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Daily devotional

April 20 – Christ my daily provider

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.” – Psalm 23:2 Scripture reading: Psalm 23:2 Sheep are incredibly helpless and stupid animals. We probably have the image of nice white sheep that just graze in the field. We have these images in our minds because of pictures or movies. But anyone who has had to deal with sheep knows its intelligence level is only slightly above a turkey and quite a bit below a cow. Even goats are far more intelligent, tough and resilient creatures than sheep. Sheep need a shepherd and not just for when they are being attacked by wolves or have fallen into a deep ditch. Sheep need a shepherd even for the basic needs of life, food and water. This was especially true when David was a shepherd, for a shepherd would have to herd his flock long distances to find good pasture lands, wells or oases along the way, in the arid land of Canaan. This is a good reminder for us, that we don’t just need Christ when we are in trouble; we need Him all the time for even our most basic needs. We have a bad tendency to forget Christ when times are good and we feel like we have everything under control. Then when we are in trouble we cry out to Him. Do you realize that apart from Christ you can do nothing (John 15:5) and are nothing?  We need Christ all of the time, not just when we are in trouble. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Lord would humble you to be more dependent upon Christ for all things. Ask for forgiveness for when you have forgotten your dependence upon Christ in the good times and ask for His help to praise and thank Him for His good gifts to you.

Rev. James Roosma has been serving at Grace Reformed Church in Kelowna, BC for six years. He and his wife Jeni have been blessed with two children, Elijah and Tabitha, and have one on the way. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

Daily devotional

April 15 – Christ our mighty warrior

“Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle.” - Psalm 24:8 Scripture reading: Psalm 24:8 In the previous verse, those who are with the coming King, are calling out to the gatekeepers to open the gates so that the King of glory shall come in. In this verse, we have the response of the gatekeepers, “Who is this King of glory?”  The answer that comes is beautiful and comforting. We read that the LORD is strong and mighty and specifically mighty in battle. This may sound a bit strange; maybe we don’t think of Jesus as being a mighty warrior. Yet, this is exactly how He is described here. This, of course, is what He was prophesied to be all the way back in Genesis 3:15. He would be the One Who would crush the head of the serpent. Christ is also described as such in Psalm 2, where it is said that He will break the nations that have risen up against Him like pottery smashed with a rod of iron. In Revelation, we have visions recorded for us, of Jesus having a two-edged sword coming out of His mouth and of Him riding upon a white war horse (Revelation 1:16; 19:11). This is not the Jesus that is proclaimed in many churches or certainly by many in our culture. Jesus is seen more like a kitten than like Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia. Yet, this is the Jesus Who we need, the Jesus who will defeat all of our enemies and give us a great victory. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Lord Jesus would destroy all the works of the devil and that He would continue to plunder his house, saving many unto eternal life. Praise our Lord Jesus Christ for all that He has saved us from by dying on the cross. Rev. James Roosma has been serving at Grace Reformed Church in Kelowna, BC for six years. He and his wife Jeni have been blessed with two children, Elijah and Tabitha, and have one on the way. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

April 14 – The King is coming!

“Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.” - Psalm 24:7 Scripture reading: Psalm 24:7 We now come to the third part of the Psalm (verses 7-10), where we see this excited and eager climax – excitement for the King to arrive – the King who can ascend the hill of the LORD and bring us with Him. We see this fulfilled at Christmas, in that Christ arrived on the scene of history to lead us to victory. These words are also fitting as we see the Triumphal Entry of Christ, as He entered Jerusalem and went to accomplish that victory. These words also point us to the Ascension of Christ, in that Christ has gone up before us into the very presence of the Father to intercede on our behalf and also to reign over all things. This section also anticipates the second coming of Christ, when He will finally take all of His people with Him to glory and to the new heaven and new earth. What we have in this section is a conversation between the one who announces the King’s coming and the gatekeepers. Think about how wondrous the Triumphal Entry must have been with Jerusalem all abuzz with Jesus’ entry. How wondrous it must have been to be a disciple of Jesus walking behind Him, as He rode into the city, singing His praises. How much more glorious will it be when Christ takes us with Him after His second coming?  How eager and excited are you for that day?  We cannot even fathom the joy that will fill our hearts in those moments. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Lord would fill you with eager anticipation of Christ’s second coming. Pray that the Lord Jesus would come quickly and finally deliver us and all His people from all sin and this sinful world. Rev. James Roosma has been serving at Grace Reformed Church in Kelowna, BC for six years. He and his wife Jeni have been blessed with two children, Elijah and Tabitha, and have one on the way. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

April 13 – Seeking the Face of Christ

“This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face. Selah” - Psalm 24:6 Scripture reading: Psalm 24:6 In verse six there is an important point that is made which leads to a very important question that we must ask ourselves. We are told in the first line of verse six, that Jacob or the church, referring back to verse five, is blessed and receives the righteous salvation of the Lord. Continuing on in that line, we are told that those “who ascend into the hill of the LORD'' are those who seek the Lord (Psalm 24:3). Then again in the second line, we find a repetition, “Who seek Your face.” You find throughout the Scriptures and throughout the writings of the saints of church history, that all had an intense desire to see God. Moses asked for such a privilege in Exodus 33. It is the one desire of David as recorded in Psalm 27:4.  We are told in the New Testament, that in the face of Jesus Christ, all the fullness of the glory of God dwells (2 Corinthians 4:6, Colossians 1:15-20). The question then comes to us, do we want to earnestly see Christ now with our eyes of faith, and physically in the life to come?  Is that the greatest desire of our hearts?  Or are there idols that we would rather see? Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Lord would smash all the idols of your heart and that He would be the one desire of your heart. Pray for forgiveness for all the times that you sought your idols rather than seeking the Lord and finding satisfaction in Him alone. Rev. James Roosma has been serving at Grace Reformed Church in Kelowna, BC for six years. He and his wife Jeni have been blessed with two children, Elijah and Tabitha, and have one on the way. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

April 12 – The righteous acts of God

“He shall receive blessing from the LORD, And righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face. Selah” - Psalm 24:5 Scripture reading: Psalm 24:5-6 In these two verses, we are told that those who place their faith in King Jesus, will be blessed and shall receive from the Lord righteousness. The second line of verse five is not a reference to the imputation of righteousness which one receives from Christ by believing upon Him, but rather refers to the righteous acts of the Lord in keeping His promises of salvation to the believer. Could we, who believe upon the Lord Jesus, as we have been brought near to the throne of grace and dwell in the presence of God, declare anything different?  Truly we, the people of God, are blessed in every way as we think upon the salvation that has been given to us in Christ. “This is Jacob” or we might say, “This is we who seek the Lord.”  We are blessed. For we who have no right to ascend into the presence of God, have been ushered in by Christ. We who only deserve God’s righteous wrath for all eternity, have instead received His righteous grace. This section ends with a “selah,” which means stop and reflect upon what was just said. Upon such a glorious truth, we must stop and reflect! Suggestions for prayer Pray that the grace of Christ would be highly valued by you and the church. Thank the Lord for the blessing and salvation that He has freely given to you by His grace. Rev. James Roosma has been serving at Grace Reformed Church in Kelowna, BC for six years. He and his wife Jeni have been blessed with two children, Elijah and Tabitha, and have one on the way. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

April 7 – Christ’s saving reign

“All the ends of the world Shall remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations shall worship before You.” - Psalm 22:27 Scripture reading: Psalm 22:27-29 As we approach the end of this Psalm, we see what a glorious ending it is. How glorious it is to reflect on the realities of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. We read in verse 27 that God will gather to Himself, in Christ, a people from every tribe, tongue and nation (Revelation  5:9). Not only this, but Christ, in being raised, has overcome the entire world (John 16:33). As we see in verse 28, the LORD’s reign is over all the nations. Everyone is under His dominion, however not all will be saved. Yet, the saving reign of Christ extends not only to all the ends of the earth, but also to the rich, the poor and the dying. When we consider the death and resurrection of Christ, we should be in awe and wonder at not only the sufficiency and effectiveness of Christ to save, but also the extent to which Christ’s salvation is spread. It is not limited to one family or one group of people, but as was promised to Abraham, “And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). Suggestions for prayer Pray that God would continue to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth and that He would be pleased to use us for that end. Rev. James Roosma has been serving at Grace Reformed Church in Kelowna, BC for six years. He and his wife Jeni have been blessed with two children, Elijah and Tabitha, and have one on the way. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

