Charles and Norma Ellis
1Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,
2As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!
3When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.
4For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
5Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.
6But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
7And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
8But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
9Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.
10Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.
11Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste.
12Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?
Humility before God may be said to be the first step in a right relationship toward Him. As we read this chapter we are awed! In the face of such a God we get a true understanding of our own sin. We get, too, an awareness of the sin that infects the whole of our world.
Is there in our homes an awareness of the Sinless One and an awe before Him? Do we see ourselves as creatures sinful in His sight? How is it that, after we have come to this point in our relationship with God, we dare reach up boldly to Him? We dare because of the amazing concept we see in verse 8: 'Thou art our Father.' Can you follow this? A sin-laden creature ... a holy God ... 'Our Father!'
According to Scripture the answer lies in the grace of this God. It lies in His sending His Son to bear the sins of His people, and in His devising the loving plan by which those who believe in His Son may stand before Him without their sin.
Can our children, as they recognize their own naughtiness or downright defiance and rebellion dare to reach out to us simply because they know what it means that we are their father and mother? Are they learning from us what God wants us to understand when He calls Himself our Father?
We are happy to have obtained permission to post as our current daily devotional Heirs Together of Life: Daily Bible Reading for Husbands and Wives, published by The Banner of Truth Trust. Don't be misled by the subtitle. As the book's "Preface" indicates (see below), although Heirs Together of Life is "especially prepared for couples,"the authors declare, "Since the basis for this guide is God's Word, we believe it would have value for any reader."
Charles and Norma Ellis are husband and wife and the authors not only of Heirs Together of Life (which was first published in 1980 and continues in print today), but also of Wells of Salvation (first published in 1985, and likewise still in print today). The latter contains a series of short studies covering the entire book of Isaiah, while the former contains a series of almost 200 short studies covering the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. Both books by the Ellises can be ordered from the publisher, The Banner of Truth Trust. We trust that these daily Bible readings, posted daily on our site, will be helpful to you in your Christian walk before God. Whether married or not, all of us are members of families and members of the family of God.
Charles Ellis was educated at Wheaton College and Westminster Theological Seminary. Upon graduation from Westminster (where he earned not only a Th.B. but also a Th.M.), he was ordained to the ministry in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and pastored a number of OPC churches, including Immanuel OPC in West Collingswood, New Jersey; First OPC in Cincinnati, Ohio; Covenant OPC in East Orange, New Jersey; Knox OPC in Silver Spring, Maryland; and Lakeview OPC in Rockport, Maine. Less biographical information is available about his wife, but it is known that they served as parents of seven children. After retiring from the ministry, Charles Ellis went to be with the Lord in 2003, but he and his wife left us with a beautiful legacy in the two books they have given to the world, and we are proud to share the daily Bible readings from Heirs Together of Life here with you.
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