The second Sunday is typically known as the Sunday of preparation.
A voice is calling,
“Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness;
Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. “Let every valley be lifted up,
And every mountain and hill be made low;
And let the rough ground become a plain,
And the rugged terrain a broad valley; Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
And all flesh will see it together;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5
This week we are going to explore how to prepare for Christmas.
Here are some other readings to meditate on:
Psalm 72:18; Isaiah 11:1-10; Luke 1:26-38
If, and a Triple Promise
“If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Called by the name of the LORD, we are nevertheless erring men and women. What a mercy it is that our God is ready to forgive! Whenever we sin let us hasten to the mercy seat of our God, seeking pardon. We are to humble ourselves. Should we not be humbled by the fact that after receiving so much love we yet transgress? O LORD, we bow before Thee in the dust and own our grievous ingratitude. Oh, the infamy of sin! Oh, the sevenfold infamy of it in persons so favored as we have been! Next, we are to pray for mercy, for cleansing, for deliverance from the power of sin. O LORD, hear us even now, and shut not out our cry. In this prayer we are to seek the LORD’s face. He has left us because of our faults, and we must entreat Him to return. O LORD, look on us in Thy Son Jesus, and smile upon Thy servants. With this must go our own turning from evil; God cannot turn to us unless we turn from sin. hen comes the triple promise of hearing, pardon, and healing. Our Father, grant us these at once, for our LORD Jesus Christ’s sake.
Bow Down; Be Lifted Up
“Humble yourselves therefore order the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).
This is tantamount to a promise: if we will bow down, the LORD will lift us up. Humility leads to honor; submission is the way to exaltation. That same hand of God which presses us down is waiting to raise us up when we are prepared to bear the blessing. We stoop to conquer. Many cringe before men and yet miss the patronage they crave; but he that humbles himself under the hand of God shall not fail to be enriched, uplifted, sustained, and comforted by the ever-gracious One. It is a habit of Jehovah to cast down the proud and lift up the lowly.
Yet there is a time for the LORD’s working. We ought now to humble ourselves, even at this present moment; and we are bound to keep on doing so whether the LORD lays His afflicting hand upon us or not. When the LORD smites, it is our special duty to accept the chastisement with profound submission. But as for the LORD’s exaltation of us, that can only come “in due time,” and God is the best judge of that day and hour. Do we cry out impatiently for the blessing? Would we wish for untimely honor? What are we at? Surely we are not truly humbled, or we should wait with quiet submission. So let us do.
Burdens Cast on Him
“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain thee; He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22).
It is a heavy burden; roll it on Omnipotence. It is thy burden now, and it crushes thee; but when the LORD takes it, He will make nothing of it. If thou art called still to bear, “he will sustain thee.” It will be on Him and not on thee. Thou wilt be so upheld under it that the burden will be a blessing. Bring the LORD into the matter, and thou wilt stand upright under that which in itself would bow thee down.
Our worst fear is lest our trial should drive us from the path of duty; but this the LORD will never suffer. If we are righteous before Him, He will not endure that our affliction should move us from our standing. In Jesus He accepts us as righteous, and in Jesus He will keep us so.
What about the present moment? Art thou going forth to this day’s trial alone? Are thy poor shoulders again to be galled with the oppressive load? Be not so foolish. Tell the LORD all about thy grief and leave it with Him. Don’t cast your burden down and then take it up again; but roll it on the LORD and leave it there. Then shalt thou walk at large, a joyful and unburdened believer, singing the praises of thy great Burden-bearer.
Well it has been awhile since I have done a Frenetic Friday post but let’s get to it.
In case you’re living under a rock or in denial this is what is referred to as Holy Week. And today is Good Friday, and more on that later. But I hope that you did notice that as is the norm the various “shows” on Christianity has appeared on various streaming services. The newest one that I noticed is Jesus: Countdown to Calvary made in 2018 and starring Hugh Bonneville. This is playing on Netflixs. And yes I watched and as expected the idea that Jesus was the divine Son of God or the fulfillment of prophecy was completely played down or not mentioned at all. What I did notice was how it was claimed that Jesus came proclaiming a message of, wait for it, “social justice”. I am not really surprised at this an neither should you be if you’ve been keeping up with any of the “social justice” debates that have been going on in Twitter and elsewhere. Just be aware that this and other messages of the same sort will be playing this time especially since Easter or the Sunday celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus however you wish to refer to it draws near.
