Today’s devotion comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:7-11.

“For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night.  But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.  Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”  1 Thessalonians 5:7-11.

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“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely;  and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24. 

“But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.  It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.  So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.”  2 Thessalonians 2:13-15.  

Consider in more depth what the theme of today’s Scripture means that we are not destined for wrath, but rather we are chosen for salvation, summarized by the word “election”. As the above Scripture exhorts us: “stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught” in the Canons of Dordt in the section titled FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination.

Article 7.  Election is the unchangeable purpose of God, whereby, before the foundation of the world, he hath out of mere grace, according to the sovereign good pleasure of his own will, chosen, from the whole human race, which had fallen through their own fault, from their primitive state of rectitude, into sin and destruction, a certain number of persons to redemption in Christ, whom he from eternity appointed the Mediator and Head of the elect, and the foundation of Salvation.

This elect number, though by nature neither better nor more deserving than the others, but with them involved in one common misery, God hath decreed to give to Christ, to be saved by him, and effectually to call and draw them to his communion by his Word and Spirit, to bestow upon them true faith, justification and sanctification;  and having powerfully preserved them in the fellowship of his Son, finally, to glorify them for the demonstration of his mercy, and for the praise of his glorious grace; as it is written:  “According as he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love;  having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved,”  Ephesians 1:4,5,6.  And elsewhere:  “Whom he did predestinate, them he also called;  and whom he called, them he also justified;  and whom he justified, them he also glorified,” Romans 8:30.

Article 9.  This election was not founded upon foreseen faith, and the obedience of faith, holiness, or any other good quality of disposition in man, as the pre-requisite, cause or condition on which it depended;  but men are chosen to faith and to the obedience of faith, holiness, etc., therefore election is the fountain of every saving good;  from which proceed faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself, as its fruits and effects, according to that of the apostle:  “He hath chosen us (not because we were) but that we should be holy, and without blame, before him in love,”  Ephesians 1:4.

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”  2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6.

“Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.  For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.  While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief;  for you are all sons of light and sons of day.  We are not of night nor of darkness;  so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.”   1 Thessalonians 5:1-6. 

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“Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep;  for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.  The night is almost gone, and the day is near.  Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”  Romans 13:11-14.

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!  But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”  2 Peter 3:10-13.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore comfort one another with these words.”  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

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“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.  And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”  Matthew 24:30-31.

Consider the following from the Belgic Confession.

“Article 37:  Of the Last Judgment.

Finally we believe, according to the Word of God, when the time appointed by the Lord (which is unknown to all creatures) is come, and the number of the elect complete, that our Lord Jesus Christ will come from heaven, corporally and visibly, as he ascended, with great glory and majesty to declare himself judge of the quick and the dead;  burning this old world with fire and flame, to cleanse it.  And then all men will personally appear before this great judge, both men and women and children, that have been from the beginning of the world to the end thereof, being summoned by the voice of the archangel, and by the sound of the trumpet of God.  For all the dead shall be raised out of the earth, and their souls joined and united with their proper bodies, in which they formerly lived.  As for those who shall then be living, they shall not die as the others, but be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and from corruptible, become incorruptible.  Then the books (that is to say the consciences) shall be opened, and the dead judged according to what they shall have done in this world, whether it be good or evil.  Nay, all men shall give an account of every idle word they have spoken, which the world only counts amusement and jest:  and then the secrets and hypocrisy of men shall be disclosed and laid open before all.  And therefore the consideration of this judgment, is justly terrible and dreadful to the wicked and ungodly, but most desirable and comfortable to the righteous and elect:  because then their full deliverance shall be perfected, and there they shall receive the fruits of their labor and trouble which they have borne.  Their innocence shall be known to all, and they shall see the terrible vengeance which God shall execute on the wicked, who most cruelly persecuted, oppressed and tormented them in this world;  and who shall be convicted by the testimony of their own consciences, and being immortal, shall be tormented in that everlasting fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels.  But on the contrary, the faithful and elect shall be crowned with glory and honor;  and the Son of God will confess their names before God his Father, and his elect angels;  all tears shall be wiped from their eyes;  and their cause which is now condemned by many judges and magistrates, as heretical and impious, will then be known to be the cause of the Son of God.  And for a gracious reward, the Lord will cause them to possess such a glory, as never entered into the heart of man to conceive.  Therefore we expect that great day with a most ardent desire to the end that we may fully enjoy the promises of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  AMEN.

“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” – Revelation. 22:20.”

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12.

“Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.” 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12.

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“25 The desire of the sluggard puts him to death,
For his hands refuse to work;
26 All day long he is craving,
While the righteous gives and does not hold back.” Proverbs 21:25-26.

“10 An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.
14 She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
15 She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
18 She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.” Proverbs 31:10-19.

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.

“Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Romans 12:16-18.

“Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:7-8.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Thessalonians 4:2-8.

