Category Archives: Morning Thoughts

Evening Thoughts (Saved From Death = Boundless Mercy)

Saved From Death = Boundless Mercy

No doubt many of my kind readers read the title and thought something along the lines of, “Well this will be a PB 101 writing on God’s sovereign grace and salvation of sinners from hell to heaven’s pure world.” While we rejoice to know that the Bible teaches that God did indeed redeem His family from the curse of sin, death, hell, and the grave to an eternity of majesty and excellence, this writing is not about that. Rather, my mind has become fascinated with a thought that proves to me just how little I know about the depths of God’s mercy. We know they’re new every morning. Right? Right! (Lamentations 3:22-23) We know His love never ends. Right? Right! (Jeremiah 31:3) So with knowledge of a never-ending love with a constant refreshing of mercy, how do we shortchange it? We may understand – in concept – the breadth and length of it, but I have failed time and again to give anything close to an accurate depth of it. So, kind reader, will you take a plunge with me?

Starting at the top, we understand that every sin of every child of God was laid upon the lovely head of our Saviour when He hung on Calvary’s cruel cross. (I Peter 2:24) Just typing that sentence is hard to bear, and the scope of it is completely incomprehensible to me. Yet, it is true that an innumerable host of sins from an innumerable host of people was borne by One some 2,000 years ago. Yes, that is mercy beyond compare, and grace far more abounding over sin! Because of that, we shall live with Him in glory some sweet day. “Wait! Wait! You said this was not going to be a PB 101 writing, right?” Right! Consider this groundwork. Because all of our sins were laid upon Him, He has already paid for things we have not yet done. Our future transgressions are already covered since He has the foresight to understand all that needed to be paid for. (Hebrews 4:13)

So, let’s lay some more groundwork to get to the thought that has fascinated and itched all along our brain. Sometimes as we age, we can look back and see ways that the Lord blessed us, spared us, etc. that we may not have known at the time. The only way I am alive today and made through my “dicey years” is by the grace of God. Like Paul, I continue to this very hour by that help. (Acts 26:22) Could we possibly know how many times our lives have been spared from natural death by God’s grace and providence? David said there was but a step between him and death. Every moment, breath, and heartbeat could be the last. On the highways and byways of life, jeopardy is on every hand. Yet, God’s mercy is seen daily when we live to rise for the day and lay down to close a day.

During my teenage years, I did a lot of really foolish things. The Lord spared me. By sparing me, the following has happened. Hopefully, I’ve learned from those years, but since my teenage years, I’ve done more foolish things. None of those foolish things would have happened had my life ended years ago. By sparing my life, the Lord took on more debit in my life because my sins have continued as well. Careless, idle words, wicked passions, hurtful actions, and the like have mounted over the years. All of those would be non-existent if my life had ceased! The Lord spared my life knowing full well how many more sins would come forth! He did it anyway, and further still, His Son died for them all those years ago!

Consider when King Hezekiah was told he would die. (Isaiah 38) Through prayer and supplication, the Lord turned the sickness and added 15 years to his life. The great sin that Hezekiah committed in the very next chapter (Isaiah 39) would not have happened. The son that reigned after him (Manasseh) was very wicked. This son reigned for 55 years (the longest in Judah’s history). How old was he when he took the throne? 12! Had Hezekiah’s life ended, Manasseh’s would never have happened! Therefore, the debit of not only Hezekiah’s future sins but also all of Manasseh’s wicked reign were taken on by God by sparing Hezekiah’s life. What depths of mercy and heights of love!

When the Apostle Peter was sinking in the waves of the sea, he cried out for the Lord to save him (Matthew 14). The Lord did. If he had not spared Peter, there would not have been 3 denials from Peter in the night of Jesus’s betrayal. All of Peter’s future thoughtless words would not have happened. The Omniscient One knew all this would come, and yet He spared Peter regardless. The times that the Apostles were in jeopardy in the book of Acts and received a natural deliverance is a testament to God’s boundless mercy. Yet, that mercy came with the knowledge of multiplied transgressions held in future days.

More examples could be given, but kind reader how deep are these depths? The songwriter once said of God’s love, “Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made, to write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry, nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.” Another songwriter wrote, “This Cornerstone, this Solid Ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of love, what depths of peace, When fears are stilled, when strivings cease.” I have stood amazed at the mercy of God for quite some time now. However, the more I learn of it, the more I wonder how much of it I really understand or even comprehend.

If you knew what someone would do to you – good and bad – for the rest of your life, it would likely affect your present actions towards them. Right? Right! If you knew that someone’s life could be better off by passing from the scene before they torched their own memory and good legacy, you might pray for such a deliverance. Right? Right! Yet, God knowing all these things and more, continually takes on the extra debit every moment of time He spares our life, breath, and being. What a boundless storehouse of mercy and love. To know the fulness of things like this in heaven with be grounds for ceaseless and perfect praise, which we will spend an eternity giving Him. May we begin anew to thank Him for kindnesses even today that exceed anything we could possibly comprehend. As another songwriter said, “Hallelujah! What a Saviour!”

