Devotional

Hi, My Name is Amber, and I’m a Recovering Sinner.

I know this may seem strange for some people, but there are times were I find myself addicted to my past. Unable to let go of the sins that God has already forgiven me for; running back to my vomit, and I don’t know why I expect anything to feel different than the last time. Has anyone else felt this way? Like no matter how deeply I know I’m forgiven, I keep looking back to that time and reliving the hurt? God gave me a word about that and I thought I’d share it here with you this morning.

For me, I’m going to have to look at myself like I’m in a recovery program. Almost like a rehab for Christians who have a hard time letting go of the past. So I’m going to slightly adapt the Twelve Step Program to work for the Recovering Sinner: Sinner’s Anonymous.

1. We admit we were powerless over sin—that our lives had become unmanageable.

I will admit that only God has the power over sin, and that my life is a mess when I try to do His job…

2. Come to believe that God can restore us to sanity.

I will to stop doubting that God can and will do a miracle in my life.

3. Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.

I chose to turn over all of my past, good and bad, to God. Trusting Him with my life and my well being.

4. Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

I will take stock of all the junk I keep picking back up and hold it up to His revealing light.

5. Admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

I will finally confess that I have a hard time forgiving myself of my past and I will find someone I can call on to help me to remember that I’m a forgiven child of God.

6. Be entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

I will be open and cooperate with God as He heals my heart.

7. Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings.

I will acknowledge that I am flesh and ask God to remove the thing that is in me that causes me to doubt His forgiveness.

8. Make a list of all persons we have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.

I will make a list of all the people my repeated doubt has hurt and apologize, as well as try to make things right.

9. Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

I will be aware of anytime my doubt hurts someone and immediately apologize and try to make things right.

10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

I will continue to be aware of my feelings and doubts, asking God to forgive me as soon as I do.

11. Seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

I will continually seek God’s will for my life and the power to carry out His will through prayer and meditation on His Word.

12. Have had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to sinners, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

I will grow closer to God and Jesus through this process and reach others with His message of hope for the lost, and I will continue to practice these steps throughout my walk.

I have to believe that I’m not the only one who feels this way, so if you’re struggling with this too, know that you’re not alone. Reach out and quit trying to do this by yourself. That’s what the kingdom is all about, a support system. Lean on other strong Christians so you can grow strong enough to be leaned on one day…
x,
Amber

“In the beginning God created—or was it a quantum fluctuation?” by Dr. Jonathan D. Sarfati

Genesis 1:11

 

 

In one sense, Genesis 1:1 is the most important verse in the Bible: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” If we can believe this verse, no other verse in the Bible should be a problem. For example, if God can create the whole universe, then raising people from the dead and causing a virgin to conceive would be easy beyond words.

Also, in this one verse, all other false religions are rejected:1

Atheism: there is no God.2
  • God exists, and was present ‘at the beginning’.
  • God created the universe; the universe neither spontaneously appeared nor has it existed forever.
Agnosticism: it is impossible to know whether God exists.3
  • God has revealed Himself in Scripture as Creator.
Dualism: Good and Evil are eternally co-existent (as Zoroastrians believe).
  • God was alone when He created.
  • God is perfectly good.
  • Beings who became evil are part of the created order.
Finite-god views (e.g. Open Theism and Process Theology).
  • God created the space-time universe.
  • Thus He is not limited by anything in the universe,4including the future, since God created time itself.
Evolutionism: that goo became you via the zoo.
  • God created all things.
Humanism: man is the measure of all things.
  • God is the ultimate reality.
  • Man is part of the created order.
  • God created us so He is the measure of all things.
Materialism: Matter (or mass-energy) is the only reality. This is a synonym of:
Naturalism: natural laws describe all things.
  • God created matter (and mass-energy); or, God created nature.
  • God is thus sovereign over the natural world.
  • Thus matter (mass-energy) are not eternal or self-existent.
Pantheism: all is god; god and creation are the same thing.
  • God created the universe.
  • Thus God is distinct from His creation.
Panentheism: “all is in god”.
  • God transcends what He created.
Polytheism: there is more than one god
  • Only one God created all things.
Unitarianism (that God is an absolute unity, e.g. Islam, modern Judaism, Jehovah’s Witness doctrine, classical unitarianism).
  • Elohim is a plural noun with a singular verb, teaching a plurality in the Godhead.
  • The NT reveals this further as the Trinity.

