Today’s devotion comes from Mark 12:41-44.

“And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury;  and many rich people were putting in large sums.  A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.  Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury;  for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”  Mark 12:41-44.

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“My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.  For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?  Listen, my beloved brethren:  did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?  But you have dishonored the poor man.  Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court?  Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?

If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well.”  James 2:1-8.

“So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”  Galatians 6:10.

“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.”  Galatians 5:16 and 22-23.

Today’s devotion comes from Mark 12:35-40.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+12&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“In His teaching He was saying:  “Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers;  these will receive greater condemnation.”  Mark 12:38-40.

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At first glance, it may seem to us that it is not so bad and it is not worthy of the “beware” language to deal with such religious leaders.  We may feel that we can quickly brush aside our feelings of annoyance that they are so full of themselves.

But, then we notice that they present more of a danger.  They use their position to “devour widows’ houses”.

And, when we look at a similar Scripture passage about those who “… do all their deeds to be noticed by men;  …  They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.”  Matthew 23:5-7, we see the following additional and more prevalent danger.

“They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.”  Matthew 23:4.

In sharpest contrast, Jesus came “… to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:28.

Jesus said:  “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30.

Jesus tied up the heavy loads of the law and laid them on His own shoulders and gave us His Spirit as a yoke:  “in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit”. Romans 8:4.

Today’s devotion comes from Mark 12:28-34.

“One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”  Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL!  The LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;  AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’  The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.”  The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher;  You have truly stated that HE IS ONE, AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE BESIDES HIM;  AND TO LOVE HIM WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE UNDERSTANDING AND WITH ALL THE STRENGTH, AND TO LOVE ONE’S NEIGHBOR AS HIMSELF, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”  After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.”  Mark 12:28-34.

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Scripture (such as Deuteronomy chapter 6 and 1 Samuel 15:17-23) teach us that to love the LORD as we should, means that we should obey Him.

“So the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today.  It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the LORD our God, just as He commanded us.”  Deuteronomy 6:24-25.

“Samuel said,

“Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.”  1 Samuel 15:22.

And yet, the long and sad story of Israel and our long and sad story as well (both Jew and Gentile) is that we have not obeyed the LORD.

“10 as it is written,

“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”
13 “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE,

WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,”
“THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS”;
14 “WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS”;
15 “THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD,
16 DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS,
17 AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN.”
18 “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.”  Romans 3:10-18.

Nevertheless, other doctrine preaches and teaches as if there is still hope in man.  Man just needs to try harder.

But, Reformed Doctrine recognizes this condition of man which it summarizes as “Total Depravity”, the “T” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, Reformed Doctrine of Salvation, as more fully taught in the Reformed creed Canons of Dordt.  We are “dead” in sin.  Ephesians 2:1.  None of us understands, none does good, none of us seeks God or even fears God.  Romans 3:10-18.  We are hostile to God.  Romans 8:7 and Colossians 1:21.  We are in bondage to sin.  Romans 7:14-15.

Reformed Doctrine preaches and teaches that our only hope is in God Who provides all that we need for salvation from the beginning to the end:  from the beginning of “Unconditional Election” through “Limited Atonement” through “Irresistible Grace” to the end of “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”.

“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;  and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”  Ezekiel 36:26-27.

“For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

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 5:14-16 and 22-24.

Today’s devotion comes from Mark 12:18-27.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+12&version=NASB

I quote only the following verse.

“Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?”  Mark 12:24.

——————–

For today’s devotion, I wanted to focus on the importance of understanding the Scriptures and the power of God, rather than cover in this devotion the one or specific examples of misunderstandings by the Sadducees presented therein.  In other words, we may not have the misunderstandings that the Sadducees, but we will have other misunderstandings, most importantly a misunderstanding of the gospel, the doctrine of salvation,  if we do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God.

Other doctrine teaches a gospel based on the power of man to have wisdom and do good works and have free-will.  Other doctrine does not understand Scripture.

“10 as it is written,

“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”  Romans 3:10-11.

