died for our sins, He died for them all. There was nothing left for any other sacrifice to cover. Even the sacrifices of the Old Testament did not pay for sins, they merely placed them under the value of the one great sacrifice that was to be made for sins forever. God could be no less than satisfied. His Son completed the work of redemption by leaving nothing unresolved. The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from ALL sin.

Our remembrances of our Lord are possible only because of God’s satisfaction with the offering of His son. How sweet to be able to gather and unitedly remind God how satisfied we also are with Him. -Jim MacIntosh

Sermonette for Saturday

September 18th, 2021

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