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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Monday, January 09, 2006

Recovering a Right Perspective

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - Proverbs 4:7
Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.

Daily Scripture Reading - James 1

Puritan Catechism
Question #12 - What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the state wherein he was created?
Answer - When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; (Gal. 3:12) forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon pain of death. (Gen. 2:17)

Devotional Thoughts
I was asked several months back to come and preach a revival at a church where the pastor is a friend of mine. We looked forward to the opportunity to visit and pray together and for me to preach throughout the week and encourage and challenge his church. At the time, only a few days before I was set to go and preach, I came down with a rather bad case of pnuemonia. In fact, I have just recently stopped coughing! The doctor had indicated that it could take 3 to 4 months to fully recover, and I think I am finally all better now that it has indeed been just over 3 months!

So as Providence would have it, I was not able to go and preach. Since that time, events have unfolded that have led my friend to leave the church for a new position with a new congregation. While he is preparing to move and start in this new opportunity that God has opened up for him, I was thinking this weekend about the revival that never was. What had I prepared to preach? What would God have accomplished through those meetings to revive and restore His church to obedience and enthusiastic service to one another and the community? Well, He does have His reasons....

I had worked up outlines for a series of messages but then never got to preach them, so I thought those would come in handy for a devotional study for us this week. The series was to be titled Recovering a Right Perspective. There are 5 messages, so we have one for each devotional this week Tuesday through Saturday (I usually conclude the devotions on Friday, but will make an exception and throw in the regular Phillip's Phunnies after the devotion on Saturday!). Each day then we will examine another way in which we can recover a right perspective.

To begin though we need to know if our perspective does indeed need correcting! Have we lost our way? Have we misplaced our faith and become overwhelmed with circumstances and situations well beyond our control? Are the winds and waves of everyday life about to sink us for good??

Truth be told, it is difficult to maintain a right perspective. It is so easy to fail to walk by faith and instead to revert back to walking by sight. It is so like our fallen flesh to want to SEE everything - to make decisions on our own, to be independent, autonomous, and free from constraint. As we have studied in the past though, we are never truly free, for either our sinful flesh is in contol, or the Holy Spirit is! Either way, we are but slaves, to sin or to righteousness (Romans 6:16).

But back to the point - remember Peter when he had enough faith to jump out of the boat and walk on the water? He went out on the waves and walked for a while. BUT then he saw the waves and heard the wind and took his eyes off of Jesus and he sank and needed to be saved.

What changed in Peter's life out there on the water? His perspective! He quit looking at Jesus and began looking everywhere else. Because his eyes were not on the Savior his faith waned quickly and turned to fear and he sank.

You see, the simple fact is that the Bible tells us alot about perspective. Where to look. When to look. How to look. Why to look. And perhaps the best way to understand the importance of recovering a right perspective is to see where we have been distracted. This week then we are going to study what the Bible says about recovering a right perspective by gaining a right view of God, a right view of worship, a right view of self, a right view of sin, and a right view of others.

Having a right perspective, a proper outlook on life, is the definition of what it means to be wise. Wisdom is having a right perspective. Are there any of us who need more wisdom? Only a fool would say he did not need more wisdom! Any fools out there? Well, never mind. We all need more wisdom, we all need a right perspective, we all need to see things from God's point of view. So that means we all need to work on recovering and maintaining a right perspective.

Good. That means that everyone who reads this needs this! :) Tune in tomorrow and we will start by recovering a right view of God! After all, that is where it all started - in the beginning GOD.... - and where we must start every day. We must see God for Who He is.

Recovering a Right Perspective - The Devotions
Recovering a Right View of God
Recovering a Right View of Worship
Recovering a Right View of Self
Recovering a Right View of Sin
Recovering a Right View of Others


Puritan Voices
We are reading a small portion each day from a sermon by Charles H. Spurgeon titled, A Wise Desire taken from Psalm 47:4.

A Sermon
(No. 33)
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, July 8, 1855, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark

"He shall choose our inheritance for us."—Psalm 47:4

THE CHRISTIAN IS ALWAYS pleased and delighted when he can see Christ in the Scriptures. If he can but detect the footstep of his lord, and discover that the sacred writers are making some reference to him, however indistinct or dark he will rejoice there at: for all the Scriptures are nothing except as we find Christ in them. St. Austin says, "The Scriptures are the swaddling bands of the man-child—Christ Jesus, and were all intended to be hallowed garments in which to wrap him "So they are; and it is our pleasant duty to lift the veil, or remove the garment of Jesus and so behold him in his person, in his nature, or his offices. Now, this text is concerning Jesus Christ—he it is who is to "choose our inheritance for us," he in whom dwelleth all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge is the great Being who is selected as the head of predestination—to choose our lot and our portion, and fix our destiny. Verily, beloved brethren, you and I can rejoice in this great fact, that our Saviour chooses for us. For were we all to be assembled together in some great plain, as Israel was of old, to elect for ourselves a king, we should not propose a second candidate. There would be one who stands like Saul, the son of Kish, head and shoulders taller than all the rest, whom we should at once select to be our king and ruler of Providence for us. We would not ask for some prudent sage or deeply taught philosopher; we would not choose the most experienced senior; but, without a single moment's hesitation, directly we saw Jesus Christ, in the majesty of his person, we should say, in the words of the Psalmist, He who redeemed us, he who ransomed us, he who loved us—"He shall choose our inheritance for us."