But, Reformed Doctrine teaches the gospel presented by Scripture of the power of God to save from beginning to end.  The Reformed creed Canons of Dordt best summarizes Scripture of this power of God to save from beginning to end.  A nutshell summary of the Canons of Dordt is “TULIP” which shows the power of God to save in five points from the beginning of “Unconditional Election” through “Limited Atonement” through “Irresistible Grace” to the end of “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”.  

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”  Romans 1:16.

“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  1 Corinthians 1:18.

“For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.  I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”  1 Corinthians 2:2-5.

“For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power.”  1 Corinthians 4:20.

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;”  2 Corinthians 4:7.

“Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power.”  1 Corinthians 6:4.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”  Ephesians 2:4-7.

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;  seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”  2 Peter 1:2-3.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  1 Peter 1:3-5.

Today’s devotion comes from Mark 12:13-17.

“Then they *sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Him in order to trap Him in a statement.  They *came and *said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one;  for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth.  Is it lawful to pay a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?  Shall we pay or shall we not pay?”  But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why are you testing Me?  Bring Me a denarius to look at.”  They brought one.  And He *said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”  And they said to Him, “Caesar’s.”  And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  And they were amazed at Him.”  Mark 12:13-17.

———————

Do some things belong to Caesar that do not belong to God?  No, everything belongs to God!

“10 “For every beast of the forest is Mine,
The cattle on a thousand hills.
11 “I know every bird of the mountains,
And everything that moves in the field is Mine.”  Psalm 50:10-11.

“O LORD, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions.”  Psalm 104:24.

We “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”, not because those things do not belong to God.  Rather, we “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”, because it is part of God’s sovereign providence.

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.”  Psalm 103:19.

For example, we pay taxes and submit to government authorities, because it is part of God’s sovereign providence.

“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.  …  For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.  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.”  Romans 13:1 and 6-7.

For another example, we work six days and worship and rest on Sunday, the “Lord’s Day”.  Does only the “Lord’s Day” belong to the Lord?  No, every day belongs to the Lord!  Rather, we work six days, because it is part of God’s sovereign providence.

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.  It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”  Colossians 3:23-24.

In summary, we live out all of our life in obedience to God.  “… the life that He lives, He lives to God.  …  But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”  Romans 6:10 and 17-18.

We meditate on God’s Word day and night.  “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.”  Psalm 1:2.  We pray without ceasing.  “Rejoice always;  pray without ceasing;  in everything give thanks;  for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

But, we are not legalistic.  God does not require us to live in a monastery in self-abasement.  See, for example, Ecclesiastes 9:7-9.  God does not require us to give all of our money to the church.  See, for example, Matthew 14:3-9 and 1 Timothy 5:8.  Christ has set us free, and we walk by the Spirit.  Galatians chapter 5.  “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30.

Today’s devotion comes from Mark 12:1-12.

“And He began to speak to them in parables:  “A man PLANTED A VINEYARD AND PUT A WALL AROUND IT, AND DUG A VAT UNDER THE WINE PRESS AND BUILT A TOWER, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey.  At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers.  They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed.  Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully.  And he sent another, and that one they killed;  and so with many others, beating some and killing others.  He had one more to send, a beloved son;  he sent him last of all to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’  But those vine-growers said to one another, ‘This is the heir;  come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’  They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard.  What will the owner of the vineyard do?  He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others.  Have you not even read this Scripture:

‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,
THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER STONE;
THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD,
AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES’?”

And they were seeking to seize Him, and yet they feared the people, for they understood that He spoke the parable against them.  And so they left Him and went away.”   Mark 12:1-12.

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Other doctrine focuses on man and fears what man did or will do.     

But, Reformed Doctrine focuses on God and is glad in what God has done.     

The religious leaders, the chief priests and Pharisees, may have rejected Jesus, and even killed Him, but God is sovereign and in control and caused Jesus to build His church and be the chief corner stone of the church.

“IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES”

Other doctrine preaches and teaches what man should do to be the best he can be.

But, Reformed Doctrine studies Scripture to learn about God and His works and preaches and teaches what God has done.

“4 For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.