April 6 – Never forgotten

“For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; But when He cried to Him, He heard.” – Psalm 22:24 Scripture reading: Psalm 22:22-26 Left to ourselves, we are poor. We are spiritually bankrupt. “We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This is our most dire problem. However, to add insult to injury, we also suffer great pain as we go through this life as the result of sin. Whether that is the loss of a loved one, broken relationships, physical poverty, or the stresses of the unknown future, we all suffer the effects of this broken world. I hope we see the enormity of the problems that we face. We are completely broken and impoverished as we live in a world that is suffering under the weight of the curse. Yet, as verse 26 says, we are never without a sure and secure hope, for because Christ is risen, we who are poor in our sins are fed and satisfied. Even though we suffer in this life with the effects of sin and the curse, we are never forgotten nor left alone. God will always hear us, answer us and deliver us as verse 24 says. Whatever our affliction, no matter how poor we are in any way, we have reason to rejoice for Christ died and is risen! Praise the Lord for His complete deliverance which He gives to us. The last phrase in verse 26 is often translated as a wish. “Let (or may) your heart live forever!”  However, it is to be translated with much more surety than that. This is your sure hope, “Your heart shall live forever.” Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Lord would continue to open your eyes to the brokenness in your own sinful heart, as well as the brokenness in the world. Pray that He would open your eyes to the wonderful, powerful and eternal salvation provided in Christ. Rev. James Roosma has been serving at Grace Reformed Church in Kelowna, BC for six years. He and his wife Jeni have been blessed with two children, Elijah and Tabitha, and have one on the way. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

April 5 – Christ the choirmaster

“I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly, I will praise You.” – Psalm 22:22 Scripture reading: Psalm 22:22 Yesterday, as we considered the resurrection of Christ and that the Father answered Christ’s prayer in raising Him from the dead, we saw that rejoicing with praise is the only proper response we could have. The words of the second half of this Psalm lead us there. But now I want to consider just verse 22 in the light of Hebrews 2:12. In Hebrews 2, the author quotes Psalm 22:22 and says that this verse applies directly, not just to us as we might expect, but also to Christ Himself. The author of Hebrews is making the point that Christ is our Elder Brother and  He will declare the name of the Father to us, singing with us, in the midst of the assembly the glories of the Father. I wonder if we think about this glorious truth that the author of Hebrews is making known to us as he quotes Psalm 22 when we sing in church?  When we sing, and especially when we sing in the context of corporate worship, we are not just joining with saints below and saints above as well as all the angelic hosts, we are joining with Christ, the great Choirmaster as He personally leads us in the singing of the praises of God. Next time you are in church, I encourage you to think about this while you are singing. Suggestions for prayer Pray that as you sing, you do not simply say the words, or just enjoy the music, but ask for forgiveness when you do. Ask God to remind you as you sing that you are joining with all the saints, angelic beings and chiefly with Christ in singing the praises of God. Rev. James Roosma has been serving at Grace Reformed Church in Kelowna, BC for six years. He and his wife Jeni have been blessed with two children, Elijah and Tabitha, and have one on the way. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

April 4 – He is risen indeed!

“You have answered Me. I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly, I will praise You.” - Psalm 22:21c-22 Scripture reading: Psalm 22:21-31 He is risen! He is risen indeed!  Having walked thus far through this Psalm and the account of our Saviour’s suffering, dying and His body being laid in the tomb, the words of verse 21 should vault us into great rejoicing, just as Mary Magdalene did when she saw Jesus on Easter morning. Read those wonderful words again, “You have answered Me.”  On Easter morning, the Father certainly did answer the prayer of Christ upon the cross. The Father raised Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, it is no wonder that verses 22 and following are full of praise and rejoicing. Certainly that Easter morning Christ was rejoicing, all of heaven was rejoicing, and though the disciples were slow to understand and believe, they eventually got there too. And so as we read this passage, we too should want to proclaim and sing the glories of our God. Christ is risen, brothers and sisters! Rejoice and sing: “Sin’s bonds severed, we’re delivered, Christ has bruised the serpent’s head; Death no longer is the stronger, Hell itself is captive led. Christ has risen from death’s prison, O’er the tomb He light has shed” (Praise the Saviour, Now and Ever: stanza 3).” Our prayers for salvation are assuredly answered because of that Easter morning. “For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him (Christ); But when He (Christ) cried to Him (The Father), He heard” (verse 24). Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Lord would fill you with joy in knowing that just as the Father answered the prayer of Christ, so our every prayer will be heard and answered. As you pray for forgiveness from your sins, for a clean heart, to be remade in the image of Christ and to be granted eternal life, you will be heard and answered for He is risen! Rev. James Roosma has been serving at Grace Reformed Church in Kelowna, BC for six years. He and his wife Jeni have been blessed with two children, Elijah and Tabitha, and have one on the way. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 30 – The conclusion of the whole matter: keep God’s commandments

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” – John 14:15 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 12:13b The new life Christians live in the Holy Spirit is the life of the “obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5). Ecclesiastes reminds us of this in v.13, “Fear God and keep his commandments.” Fearing God and keeping His commandments go hand in hand. Faith in the Lord leads to love for the Lord and love for the Lord leads to obedience (1 John 5:3; John 14:15, 21). Fearing God includes loving God. One key purpose of Jesus’ salvation work is that we would be saved to obey Him forever (Romans 14:9). Because Christ is our Saviour, He tells us the first and second commandment is our righteousness so that God’s law is fulfilled in us. We are also now learning obedience, and being transformed into the image of Christ, Who is our obedience. Which commands do we obey in the Lord? The commands given in Ecclesiastes to enjoy life in God’s name and trust in God. The other commandments include God’s law written on our hearts by the Spirit (Hebrews 10:16) and the fruits of the Spirit. Suggestion for prayer Ask God to help you love Him more and more every day. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 29 – The conclusion of the whole matter: fear God

“Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” – Hebrews 12:28 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 12:13a Ecclesiastes 12:13 commands God’s children to fear God (3:14; 5:7; 7:18; 8:12). What does it mean? It does not mean we have to be frightened before God, though He is awesome, all-powerful, breath-taking and makes us often tremble. It does not mean He is cruel. No one ever is afraid of God because He is cruel! Fearing God first of all means having faith in and love for Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Why? Because God has given us Jesus, and He calls us to trust in Him. Christ is our justification, sanctification, redemption and our wisdom. And to fear God is the beginning of wisdom, the beginning and everlasting life with His wisdom, Jesus Christ. Secondly, fearing God means taking God seriously. When it is put this way people have images of God knowing everything about you, of God sending down fire on Sodom, of God on Mt. Sinai in the fire and smoke, of His holiness and terrible judgment on evil, and of His unconquerable control. Are these things true? Yes, absolutely true and we should take them seriously and reverence God. But there is this too. Fearing God is taking God’s grace and gifts in life just as seriously. Fearing God is believing He loves you and has given you Himself in Christ and the Holy Spirit. We are not righteous and we are not God. So we need God’s mercy and guidance and He gave and gives it to us in Christ by the Spirit. Suggestion for prayer Pray for the grace of fearing God. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 28 – The conclusion of the whole matter

"Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."  – Romans 10:17 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 12:9-13 We are now in the last section in Ecclesiastes. Verse 11 tells us these words are from Christ, the One Shepherd. Our Lord put it plainly, “I am the good shepherd, who gives his life for his sheep.” Well, in Ecclesiastes, Jesus is leading His flock with His truth. Jesus brings us to chapter 12:13-14. Notice the first phrase in v.13. The idea here is, “Now that you’ve heard God’s Word, this is the final result of the matter.” We are not able to figure everything out in life, but there are hope and joy. However, it is not about figuring out everything in life because life is vanity, uncontrollable by us. Biblical wisdom includes an honest acknowledgment that life in this world is often a mystery to us. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 is a call for faith in God! We have heard God’s wisdom in Ecclesiastes. Yet, God in love brings us to this conclusion: we need God, so the final grand result of the matter is “fear God, and keep His commandments…for God will bring everything into judgment.”Fearing God and keeping His commandments are actions of faith for the Christian. We will explore these actions in the next two days. Suggestion for prayer Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Pray God helps you understand His Word. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 27 – The call to faith