Conversely, if we can’t trust this verse, then nothing else in the Bible makes sense. Since this verse is so foundational, it is not surprising that atheists have feverishly attacked this concept. Some of the attacks are childish, while others have the veneer of philosophy or advanced science.

If God can create the whole universe, then raising people from the dead and causing a virgin to conceive would be easy beyond words.

Who created God?

The Bible doesn’t attempt to prove that God exists—it proclaims this truth as obvious. But a common question from little children (and not-so-little atheists) is: “If God created the universe, then who created God?” Or, “If everything has a cause, then who caused God?” But no serious apologist ever argued that way. As we have pointed out in several articles and books, one of the main real arguments is:

  1. Everything which has a beginning has a cause.5
  2. The universe has a beginning.
  3. Therefore the universe has a cause.6,7

The words in bold are important—it is not everything that has a cause, but only everything which begins to exist. The universe requires a cause because it had a beginning. This can be shown by the Laws of Thermodynamics. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that natural processes can neither create nor destroy mass-energy (mass-energy interchange can occur according to E = mc2, but the total remains the same). But the Second Law states that the amount of energy available for work is running out, or entropy is increasing to a maximum. If the total amount of mass-energy is limited, and the amount of usable energy is decreasing, then the universe cannot have existed forever. Otherwise, it would already have exhausted all usable energy—the ‘heat death’ of the universe. For example, all radioactive atoms would have decayed, every part of the universe would be the same temperature, and no further work would be possible. So the obvious corollary is that the universe began a finite time ago with a lot of usable energy, and is now running down.

In addition, Einstein’s general relativity, which has much experimental support, shows that time is linked to matter and space. So time itself would have begun along with matter and space, an insight first pointed out by Augustine in the fourth century. Since God, by definition, is the Creator of the whole universe, he is the Creator of time. Therefore, He is not limited by the time dimension He created, so has no beginning in time—God is “the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy” (Isaiah 57:15). Therefore, He doesn’t have a cause.

Cause and Effect

It is a metaphysical principle that things which begin have a cause, but it is also self-evident—no-one really denies it in his heart.

All science and history would collapse if this law of cause and effect were denied. So would all law enforcement, if the police didn’t think they needed to find a cause for a stabbed body or a burgled house. Also, the universe cannot be self-caused—nothing can create itself, because that would mean that it existed before it came into existence, which is a logical absurdity.

Suppose that a banana suddenly appeared on your plate. You would not think, ‘Hume was right after all—this banana really did come into being without a cause.’ No, you would think, ‘How did that banana get there?’ and look for the likely cause.

Despite this, the favourite philosopher of modern atheists, the Scotsman David Hume (1711–1776), disagreed. He taught that one might conceive of something coming into being without a cause.

However, British analytic philosopher (and conservative Roman Catholic) G.E.M. (Elizabeth) Anscombe (1919–2001) argued cogently that no one really conceives of any such thing.8 To paraphrase one of her points, suppose that a banana suddenly appeared on your plate. You would not think, “Hume was right after all—this banana really did come into being without a cause.” No, you would think, “How did that banana get there?” and look for the likely cause. Maybe there was a hole in the ceiling above it, or in the plate below it. If that were ruled out, then maybe you were temporarily unaware of your surroundings, and in that time, someone placed the banana there without your noticing. Failing that, maybe a magician’s trick, or even a miracle, was the cause. Regardless, even an unknown cause would be more likely than no cause.

Further, Anscombe pointed out, we would be less likely to think that this banana came into being than that it already existed and was somehow moved to the place. I.e. the cause was in transportation not in creation out of nothing.9,10

So even though Hume claimed that one could easily conceive of something coming into being without a cause, in reality, he likely never really conceived any such thing. Indeed, it seems impossible to conceive. Hume himself, in more lucid moments, even admitted as much:

But allow me to tell you that I never asserted so absurd a Proposition as that anything might arise without a cause: I only maintain’d, that our Certainty of the Falsehood of that Proposition proceeded neither from Intuition nor Demonstration; but from another Source.11

Universe from nothing?

