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Daily devotional

March 27 – Circumcision as a sign of the goal of God’s creation

“You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.” – Genesis 17:11 Scripture reading: Genesis 17:9-14 I have a NEXUS card, which serves as one of my identity markers. It identifies me as a low-risk traveler who can cross the Canadian-American border quickly. It also gives me privileges at certain airports. Circumcision, as a sign of God’s covenant community, is also an identity marker. It identifies males as members of this community and reminds them (and the females) of what being a member of this covenant community entails. As the flesh of the male’s foreskin was cut off, so members of God’s covenant community are cut off from the ways of the flesh of the world. Being circumcised symbolizes that they have been separated from the ways of the world and consecrated to the ways of God. They are to walk before God, in His loving, holy presence in the Holy Spirit, and be blameless, wholeheartedly devoted to God. In addition, circumcision symbolizes that members of God’s covenant community are cut off from the ways of the flesh in their hearts. Outward circumcision is not enough, their hearts need to be circumcised as well (cf. Rom. 2:25-29). Only in this way can God use His covenant community, His church, to be a blessing for the world and to live for the other by being people and places where heaven and earth meet. The hearts of the members of the church need to be circumcised and the ways of the flesh need to be cut out of their hearts. Otherwise, they will be cut off from God’s covenant community. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to daily remind you what it entails to be a member of His covenant community with regard to the ways of the flesh that still live in our hearts. 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....

Daily devotional

March 26 – God’s second covenant with Abraham and the goal of creation (2)

“And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.” – Genesis 17:7 Scripture Genesis 17:1-8 When God made His two covenants with Noah, He continually spoke about making "My covenant." In doing so, God was drawing attention to the fact that He would take care that His commitment to Noah, his family, and creation and His commitment to His mission for His glory would be fulfilled. Nothing would shake this commitment. With this second covenant with Abram, God does the same. He continually speaks about “My covenant,” essentially drawing attention to the fact that because He is God Almighty, He will take care of fulfilling the promises He made to Abram so that he and his descendants can be a blessing for the world. Because God’s covenant with Abram is “His covenant” with him, God repeats His promises to Abram in a more lavish and generous manner than before. Abram would become exceedingly fruitful and be the father of a multitude of nations. Consequently, God changes Abram’s name to bring it in line with this fruitful destiny. No longer would he be called Abram, but Abraham, meaning “father of a multitude.” Moreover, kings would come forth from this multitude of nations of which Abraham would be the father. Furthermore, God’s covenant with Abraham would be an everlasting covenant. The heart of this everlasting covenant is that God would be God to them. In other words, there will always be descendants of Abraham who will live in God’s loving presence in the Spirit and be a blessing for the world by being people and places where heaven and earth meet. Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father that He will fulfill His purpose for you and His church in a new heaven and a new 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....

Daily devotional

March 25 – God’s second covenant with Abraham and the goal of creation (1)

“I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly…” – Genesis 17:1b-2 Scripture reading: Genesis 17:1-8 After making a covenant with Abram in Genesis 15, God makes a new covenant with him in Genesis 17. Yesterday, we read why this was necessary. By being people and places where heaven and earth would meet, Abram and Sarai had to realize the fulfillment of God’s promise of a great nation through which God wanted to deal with the chaos and disorder caused by Adam. They tried to do this through the flesh of the world and the flesh in their own hearts, leading to uncertainty whether God can still use Abram and Sarai for this purpose. Thus, it should not surprise us that when God addresses Abram, He does so as "God Almighty." He says to Abram that He can deal with the problem of their childlessness, making the barren fertile so that he can be a blessing for the world. Moreover, it should not surprise us that God commands Abram to walk before Him. You need to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. You need to live in My holy presence and reflect My holy glory. You need to be blameless. You need to be wholehearted in your service of Me. You need to surrender everything to Me and be completely devoted to Me. Only in this way can I use you in My mission for My glory and make all things new in a world where My people and My world will once again dwell in My loving presence and be people and places where heaven and earth meet. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to show you what changes you may need to make in your life so that you are living in His holy presence and reflecting His holy 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....

Daily devotional

March 24 – The flesh of the world and the flesh of our own hearts

“And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived.” – Genesis 16:4a Scripture reading: Genesis 16:1-16 Last week Wednesday, I wrote that if we want to succeed in being a blessing for the world by being people and places where heaven and earth meet, we need to entrust ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ, opening ourselves to His entrance into our souls with His Holy Spirit so that He becomes flesh and blood in our lives. For Abram and Sarai to succeed in being a second Adam and Eve who would bless the world and deal with the problem caused by Adam’s sin by being people where heaven and earth meet, they too would have to live in the Spirit and not in the flesh. However, our Scripture reading shows us that both of them intentionally choose to live in the flesh when it concerns the fulfillment of God’s promise to make them into a great nation. Instead of waiting on God to fulfill His promise in His time, they take matters into their own hands and try to fulfill God’s promise their way, by having Abram go into Hagar and father a child with her according to the cultural custom of those days. But this is not how we succeed in being a blessing for the world. If we want to bless the world by being people and places where heaven and earth meet, we need to live in the Spirit and not the flesh of the world or the flesh of our own hearts. All the misery that the birth of Ishmael brought about is clearly proof of this truth. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to show you where the flesh of the world or the flesh of your own heart is hindering you in succeeding to become a blessing for the world by being a person where heaven and earth meet. 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....

