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Tidings for Tuesday

March 2nd, 2021

By faith, Enoch was translated that he should not see death, as was not found, because God had translated him, for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. Hebrews 11:5

Some wag with a wry sense of humour wrote an epitaph to be placed on Adolph Hitler’s tombstone: ‘This is absolutely my last territorial demand!’ Surely none of us and nobody that we know is as greedy or as hideously evil as Hitler, but we all share one thing with him, we have a claim on a small piece of ground somewhere. The undertaker looks at every one of us with the knowledge that we will be his customer eventually. The day after we were born we are already a day closer to our death than we were the day before. Only two men in all of history have escaped the Grim Reaper’s clutches; the first being the hero of today’s text. We love to read about Enoch because he reminds us that, just like him, we have reason to hope that we just might evade the King of Terrors.

On one hand we read of medical advances that are enabling people to live longer. On the other hand, we see loved ones, acquaintances, and neighbours succumb to heart disease, cancer, and other diseases that end life all too soon. Our sinful bodies all have the stamp of death, we are all making our way there. But for the redeemed of the Lord, there is that glorious hope that the Rapture will occur before our bodies breathe their last. We dread death, we hate to talk about it, we don’t want to think about dying. So even if we go before the Lord comes for us, we keep the hope ever before us of not having to pass through that dark valley.

Enoch’s departure is called a translation. He simply disappeared from his earthly environment and appeared in his Heavenly home. In the twinkle of an eye, he left here and arrived there. That’s what the Lord has promised it will be like for us. Whatever is happening to us here will cease, and suddenly we will be forever with the Lord.

Yes, dear Brothers and Sisters, the Lord is coming for us, to take us from the vale of tears, this death-dogged pathway, this painful ditch of disappointment, away to His own glad presence forever. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! – Jim MacIntosh

Meditation for Monday

March 1st, 2021

But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. Revelation 2:6

Dr. Scofield suggests that these Nicolaitanes were not an actual group, organization, or ethnic segment, but were, based on the meaning of the root words, those who placed a difference between the laity and the clergy. If so, these would be the first in the history of Christianity who would raise up leaders who were above the people, not among the people. We are talking here about what we often term in our circles of Christianity as one-man ministry.

Certainly the concept of one person running a local Assembly is not to be found in our Bibles. In fact its perils are pointed out in 3 John 9 and 10, in the case of Diotrephes. Assembly oversight is also always plural, and those who take the responsible place in the Assembly are not overlords, they are shepherds, teachers, counsellors, helpers, and many other terms that refer to those who are part of, and work among, God’s people.

One man who runs the affairs of an Assembly is usurping the position of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. Is it any wonder that our text today says this is something that God hates? God never intended for Assemblies to become like the religion of the Jews, in which a single tribe – the Levites – exercised religious authority over the others. What the Nicolaitanes were doing was recreating the Jewish structure in the Assemblies. We can see what it eventually led to, the emergence of the Roman Catholic church and all her horrendous errors and evil.

To the young folks who are reading this, please consider and see how the way our Assemblies are governed is scriptural, and the way the denominations are governed is not. It is not just a matter of ‘that’s just the way we do it’. No, if God hates to see the authority of His son usurped and the control of His spirit overruled by one man, then we should hate that too. There is no room among us for tolerance for the unscriptural position of a ‘paid pastor’.

If God hates clericy, He loves His own order being followed in the Assemblies. Let us appreciate and share His views on this critical matter. – Jim MacIntosh

Lesson for the Lord’s Day

February 28th, 2021

By faith, Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts, and by it, he being dead yet speaketh. Hebrews 11:4

After the first world war, the German currency collapsed in a way that has probably never happened before or since. The money was so worthless that a wheelbarrow full of it was required to buy a loaf of bread and a liter of milk at a store. In order to buy and sell, the Germans had to find something better than their own money. They turned to gold and to foreign currencies that had value. In today’s text, we discover that Abel found a more excellent currency for his dealings with God. By presenting the best of his flocks, Abel presented a more excellent sacrifice. And yet, it was not that the lamb was of more monetary value than Cain’s offering of produce. The value lay in what each of the offerings represented. Cain’s offering represented the works of his hands, the production of a cursed earth, the best that mere man can afford. Abel’s offering represented an innocent life given for the guilty, a provision by God for the impoverished sinner.