Despite the above, a number of atheists have claimed that the universe really came from ‘nothing’. For example, an article about Alan Guth (1947– ), the pioneer of the inflationary universe (see ch. 6), stated:

The universe burst into something from absolutely nothing—zero, nada. And as it got bigger, it became filled with even more stuff that came from absolutely nowhere. How is that possible? Ask Alan Guth. His theory of inflation helps explain everything.12

More recently, physicist and atheistic propagandist Lawrence Krauss (1954– ) has promoted this notion, and even wrote a book, A Universe from Nothing,13 which had a glowing afterword by prominent atheist Richard Dawkins.14 However, Luke Barnes, a non-creationist astrophysicist who is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy, University of Sydney, Australia, is scathing about Krauss and those who argue like him:

First and foremost, I’m getting really rather sick of cosmologists talking about universes being created out of nothing. Krauss repeatedly talked about universes coming out of nothing, particles coming out of nothing, different types of nothing, nothing being unstable. This is nonsense. The word nothing is often used loosely—I have nothing in my hand, there’s nothing in the fridge etc. But the proper definition of nothing is “not anything”. Nothing is not a type of something, not a kind of thing. It is the absence of anything.

Some of the best examples of the fallacy of equivocation involve treating the word nothing as if it were a type of something:

First and foremost, I’m getting really rather sick of cosmologists talking about universes being created out of nothing. … What Krauss is really talking about is the quantum vacuum. The quantum vacuum is a type of something. It has properties. It has energy, it fluctuates, it can cause the expansion of the universe to accelerate, it obeys the (highly non-trivial) equations of quantum field theory.—Cosmologist Luke Barnes
  • Margarine is better than nothing.
  • Nothing is better than butter.
  • Thus, margarine is better than butter.

We can uncover the fallacy by simply rephrasing the premises, avoiding the word nothing:

  • It is better to have margarine than to not have anything.
  • There does not exist anything that is better than butter.

The conclusion (margarine is better than butter) does not follow from these premises.15

Does a quantum fluctuation solve the problem?

Some physicists assert that quantum mechanics violates this cause/effect principle and can produce something from nothing. For instance, Paul Davies writes:

… spacetime could appear out of nothingness as a result of a quantum transition. … Particles can appear out of nowhere without specific causation … the world of quantum mechanics routinely produces something out of nothing.16

But this is a gross misapplication of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics never produces something out of nothing. Davies himself admitted on the previous page that his scenario ‘should not be taken too seriously.’ Also, theories that the universe is a quantum fluctuation must presuppose that there wassomething to fluctuate—their ‘quantum vacuum’ is a lot of matter-antimatter potential—not ‘nothing’. So this is another equivocation.

However, Krauss is still resorting to these fallacies, as Luke Barnes points out, explaining in more detail how the term ‘nothing’ is misused:

Now let’s look at Krauss’ claims again. Does it make sense to say that there are different types of not anything? That not anything is not stable? This is bollocks. What Krauss is really talking about is the quantum vacuum. The quantum vacuum is a type of something. It has properties. It has energy, it fluctuates, it can cause the expansion of the universe to accelerate, it obeys the (highly non-trivial) equations of quantum field theory. We can describe it. We can calculate, predict and falsify its properties. The quantum vacuum is not nothing.

This suggests a very simple test for those who wish to talk about nothing: if what you are talking about has properties, then it is not nothing. It is pure equivocation to refer to the quantum vacuum as nothing when a philosopher starts asking the question “why is there something rather than nothing?”. She is not asking “why are there particles rather than just a quantum vacuum?”. She is asking “why does anything exist at all?”. As Stephen Hawking once asked, why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?

We can now see that this question cannot be answered by any of the methods we normally call scientific. Scientific theories are necessarily theories of something, some physical reality. Equations describe properties, and thus describe something. There cannot be equations that describe not-anything. Write down any equation you like—you will not be able to deduce from that equation that the thing that it describes must exist in the real world. Existence is not a predicate, as Kant memorably explained.17

The fact that particles can pop in and out of existence, over time, as those fields rearrange themselves, is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that fists can pop in and out of existence, over time, as my fingers rearrange themselves. And none of these poppings—if you look at them aright—amount to anything even remotely in the neighborhood of a creation from nothing.—Physicist and philosopher David Albert

Barnes’ objections to Krauss’s equivocations are shared by philosopher David Albert, professor of philosophy at Columbia University, NY, who also has a doctorate in theoretical physics. He reviewed Krauss’s book critically in the New York Times, not known for friendliness to orthodox Christianity:

Where, for starters, are the laws of quantum mechanics themselves supposed to have come from? Krauss is more or less upfront, as it turns out, about not having a clue about that. He acknowledges (albeit in a parenthesis, and just a few pages before the end of the book) that everything he has been talking about simply takes the basic principles of quantum mechanics for granted. …

Krauss seems to be thinking that these vacuum states amount to the relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical version of there not being any physical stuff at all. And he has an argument—or thinks he does—that the laws of relativistic quantum field theories entail that vacuum states are unstable. And that, in a nutshell, is the account he proposes of why there should be something rather than nothing.