“To bring about the obedience of faith.” – Romans 1:5 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 We are to remember our Creator, to live by faith in Him! Solomon applies this call in three ways. First, live by faith in Him when you are young and throughout your life, because one day you will die (v.1, 6a). God, through Solomon, uses a poem to show us this. One day the silver cord is snapped. Second, live by faith in Him now because when you die your body turns to dust and your soul meets God (v.6b-8). Third, and the main point, live by faith because life is a vapor. All of life is controlled by God, so trust God and enjoy life. Do you like to read? Read with joy in God’s name, one day you will not be able to. Do you like sports? Play with joy in God’s name, one day you will not be able to. Do you like to worship on Sunday? Worship with joy in God’s name, one day you will not be able to. In other words, keep God in mind all the time. Remember what He has done for you, given to you, and promised you. Have faith in the Lord when you are young, in days of trouble, when the sun shines and when it is dark before the golden bowl is broken. Life is a gift from God to be lived for Him and enjoyed. He came to redeem us to enjoy Him and glorify Him. The gospel of Jesus, which God has given, is the way for us to have joy and faith. Suggestion for prayer Disparaging and worrying about circumstances in life is not wise. Pray God will give you the Holy Spirit’s fruit of peace and joy. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 22 – Remember the overarching message of Ecclesiastes

“O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all.” - Psalm 104:24 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 5:18-20; 11:7-10 To rightly understand the light, joy, freedom, and the “walking in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes” described in Ecclesiastes 11:7-10, we must first remind ourselves of the overarching message of Ecclesiastes. We should not think the evil in this world is this world. Creation and life are God’s gifts and He has come to forgive us our sin to free us to live for Him in this world and enjoy this world. Ecclesiastes points this out over and over again. Solomon sings the praises of work, wife, feasting, drinking wine, generosity, funerals and births. As well in our passage, we see joy all life long, youth, following one’s heart, and removal of vexation from life. Does this seem too physical, too un-spiritual? It is not. Yes, this world is filled with evil, tyranny, disaster, the uncontrollable future and futility in work. There is no pretending in Ecclesiastes. Sometimes, for some more than others, life is not rosy. However, faith teaches us that life is a gift from God to be lived for Him and enjoyed. He came to redeem us to enjoy Him and glorify Him which includes calling nothing unclean that He has called clean. The grace in Christ and the guidance of the Spirit teaches us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, not to renounce the blessing of God. Jesus came to set us free from sin to enjoy God and all His good gifts. Suggestion for prayer Give thanks to God for your health, for your family, for music and for good things. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 21 – An amazing chocolate factory

“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” - 1 Timothy 4:4-5 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 11:7-10 This is a wonderful section of Scripture. It describes what the gospel of Jesus does in our lives. I am introducing this Scripture to us with an illustration. Perhaps you have seen the 1971 film, Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Five children win golden tickets to visit Willie Wonka’s amazing mysteries candy factory. After the children and some parents arrive at the factory, Wonka takes them to the door leading into his factory. But to everyone’s surprise, it’s a very small, insignificant door. They are all disappointed and cynical and think the whole of Wonka’s factory is loony. However, when Wonka plays the musical combination, the door opens up to a huge, fantastic, grandiloquent, chocolate room full of colors and candy. The door into the room was small from the outside, but the place was magnificent on the inside. This helps us understand how the gospel works. When people are unbelievers they see the Christian life as small, silly and always disappointing. But when you believe in Jesus and are saved, you see the greatness of God, His forgiving grace, and the glorious new life we have with Him in the world He has made. The words in italics are the emphasis of Ecclesiastes 11:7-10. When we are saved by the Lord, we don’t escape this world, we are reintegrated to it to enjoy it in godliness. Read how Paul describes this truth in Colossians 1:18-23 and 1 Timothy 4:1-5. Suggestion for prayer Father, grant me the grace to enjoy life in holiness. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 20 – Serving others generously today

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” - Hebrews 4:16 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 11:6 Solomon applies the principle of verse 1 in three ways. First, with faith in God take the risk of serving others. Second, with faith in God take the risk of serving others generously. Today, we explore Solomon’s third application, with faith in God, we take the risk of serving others generously today. Think of the risks farmers take to plant. They could take the seed and sell it or use it for food. Instead, a wise farmer sows in the morning and at night by faith. He does not know if he will prosper, but he sows today! We could hoard our money and time to make sure we always have enough, but then we would not give generously right now. Scripture calls us to give generously to others today (1 John 3:17; James 2:14-15; 1 Timothy 6:17-18). For love of others and honor of God go without “me time,” or “money,” or “comfort,” today! Take the risk! Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-10 and Philippians 4:15-19. God will supply our every need. Consequently, we can give generously today because we can trust God to bring our bread back to us. Meyer wrote, “We are supplied by his abundances. It all comes down to faith. We can be extravagant in our generosity today because God is faithful and abundantly generous.” Christ gave every day of His earthly life. Jesus still gives to us today in heaven. His word still goes forth saying, “Today is the day of salvation”(Hebrews 3:12-15). Suggestion for prayer Ask the Lord to help you see how much He gives to you every day. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 19 – Serving others generously

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 11:2, 6 Today we explore Solomon’s second application of the principle in verse 1. The first is, with faith in God, take the risk of serving others. The second is, with faith in God, take the risk of serving others generously. Generous giving is what God means in verse 2a. Don’t stop at giving to seven people. Go on giving to eight, nine or eleven. Give to the utmost; be a river of generosity to others. The verse also says, “For you don’t know when a disaster may happen.” This means: be so generous that you give to people even before there is a need! You don’t need a crisis to give to others. We are told in Psalm 112 that the Lord Jesus distributes freely and gives to the poor. He does this all the time and in many ways, not to just seven, but to eight, to nine, to a million. He gives not according to good works, or status. No, Jesus gives generously even in the midst of the greatest disaster on earth, our sinfulness. Maybe we would die for a noble cause or even a noble person, but we wouldn’t take that risk for Adolf Hitler. But while we were wretched sinners Christ died for us! God in Christ did not hold on to His wealth and forget about us. He became poor so that we might be rich. And, He found His investment; He got His bread back! His people and His world are saved and will come into the eternal Kingdom of God. Suggestion for prayer May you make me a cheerful giver, giving even out of my poverty. (2 Corinthians 9:6-10) Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 14 – Boast in Jesus who is our wisdom

“Asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom.” - Colossians 1:9 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 10:1; 12:13; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 Ecclesiastes chapter 10 has been our study this past week and we have learned that God, more than mere wisdom, is the hope of our life. God knew this so He sent us Jesus Christ Who is “the power of God and wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). Here is the third application from Ecclesiastes 10. Wisdom is better than foolishness, but we need more than mere wisdom for living, we need God in our lives. God comes to our lives in Christ and when He comes wisdom comes too! In the New Covenant gospel, we have the promise that we will be given wisdom, or to put it another way, we will be given the mind of Christ. This wisdom is not yet complete in us, but it has begun to be formed in us who are Christians. Christ has risen, the Holy Spirit has come, and with His coming at Pentecost has come wisdom. Read Acts 2:17-21. Is this not wisdom? Read Ephesians 5:15-18. This is possible in the gospel. Remember Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. This is now a reality in Jesus Christ. Yes, this wisdom is not perfect in us yet. We will be perfect at the resurrection, but wisdom has started to be formed in us. “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:31) Suggestion for prayer Pray for the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Jesus, so you may know the hope to which God has called you. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 13 – Continue with Jesus

“Looking unto Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith.” – Hebrews 12:2 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 10; 12:13 Yesterday, we started giving practical applications of Ecclesiastes 10 to our lives. The first application was to fear and love God, rather than wisdom for its own sake. The second application is simply to live by faith in God Almighty now. Yes, it’s hard to see your slip-ups, your foolish mistakes which brought trouble. It’s hard to live out, “Whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). But this text tells us we need God. Do you think you would have needed him less if you made all the right choices all the time? No. Wisdom is not the answer. God is, so continue living with Christ as your salvation and hope. Don’t lament those slip-ups, but repent and continue living by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. What does Lamentation 3 say, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Did David quit after his sin with Bathsheba? No, he prayed, “Restore to me the joy of salvation.” Continue with Jesus. Suggestions for prayer Our slip-ups can cause us to focus on self. Pray for help to put off sin and look unto Jesus. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 12 – In Christ you are wise

