Friday, August 31, 2012

The Promise of the New Covenant

“Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and seek Him with their whole heart...I will praise Thee with an upright heart, when I shall learn the judgments of Thy righteousness...with my whole heart have I sought thee: let me not wander from Thy commandments, I have hid Thy promise in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee...mine heart breaketh for the desire to Thy judgments always...I will run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou shalt enlarge mine heart...give me understanding and I will keep Thy Law, yea, I will keep it with my whole heart...incline mine heart unto Thy testimonies: and not to covetousness...I made my supplication in Thy presence with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to Thy promise...the proud have imagined a lie against me: but I will keep Thy precepts with my whole heart...let mine heart be upright in Thy statutes, that I be not ashamed...Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage forever: for they are the joy of mine heart. I have applied mine heart to fulfill Thy statutes always, even unto the end...I have cried with my whole heart: hear me, O Lord, and I will keep thy statutes...princes have persecuted me without cause: but mine heart stood in awe of Thy words” (Psalm 119:2,7,10,11,20,32,34,36,58,69,80,111,112,145,161, Geneva Bible).

The Word in our hearts: the Promise of the new covenant in Jesus Christ. “‘Behold, the days come,’ saith the Lord, ‘that I will make a new covenant...I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord”: for they shall all know me from the least of them unto the greatest of them,’ saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

Friday, August 17, 2012


"Thy way, O God, is in the Sanctuary...Thy way is in the sea, and Thy paths in the great waters" (Psalm 77:13,19, Geneva Bible).

"Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the River mighty and great, even the King of Assyria with all his glory, and he shall come up upon all their rivers, and go over all their banks, and shall break into Judah, and shall overflow, and pass through, and shall come up to the neck...sanctify the Lord of hosts, and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread, and He shall be as a Sanctuary" (Isaiah 8:7,8,13,14).

"Therefore say, 'Thus saith the Lord God, "Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little Sanctuary in the countries where they shall come"'" (Ezekiel 11:16).

We may build peaceful, beautiful rooms we call "Sanctuary," but He is Sanctuary in the midst of the roaring waters.

A Prayer Under the Clouds

“...Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord...and God said to Noah...‘Make thee an Ark’...Noah therefore did according to all that God commanded him” (Genesis 6:8,13,14,22, Geneva Bible).

“By faith Noah being warned of God of the things which were as yet not seen, moved with reverence, prepared the Ark to the saving of his household, through the which Ark he condemned the world, and was made heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).

“...God...saved Noah...a preacher of righteousness...” (2 Peter 2:4,5).

Grace. Obedience. Faith. Salvation. Righteousness.

Father, shine through Your people’s lives with these realities through the Son by the Spirit, for Your eternal glory and our forever joy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Night Worship Among the Dragons and Lions

“Behold, praise ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, ye that by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands to the Sanctuary, and praise the Lord. The Lord that hath made heaven and earth, bless thee out of Zion(Psalm 134:1-3, Geneva Bible). This Psalm, part of the pilgrimage “Songs of Ascent” cycle, has always seemed so peaceful to me. I have imagined the peaceful silence of the Temple in the middle of the night with the flickering torches reflecting beautifully off of the gold-plated walls. What peaceful beauty for those who stand to worship in the night!

But the other Psalm readings for today remind me that this is not always the case for God’s pilgrims in this world. Sometimes those who stand in the darkness to worship stand in the midst of dragons and lions:
  • “Our heart is not turned back: neither our steps gone out of Thy paths, albeit Thou hast smitten us down into the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death” (44:18,19).
  • “Give not the soul of Thy turtle dove unto the beast, and forget not the Congregation of Thy poor forever. Consider Thy covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of the cruel” (74:19,20).
  • “My soul, praise thou the Lord: O Lord my God, Thou art exceeding great, Thou art clothed with glory and honor. He appointed the moon for certain seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. Thou makest darkness, and it is night, wherein all the beasts of the forest creep forth. The lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat at God” (104:19-21). 
In the night, stand and lift your hands to the God our “Shepherd,” Who sometimes, in His perfect wisdom and providence, leads us “through the valley of the shadow of death” (24:1,4).