But that’s just not right. Relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical vacuum states—no less than giraffes or refrigerators or solar systems—are particular arrangements of elementary physical stuff. The true relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical equivalent to there not being any physical stuff at all isn’t this or that particular arrangement of the fields—what it is (obviously, and ineluctably, and on the contrary) is the simple absence of the fields! The fact that some arrangements of fields happen to correspond to the existence of particles and some don’t is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that some of the possible arrangements of my fingers happen to correspond to the existence of a fist and some don’t. And the fact that particles can pop in and out of existence, over time, as those fields rearrange themselves, is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that fists can pop in and out of existence, over time, as my fingers rearrange themselves. And none of these poppings—if you look at them aright—amount to anything even remotely in the neighborhood of a creation from nothing.18

Krauss’s is just the latest in a series of philosophically inept books by the soi-disant ‘new atheists’. It’s hard to disagree with the Thomist19philosopher Edward Feser, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College:

The spate of bad books on philosophy and religion by prominent scientists … is notable not only for the sophomoric philosophical and theological errors they contain but also for their sheer repetitiveness. Krauss’ fallacious account of how something can come from nothing, … is largely a rehash of ideas already put forward by Hawking, Mlodinow, and some less eminent physics popularizers.—Philosopher Edward Feser

The spate of bad books on philosophy and religion by prominent scientists—Dawkins’ The God Delusion, Hawking and Mlodinow’s The Grand Design, and Atkins’ On Being, among others—is notable not only for the sophomoric philosophical and theological errors they contain but also for their sheerrepetitiveness. Krauss’ fallacious account of how something can come from nothing, though presented as a great breakthrough, and praised as such by Dawkins in his afterword, is largely a rehash of ideas already put forward by Hawking, Mlodinow, and some less eminent physics popularizers. Dawkins has been peddling the “Who created the creator?” meme since the eighties.

Critics have exposed their errors and fallacies again and again. Yet these writers keep repeating them anyway, for the most part simply ignoring the critics. What accounts for this? To paraphrase a famous remark of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s, I would suggest that a picture holds these thinkers captive, a picture of the quantitative methods of modern science that have made possible breathtaking predictive and technological successes.20

Conclusion

The Bible presupposes that God began the universe. The fact of the universe’s beginning points strongly to a Creator consistent with the biblical God. Some atheists, following Hume, have asserted that something can begin without a cause, but this is not only unreasonable, it is arguably inconceivable. The ‘New Atheists’ have resorted to quantum bluffing to claim that something really can come from nothing. But they must equivocate about the word ‘nothing’. This really should mean nothingno properties. However, their proposed quantum vacuum is not nothing; it must be somethingwith properties—e.g. the quantum vacuum, which is being bound by the laws of quantum physics, so that it can ‘fluctuate’.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It stands to reason.

“Accepting Limitations” Eccelesiastes 3:9-11 by Keith R. Krell

Ecc. 3:11

 

Accept limitations (3:9-11).

Solomon writes, “What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils?” This section ends in 3:9 with the same rhetorical question posed in 1:3 (cf. 2:11). This rhetorical question is an example of negative affirmation, expecting a negative answer: “Mankind gains nothing from his toil!” Any profit or advantage that man might gain from his toil is nullified by his ignorance of divine providence.  We say to ourselves, “Why should I work so hard when it’s all going to be destroyed? Why get married when you just end up fighting and hurting one another? Why have a child and deal with the stress and disappointment?”  These are all good questions. Actor Jim Carrey said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”

