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First Baptist Church
337 Piper Road
West Springfield, MA 01089

(413) 737-3753

 

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Weekly Devotional

This insight into the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “The Good News,”

was gleaned by reading Spurgeon’s Daily Devotional.

March 9, 2020

One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.

Psalms 62:11-12

 

There are many people in this world that think our faith in Jesus Christ is nothing more than a sign of weakness, an example of people with feeble minds, just another coping mechanism to get us through hard times: like alcohol, drugs and hospital wooden crutches.

There are many people in this world that look at the life and death of Jesus Christ as a lesson in futility; a useless waist of thirty years living upon this earth; a pointless, ineffective, senseless tragedy of epic proportions. Lacking grace, and faith to believe in the Redeemer of this world, they see no value in our Lord’s suffering, only a sorrowful, worthless, hopeless example of utter impotence. 

Oh, how wrong they are in their thinking; how blind they are in their seeing; how dull they are in their perceiving, those whom have yet to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Sadly, they have no Spiritual Counselor to enlighten them and open their senses to appreciating the – Joy of “our” Salvation.

By grace, through faith in the Lamb of God, we are privileged to understand that our hope for Eternal Life lies not in weak philosophies; but in the strength of the Son of God, whom suffered the passion of the cross – the nails in His hands and feet; the crown of thorns upon His head; the jeering howls of sinful men, standing at the base of His dying body, with fist raised in anger and animosity in their hearts shouting “… save Yourself , and come down from the cross" (Mark 15:30) - in obedience to the will of His Father in heaven. Weakness? I think not!  Courage? I think yes!

It is none other than a Super Human Being, whom - knowing our weaknesses, understanding our limitations, aware of all our vulnerabilities - had the fortitude, the stamina, the guts to suffer the righteous wrath of God on our behalf. 

There is “One thing Jesus Christ has spoken to everyone He calls unto Himself,” and that is this: “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:54)

And the two things that guarantee the fulfillment of this promise of our Savior to us is the strength of His Almighty Arms to save us, and the Power of His unconditional love to redeem us.

Oh, how great is our expectations manifest in our faith in Jesus Christ, the source of all our strength, alone!

May this interpretation of God’s Holy Word be a blessing in your life this week. Amen!

March 2, 2020

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

 

In order to fashion a block of granite into the universal symbol of love, the shape of a heart, it must first be cut out of the mountain quarry by industrial means; then transported on semi-trailer trucks to the mason’s back yard where, often times, for years even, it may weather the seasons entirely unaffected by rain, snow, scorching heat of the noon day sun and crows perching upon it.

There is nothing pliable about a heart of stone. And because it is a hard thing, a dense thing, an object impervious to emotions, it feels no pain when the craftsman brings it into his studio and picks up the tools of his art, hammer and chisel, and begins striking the stone, chipping away at its surface, forming it to his will – making it into a representation of the wellspring of all human sympathies, empathies, sentiments and passions: the heart of man.

Amazingly, impermeable objects like this can, in viewing them, bring a person to tears. Michelangelo’s sculpture, the Pietà, fashioned out of a block of marble comes to mind. This depiction of the mother of Jesus, holding the body of her dead son in her lap, has brought many stone-cold hearts to crying out to the Son of God for mercy, absolution and forgiveness of their sins. And this by the hands of a Master Carver of stone!  Imagine, then, what our Father in heaven can do if we pray for Him to applying His hands to the work of changing the hearts of people we love who are currently in a petrified state of estrangement, misunderstanding and resentment with us?

Oh, how precious is the unconditional love of our Savior that goes straight to penetrating frozen hearts, transforming them from

 

Blocks of granite -

Hard,

Cold,

Impenetrable stones

Which can be fashioned,

Shaped,

Chiseled

Piece by piece;

Hammered into dust;

But never cut –

 

Into soft, tender organs of flesh

Filled with appreciation

For the bleeding heart of our Redeemer,

Jesus Christ.

And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:27)

May this interpretation of God’s Holy Word be a blessing in your life this week. Amen!

February 24, 2020

I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. Hosea 2:19

Oh, the wonder of our Beloved, Jesus Christ: His Redeeming grace by which we believe, by faith, in His unconditional love for us; His death; His resurrection; His promise of eternal life.

It is the blood of our Redeemer that washes us clean of all our sins and makes us holy. His sacrifice upon the cross, on our behalf, annulled the divorce - the break up between God and man which occurred in the Garden of Eden.