I remember once going to a chapel where this happened to be the text, and the good man who occupied the pulpit was more than a little of an Arminian. Therefore, when he commenced, he said, "This passage refers entirely to our temporal inheritance. It has nothing whatever to do with our everlasting destiny: for," said he, "We do not want Christ to choose for us in the matter of heaven or hell. It is so plain and easy that every man who has a grain of common sense will choose heaven; and any person would know better than to choose hell. We have no need of any superior intelligence, or any greater being, to choose heaven or hell for us. It is left to our own free will, and we have enough wisdom given us, sufficiently correct means to judge for ourselves, and therefore, as he very logically inferred, there was no necessity for Jesus Christ, or any one, to make a choice for us. We could choose the inheritance for ourselves without any assistance." Ah! but my good brother, it may be very true that we could, but I think we should want something more than common sense before we should choose aright. For you must recollect that it is not simply the choosing of heaven or hell; it is the choosing of pleasure on earth, or of pain of honor or of persecution; and very often the man is bewildered. If it were just simply hell that a man had to choose, none would prefer it; but since it is the sin which engenders hell, and the lust which brings him on to punishment, there comes the difficulty. For by nature we are all inclined to follow the way which leads downwards, we are naturally willing to walk the road which leads to the pit—we do not seek the pit itself, but the road that leads to it—and were it not for sovereign grace, none of us would ever have followed the path to heaven. I am daily more and more convinced that the difference between one man and another is, not the difference between his use of his will, but the difference of grace that has been bestowed upon him. So that if one man has his "inheritance in heaven," it will be because Christ chose his inheritance for him; and if another man has his place in hell, it will be because he chose his inheritance himself. We do need some one to choose for us in that matter; we want our Father to fix our eternal destiny, and write our names in the book of life, otherwise, if left to ourselves, the road to hell would be as naturally our choice as for a piece of inanimate matter to roll downwards, instead of assisting itself upwards.

However, to come at once to our text, and leave every other person's observations alone, "He shall choose our inheritance for us." First, I shall speak of the text as being a glorious fact—"He shall choose our inheritance for us." And, secondly, I will speak of it as being a very just and wise prayer—"He shall choose our inheritance for us."

I. First, then, I shall speak of this as being A GLORIOUS FACT.

It is a great truth that God does choose the inheritance for his people. It is a very high honor conferred upon God's servants, that it is said of them, "He shall choose their inheritance." As for the worldling, God gives him anything, but for the Christian, God selects the best portion, and chooses his inheritance for him. Says a good divine, "It is one of the greatest glories of the Church of Christ, that our mighty Maker, and our Friend, always chooses our inheritance for us." He gives the worldling husks; but he stops to find out the sweet fruits for his people. He gathers out the fruits from among the leaves, that his people might have the best food, and enjoy the richest pleasures. Oh! it is the satisfaction of God's people to believe in this exalting truth that he chooses their inheritance for them. But, since there are many who dispute it, allow me just to stir up your minds by way of remembrance, by mentioning certain facts which will lead you to see clearly that verily God does choose our lot, and apportion for us our inheritance.

And, first, let me ask, must we not all of us admit an over-ruling providence, and the appointment of Jehovah's hands, as to the means whereby we came into this world? These men who think that afterwards we are left to our own free will by choosing this or the other to direct our steps, must admit that our entrance into the world was not of our own will, but that God there had his hand upon us. What circumstances were those in our power which led us to elect a certain person to be our parent? Had we anything to do with it? Did not God of himself appoint our parents, native place, and friends? Could he not have caused me to be born with the skin of the Hottentot, brought forth by a filthy mother who should nurse me in her "kraal," and teach me to bow down to Pagan gods, quite as easily as to have given me a pious mother, who should each morning and night bend her knee in prayer on my behalf? Or, might he not, if he had pleased, have given me some profligate to have been my parent, from whose lips I might have early heard fearful, filthy, and obscene language? Might he not have placed me where I should have had a drunken father, who should have immured me in a very dungeon of ignorance, and brought me up in the chains of crime? Was it not God's providence that I had so happy a lot, that both my parents were his children, and endeavored to train me up in the fear of the Lord? To whom do any of you owe your parentage—be it good, or be it bad? Is it not to be traced to the decree of God? Did not his predestination put you where you were? Was it not the Lord who appointed the place of your birth, and the hour thereof? Look again at your bodies, do you not see the doings of God there? How many children are born into the world deformed? How many come into it deficient in some one or other of their faculties? But look at ourself. You are perhaps comely in person, or if not, you have all your limbs; your bones are well set, and you are strong—must you not trace this up to God? Do you not see that he arranged the commencement of your life for you? You might have opened your career there, or there, or there; but he placed you there in that particular spot, without asking your leave. Did he turn to you and say, O clay! in what shape shall I fashion you? Or, did he who begat you ask you what you would be? No: he made you what he pleased, and if you have now the possession of your faculties and limbs, you must acknowledge and confess that there was the decree of God in it. And, still further, how much of the finger of God must we discern in our temper and constitution? I suppose no one will be foolish enough to say that we are all born with the same natural temperament and constitution. I am sure there are some persons who differ a great deal from others, at least I should like to differ a little from them—some of those with whom you could not sit a single moment without feeling that you would rather stand in a shower of rain, and get dripping wet than sit on a sofa by their side; some persons are so exceedingly warm in their tempers that they actually burn a hole in their manners and conversation—they cannot speak without being cross, and testy and angry. Now, although such persons often indulge their temper, yet we must allow that, in some measure, they are excusable, because they can trace it to the nature which their mother gave them, (as the worldly poet would say) or rather, that temperament with which they were bore. As if there should be others here who are naturally amiable—who have a kind loving spirit—who are not so easily moved to wrath and passion; in whom there is not so much of that absurd pride which makes man exalt himself above his fellows: who has formed them aright or fashioned them so well? Has not God done it and proved himself a Sovereign? And must we not see in this that God in some way or other has fixed our destiny, from the very fact that the opening bud of life is entirely in his hands? It does seem rational that since God appointed the commencement of our existence, there should be some evidence of his control in the future parts of it.

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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