The excellency of Abel’s offering was not in animal life but in the life of the Lord Jesus. His more excellent sacrifice points us today to the most excellent sacrifice, to the one great sacrifice for sins forever. As our minds picture Abel’s altar with the slain lamb upon it, we also focus on Calvary’s cross, with the slain Lamb upon it. As Abel stood and appreciated God’s acceptance of his offering, so do we today stand at the foot of the cross and appreciate God’s acceptance of His offering. It means all to us today that God would see of the travail of His (Jesus’) soul and be satisfied. Beholding by faith the death of the Lord Jesus, we exclaim like the centurian, ‘Surely, This was the Son of God!’

Our gathering together to worship is because of the excellent Sacrifice, the fulfilment of all that Abel’s excellent sacrifice spoke. The excellency of that Sacrifice is God’s testimony that we are righteous. – Jim MacIntosh

Sermonette for Saturday

February 27th, 2021

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Hundreds of the world’s best athletes show up every four years at the Olympic Summer and Winter Games to compete for the gold, silver, and bronze medals. Some of those athletes are there simply to compete and do their best, knowing they do not have a realistic chance for any of the medals. But others go with a gold medal in mind and with every expectation of arriving on the winners’ podium. As they make the trip to the Olympic venue, they would almost see the gold medal, could almost feel the lanyard for the medal being placed around their neck. For the very best of them, that medal actually does materialize. But for many, it fades in the agony of failure to win, place, or show in their competition. That’s because their vision of a medal depends on themselves, and they fail to measure up to the requirements. How different the prize and the glory that await the Christian! How much more sure is that for which we hope!

An athlete’s faith in achieving an Olympic medal is based on the athlete’s ability. But your hope, and my hope, of an eternal crown is not based on our abilities at all, but on the One in whom we place our faith. There are crowns for the Christian to earn in our life and service. But those crowns do not depend on our abilities, but on our faithfulness in using the abilities God gives us. Unlike an Olympic athlete, we don’t need to be the best in the whole world. We just need to obey.

An athlete’s faith in achieving a medal often ends in disappointment. The substance for which they hoped fades to nothingness. But the faithful child of God can never be disappointed. The substance for which we hope is eternal and will never fade.

The sinner can grasp only what he sees, and then for only a few brief moments. The saint can firmly grasp what he cannot see, and that forever. – Jim MacIntosh

Food for Friday

February 26th, 2021

Through faith, we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Hebrews 11:2

Did you know that evolution and the big bang are both scientific impossibilities? There is absolutely no way they could have happened. Men and women who are much wiser than me have reached that conclusion by confirming the impossibility of the spontaneous generation of the massive amounts of combustible gas required for the big bang, by studying the impossibility of genetics to produce new characteristics, and many other impossibilities that simply eliminate evolution as the source of our universe and of life on our planet. Evolution is taught as fact in public schools, despite its impossibility, because so-called scientists simply have nothing else to offer. That’s because they don’t understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God.

A number of years ago, an organization that devotes itself to the scientific study of creation held a weekend conference at the school where my son attended. Shortly afterwards, I asked a teenager who attended whether he learned anything from the conference. His response was ‘Yes, I learned that there is no way that evolution could possibly be true’. Good for him! Unfortunately, too many of our young people are absorbing the false teaching of evolution and are questioning the truth of the Word of God, simply because it is being thrust at them by an education system and a scientific community that simply does not understand the truth.

The evolutionists tell us that we cannot prove creation, and they may be partly right in that… none of us were there when it happened and so we cannot verify by eyewitness evidence. Just like the evolutionists, we are acting in faith. But the evolutionists are placing their faith in the impossible; we are placing our faith in a Creator. Evolutionists are placing their faith in impossibly long eons of time for changes to occur; we are placing our faith in the Word of God that framed the worlds.