When Jesus gave up His life for us the justice we fully deserve, for being like Adam and Eve and exercising our free will to disobey the commands of God, was served upon Him. And “at the moment the curtain in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; the earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened,” (Matthew 27: 51-52) a wedding of Biblical Proportions took place, a union that no man can put asunder because the vows spoken were made to us by our Father in heaven, by virtue of the Son of God and His redeeming love and compassion for us.

      "I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD. Hosea 2:20"

Truly, a marriage made in heaven.

May this interpretation of God’s Holy Word be a blessing in your life this week. Amen!

February 17, 2020

"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors." Romans 8:12 

Are we being fully responsible with the grace we have received to believe, by faith, in the Son of God and His work of redemption for us upon the cross? Are we paying our dues, so to speak, in appreciation for His body, broken for us; His blood, shed for the remission of all our sins? What, exactly, is our obligation to our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; now that He has paid the price, in full, to cancel the debt we owe to our Father in heaven for having violated His immutable laws; disobeyed His absolute authority; squandered our righteous inheritance in the Kingdom of God to come on fleeting, earthly pleasures?

Is it not true that our Redeemer has set us free from the prison of sin and death? Does not the promise of Eternal Life, we received from the Guardian of the keys to the Gates of Heaven, obligate us to living lives of reformation? Are we not now forever beholden to our Liberator, the Lord of Life?

Of course we are! And, as debtors of our Savior’s unconditional love, freely bound to bear interest in the investment He has made in us –

        “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that 

         your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16)

Abba, Father, grant us the grace to yield our lives to You in ever increasing measure and unlimited service, not for our glory, but that the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, may be glorified now and forevermore. 

May this interpretation of God’s Holy Word be a blessing in your life this week. Amen!

February 10, 2020

"Without the shedding of blood is no remission." Hebrews 9:22
 

See the blood of our Redeemer:

Our atonement flowing down

And washing all our sins away

From hands, and feet, and thorny crown.

See His passion, full compassion –

Complete forgiveness; Eternal Life –

All by grace and that by faith

In our Savior, Jesus Christ!

May this interpretation of God’s Holy Word be a blessing in your life this week. Amen!

May this interpretation of God’s Holy Word be a blessing in your life this week. Amen!

February 3, 2020

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:27

 

No one born again, by receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit, open their eyes the next morning and finds the world has changed in any material way.  Overdue bills still need to be paid; the grass still needs to be mowed; aspirin still remains the most common remedy for what ails us.  And that is because the miracle of faith, freely given, is not a “Get out of jail card; a guarantee of health or wealth; a conscious altering phenomenon that immediately changes all our circumstances, fixes all our screw ups, makes all our troubles go away.

 

Fact is, many disciples of Jesus Christ, after being converted, by grace, to believe in the Son of God and the forgiveness of their sins by the blood he shed for them upon the cross are no better off in the “Real World” than they were before proclaiming the risen Lord of life as their savior:  Christians die in prison; Christians die of cancer; Christians die from persecution.

 

No, the specter of our demise does not disappear the instant our Redeemer’s tender mercy floods our hearts with His amazing grace, but what does change, in that split second of enlightenment, is this: our perspective on the hereafter, which makes everything happening to us here and now meaningful. 

 

What do we have to worry about from the moment our Father in heaven guarantees us the promise of eternal life through faith in the unconditional love of his Son, Jesus Christ?

 

Nothing really.

 

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself, each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34

May this interpretation of God’s Holy Word be a blessing in your life this week. Amen!

March 16, 2020

"Ye must be born again." John 3:7

When the Holy Spirit gives us ears to hear, eyes to see, the grace to renew our minds and the faith to believe in the promises of the Son of God: His power to save lost souls through His broken body and the shedding of His blood upon the cross for the remission of all sins – then, and only then, are we “Born Again.”

My, how you have changed! No drinking; no smoking; no gambling; no carousing with women; no angry outburst; no jealous rages; no condemnation of enemies; no gossiping about friends; no petty hatreds and no more resentments!

Oh, my God, look at you now! Full of compassion; tender mercies; empathy; sympathy; understanding; kindness; benevolence; usefulness; helpfulness; goodness and, most apparent to friends and strangers alike – devotion, reverence, adulation and love for the Lord of Life, Jesus Christ!

The irony in being “Born Again” is found in the testimony of the Apostle John, when he was informed that Jesus Christ was baptizing sinners in the name of the Holy Spirit, and is as true today as when our Savior walked upon the earth: “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)

The greatest evidence of being “Born Again” is none other than the miraculous way in which we begin to die to our selfish wants and live to proclaim the name of our glorious Redeemer, the Giver of all good things and the Provider of all our needs.

May this interpretation of God’s Holy Word be a blessing in your life this week. Amen!