“For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.  For this is the will of God, your sanctification;  that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;  that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;  and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.  For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.  So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.”  1 Thessalonians 4:2-8.

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“Flee immorality.  Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price:  therefore glorify God in your body.”  1 Corinthians 6:18-20.  

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,  nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”  1 Corinthians 6:9-10. 

But, there is hope!

Christ sanctifies us.

“Such were some of you (see prior 1 Corinthians 6:9-10);  but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”  1 Corinthians 6:11.   

“But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31.

“For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,”  Hebrews 2:11.

Through the death of Christ, we are no longer a slave to sin.

“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;  for he who has died is freed from sin.”  Romans 6:4-7.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  …  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;  against such things there is no law.  Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  Galatians 5:16 and 22- 24.

God has chosen a/k/a elected us for sanctification.

“For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.”  Verse 7.

Consider the following from the Canons of Dordt in the section titled FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination.  

Article 7. Election is the unchangeable purpose of God, whereby, before the foundation of the world, he hath out of mere grace, according to the sovereign good pleasure of his own will, chosen, from the whole human race, which had fallen through their own fault, from their primitive state of rectitude, into sin and destruction, a certain number of persons to redemption in Christ, whom he from eternity appointed the Mediator and Head of the elect, and the foundation of Salvation.

This elect number, though by nature neither better nor more deserving than the others, but with them involved in one common misery, God hath decreed to give to Christ, to be saved by him, and effectually to call and draw them to his communion by his Word and Spirit, to bestow upon them true faith, justification and sanctification;  …

“But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.  It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  2 Thessalonians 2:13-14.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 26, 2020

“excel still more.” – “press on”

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Thessalonians 4:1.

“Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.”  1 Thessalonians 4:1.

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It is Thanksgiving Day.  My first thought this morning was to skip writing devotion today:  “I can take today off.  After all, it is a holiday, Thanksgiving Day!”

But, I did not feel quite right to take today off, so my second thought was to write something “easy and breezy” like how we should be thankful to God for all of His blessings.

But, my third thought was that just as I almost always stayed with the next Scripture in line to prepare the next Reformed Doctrine Daily Devotion, I should continue to do so for today even though it is Thanksgiving day. 

“Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.”  Verse 1.

If anyone had an excuse to coast to the finish line, it was Paul.  But, what was Paul’s attitude?  What did Paul do?

“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude;  and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;  however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.”  Philippians 3:12-16.

And, there is hope!

“for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:13.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13.

“Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you;  and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;  so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”  1 Thessalonians 3:11-13.

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“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely;  and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.   Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.

“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  1 Corinthians 1:4-9.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”  Ephesians 1:3-6.

“…  Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing;  but that she would be holy and blameless.”  Ephesians 5:25-27.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen.”  Jude 1:24-25.

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | November 24, 2020

“for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord.”

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Thessalonians 3:1-10.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Thessalonians+3&version=NASB1995

I quote only the following verses.

“But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you, for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith;  for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord.”  For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account, as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, and may complete what is lacking in your faith?  1 Thessalonians 3:6-10. 

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We are concerned and pray and pleased to hear when our family and friends are prospering financially and are in good health.

“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”  3 John 1:2.

But, let us be most concerned, most earnestly pray, and most pleased to hear that they stand firm in the Lord as shown by today’s Scripture.   

“I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”  3 John 1:4.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Thessalonians 2:14-20.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Thessalonians+2&version=NASB1995

I quote only the following verses.

“But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short while—in person, not in spirit—were all the more eager with great desire to see your face.  For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once—and yet Satan hindered us.  For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation?  Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?  For you are our glory and joy.”  1 Thessalonians 2:17-20. 

———-

It is amazing enough that Paul loved the Thessalonians that much, but Paul also loved the Philippians and the Corinthians and others likewise.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.”  Philippians 4:1. 

“I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls.  If I love you more, am I to be loved less?”  2 Corinthians 12:15.

We remember the commandment of our Lord to love one another in the following Scripture, and we remember so many other exhortations and encouragements to love one another through the Scriptures.

“This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.”  1 John 3:23.

We may feel that we fall so far short of how we should love another.

But, there is hope!

We stop looking inward and we start looking up. 

“We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  … We love, because He first loved us.”  1 John 4:16 and 19. 

“and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;  so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”  1 Thessalonians 3:12-13.

We stop loving through the flesh and we start loving through the Spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;  against such things there is no law.”  Galatians 5:22-23.

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

“For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”  1 Thessalonians 2:13. 

——————

“Is not My word like fire?” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?”  Jeremiah 23:29.

“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11.

“9 “Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man of My purpose from a far country.
Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.
I have planned it, surely I will do it.” Isaiah 46:9-11.

“He who gives attention to the word will find good,
And blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.” Proverbs 16:20.

“7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
In keeping them there is great reward.” Psalm 19:7-11.

“2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:2-3.

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