Solomon continues in 3:10-11 with these words: “I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.”  The word “everything” in 3:11 resumes “everything” in 3:1. The point of 3:11 is that God makes everything, even events that occur through human agency, happen in its proper time. Yet, the tension of this verse is that we don’t always understand His purposes. We ask questions like, “Why was I born this way? Why did my father treat me that way? Why did you take my friend? Why am I missing out on this blessing?” Our problem is that we focus our attention on the wrong thing. We see the fuzzy, ugly cocoon; God plans and sets in motion the butterfly. We see the painful, awful process; He is producing the value of the product. We see today; He is working on forever. We get caught up in the wrapping; He focuses on the gift—the substance down inside. We look at the external; He emphasizes the internal. He makes everything beautiful in its time, including your loss, your hospital experience, your failures, your brokenness, your battles, your fragmented dreams, your lost romance, your heartache, your illness. Yes, even your terminal illness…whatever you’re going through. He makes it beautiful in its time. Without Him, life is purposeless and profitless, miserable and meaningless. With Him, it will ultimately make sense.

Solomon also says that God has set eternity into the hearts of mankind. Knowing that gives purpose to life. The phrase “eternity in their hearts” means God has placed a big question mark deep in every man’s soul. We should be asking the question: What is the meaning of life? God intended it that way. Anthropological evidence suggests that every culture has a God-given, innate sense of the eternal—that this world is not all there is.

If you ever get the opportunity to visit Egypt and its tombs and pyramids, study what was required to construct some of those monuments. Some studies revealed that it required the efforts of one hundred thousand workers forty years to build just one of the great pyramids. As you tour the area there, you can’t help but ask why. Why so much effort? Why would somebody put that amount of emphasis on a tomb—on the afterlife? The answer is, the Egyptians understood full well that they would spend a lot more time in the afterlife than they would spend in this life. Granted, some of their conceptions of what would happen in the afterlife were a little skewed. But the point is, they understood to the core of their being that the afterlife was a whole lot more important than this life, and so they prepared for the afterlife during this life. God had placed eternity in their hearts.

Since all has been predetermined by God, there is purpose and meaning in the events of life. Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they can find peace in you.” Blaise Pascal said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man that cannot be filled by any created being, but by God alone made known through Jesus Christ.” The truth is: we have an eternal itch. We all long to know the eternal significance of what we do. The Bible says this can only be found in Christ.

July Devotions: Leviticus 6:13

“The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.” — Leviticus 6:13

Keep the altar of private prayer burning. This is the very life of all piety. The sanctuary and family altars borrow their fires here, therefore let this burn well. Secret devotion is the very essence, evidence, and barometer, of vital and experimental religion.

Burn here the fat of your sacrifices. Let your closet seasons be, if possible, regular, frequent, and undisturbed. Effectual prayer availeth much. Have you nothing to pray for? Let us suggest the Church, the ministry, your own soul, your children, your relations, your neighbours, your country, and the cause of God and truth throughout the world. Let us examine ourselves on this important matter. Do we engage with lukewarmness in private devotion? Is the fire of devotion burning dimly in our hearts? Do the chariot wheels drag heavily? If so, let us be alarmed at this sign of decay. Let us go with weeping, and ask for the Spirit of grace and of supplications. Let us set apart special seasons for extraordinary prayer. For if this fire should be smothered beneath the ashes of a worldly conformity, it will dim the fire on the family altar, and lessen our influence both in the Church and in the world.

The text will also apply to the altar of the heart. This is a golden altar indeed. God loves to see the hearts of His people glowing towards Himself. Let us give to God our hearts, all blazing with love, and seek His grace, that the fire may never be quenched; for it will not burn if the Lord does not keep it burning. Many foes will attempt to extinguish it; but if the unseen hand behind the wall pour thereon the sacred oil, it will blaze higher and higher. Let us use texts of Scripture as fuel for our heart’s fire, they are live coals; let us attend sermons, but above all, let us be much alone with Jesus.

June Daily Devotion: 2 Peter 1:4

“Having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” — 2 Peter 1:4

 