Why is it important to us today to accept what the Bible says about creation? Because the same God Who framed the world by the Word of His power is the same God who has framed our day, and in Whom we can trust for our present and future, as well as our past. – Jim MacIntosh

Thought for Thursday

February 25th, 2021

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. Hebrews 10:35

Rumours had leaked out that the primary product for a major engineering company was badly flawed, and that the flaw would lead to the company’s collapse. Many of the senior people in the company quietly left to seek employment elsewhere, and so did many of the less senior employees. After several frantic days of trying to halt the exodus, the company president strolled through the almost deserted office looking for somebody to discuss the issue with. Off in one corner, he found a young junior manager diligently working at his desk. The young man gave the president a warm smile of greeting. ‘Why haven’t you left, too?’ asked the president. ‘No reason to leave,’ the young man replied. ‘Our product is good, and everything is going to be just fine’. Cheered by the young man’s confidence, the president returned to his own desk and got back to work. Everything turned out as the young man had said, and the company returned to profitability and credibility. The young manager was promoted to vice-president. His confidence serves as a little reminder to us today to maintain our confidence in the God who holds the future.

It’s easy to get discouraged and doubtful when we see the moral collapse all around us, when we see evil prevail, when we see decency and godliness ridiculed and rejected, when we see sinfulness applauded. But God’s Word has not changed one bit. We can maintain our confidence in the one who has called us not only to salvation but also to godly living.

It’s easy to be discouraged and doubtful when we see the collapse of good institutions, and see the rising destructive spectres of satanic forces such as Islam and global warming (now climate change) doctrines march across our globe. But God is still on the throne, and He will never abdicate! We can have full confidence in His agenda, even though we may wonder at its timing.

God’s Word is sure, its promises unbreakable. Have full confidence in those promises. The reward is also sure. – Jim MacIntosh

Word for Wednesday

February 24th, 2021

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil, whither the Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Hebrews 6:19-20

What is a forerunner? In olden days, ships approaching their destination would often encounter the most dangerous and turbulent water of the entire voyage just outside the harbour. Rocks, reefs, and high waves would create a peril that would threaten their safe arrival. Such ships would send out a forerunner: a small boat manned by a brave and skilful sailor, who would make his way through the perilous passage and enter the safe and calm waters of the harbour. The forerunner carried the ship’s anchor and a line attached to the ship. Once in the harbour, the forerunner would drop the anchor, which would embed itself into the harbour floor. Sailors in the ship would then pull in the line, which would draw their ship safely and easily into the harbour. What a lovely picture of what the Lord Jesus has done for us!

Our hope is not in anything that we can do to bring ourselves into the calm haven of Glory. No, our hope is in the anchor that the Lord Jesus has carried into Glory for us; we but draw in the line and find ourselves with Him. Yes, life has rough seas and perilous rocks and shoals. Yes, dangers are on every hand, and the elements of the world are warring against us. Yes, we are in a struggle with sorrow and pain, with sin and temptation, with discouragement and human weaknesses. But our hope is not in ourselves, but in the One who has already crossed the most perilous part of the trip and carried our anchor into Glory.

Do we shrink from life’s troubles and terrors? Give thanks today that the Lord Jesus has already passed through those waters for us. Do we dread the king of terrors – death, and all the illnesses and weaknesses that would drag us into his cruel grasp? Praise God that Jesus Himself has already tasted death for us!

What sorrows and temptations await your passage today? Fear not, because your Forerunner has already dropped anchor on the other side. Draw close to Him today and appreciate the victory already won. – Jim MacIntosh

Tidings for Tuesday

February 23rd, 2021

Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, He departed into Galilee. Matthew 4:12

A cousin of mine was driving a delivery truck for a local bakery that had grown into a brisk business in the city where it was located. After several years, my cousin decided to move on to something else. At the same time, truck drivers from another bakery in the city began to harass and threaten drivers with the company my cousin worked for. His reaction: ‘I’m not leaving now. If there’s a fight they’ll have to deal with me.’ As a result of his courage, the other drivers stood up to the threat and the cowardly opposition backed down. Like my cousin, the Lord Jesus was not one to back down in the face of threats. He went directly into Herod’s jurisdiction as soon as he heard Herod had arrested John. Truth would not be silenced.

The Lord Jesus knew all about Herod. And He was not afraid of the king. He knew about John’s challenges of Herod’s immorality. And He knew that Herod would not hesitate to silence anyone else he disliked or considered a threat. But as soon Jesus heard that John was silenced, He immediately stepped into the same territory that John was working in. You and I also need to step forward when those who hold the truth are challenged or attacked.