“Count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 3:8 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 10, 12:13 We have studied chapter 10. I am sure you have understood the point that in this fallen world, wisdom can be undone by foolishness on our part. Even the wise need God and must live by faith in God, or as Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “In the fear of God.” Putting chapter 10 together with chapter 12:3 has three profound applications for our lives. First, fear and love God, rather than wisdom for its own sake. Seek wisdom because you seek Christ. Let wisdom be a teacher to bring you to Christ. Yes, wisdom is needed, but you don’t have it all the time. You would not have known foolishness, except by wisdom. Wisdom is the way of blessing, but wisdom is not Christ. You might be living wisely for a while, but then there is that little slip, that hot head, that gossiping which sets you back. Don’t think your wisdom is gospel, flee to Jesus Christ. He is our saving wisdom, the Man who can save the city and He redeems fools. As our saving wisdom, He truly is great, He can and does deliver. He will not be forgotten. He is mightier than the world and He is our righteousness. You can be hot-headed, a wrong judge of character, miscalculate and slip up, but Christ never does. When you believe in Him, His righteous, His calmness, His wise authority, His perfect insight and His righteous use of words, wisdom is given to you! Yes, you are not always wise, but in Christ you are. Suggestion for prayer Count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 11 – Our much talking spoils many good things

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” – Colossians 3:8 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 10:12-20 Over the past four days, we have looked at practical examples of how our foolish actions can outweigh and spoil wisdom (10:1). The last example is in v.12-20. Talking, talking, talking is foolishness. Wisdom says, “Let your words be few.” (Ecclesiastes 5:2) If you gab, it will get you into trouble. Solomon illustrates this with political life. He and his court were given to the high life (v.18-19), but they always heard the criticisms and gossip because fools multiply words and sooner or later they got back to the king (v.14, 20). How can we slip up even though we know the wisdom which says, “Let your words be few?” By the slip of the tongue! By constant criticism even when you keep it to yourself or by talking on and on. Sooner or later a little bird tells others and you get into trouble. Of course, little birds cannot spread our words, but the point is sometimes we don’t know when to stop talking. We seem to be lost when we talk on and on. We think we can prove a point or assert ourselves with many words. No, we turn people off. Christian, live in the meekness of Christ. Don’t be critical or be a busy body with other peoples’ lives. Few words and kind words build unity in marriages, families and churches. Suggestion for prayer Pray you would love others better than yourself. Loving others keeps our mouths quiet. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 6 – Jesus is wisdom from God to save us

“Christ Jesus, who became to us the wisdom from God...” – 1 Corinthians 1:30 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 9:13-10:20 Today we start studying chapter 9:13-10:20. Please read it over two times. This section drives us to fear God and live by faith in Him. It does so by telling us that we should not think that the wisdom we might have from books, seminars, and even Scripture or preaching, makes us powerful and protected from all mistakes and slip-ups! Yes, wisdom is better than foolishness, but even the wisest of us slip up – we always need to trust and fear God. Wisdom is superior to foolishness, but no one is perfectly wise all the time, so Christian, keep living by faith. Let’s begin with chapter 9:13-18. Wisdom is a great thing. Notice the story of verses 14-18. The enemy, with its power, was ready to decimate the city. No one knew what to do! Yet, in the city, there was a poor, yet wise man who knew what to do. From verse 17 we learn that by his wise negotiations he delivered the city. Wisdom is better than might and it helps us to navigate through life. Tomorrow, on the Lord’s Day, we will describe the benefits of God’s wisdom. But for today, remember Christ is our wise Man; He is the wisdom of and from God. Christ has the might and truth to deliver us from our enemies and sin. Suggestion for prayer Ask God to teach you the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 5 – Life is better than death. Why? The living can enjoy life.

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 9:8-10 Aren’t verses 8-10 amazing verses? They are the “application verses” of all we have studied over the past few days. Remember, life is better than death because the living can put their faith, hope, and comfort in God when He saves them in Christ. When God blesses us this way, we have the assurance of His love and this opens us to “enjoy” life. First, we are to enjoy life in the gospel! Look at the images in verses 7-8. They are gospel images. The bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ. We are to commune with Christ with joy. Being clothed in white represents being clothed in salvation (Revelation 3:4-5, 18). The anointing of oil speaks of the anointing of the Spirit. Secondly, we can enjoy what God has provided (v.9-10). Enjoy your wife, enjoy your work and enjoy your life in God’s name. So go ahead, do as God would want! Eat, drink, love, worship God, work, and whatever you do, do it with all your might as unto the Lord. This is God’s will for you in Christ. The mark of a man of faith, who fears God, is that despite the sufferings and mysteries in life, even despite death, is that he enjoys life as a gift of God. When we are dead, our time for this joy is done. Yes, we will live eternally in heaven, but this life is life too. Suggestion for prayer Sanctify all you do with prayer and enjoy all God has given you. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 4 – Live is better than death. Why? The living can have the comfort of God.

“Whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart.” – 1 John 3:20 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 9:7 Faith and hope in the Lord also bring believers the comfort of God. This is the focus of verse 7. How can you be glad in faith when you, by the circumstances of life, cannot tell whether God loves you? Remember the same things can happen to the righteous and to the wicked. The answer is not to look at life’s circumstances for signs of God’s grace and blessing. Instead, the answer is to listen to God’s Word! Scripture says we should examine ourselves, but that test, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13:5, is not according to circumstances or works. It is whether or not you have faith in Christ - that by Christ, God loves you! Faith in Jesus brings comfort to us. Do you want to know what God thinks of you? Read verse 7. “God has already approved what you do.” Believe the gospel of Jesus. In Christ, you are already righteous in God’s sight through faith in Jesus. And what does God think of you who are in Christ? He approves of you and what you do! No, God does not condone sin, but He does love us and accept us in His Son as righteous even when we sin. So when our hearts condemn us, God and His love are greater than our hearts. God turns us back to Himself. He testifies to us by the Spirit that He loves us. What a great comfort. Suggestions for prayer Be thankful that God’s Spirit bears witness with your spirit, that you are a child of God. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 3 – Life is better than death. Why? The living can have the hope of Jesus.

“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” – Colossians 1:27 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 9:4-6 Today our focus is on chapter 9:4-6. The living can be loved by God and given faith in Christ, but God can also give them the gift of hope! It is the living that can have hope. Meyer: “This hope is the trust, the faith, which the living has in God. If you are still alive, there is this hope of hearing the Word of God in Jesus Christ, the hope of hearing the good news of God, the hope of preparing to meet God by the way God has created, the hope of living for him, the hope of giving a cup of cold water in his name, the hope of rejoicing in the glory of God!” We are not in control of our future. We are sinful and need God’s forgiveness; we will die, so we need to live by faith. However, only the living have the hope of faith. Imagine if you died before “having the eyes of your heart enlightened to know what the hope and riches of the gospel of Jesus Christ are” (Ephesians 1:18). The dead without God can’t know this anymore; their rewards are gone, as is their love, hate, envy and dreams. There is an advantage to being alive…even though there is vanity. Notice again verses 11-12. Suggestions for prayer Pray for the fruit of the Spirit of hope. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 26 – Christ pouring out the Spirit and God’s mission

Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. - Acts 2:33 Scripture reading: Acts 2:1-13 Having been born by and anointed with the Holy Spirit, having offered the Father the sacrifice of His life and death through the Spirit, having been vindicated by the Spirit when He arose, having ascended into heaven through the Spirit and been exalted at the right hand of His Father, Jesus received from His Father the promise of the new covenant Spirit. He poured this Spirit out on the church on the day of Pentecost as the climax of Israel’s history and of the history of His life. Jesus had promised that He would ask His Father to send Israel the Spirit. He commanded His disciples not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait to be baptized with the Spirit as the fulfilment of the promise of the Father. Obedient to this command, the disciples remained in Jerusalem where, with a group of about 120 people, they devoted themselves to prayer. When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all in one place. Suddenly, they were baptized with the Holy Spirit and all began to proclaim the mighty works of God in different languages as the Spirit enabled them. This symbolizes the incorporation of the nations into Israel, participating in God’s mission for His glory. Peter explains that by participating in Christ’s prophetic ministry from heaven, the promise of the new covenant, where in the last days God would pour out His Spirit on all flesh. Was fulfilled. This outpouring of the Spirit is the climax of Israel’s history and the history of Jesus’ life before He returns. Suggestions for prayer Praise your heavenly Father that Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit on Pentecost and ask Him to daily fill you with the Holy Spirit so that you can faithfully participate in God’s mission for His glory. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 25 – Christ’s ascension and God’s mission (2)

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering - Hebrews 12:22 Scripture reading: Hebrews 12:18-24 Having ascended into heaven, Christ continues to participate in His Father’s mission for His glory by fulfilling His threefold office of king, priest, and prophet. He is the head and mediator of the new covenant and Lord of the universe. As king, He is rewarded for His obedience by being given the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow. He participates in His Father’s mission for His glory as the great Son of David leading history to its ultimate fulfilment in the coming kingdom of God through his Word and Spirit. As priest, He participates by interceding for His people. As prophet, He continues to confront His church and the nations with the good news of the coming kingdom of heaven, urging them to repent and believe or face the fire of God in His coming judgment and be excluded from this kingdom. Participating in God’s mission for His glory involves participating in Christ glorifying His Father in heaven as priest when we come together for worship on earth. This also involves our participation in His prayers as we pray not only for ourselves, but for the world in His name. Moreover, it involves participating in Christ’s prophetic ministry of preaching the good news of the coming kingdom and calling people to repentance. Furthermore, it involves participating in Christ’s kingly ministry of announcing the forgiveness of sins, exercising church discipline, administering the sacraments and participating in the gifts of the Spirit Christ gives as the ascended king. Suggestions for prayer Praise your heavenly Father that participating in His mission for His glory on earth involves the privilege of participating in Christ’s ministry of glorifying His Father as prophet, priest, and king in heaven. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 24 – Christ’s ascension and God’s mission (1)

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God - Colossians 3:3 Scripture reading: Acts 1:1-11 Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven, through the power of the Holy Spirit, inheriting the glory of God, glorified with the glory He had in His Father’s presence before the world existed. The disciples only saw Him ascending. They did not see Him entering heaven because a cloud took Him out of their sight. The two angels needed to tell them that Jesus had ascended into heaven. While a cloud reveals God’s glory, it also conceals His glorious presence. Thus, as the resurrection had a hidden character, so also the ascension had a hidden character because it conceals Christ’s glorious presence since He is now hidden in the glory of God (Colossians 3:3). Moreover, those who have been made alive together with Christ, through faith, participate in Christ being hidden in the glory of the Father. Their life is hidden with Christ, in God, because they are seated with Him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:5-6). Accordingly, their life also has a hidden and mysterious character like Christ’s life. This means that participating in God’s mission for His glory by living in Christ involves living with a mystery that has an already and not yet aspect to it. On the one hand, God’s mission for His glory and our participation in it has already been completed in Christ because sin, death, and the devil have been conquered in Christ. On the other hand, they have not yet been defeated in this life. This leads to the tension of the already and not yet of the Christian life. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to give you the wisdom you need to navigate the tension of the already and not yet character of the Christian life. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 23 – Christ’s resurrection and God’s mission

...And was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. - Romans 1:4 Scripture reading: Romans 1:1-7 Jesus not only predicted His death, but He also announced He would rise from the dead. In doing so, He linked His resurrection to His death. As such, His resurrection from the dead was God’s judgment upon the miscarriage of justice that took place when Jesus was innocently condemned to death.  When the Spirit raised Jesus from the dead, God reversed His condemnation of being a blasphemer and a political threat and vindicated His claim that He was God and Israel’s true Messiah. Moreover, God vindicated Jesus as His true Son, Who was the theatre of His mission for His glory and participated in His mission for His glory by making the mutual glorification that takes place in heaven and visible on earth by being a person and place where heaven and earth meet. As such, He is the true son of Adam, Abraham, and David. Furthermore, Jesus’ resurrection was proof that, as king, He defeated our real enemies: sin, death, and the devil. Consequently, He rose from the dead with a glorified resurrection body as the first fruits of God’s new creation, as a fulfillment of the promise of a new covenant. In addition, because He rose from the dead through the Spirit, Jesus was able to pour forth the Spirit, enabling God’s people to participate in His mission for His glory by making Him visible on earth through being people and places where heaven and earth meet. On earth as in heaven! Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father that because Jesus rose from the dead, He is able to pour out this Spirit on you enabling you to participate in God’s mission for His glory by making Him visible on earth. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 18 – Conceived and born by the Spirit and God’s mission

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God. - Luke 1:35 Scripture reading: Luke 1:26-38 God began to fulfill the promises of the new covenant by having Israel return to the Promised Land. However, because He did not circumcise their hearts, the generation that returned was no better than the generation that had been sent into exile. Because they too resisted the Holy Spirit, they were not the theatre of His mission for His glory making God visible on earth by being people and places where heaven and earth meet. So, God demonstrates His faithfulness to the creational purpose of His mission for His glory and His promise of a new covenant where He would make Israel into a new creation by sending His own Son in our flesh as Israel’s substitute and representative to be this theatre of His mission for His glory. In order to make Israel into a new creation by circumcising their hearts and filling them with the Holy Spirit, God’s Son needs to be conceived and born through the Holy Spirit. For even though the Son possessed the Spirit as the eternal Son of the Father, in order for Him to fill or baptize Israel with the Spirit, He also needs to possess the Holy Spirit as a human being, because as the holy, incarnate Son of God, He will baptize Israel and those who are grafted into Israel through faith with the Holy Spirit. Accordingly, the Son of God took on our flesh through the Holy Spirit so that, as the holy, incarnate Son of God, He could baptize or fill with the Holy Spirit. Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father that Christ was also able to baptize His people with the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to open your eyes to where you may be resisting the Spirit. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 17 – Becoming a new creation and God’s mission

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. - Ezekiel 36:26-27 Scripture reading: Ezekiel 36:22-38 God will achieve the goal of His mission for His glory by circumcising His people’s hearts. He will give them a new heart and a new spirit, by making them into new creations that are receptive to His voice, open to His provision, and available to His leading. Consequently, they will not live in the flesh, but in the Spirit with the law written on their hearts, bearing witness to the life of heaven on earth. Moreover, God will cleanse them of their sins. He will forgive them their sins and spiritually cleanse them from sin’s effects. Furthermore, God will have His people return to the Promised Land where they will live under a Davidic king as one people, with Him being their God and them being His people. The temple will also be restored, the nations incorporated into this covenant, as promised to Abraham, and the land and creation will enjoy an abundant fruitfulness comparable to the Garden of Eden. This is nothing less than a resurrection from the dead and a new creation. God will do this for the sake of His name. Because this covenant is an eternal covenant, it is also God’s last covenant with Israel that will not be superseded by another covenant. The restoration of the Jews in the Promised Land marked the beginning of the fulfilment of the new covenant promises. However, this was merely the beginning, for the ultimate fulfilment of the new covenant promises will take place in the new heavens and the new earth. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit who writes His law upon your heart making you receptive to His voice, open to His provision, and available to His leading. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 16 – The promise of a new covenant and God’s mission

Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah... - Jeremiah 31:31 Scripture reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34 When God made His third covenant with Israel on the Plains of Moab, He predicted that, because of their constitutional incorrigibility, they would fail to keep His covenant and be sent into exile. What God had predicted also happened. Yet, God also offered His people hope by promising to one day bring them to repentance by circumcising their hearts and restoring them to the Promised Land. Because divine-human covenants are manifestations of God’s faithfulness to the creational purpose of His mission for His glory that rescues this mission in a time of crisis or uncertainty, God encourages His people in exile with the promise of a new covenant. With this new covenant, God will achieve what He always wanted: a theatre of His mission for His glory made up of human beings who participate in this mission for God’s glory, by making the mutual glorification that takes place in heaven visible on earth by being people and places where heaven and earth meet. On earth as in heaven! This is what ultimately makes this covenant new. Unlike God’s first three covenants with Israel and His covenant with David, it will not fail to bring about God’s creational goal of His mission for His glory, by continually being broken like God’s first covenant with Israel and subsequent covenants with them. But it will bring this creational goal to fruition because it will ultimately be kept by both God and His people. Suggestions for prayer Praise your heavenly Father for His faithfulness to His mission for His glory. Thank Him that the new covenant is a guarantee that one day the blessing of Abraham will have been brought to the nations and God will be all in all. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 15 – Jerusalem and God’s mission for His glory