5 How great are Your works, O LORD!
Your thoughts are very deep.
6 A senseless man has no knowledge,
Nor does a stupid man understand this:
7 That when the wicked sprouted up like grass
And all who did iniquity flourished,
It was only that they might be destroyed forevermore.
8 But You, O LORD, are on high forever.
9 For, behold, Your enemies, O LORD,
For, behold, Your enemies will perish;
All who do iniquity will be scattered.”  Psalm 92:4-9.

“6 “Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power,
Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.
7 “And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You;
You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as chaff.”  Exodus 15:6-7.

“Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;  but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth;  for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.”  Jeremiah 9:23-24.

“Great are the works of the LORD;
They are studied by all who delight in them.”  Psalm 111:2.

“The Rock!  His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.”    Deuteronomy 32:4.

Today’s devotion comes from Mark 11:27-33.

“They *came again to Jerusalem.  And as He was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders *came to Him, and began saying to Him, “By what authority are You doing these things, or who gave You this authority to do these things?”  And Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question, and you answer Me, and then I will tell you by what authority I do these things.  Was the baptism of John from heaven, or from men?  Answer Me.”  They began reasoning among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’  But shall we say, ‘From men’?”—they were afraid of the people, for everyone considered John to have been a real prophet.  Answering Jesus, they *said, “We do not know.” And Jesus *said to them, “Nor will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”  Mark 11:27-33.

———————-

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”  Matthew 28:11.

“And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.”  Daniel 7:14.

“Jesus spoke these things;  and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come;  glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.  This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.  Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world;  they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.  Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You;  for the words which You gave Me I have given to them;  and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.”  John 17:1-8.

Other doctrine claims some authority for itself.  Other doctrine claims authority to effectively make its own decisions and its own actions that will determine whether or not it will be saved which it calls free-will.  And, other doctrine claims some glory for achieving its salvation by its wisdom and power to make those right decisions and actions that will achieve salvation (whether it be good works or at least the will to be saved).

But, Reformed Doctrine recognizes that Scripture teaches that all authority has been given to Christ that all whom God has elected (“given Him” to save), Christ may save and give eternal life.  And, Reformed Doctrine further recognizes that all glory belongs to God.   God deserves all glory, because God provides all that we need for salvation from beginning to end:  from the beginning of “Unconditional Election” through “Limited Atonement” through “Irresistible Grace” to the end of “Preservation of the Saints”, the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation.    This true doctrine of salvation is more fully taught in the Reformed Confession called Canons of Dordt.

“For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”  Romans 7:15-16.

“… God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.  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 1:27-31.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith;  and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:4-9.

“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 | October 2, 2018

“Have faith in God.”

Today’s devotion comes from Mark 11:19-26.

“When evening came, they would go out of the city.

As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up.  Being reminded, Peter *said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.”  And Jesus *answered saying to them, “Have faith in God.  Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.  Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.  Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.  [But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”]  Mark 11:19-26.

——————-

We can be so eager to get what we want that we are focused only on how to get what we want such that we miss the essential introduction “Have faith in God.”

Today’s devotion will focus on what it means to “Have faith in God.”  

First, let us brush aside what it does not mean.  “Have faith in God.” does not mean that we have faith in our faith.  It does not mean that we are focused on self and removing all doubt in our heart through our own willpower (even though it is important to have no doubt in our heart).

So, then what does it mean to “Have faith in God.”? 

Most simply, we have faith “in God”, not in our self.

Q. 26.  What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?

A.  That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them;  who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence is, for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father;  on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt but He will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body;  and further, that He will make whatever evils He sends upon me, in this valley of tears, turn out to my advantage;  for He is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing, being a faithful Father.  Heidelberg Catechism.  

Notice the focus on God and Who He is!

He is “Almighty God”, and therefore “He is able to do it”.  He is “faithful Father”, and therefore He is “willing” to do it.

Yes, we have “no doubt”.  But, we do not have no doubt because of the strength of our own faith.  Rather, we have no doubt because our faith is in God and Who He is, namely “Almighty God” and our “faithful Father”.

And this is one of the reasons why Reformed Doctrine is so important.

Other doctrine focuses on man and what man should do.

But, Reformed Doctrine focuses on God and Who God is and what God does, thus building our faith “in God“. 