“As the providence of God in general reaches to all creatures, so, in a more special manner, it takes care of His church, and governs all things to the good of His church” (1689 Baptist Confession, 5.7).

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Lord Loveth Righteousness

“For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness: His countenance doth behold the just” (Psalm 11:7, Geneva Bible).

Who can He love among us? “But we have all been as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy cloths, and we all do fade like a leaf, and our iniquities like the wind have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6).

How the righteous become righteous, how the just become just: “Surely, He hath born our infirmities, and carried our sorrows, yet we did judge Him as plagued and smitten of God, and humbled. But He was wounded for our transgressions: He was broken for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes are we healed. All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet did He not open his mouth: He is brought as a sheep to the slaughter...yet the Lord would break Him and make Him subject to infirmities: when He shall make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see his seed and shall prolong His days, and the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied; by His knowledge shall My Righteous [צדיק] Servant justify [צדק] many: for He shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:4-11).

“For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness: His countenance doth behold the just” (Psalm 11:7, Geneva Bible). Through the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world may we see the face of the Father and worship with confessions of astounding truth and unfathomable love.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Calling of Difference and Discernment

“...this is an ordinance forever throughout your generations, that ye may put difference between the holy and the unholy, and between the clean and the unclean, and that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath commanded them by the hand of Moses” (Leviticus 10:9-11, Geneva Bible).

“For when as concerning the time ye ought to be teachers, yet have ye need again that we teach you what are the first principles of the Word of God: and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For everyone that useth milk, is inexpert in the Word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of age, which through long custom have their wits exercised, to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14).

Live your calling, Church, as “a royal Priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9), learning and teaching how the Word divides “holy and unholy,” “clean and unclean,” and “good and evil,” for while the world rejects or reverses these categories, they have not changed in the Unchangeable One’s Word. Your calling remains the same.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sisters, Be Maidens of Wisdom

“Wisdom hath built her house, and hewn out her seven pillars. She hath killed her victuals, drawn her wine, and prepared her table. She hath sent forth her maidens, and crieth upon the highest places of the city, saying, ‘Who so is simple, let him come hither,’ and to him that is destitute of wisdom, she saith, ‘Come, and eat of my meat, and drink of the wine that I have drawn. Forsake your way, ye foolish, and ye shall live: and walk in the way of understanding’” (Proverbs 9:1-6, Geneva Bible). Women of God in Christ, may you be maidens of God’s wisdom this day in your words.
  • “...a virtuous woman...openeth her mouth with wisdom, and the law of grace [תורת־חסד, the “Law of covenant-love” – one of my favorite phrases in the Bible] is in her tongue” (31:10,26).
  • “...every woman that prayeth or have power [εξουσία, or authority given from another] on her head, because of the Angels. Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man in the Lord...follow after love, and covet spiritual gifts, and rather that ye may prophesy...he that prophesieth, speaketh unto men to edifying, and to exhortation, and to comfort” (1 Corinthians 11:5,10,11; 14:1,3).
  • “The elder women likewise, that they be...teachers of honest things. That they may instruct the young women to be sober minded, that they love their husbands, that they love their children” (Titus 2:3,4).

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Gather to Our High Priest

“My covenant was with him in life and peace, and I gave him fear, and he feared me, and was afraid before my Name. The Law of truth was in his mouth, and there was no iniquity found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn away many from iniquity. For the Priest’s lips should preserve knowledge, and they should seek the Law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 2:5-7, Geneva Bible).

“Seeing therefore, brethren, that by the blood of Jesus we may be bold to enter into the Holy place, by the new and living way, which he hath prepared for us, through the veil, that is, his flesh: and seeing that we have an high Priest, which is over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in assurance of faith, our hearts being pure from an evil conscience, and washed in our bodies with pure water, let us keep the profession of our hope, without wavering, (for he is faithful that promised.) And let us consider one another, to provoke unto love, and to good works. Not forsaking the fellowship that we have among ourselves, as the manner of some is: but let us exhort one another, and that so much the more, because ye see that the day draweth near” (Hebrews 10:19-25).

Gather by the blood of God (Acts 20:28), hear the Word of God, and minister to His house (“Whose house we are,” 3:6).