If your sons keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall teach them, their sons also forever shall sit on your throne. For the Lord has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his dwelling place. - Psalm 132:12-13 Scripture reading: Psalm 132 Yesterday, when we read about God making a covenant with David, promising that there would always be one of his descendants upon his throne, we did not read about any conditions in this covenant. In today’s passage, we do. It states that if David’s sons keep God’s commandments, they and their sons shall always sit on the throne of David. This reminds us that there is no such thing as an unconditional covenant or a conditional covenant, but that all covenants have both aspects. This mixture of unconditional and conditional aspects in God’s covenant with David has to do with the connection between God’s covenant with David and His choice of Zion or Jerusalem as His dwelling place. As God’s covenant with David is meant to give stability to His covenants with Israel, so His choice of Jerusalem as His dwelling place is meant to give stability to His covenant with David. If David and his sons want to participate in God’s mission for His glory by making God visible on earth through being people and places where heaven and earth meet, they would need to find their source of strength in God’s dwelling in Jerusalem. However, if they failed to do so and consequently failed to keep the conditional aspect of God’s covenant, God would still keep the unconditional aspect of His promise because of His choice of Jerusalem. This is all the more the case because out of Jerusalem, God will make a horn sprout for David and a lamp for His anointed (Psalm 132:17). Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father for Christ, the horn and lamp of David, Who bore witness to His glorious presence on earth and brought the blessing of Abraham to the nations. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 10 – God’s third covenant with Israel and His mission

These are the words of the covenant that the Lord commanded Moses to make with the people of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant that he had made with them at Horeb. - Deuteronomy 29:1 Scripture reading: Deuteronomy 26:16-29 After 40 years in the desert, a new generation of the people of Israel is standing on the threshold of the Promised Land. However, this new generation is no better than the previous one. Both had rebelled against the Holy Spirit (Psalm 106:33), grieved the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 63:10-14), and resisted the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51). This leads to the uncertainty of whether God can still use this new generation in His mission for His glory. Moreover, in addition to having Joshua lead them instead of Moses, the situation of the new generation in the Promised Land will be a different one than their situation in the desert. In order to deal with this uncertainty and new situation, God once again demonstrates His faithfulness to His mission for His glory and comes to the rescue of this mission by making a third covenant with Israel on the Plains of Moab. With this covenant, as He had done to Abraham (Genesis 17:7), God commits to be Israel’s God, that Israel would be His treasured possession whom He would set above the other nations, and Israel would be His holy people. With this covenant, Israel commits to walk in God’s ways, keep His commandments, and obey His voice. In doing so, Israel commits to participate in God’s mission for His glory and bring the blessing of Abraham to the nations by making God visible on earth through being people and places where heaven and earth meet. On earth as in heaven! Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father that He is your God, the God of your congregation and that His Spirit enables you to commit to walk in His ways, keep His commandments and obey His voice. Ask Him to strengthen your commitment. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 9 – Obedience of faith and God’s mission

You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord. - Leviticus 18:5 Scripture reading: Leviticus 26:1-13 Participating in God’s mission for His glory is a participation in faith that leads to the obedience of faith. This was the case with the first participants, Adam and Eve. If they entrusted themselves to God and lived in communion with Him, being receptive to His voice, open to His provision and available to His leading, they would continue to enjoy the blessed life God had given them; if not they would die (Genesis 2:17-18). This is also the case for Israel. If she entrusted herself to God and lived in communion with Him, being receptive to His voice, open to His provision, and available to His leading, she would live and enjoy the blessings of a secure and healthy life in the Promised Land. In the light of the New Testament, we can say that they would also inherit eternal life. To understand this dynamic of faith, it is helpful to realize that the contrast in Scripture is not between faith and works, but between faith and no faith. Those who have faith are expected, by God’s grace and Spirit, to manifest their faith in the obedience of faith. In the light of the New Testament, we can say that those who are grafted into Christ, by faith, will naturally produce the obedience of faith through the working of the Holy Spirit. Thus, there are not two opposing ways to life, one through faith and the other through works, but only one way: the way of faith that leads to the obedience of faith. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to enable you to be receptive to His voice, open to His provision, and available to His leading so that you are able to participate in His mission for His glory through the obedience of faith. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 8 – The Sabbath and God’s mission for His glory (2)

Six days work shall be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death - Exodus 35:2 Scripture reading: Exodus 35:1-3 Yesterday, we saw that before Israel’s violation of God’s first covenant with them by worshipping a golden calf, Moses records that God made the Sabbath day a sign of His covenant with His people Israel. Every Sabbath day was meant to remind them that the reason for their existence was that they were called to participate in God’s mission for His glory by being people and places where heaven and earth meet. On earth as in heaven! If they did not do this, they essentially had no reason to exist. Today, we see that immediately after Israel’s violation of God’s first covenant with them by worshipping a golden calf, God made His second covenant with Israel, because He had compassion on them and forgave them their sin, Moses again records the command to keep the Sabbath day. In other words, Moses frames Israel’s breaking of God’s first covenant and the making of the second covenant with the Sabbath as a sign of God’s covenant. This shows us that the Sabbath was not only a weekly reminder for Israel that they were called to participate in God’s mission for His glory, by being people and places where heaven and earth meet. It was also a guarantee that God would one day reach this goal because, even though this mission had almost been destroyed because of Israel’s sin, it was steadily proceeding to the eternal Sabbath rest that remains for the people of God. Suggestions for prayer Give thanks that Sunday reminds you that you have been chosen to participate in God’s mission for His glory by making Him visible through being a person where heaven and earth meet, but also that it is a guarantee that He will one day be all in all. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 7 – The Sabbath and God’s mission for His glory (1)

It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed. - Exodus 31:17 Scripture reading: Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 31:12-17 In Genesis 2, we read about God resting on the seventh day. This means that God rests from His work of creating, but also that He celebrates the rest and peace His creation radiates. Everything He made is very good! Everyone and everything reflected the loving presence of God and His glory. This creation was meant to last forever. We see that in a little detail missing in our Scripture reading. After each of the six days, we read that there was an evening and a morning, however, not with the seventh day. This does not mean that it did not have an evening and a morning, but by not mentioning this, Moses draws attention to the fact that the harmony and rest of God’s creation was meant to last forever and be elevated into the full-grown, mature state of the new heaven and earth. This is the Sabbath rest that remains for the people of God about which the author of Hebrews speaks (Hebrews 4:9). It should not surprise us that God made the Sabbath a sign of His covenant with His people Israel. He had chosen them to be His treasured possession, meant to function as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Consequently, every Sabbath was to remind them of the reason for their existence. They were called to participate in God’s mission for His glory by making God visible on earth through being people and places where heaven and earth meet. On earth as in heaven! Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to help you make this Sunday fruitful by reminding you of why you belong to His chosen people. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 2 – God mission for his glory and his covenants

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant… - Exodus 19:6 Scripture reading: Exodus 19:1-6 I’m sure those who are married have not forgotten their marriage vows. Perhaps, as a groom you made a vow like this: “I solemnly declare to take to myself and acknowledge as my wife _______. And I promise that I will, with the gracious help of God, love, honour and maintain her, live with her in the holy bonds of marriage according to God’s ordinance, and never forsake her, so long as we both shall live.” As the bride, you made a similar vow. Why are vows necessary? Why not solemnize a marriage without vows? Well, vows are necessary because of the fall into sin. Before the fall into sin, there was no need for formally bonded relationships, because there was no uncertainty in them. After the fall into sin, all sorts of uncertainty crept into relationships. Because of the fall into sin, we make covenants with each other. We seal these covenants with an oath in the presence of God and each other. God Himself also makes covenants with humanity and His people. Why would it be necessary for God to make covenants with human beings? This is necessary because of the fall into sin. Because of the fall into sin, there is often uncertainty in the relationship between God and us. And so, God finds it necessary to formally guarantee His commitment to us as well as His commitment to His purposes for us and His world. This is also the reason why He makes a covenant with Israel. Suggestions for prayer When you feel uncertainty in your relationship with your heavenly Father, ask Him to take it away by having you focus on His commitment to you, signed and sealed with baptism, that He will provide you with everything good and protect you from evil or turn it to your benefit. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

Introduction to February - God’s Mission for His Glory...