Vanish for ever all thought of indulging the flesh if you would live in the power of your risen Lord. It were ill that a man who is alive in Christ should dwell in the corruption of sin. “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” said the angel to Magdalene. Should the living dwell in the sepulchre? Should divine life be immured in the charnel house of fleshly lust? How can we partake of the cup of the Lord and yet drink the cup of Belial? Surely, believer, from open lusts and sins you are delivered: have you also escaped from the more secret and delusive lime‐twigs of the Satanic fowler? Have you come forth from the lust of pride? Have you escaped from slothfulness? Have you clean escaped from carnal security? Are you seeking day by day to live above worldliness, the pride of life, and the ensnaring vice of avarice? Remember, it is for this that you have been enriched with the treasures of God. If you be indeed the chosen of God, and beloved by Him, do not suffer all the lavish treasure of grace to be wasted upon you. Follow after holiness; it is the Christian’s crown and glory. An unholy church! it is useless to the world, and of no esteem among men. It is an abomination, hell’s laughter, heaven’s abhorrence. The worst evils which have ever come upon the world have been brought upon her by an unholy church. O Christian, the vows of God are upon you. You are God’s priest: act as such. You are God’s king: reign over your lusts. You are God’s chosen: do not associate with Belial. Heaven is your portion: live like a heavenly spirit, so shall you prove that you have true faith in Jesus, for there cannot be faith in the heart unless there be holiness in the life.

“Lord, I desire to live as one
Who bears a blood‐bought name,
As one who fears but grieving Thee,
And knows no other shame.”

June Daily Devotion: Isaiah 40:9

“Get thee up into the high mountain.” — Isaiah 40:9

 

Our knowledge of Christ is somewhat like climbing one of our Welsh mountains. When you are at the base you see but little: the mountain itself appears to be but one‐half as high as it really is. Confined in a little valley, you discover scarcely anything but the rippling brooks as they descend into the stream at the foot of the mountain. Climb the first rising knoll, and the valley lengthens and widens beneath your feet. Go higher, and you see the country for four or five miles round, and you are delighted with the widening prospect. Mount still, and the scene enlarges; till at last, when you are on the summit, and look east, west, north, and south, you see almost all England lying before you. Yonder is a forest in some distant county, perhaps two hundred miles away, and here the sea, and there a shining river and the smoking chimneys of a manufacturing town, or the masts of the ships in a busy port. All these things please and delight you, and you say, “I could not have imagined that so much could be seen at this elevation.” Now, the Christian life is of the same order. When we first believe in Christ we see but little of Him. The higher we climb the more we discover of His beauties. But who has ever gained the summit? Who has known all the heights and depths of the love of Christ which passes knowledge? Paul, when grown old, sitting grey‐haired, shivering in a dungeon in Rome, could say with greater emphasis than we can, “I know whom I have believed,” for each experience had been like the climbing of a hill, each trial had been like ascending another summit, and his death seemed like gaining the top of the mountain, from which he could see the whole of the faithfulness and the love of Him to whom he had committed his soul. Get thee up, dear friend, into the high mountain.

June Daily Devotion: Luke 11:27-28

“A certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” — Luke 11:27, 28

 

It is fondly imagined by some that it must have involved very special privileges to have been the mother of our Lord, because they supposed that she had the benefit of looking into His very heart in a way in which we cannot hope to do. There may be an appearance of plausibility in the supposition, but not much. We do not know that Mary knew more than others; what she did know she did well to lay up in her heart; but she does not appear from anything we read in the Evangelists to have been a better-instructed believer than any other of Christ’s disciples. All that she knew we also may discover. Do you wonder that we should say so? Here is a text to prove it: “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.” Remember the Master’s words—“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” So blessedly does this Divine Revealer of secrets tell us His heart, that He keepeth back nothing which is profitable to us; His own assurance is, “If it were not so, I would have told you.” Doth He not this day manifest Himself unto us as He doth not unto the world? It is even so; and therefore we will not ignorantly cry out, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee,” but we will intelligently bless God that, having heard the Word and kept it, we have first of all as true a communion with the Saviour as the Virgin had, and in the second place as true an acquaintance with the secrets of His heart as she can be supposed to have obtained. Happy soul to be thus privileged!

June Daily Devotion: Isaiah 54:5

“Thy Redeemer.” — Isaiah 54:5

Jesus, the Redeemer, is altogether ours and ours for ever. All the offices of Christ are held on our behalf. He is king for us, priest for us, and prophet for us. Whenever we read a new title of the Redeemer, let us appropriate Him as ours under that name as much as under any other. The shepherd’s staff, the father’s rod, the captain’s sword, the priest’s mitre, the prince’s sceptre, the prophet’s mantle, all are ours. Jesus hath no dignity which He will not employ for our exaltation, and no prerogative which He will not exercise for our defence. His fulness of Godhead is our unfailing, inexhaustible treasure‐house.