And speaking of heretical things have you heard about PreachersNSneakers? It is an Instagram account that has pictures of various “hipster” preachers and the expensive sneakers they are wearing. I am not talking about some $150 dollar Nikes here. No, how about $3000 for an off white pair of Jordan 1 from Europe. Or $1100 “Gucci” slippers?
I don’t mind a pastor being well dressed but I have to call into question exactly why do they need that expensive foot wear. What do you think where should this money have gone to?
And keeping with the Good Friday theme, as well as heretical notions a female Roman Catholic theologian has written a book called “Creation and the Cross: The Mercy of God for a Planet in Peril” In it Elizabeth Johnson maintains that Anselm‘s satisfaction theory of atonement was completely wrong. Johnson maintains that Anselm based it upon “the political system of the day” and that God’s mercy doesn’t call for a bloody and violent death for our sins. Basically atonement needs to be removed from what Christ did. <source>
Rather than have me bumble through why the atonement is necessary I shall point you to these resources:
And here is a list of resources from Monergism: Penal Substitutionary Atonement
And a list of resources from The Highway: TThe Atonement of Christ
Finally something from Toplady:
Established and Kept
“But the LORD is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil” (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
Men are often as devoid of reason as of faith. There are with us still “unreasonable and wicked men.” There is no use in arguing with them or trying to be at peace with them: they are false at heart and deceitful in speech. Well, what of this? Shall we worry ourselves with them? No; let us turn to the LORD, for He is faithful. No promise from His Word will ever be broken. He is neither unreasonable in His demands upon us nor unfaithful to our claims upon Him. We have a faithful God. Be this our joy.
He will stablish us so that wicked men shall not cause our downfall, and He will keep us so that none of the evils which now assail us shall really do us damage. What a blessing for us that we need not contend with men but are allowed to shelter ourselves in the LORD Jesus, who is in truest sympathy with us. There is one true heart, one faithful mind, one never changing love; there let us repose. The LORD will fulfill the purpose of His grace to us, His servants, and we need not allow a shadow of a fear to fatal upon our spirits. Not all that men or devils can do can hinder us of the divine protection and provision. This day let us pray the LORD to stablish and keep us
Once many years ago I wrote a program that used Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook as a daily devotional.
I have decided that Sunday’s posts will be the devotional for that Sunday.
Not Left to Perish
“For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither will Thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:10).
This word has it proper fulfillment in the LORD Jesus; but it applies also, with a variation, to all who are in Him. Our soul shall not be left in the separate state, and our body, though it see corruption, shall rise again. The general meaning, rather than the specific application, is that to which we would call our readers’ thoughts at this particular time.
We may descend in spirit very low till we seem to be plunged in the abyss of hell; but we shall not be left there. We may appear to be at death’s door in heart, and soul, and consciousness; but we cannot remain there. Our inward death as to joy and hope may proceed very far; but it cannot run on to its full consequences, so as to reach the utter corruption of black despair, We may go very low, but not lower than the LORD permits; we may stay in the lowest dungeon of doubt for a while, but we shall not perish there. The star of hope is still in the sky when the night is blackest. The LORD will not forget us and hand us over to the enemy. Let us rest in hope, We have to deal with One whose mercy endureth forever. Surely, out of death, and darkness, and despair we shall yet arise to life, light, and liberty.
So someone on Twitter suggested doing this and I think it would be a good idea. It was pointed out that there are 24 chapters in the gospel of Luke. And if you read a chapter a day by Christmas you would have read the entire gospel. So as an Advent devotional, even though Advent starts tomorrow I invite you to join me in read the gospel of Luke.
Q. Then I am not like to have many companions if I thus young begin to serve God, am I?
A. ‘Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it’ (Matt 7:14). Yet somecompanions you will have. David counted himself a
companion of all them that love God’s testimonies (Psa 119:63). All the godly, though grey-headed, will be your companions; yes, and
you shall have either one or more of the angels of God in heaven to attend on, and minister for you (Matt 18:10).
Q. But I am like to be slighted, and despised by other little children, if I begin already to serve God, am I not?
A. If children be so rude as to mock the prophets and ministers of God, no marvel if they also mock you; but it is a poor heaven that is not worth enduring worse things than to be mocked for the seeking and obtaining of (2 Kings 2:23,24).
Q. But how should I serve God? I do not know how to worship him.
A. The true worshippers, worship God in spirit and truth
(John 4:24; Phil 3:3).
Written by Folliott Sandford Pierpoint a British hymn writer and based on Ephesians 5:20
Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
This hymn has been one traditionally used by Protestant churches for celebrating Thanksgiving.
This version was done by a member of The NCrew (EliEli) you can find them at their website here: The NCrew (EliEli)