“Have faith in God.”

Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | October 1, 2018

“MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL NATIONS”.

Today’s devotion comes from Mark 11:12-18.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+11&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“Then they *came to Jerusalem.  And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves;  and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple.  And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL NATIONS’?  But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”  The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him;  for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching.”  Mark 11:12-18.

———-

In the midst of the strong, sharp physical force actions by Jesus of overturning the tables and driving out the those who were buying and selling, we see warmness, openness, and caring by Jesus’ statement:  “MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL NATIONS”.

We see within this statement the hope that places of worship are “for all nations“.

“Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  Ephesians 2:11-13.

Moreover, when we look within the Old Testament Scripture which Jesus quoted to make His statement, we see the warmness, openness, and caring expressed to those who may have thought themselves excluded but who had hope because they kept God’s word.

“Thus says the LORD,
“Preserve justice and do righteousness,
For My salvation is about to come
And My righteousness to be revealed.
2 “How blessed is the man who does this,
And the son of man who takes hold of it;
Who keeps from profaning the sabbath,
And keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say,
“The LORD will surely separate me from His people.”
Nor let the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.”

4 For thus says the Lord,

“To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths,
And choose what pleases Me,
And hold fast My covenant,
5 To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial,
And a name better than that of sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.

6 “Also the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
To minister to Him, and to love the name of the LORD,
To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath
And holds fast My covenant;
Even those I will bring to My holy mountain
And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar;
For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”
8 The Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares,
“Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.”  Isaiah 56:1-8.

Accordingly, in the very Reformed Doctrine creed that most sharply defines election, namely the Canons of Dordt, we see the the warmness, openness, and caring expressed to those who may have thought themselves excluded but kept God’s word.

Article 16.  Those who do not yet experience a lively faith in Christ, an assured confidence of soul, peace of conscience, an earnest endeavor after filial obedience, and glorying in God through Christ, efficaciously wrought in them, and do nevertheless persist in the use of the means which God hath appointed for working these graces in us, ought not to be alarmed at the mention of reprobation, nor to rank themselves among the reprobate, but diligently to persevere in the use of means, and with ardent desires, devoutly and humbly to wait for a season of richer grace.  Much less cause have they to be terrified by the doctrine of reprobation, who, though they seriously desire to be turned to God, to please him only, and to be delivered from the body of death, cannot yet reach that measure of holiness and faith to which they aspire;  since a merciful God has promised that he will not quench the smoking flax, nor break the bruised reed.  But this doctrine is justly terrible to those, who, regardless of God and of the Savior Jesus Christ, have wholly given themselves up to the cares of the world, and the pleasures of the flesh, so long as they are not seriously converted to God.  FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination of Canons of Dordt.  

Accordingly, we are called to preach “to all nations, and to all persons promiscuously and without distinction”.

Article 5.  Moreover, the promise of the gospel is, that whosoever believeth in Christ crucified, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. This promise, together with the command to repent and believe, ought to be declared and published to all nations, and to all persons promiscuously and without distinction, to whom God out of his good pleasure sends the gospel.  SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby of Canons of Dordt.

“…  ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL NATIONS’  …”Verse 17.

Today’s devotion comes from Mark 11:1-11.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+11&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“They *brought the colt to Jesus and put their coats on it;  and He sat on it.  And many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields.  Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting:

“Hosanna!
BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD;
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David;
Hosanna in the highest!”

Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple;  and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late.  Mark 11:7-11.

———————-

“15 The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.

22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
23 This is the LORD’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 O LORD, do save, we beseech You;
O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity!
26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD;
We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.
27 The LORD is God, and He has given us light;
Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I give thanks to You;
You are my God, I extol You.
29 Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”  Psalm 118:15 and 22-29.

Other doctrine is continually worried about what man will do.   

But, Reformed Doctrine is triumphant, joyfully shouting about the LORD and what He has done.  The right hand of the LORD has obtained salvation for all of His elect.  His lovingkindness is everlasting for His elect.   

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”  Zechariah 9:9.

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.

“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.  In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.  …”  Ephesians 1:3-7.

This is the LORD’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.”  Psalm 118:23.

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