In Hope,
Bro Philip

Philip Conley's Morning Thoughts

Morning Thoughts (Hebrews 13:16 – “Well Pleasing a Perfect God”)

“Well Pleasing a Perfect God”

Hebrews 13:16, “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

This morning, our broken, fallen world seems to slip day by day further into the clutches of darkness. Even looking at the denominational Christian world – as opposed to the reprobate ungodliness of the world in general – things are slipping that were steadfast in days gone by. How many professing Christians could only be called nominal at best? To be a Christian is to literally be “Christlike.” How Christlike is it not to pray without ceasing as He did? Do we resemble Christ when our bodies are not presented regularly in worship as His was? He referenced His own Book repeatedly, and does it resemble Him when our knowledge of His Book is but mere fragments and crumbs? Broken creatures we are, but He has endowed us with the power and ability to do better. Christian deportment seizes upon this opportunity and ability to emulate the Master in our lives to His glory.

One of the stark reminders that I have every day is what a great sinner I am. This is not a proud statement but an objective declaration of fact based on years of observation. As a lifelong attender of God’s house with many years of Bible study coupled with it, another stark reminder comes brilliantly to the surface that shows just how much grace outshines and exceeds sin. When you read and study God’s word, it becomes obvious and apparent that God is perfect and demands perfection. What was the problem with the law given to Moses? Was it an inherent problem in God’s law? No, for Paul tells us in Hebrews 8 that the fault was with the people not the law given. God’s law demanded perfect obedience, and imperfect people failed that injunction repeatedly – as we still do today. So, what reminder do we have as disciples of the Lamb that outshines the great sinners that we are?

In our study verse, Paul is concluding his rich treatise of Hebrews by giving the closing arguments about why our worship in this era and age is better than the worship of the Old Testament days. He references in Verse 10 of this chapter what we have today that they had “no right” to in their day. All the order of worship then pales in comparison to the order of worship today. Reason? Christ has come and fulfilled all that the old order pointed to, and now today we can look back with thanksgiving and appreciation for His work giving glory to His name. (Verses 13-15) These sacrifices and offerings are simple in thought, but our fallen nature that we still wrestle makes the application difficult so many times. We feed the old flesh with all of its affections and wicked desires. Whether lust, envy, bitterness, pride, etc. we find ways to nurture these infernal weeds rather than fostering the care of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost in God’s kingdom. (Romans 14:17)

However, when we put forth the effort to put down the old man and his affections and put on the new man, we find ourselves in a blessed condition wherein we have true fellowship with our God and His dear people. This bond and experience far outshines any earthly experience we could hope to have. The view outstrips the gaze from the highest natural mountain. The happiness it engenders exceeds the highest earthly pleasure. When God comes down by His Spirit to anoint our preaching, eat at the table with us, and whisper sweet peace with His still, small voice, we find a scene that renders peace in a chaotic world, joy in the midst of suffering, and the revived hope of a better world to come. These experiences come when we offer sacrifices and offerings to Him as Paul here declares. Our doing good and communicating these things brings such scenes to view. To communicate in this way literally means to live it. We do not just say it. Rather, it tattoos itself with a lasting imprint upon our lives. People who know us see us as joyful, peaceable people who know and love Him and His family.

If you kind reader have experienced such scenes as here described, you understand that words cannot capture the whole of the experience. To try to tell someone about it seems futile, which is why the 1st century invitation “Come and see” is still so relevant and applicable today. But think back upon those times. Think of the preparations of the heart that preceded them. Think of the effort that went on while engaged in them. Whether it was study, prayer, and meditation beforehand or singing, prayer, and attentiveness while in them, how perfect were your sacrifices and offerings? How good has your study ever been? How good has your worship ever attained? No honest minister ever says he preached a perfect sermon. No honest member of the Lord’s church believes their local assembly is perfect. We still have imperfections and problems that plague us, even in the best of beautiful situations in Zion.

God has not changed. He still demands perfection, and as such, we still owe it to Him. Do we deliver? Our only hope is that Jesus delivered it on our behalf so that we would be blessed to live with Him forever. And yet, consider the grace for today. As you study today, pray today, meditate upon His goodness today, none of it is perfect. When next you meet in His house to worship Him publicly, none of that will be perfect. Is this what a perfect God deserves? Should such meager offerings be acceptable to Him? I would reckon that most of us have standards for others that are less than perfect that we get distressed about when they are not met. No one likes to be let down. Sometimes we take it badly when we think someone is capable of more and yet not giving it. God knows exactly what we are capable of giving and how much we do not do. He knows how much better our service could be than it is. Friends, here is the heart of the gracious observation from a lifelong churchgoer and Bible student.

Knowing all these things and what He is not getting from us, Paul here tells us that God is well pleased with these efforts. Not just pleased. Notice the specific nature of it. God is “well pleased” with real thank offerings and sacrifices of praise. When we in honest hearts give Him praise for His mercy and grace, God is well pleased. When we render thanks for the great work that Christ made on our behalf, God is well pleased. When we resolve ourselves to do better than we have been doing, God is well pleased. When we forgive those that have wronged us, God is well pleased. When we strive above all other enterprises in our lives to shine forth the light of Christ to bless others, God is well pleased. Every time we make a decision that is truly Christian, God is well pleased, for it reflects back an image akin to His Son. Does God deserve more than we have ever given Him? Absolutely! And yet, His grace is so noble to broken creatures to visit us so richly with His pleasure! I do not know about you, but such a thought of God’s continual visitation with His people here and regular condescension to men of low estate makes me desire as the songwriter said, “Want to love Him more.” A perfect God will never get perfect praise from His people this side of glory, and yet He is well pleased with efforts that we strive to give Him according to His pattern. Wow!

In Hope,
Bro Philip