His manhood also, which He took upon Him for us, is ours in all its perfection. To us our gracious Lord communicates the spotless virtue of a stainless character; to us He gives the meritorious efficacy of a devoted life; on us He bestows the reward procured by obedient submission and incessant service. He makes the unsullied garment of His life our covering beauty; the glittering virtues of His character our ornaments and jewels; and the superhuman meekness of His death our boast and glory. He bequeaths us His manger, from which to learn how God came down to man; and His Cross to teach us how man may go up to God. All His thoughts, emotions, actions, utterances, miracles, and intercessions, were for us. He trod the road of sorrow on our behalf, and hath made over to us as His heavenly legacy the full results of all the labours of His life. He is now as much ours as heretofore; and He blushes not to acknowledge Himself “our Lord Jesus Christ,” though He is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Christ everywhere and every way is our Christ, for ever and ever most richly to enjoy. O my soul, by the power of the Holy Spirit! call Him this morning, “thy Redeemer.”

June Daily Devotion: Psalm 12:1

“Help, LORD.” — Psalm 12:1

The prayer itself is remarkable, for it is short, but seasonable, sententious, and suggestive. David mourned the fewness of faithful men, and therefore lifted up his heart in supplication—when the creature failed, he flew to the Creator. He evidently felt his own weakness, or he would not have cried for help; but at the same time he intended honestly to exert himself for the cause of truth, for the word “help” is inapplicable where we ourselves do nothing. There is much of directness, clearness of perception, and distinctness of utterance in this petition of two words; much more, indeed, than in the long rambling outpourings of certain professors. The Psalmist runs straight‐forward to his God, with a well‐considered prayer; he knows what he is seeking, and where to seek it. Lord, teach us to pray in the same blessed manner.

The occasions for the use of this prayer are frequent. In providential afflictions how suitable it is for tried believers who find all helpers failing them. Students, in doctrinal difficulties, may often obtain aid by lifting up this cry of “Help, Lord,” to the Holy Spirit, the great Teacher. Spiritual warriors in inward conflicts may send to the throne for reinforcements, and this will be a model for their request. Workers in heavenly labour may thus obtain grace in time of need. Seeking sinners, in doubts and alarms, may offer up the same weighty supplication; in fact, in all these cases, times, and places, this will serve the turn of needy souls. “Help, Lord,” will suit us living and dying, suffering or labouring, rejoicing or sorrowing. In Him our help is found, let us not be slack to cry to Him.

The answer to the prayer is certain, if it be sincerely offered through Jesus. The Lord’s character assures us that He will not leave His people; His relationship as Father and Husband guarantee us His aid; His gift of Jesus is a pledge of every good thing; and His sure promise stands, “Fear not, I WILL HELP THEE.”

June Daily Devotion: Revelation 3:7

“He openeth, and no man shutteth.” — Revelation 3:7

Jesus is the keeper of the gates of paradise and before every believing soul He setteth an open door, which no man or devil shall be able to close against it. What joy it will be to find that faith in Him is the golden key to the everlasting doors. My soul, dost thou carry this key in thy bosom, or art thou trusting to some deceitful pick‐lock, which will fail thee at last? Hear this parable of the preacher, and remember it. The great King has made a banquet, and He has proclaimed to all the world that none shall enter but those who bring with them the fairest flower that blooms. The spirits of men advance to the gate by thousands, and they bring each one the flower which he esteems the queen of the garden; but in crowds they are driven from the royal presence, and enter not into the festive halls. Some bear in their hand the deadly nightshade of superstition, or the flaunting poppies of Rome, or the hemlock of self‐righteousness, but these are not dear to the King, the bearers are shut out of the pearly gates. My soul, hast thou gathered the rose of Sharon? Dost thou wear the lily of the valley in thy bosom constantly? If so, when thou comest up to the gates of heaven thou wilt know its value, for thou hast only to show this choicest of flowers, and the Porter will open: not for a moment will He deny thee admission, for to that rose the Porter openeth ever. Thou shalt find thy way with the rose of Sharon in thy hand up to the throne of God Himself, for heaven itself possesses nothing that excels its radiant beauty, and of all the flowers that bloom in paradise there is none that can rival the lily of the valley. My soul, get Calvary’s blood‐red rose into thy hand by faith, by love wear it, by communion preserve it, by daily watchfulness make it thine all in all, and thou shalt be blessed beyond all bliss, happy beyond a dream. Jesus, be mine for ever, my God, my heaven, my all.