Daily devotional

March 23 – The blood of the Covenant

“For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins…” – Matthew 26:28 Scripture reading: Matthew 26:26-29 On Saturday, we saw that God makes a covenant with Abram according to the custom of those days where covenant partners cut animals in half and then walked between these animals, thus guaranteeing their commitment to the covenant they just made or cut. When the Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper, He picked up on the image of the blood of the animals that were used to cut a covenant (cf. also Exodus 24:8). He told his disciples that when they drink from the cup during the celebration of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him, this cup with wine symbolizes His blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. This shows us that when God swore an oath that if He did not fulfill His promise of giving Abram and his descendants the land of Canaan which foreshadowed the new heaven and new earth, He would cut Himself in half, He meant what He said. For while God did not need to cut Himself in half in order to fulfill his promise of the possession of the land of Canaan, because of our sin, He did need to cut Himself in half in order to fulfill the promise of what this land foreshadowed: the fullness of the eternal kingdom of God. In the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, God cut Himself in half in order to remove the obstacle of sin that hindered us from inheriting the new heaven and new earth. Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father for the blood of the covenant that removed the obstacle of your sin so you can receive your reward of faith and enter the coming kingdom of 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....

Daily devotional

March 22 – The land of Canaan and the New Heaven and the New Earth

“For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” – Hebrews 11:10 Scripture reading: Hebrews 11:8-16 God is on a mission for His glory to make all things new in a world where His people and His world will once again dwell in His loving presence and be people and places where heaven and earth meet. This means that the Christian life is a journey to this glorious life-giving, light-giving, and loving presence of God, also known as the fullness of God’s eternal Sabbath rest. From our Scripture reading, it would seem that Abraham understood this. We are told that he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. Moreover, it tells us that he acknowledged that he was a stranger and exile on earth who desired a far better country than the one he had just left, namely, a heavenly country, a city prepared for him by God. This means that the land of Canaan, in addition to being a real land, also functions as a type or foreshadowing of the new heaven and the new earth. And just as God dealt with the problem of uncertainty in Abraham’s life with regard to the possession of the land of Canaan by making a covenant with him that guaranteed His commitment to this promise, so God also deals with any uncertainty we may have that His commitment to His mission for His glory, resulting in a new heaven and a new earth, will be fulfilled with this same covenant. May He be cut in half if He does not fulfill this promise for us. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to enable you to hang on loosely to this world and the things of this world as you travel the journey to the new heaven and new earth as a stranger and sojourner on this 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....

Daily devotional

March 21 – God’s first covenant with Abram and the goal of creation

“On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram...” – Genesis 15:18 Scripture reading: Genesis 15:7-21 I trust you have not forgotten what I wrote about biblical covenants between God and His people. Covenants regulate an existing relationship, often dealing with a problem in this relationship that causes uncertainty. Against this background of the function of covenants in God’s relationship with His people, it should not surprise us that we once again read about a covenant, for there is a problem in Abram’s relationship with his God that causes uncertainty. God has just promised to give Abram and his descendants the gift of the land of Canaan, but Abram is not sure whether this will indeed happen, for he says to God, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” Abram wants God to guarantee His commitment of giving him and his descendants the land of Canaan, possibly still in the light of the fact that he does not have a biological heir and that his wife is barren, even though he had believed that God would give him descendants as countless as the stars in the heavens. So, God makes a covenant with Abram according to the custom of those days where covenant partners cut animals in half and then walk between these animals, thus guaranteeing their commitment to the covenant they just made or cut. Except, in this covenant, only God walks between the bloody carcasses of the animals. In doing so, He is swearing an oath: “May I be cut in half if I do not fulfill my promise of giving you the land of Canaan”. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to open your eyes to the deep significance of His covenant commitment to you (and your children). 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....

Daily devotional

March 20 – Faith and its reward

“And he said to him, ‘I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.’” – Genesis 15:7 Scripture reading: Genesis 15:7-21 Yesterday, we saw that Abram believed God and God counted this posture of faith to him as righteousness. If we want to do justice to our relationship with God, we need to consider His promises to be trustworthy and entrust ourselves to this promising God. That is the way to live in a right relationship with God. Today, we see that God rewards this posture of faith with the gift of land. In Genesis 15:1, God had said to Abram that his reward would be very great. Today, we read that this reward is the gift of the land of Canaan. The land was a sort of second Garden of Eden where the nations would be drawn into the glorious presence of God and begin to reflect this life-giving, light-giving, and loving presence to one another as well by being people and places where heaven and earth meet. God had promised the land when Abram first arrived in Canaan. He had repeated the promise when Abram and Lot had separated. Now God makes the promise again as a reward for his posture of faith. New this time is that the geographical markers of the land are included as well as the fact that Abram’s descendants would first be sojourners in the land of Egypt before they would possess the land because the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full. This latter fact shows us God’s patience towards sinners. Not all sin warrants immediate destruction; only the full measure of sin. Suggestions for prayer Since faith in God’s promises and entrusting ourselves to this promising God is the means God uses to receive us into His eternal kingdom, ask your heavenly Father daily to strengthen your 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....