These meditations continue the series I did a year ago about God’s mission for His glory. To ensure continuity, I repeated two meditations from the first series. God created the world for His glory, i.e. that humanity and creation would make Him visible on earth by being people and places where heaven and earth meet. As such, God would be praised by both humanity and creation. Because this changed with the fall into sin, God embarks on a mission to make all things new in a world where His people and His creation would again abide in His presence and make Him visible by being people and places where heaven and earth meet (Genesis 3:15). However, we know that the end is better than the beginning. The beginning of creation is only the beginning of the life of glory, while the new heaven and new earth are the perfection or consummation of the life of glory. Right from the beginning, there was room for growth to reach the perfection living in God’s life-giving, light-giving, and loving presence. The biblical covenants made in Scripture are designed to advance and guarantee God’s commitment to His goal for creation and to having His people participate with Him in the achievement of this goal. Covenants regulate an existing relationship, often dealing with a problem that causes uncertainty in it. A new covenant often updates an earlier covenant to the new situation. I have entitled this second series: God’s Mission for His Glory and His Covenants with Israel, David, the Promise of a New Covenant and Life in Christ in the New Covenant. I enjoyed writing these meditations, was edified in doing so and hope and pray that you will be too. February 1 – God’s mission for his glory And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will well with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” - Revelation 21:3 Scripture reading: Revelation 21:1-8 In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve lived in the loving presence of God. They participated in His life, light, and love and reflected this to one another and throughout the Garden. This made them persons who made God visible by being people where heaven and earth meet. It made the Garden of Eden a place where heaven and earth meet. Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden reflected the glory of God, that is His life-giving, light-giving, and loving presence. With the fall into sin, all of this changed. Because Adam and Eve lived outside the Garden of Eden, they no longer lived in God’s loving presence nor participated in His life, light, and love. Moreover, they no longer lived in a place where heaven and earth met, nor were they people who could give each other and those around them an encounter with God’s presence, His glory. However, God had no intention of leaving things this way. He immediately declared His intent to embark on a mission for His glory and make all things new. His people and His world would once again dwell in His loving presence and be people and places where heaven and earth meet (Genesis 3:15). Throughout Scripture we encounter God on this mission for His glory. At the end of Scripture, we see that God achieves the goal of this mission for His glory, on earth as in heaven! What a beautiful and encouraging mission! Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to show you how He is on a mission for His glory in your life. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

January 31 – God is the God of peace

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Scripture reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:9-24 Shalom! In Bible times, when people met or said goodbye, they used this word shalom. In Hebrew, this word means peace, but could also be translated as harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare or tranquillity. It is the absence of anything that can in some measure disturb our lives. God is the God of peace! He is perfectly at peace, ever and always! Nothing that happens in this world truly disturbs Him. He knows it all; He ordained it all so there is a mighty calm in heaven. How we need this peace to invade our fearful hearts. This is possible through Christ, Who is our Peace. He made peace in His blood, while we were yet enemies! In sanctification, He breaks our sinful and rebellious alienation, so that the better we know God, the more we will experience His peace. We may trust that our God of peace will preserve our whole being blameless till Christ returns to bring eternal shalom. Then we will experience God's full peace. Then we will truly prosper and nothing will ever make us afraid, because only knowing His presence with us brings such peace. Isaiah already knew this when he wrote, "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:9). Let us trust the God of peace and let us pray, "Lord haste the day of eternal peace!" Shalom!  Suggestions for prayer Thank God when He has made peace in your life. Let us pray that knowing God will increasingly bring peace to our lives, until we as believers, one day, enjoy eternal peace. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek has been serving the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville since 2017. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

January 30 - God is the God of all comfort

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3 Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 1:1-7 God is the God of all comfort. Knowing Him is the source of our true comfort in life and death. We are only able to know Him because He is so merciful to us, having revealed Himself to us in His Word and by His Spirit for His own glory. The more we know God, the more we will be able to rest in His sovereign Lordship and love through Christ. The more we know, treasure and relish Who God is, deepening comfort will fill our lives, even during our troubles and afflictions. This comfort will, through the Great Comforter the Holy Spirit, also flow to others! He, as the Source of all encouragement, comfort and consolation comes alongside us in our need for mercy, saving us in Christ. Let us, therefore, come alongside those who lack comfort, appreciating how He has comforted us. Not only does knowing God bring us true and lasting comfort, but all true knowledge of God (theology) is also ultimately meant to excite us to praise God (doxology). Every attribute we considered so far is a glorious reason to praise God. This verse reminds us of this truth. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort! He is worthy! God alone is to be adored and blessed! Suggestions for prayer Thank and praise God for Who He is, for the comfort you have received from Him in life. And pray that you will be able to comfort others by pointing them to the Lord when they need mercy and comfort. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek has been serving the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville since 2017. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

January 25 – God is perfect

Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. - Matthew 5:48 Scripture reading: Matthew 5:37-48 Jesus never shied away from confronting us with God's perfect moral standard. In this text, He requires perfection. The reason for this, according to Jesus, is because your Father in heaven is perfect! Think about it, God is complete, faultless and totally sufficient in every aspect of Himself; His Being is perfect. His ways, words, laws, and desires are perfect. His knowledge and wisdom are perfect. He is impeccable! One of the glorious ways in which God's perfection is shown is that He patiently allows rebellious sinners to enjoy His generosity. He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and the unjust. Even when they try to fault God, their attempts tragically show they are blinded to the glory of God's perfection. That's because they are blinded to the glory of God's Son and to their own imperfections. God's powerful remedy is opening our eyes to the glory of Christ, the only Mediator our High Priest. Hebrews states about Him, "For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; (…)  for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself." (Hebrews 7:26-28). Christ offered Himself up for rebels, such as we are by nature. Will we by the power of His Spirit, mirror His generosity towards rebellious and blind sinners around us? Suggestions for prayer Pray that you and I may reflect more of God's perfect character through the power of His Holy Spirit living in us. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek has been serving the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville since 2017. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

January 24 – God is wrathful

God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; The Lord avenges and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies; The LORD is slow to anger and great in power and will not at all acquit the wicked. - Nahum 1:2-3a Scripture reading: Nahum 1 God's love for His people as well as His holy hatred and revulsion for sin, together with His righteous desire for justice, requires that the Lord will punish all evil and evildoers. Though God is slow to anger, all the wicked, unbelievers and unrepentant sinners will be punished. None will escape His wrath. It is reserved and stored up for His enemies. Nahum prophesied against Nineveh, years after Jonah saw them repent. They had returned right back to their violent sins and immoral wickedness. When we look around at world powers and governments promoting wickedness, we see similar things. Though God still patiently allows much evil, one day His wrath over sin will be poured out. Our comfort is that He will punish all evil at a global scale for everyone who ever lived. Eternal shame, reproach and wrath will be heaped upon those who have not seriously sought to escape His wrath by fleeing to and trusting in Jesus Christ. Micah asks, "Who can endure the fierceness of His anger?" (vs. 6). Obviously none! Please let the consequences of God's wrath sink in for a moment - eternal damnation. Knowing this, would anyone want anyone else to endure God's eternal wrath? Shouldn't our feet skip over the mountains of impossibilities to bring the good tidings of the Gospel, proclaiming peace through Jesus Christ? (vs. 15). Paul allowed the wrath of God, together with Christ's love to motivate him in evangelism (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10-14). Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Lord would give us a burden for souls who are not saved. When we feel intimidated by evangelism, pray for boldness and opportunities to reach the lost and God's empowering Holy Spirit to lead and guide you. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek has been serving the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville since 2017. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