Truth is under attack all around us these days. And in most cases, there is little you and I can do about it. When the Bible is ridiculed or rejected in schools in favour of evolution, what can we do? Some families opt for home schooling or Christian schools to protect and preserve their children. Other institutions around us are also being swept along into the camp of those who oppose or deny God, and reject His Word. All we can do in most cases is avoid these as much as possible and refuse to become entangled with them. But where we can take a firm stand is in our homes and in our Assemblies.

The devil would love to destroy the power of a Christian home. But by following the Word of God, teaching children the truth and living the truth in our lives, displaying the order that Scripture prescribes, we can preserve our families for God and His truth. Our Assemblies should admit nothing new in terms of doctrine or practice, even at the expense of being accused of being old fashioned. Better to be old fashioned and right than up-to-date and wrong!

Do we have the courage to step forward when enemies seek to silence the Word of God? If our Lord did not shy away from danger to maintain the truth, neither should we. -Jim MacIntosh

Meditation for Monday

February 22nd, 2021

For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer, now the Lord will feed them as a lamb in a large place. Hosea 4:16

We get rather caught up in the affairs of the day, whether politics, strife, or tragedy, and often forget that the little world of daily events is but a blip on the screen of God’s plan for the ages. Our text today speaks of two things regarding Israel: her backsliding and her future blessing. The backsliding has persisted for many centuries, but the blessings will continue forever.

What difference does all that make to us today? I believe it makes a great deal of difference in two areas: in the blessing of the bringing in of the Gentiles, and the recognition of God’s purposes for all time, including today.

Do we appreciate that the Gospel ever came our way? Of course we do. The backsliding of Israel has brought us into the good of God’s grace. That dear nation that has as a people rejected their Messiah thus far is missing out on what we are appreciating. Give thanks today for the grace that is extended to you. The day is fast approaching when Israel will recognize their Messiah.

As small as the events of today are on God’s calendar, they are on the calendar. We are living in a day that is part of God’s great purposes. We might call it a day of small things, but God is working, His Word is enduring, His Gospel is saving souls, His servants are being faithful. All of this is leading up to what our text describes as a large place where lambs feed. What a peaceful and lovely picture these words bring before out minds! After a terrible time of great purging, Israel will enter into prominence and great blessing, becoming the head, not the tail, of the nations, and embracing her true King and Lord in an eternal relationship.

Recognize today that you are part of God’s purpose. What part? – Jim MacIntosh

Lesson for the Lord’s Day

February 21st, 2021

But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour, that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. Hebrews 2:9

As my wife had me search through the online catalogue for curtains, we skimmed through pages and pages of items until we found something that she thought she would like. As I clicked that item, to obtain a closer view, the item opened in a new window on the page, and everything else on the page became fuzzy and blurry, so that the selected item was the only thing in clear focus. This is what we do today, as we gather to remember our Lord; the things of the world grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

We have to live in a world that keeps us busy with attending to our needs for food, clothing, and shelter. But today, we set aside those considerations, and see Jesus. We all encounter little and big crises in our lives, things that demand our attention and effort, but today, those issues fade into insignificance as we focus on our Saviour. We are all so different in our personalities and appearances, but today, those differences matter not a whit, as unitedly, we fix our gaze on the One in the midst. All of earth and self becomes fuzzy and unimportant, as we seek to give our Lord the preeminence He deserves.

What do we see of Jesus today? Our text tells us we see Him made lower than angels, humbled to the level of humanity. The One who made us in His image was made in our image. While never yielding His deity, He willingly, lovingly, and eternally took on humanity. He did so for the suffering of death – our death. This brings His suffering on the cross into focus today. We see Him lifted in anguish and torment, suffering the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God.

What else do we see of Jesus today? Our text tells us we see Him crowned with glory and honour. The tears and groanings of Gethsemane are replaced with adoration and praise from His saints. The spitting and rejection of Gabbatha are replaced by the highest station in Glory. The cruel thorns of Golgotha are replaced today with a victor’s wreath. We see Jesus today as the mighty Conqueror and as the King of Kings.

Today, we see Jesus, Whom we ought to have seen as our judge, as our Friend, our Saviour, and our Lord. – Jim MacIntosh