January 23 – God is jealous

For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. – Exodus 34:14 Scripture reading: Exodus 34:1-17 When we read God's law, we can hear that God is jealous. But have we ever stopped to consider what this means? Some people wonder how God can hate people while He is love. We need to recognize that God does not love all people in the same way. Those who are in covenant to Him by faith, are the ones He loves with a special love. Their devotion to Him, He guards jealously. He expects believers to be faithful, loyal, loving and continually learning about Him and His glory. However, often His people are shown to be covenant-breakers, as we see in the context of our text. This comes right after the episode with the golden calf. Yet, as Moses desired to see God's glory, the Lord graciously granted Moses' request. This not only reveals God's glorious name (vs 6-7), but He adds, "My name is Jealous!" (vs. 17). We recognize that this is a good thing because this is the passionate zeal that guards the exclusivity of the marriage covenant between God and His people. Jealousy evokes anger against an unfaithful spouse. God demands and desires our total commitment and surrender to Him and His glory. No spiritual adultery! Of ourselves, we are covenant-breakers; this is seen in Joshua 24:19. However, God by His Spirit, and through the ministry of His servants, will jealously guard the relationship to betroth us unto one husband, so that we may be presented as a chaste virgin to Christ. (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:2). Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the fact that His name is Jealous and pray that He will guard your relationship with Him jealously so that you can enjoy more of the love of Christ in your life. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek has been serving the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville since 2017. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

January 22 – God is just

For I proclaim the name of the Lord: Ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He. - Deuteronomy 32:3-4 Scripture reading: Deuteronomy 32:1-18 God's justice means God gives us only and always strictly what we deserve. Justice is a glorious attribute which, on the one hand, can be very comforting, but, on the other hand, can make us tremble. It can be very comforting when we (have) experienced abuse, injustice and are hurt by the sins of others, or when we groan about the results of our fall into sin. At Sodom's destruction, Abraham was comforted by this thought, "Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Meanwhile, it can make us tremble to think what would happen if God would give us sinners perfect justice. It would mean that you and I would be enduring the destructive fires of God's wrath in hell; none of us are exempt. We know everything God does is perfect; His judgments are perfect! He is truth-filled and without any injustice. Yet, perhaps you wonder, how can we rejoice in and celebrate God's glorious justice? We can when, like Lot, we flee out of sinful Sodom to Zoar, or to echo our text, when we flee to the Rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ! On Golgotha, He received the just punishment we deserve for our sin. Now He can be both just and the Justifier of those who believe in Him. That's perfectly satisfying justice! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for His satisfied justice in Christ. Pray that we would not forget this, especially in times when we feel entitled, discontent, and are tempted to grumble, or slow to leave our sins. Christ paid dearly to earn justice exalting God's mercy. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek has been serving the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville since 2017. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

January 17 – God is love

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. - 1 John 4:16 Scripture reading: 1 John 4:7-21 Many define love as a warm and fuzzy feeling. Is that true about God's love? No, God's love is about an unwavering commitment He has in His own blessed being, from eternity. God's love is visible in everything He does! Love starts in Himself; The Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father, in love through the Holy Spirit. God's sheer love motivated Him to create. His overflowing love poured into all of creation. It's God's love that motivated Him to make such a glorious world, such perfect creatures, able to enjoy and share His love. Tragedy struck when God's love was rejected in our Fall. Think about God's just wrath over sin; it's actually our rejection of His eternal, overflowing and fully satisfying love. Yet, sin did not stop God from loving sinners, verse 10 says, "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins." Or, as in Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Jesus' death, bloody sacrifice, perfect obedience to His Father's will, are all manifestations of God's love to loveless sinners. God's love is still first, "We love Him because He first loved us" (vs. 19). And His love in us cannot but be poured into other lives, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (vs. 11). Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will relish more in God's love shown in creation and Christ and that His unfathomable love might motivate you in everything you do today. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek has been serving the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville since 2017. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

January 16 – God is holy

And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!" – Isaiah 6:3 Scripture reading: Isaiah 6:1-8 This verse gives us a glimpse of heaven. Immediately, we are struck by glorious angels exalting God's holiness. No other attribute is repeated three times in Scripture as His holiness is. This is significant! Is it because God's holiness in His radiant beauty perhaps best describes Who He really is? Trying to define His holiness is not so easy. We can say holy means "to be set apart", and "utterly pure, separated from sin." But unfortunately, unlike these angels, we can say that, without being impressed by God's sheer otherness and infinite purity. Strikingly, when these sinless creatures exalt the Lord for His holiness, it humbles them! They cover their faces, they cover their feet, and fly with the other set of wings. What a lesson for us! Seeing something of God's holiness made Isaiah tremble and become acutely aware of his own sinfulness. And so will we! We will cry out with Isaiah, "I am undone - unravelling!" But at the same time, it prepares us to seek God's glory in this world. For when the Lord asked, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Isaiah eagerly answered, "Here am I, send me!" Looking to these holy angels to learn about holiness is good and necessary. But, looking to Jesus, our perfect High Priest, is better! For it is His holiness these angels exalt! Jesus, higher than the heavens, is holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners! He approaches God on our behalf! That's good news for unholy sinners! Suggestions for prayer Pray that God's holiness would grip you, supplying fresh appreciation for Christ and make you desirous to spread God's gospel and glory in this world. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek has been serving the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville since 2017. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

January 15 – God is faithful

Great is Your faithfulness. - Lamentations 3:23b  Scripture reading: Lamentations 3:22-25 In preparation, I read this question, "How many people do you know who, no matter what the circumstances and no matter how they feel, will always do exactly what they say they will do every single time, (...) With the same thoroughness and perfection that you never have to worry about anything they say or do, because you know if they say it, they will definitely do it without fail, without change and without excuse?" That is what we mean with faithfulness! Not to be found in man, but found perfectly in God! Jeremiah, who sat upon the smoking heap of Jerusalem's ruins, knew that God was faithful! God had warned His people over and over not to continue in their sin. Yet, they would not hear! He threatened them over and over that if they would continue, God would allow Jerusalem to be ruined, the land to be forsaken, and His people to be exiled. God faithfully kept His promise to punish His unfaithful people. William Hendriksen observes, "Divine faithfulness is a wonderful comfort to those who are loyal. It is a very earnest warning for those who might be inclined to become disloyal." Jeremiah knew it firsthand, on top of the rubble... Deeply aware of what he really deserved, namely a total wipe-out (vs.22). Yet, he celebrates God's compassionate faithfulness toward himself and his people! Every morning he still saw new mercies! Undeserved! (vs.23). Can you see them too, especially when you consider your own daily unfaithfulness? Suggestions for prayer Consider and confess your unfaithfulness and God's faithful mercies. Thank God for Christ's faithful obedience, even unto death, to cover your unfaithfulness (1 John 1:9). Pray that you would serve the Lord faithfully today. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek has been serving the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville since 2017. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

January 14 – God is true

God, who cannot lie, promised before time began... - Titus 1:2b Scripture reading: Titus 1:1-4 Paul wrote to Titus who was in a culture similar to ours, a culture of lies, in which appearance and popularity are valued over truth and faithfulness. We are surrounded by fake news, empty promises and by science (falsely-so-called). How confusing that can be. But blessed be the Lord, there is not the slightest hint of untruth in God Himself! Paul reminds Titus and us that God is the God Who cannot lie! He is the God of absolute truth! In the Old Testament, the Lord often revealed Himself as the God of truth (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29). Promises made before creation will be fulfilled. He kept each one of His promises concerning His Son, Jesus Christ. Truly, His promises are Yes and Amen in Jesus Christ! Jesus said about Himself, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." He is not only saying that He is trustworthy, and the Source of all Truth, but rather that He is the embodiment of Truth! When Jesus stood before Pilate, a lying judge, about to suffer for speaking nothing but the truth, He confessed a good confession when He said, "For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." Will you listen to His voice today, following His truth, even when it painfully exposes our lies? Suggestions for prayer Thank God for His truth! Let us also pray that the Truth of Jesus will set us more and more free, that we would be truth-seekers and truth-tellers, and filled with God's Spirit of Truth, in a world of lies. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek has been serving the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville since 2017. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....