Daily devotional

March 19 – Doubting the fulfillment of God’s mission for His glory

“And Abram said, ‘Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.’” – Genesis 15:6 Scripture reading: Genesis 15:1-6 Do you ever doubt that God will succeed in His mission for His glory, making all things new in a world where His people and His world will again dwell in His loving presence and be people and places where heaven and earth meet? Living in God’s life-giving, light-giving, and loving presence and reflecting this glorious presence to all those around you, it's all yours as a reward, when you consider the promises of God to be trustworthy and entrust yourself to the God of this promise. Abram also has his doubts about a promise of God: that he would become a great nation. How can he become a great nation if he does not even have one child and his wife is barren? Abram is asked to believe this promise, but this promise, humanly speaking, cannot be fulfilled. So God comes to Abram’s help, appearing to him in a vision, telling him not to be afraid, for He is his shield. Moreover, his reward shall be very great. His promise that he will become a great nation is trustworthy. God then takes Abram outside, tells him to look at the sky and try to count the stars. God assures Abram that his descendants would be as countless as the stars of heaven. Abram believed God and God counted this to him as righteousness, i.e. believing God’s promises and entrusting yourself to the God of these promises is an attitude that does justice to your relationship with God. Suggestions for prayer If you have any doubts about the fulfillment of God’s mission for His glory, ask your heavenly Father to remove them. If you have no doubts, ask Him to continue to spare you these doubts. 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....

Daily devotional

March 18 – Succeeding in being a blessing for the world

“So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” – Galatians 3:9 Scripture reading: Galatians 3:1-14   Israel failed to be a blessing for the world and to live for the other by being a people and a place where heaven and earth meet, but God sent His own Son into the world to do what Israel failed to do. The Lord Jesus Christ perfectly reflected the glorious presence of His heavenly Father by being a person where heaven and earth beautifully met. He perfectly lived for the other with the sacrifices of His life and His death. In Him, all the families of the earth are blessed when they identify with Him and are joined to Him through faith. When they do, they receive the promised Holy Spirit, Who enables them to live for the other by becoming people where heaven and earth meet, because the Holy Spirit reproduces the life of the Lord Jesus Christ in them like a vine reproduces its life in the branches so that God’s mission for His glory is worked out in and through them. What the Lord Jesus Christ did with the sacrifices of His life and His death, He did for you as your substitute and representative. What He has done for you, He now wants to do in you as you entrust yourself to Him, opening yourself to Him entering into your soul with His Holy Spirit so that He becomes flesh and blood in your life. And you can say with the apostle Paul that it is no longer you who live, but Christ Jesus who lives in you (Galatians 2:20). Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to enable you to live in the Spirit, through faith, so that it is no longer you who live, but Christ Jesus who lives in you. 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....

Daily devotional

March 17 – Failure to be a blessing for the world

“They went after false idols and became false, and they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them that they should not do like them.” – 2 Kings 17:15b Scripture reading: 2 Kings 17:6-23 God encouraged Abram to make a complete break with his past, go to the land of Canaan and be a blessing by living for the other, the nations, by promising him that He would make him into a great nation and that the nations around him would identify with him and his God. In fact, in him, all the families of the earth would be blessed. Were these two promises fulfilled in the Old Testament? Well, the promise of becoming a great nation was fulfilled, even though Sarai was barren and Abraham himself was already 75 years old, and it took another 25 years before Isaac was born. However, Jacob had twelve sons and traveled to Egypt with a family of 70. In due time Israel entered Canaan with a few million people under the leadership of Joshua and reached its high point as a great nation during the time of David and Solomon. But what about the promise of an international community? Did the nations bless Israel? Were they on good terms with Israel and did they identify with this nation and their God? Was this promise fulfilled in the Old Testament? No, it was not, because Israel wanted to be just like the nations. They were idolatrous, worshipping and serving the things of this world instead of worshipping and serving God and their neighbor and living for the other by being people and places where heaven and earth meet, reflecting the glorious presence of their God and drawing others into this glorious presence. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to show you whether there is any idolatry in your life that hinders you in living for the other. 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....

Daily devotional

March 16 – Blessed to be a blessing

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” – Genesis 12:2-3  Scripture reading: Genesis 12:1-9 God makes a new beginning and calls Abram and Sarai. He is going to use them as a new Adam and Eve and deal with the problem caused by their sin. He is going to use them to subdue the chaos and disorder caused by sin and to invite humanity and creation into His Sabbath rest by reflecting God’s glory through being people and places where heaven and earth meet. In order to do so, He calls Abram to make a complete break with his past, to leave behind everything that is dear to him and to go to the land that He would show him. However, the whole father’s house leaves the city of Ur and travels to the land of Canaan. They settle down in Haran. That’s why Genesis 12:1 can be translated, “God had said to Abram....” It would seem that God renewed the call that He had made in Ur. He encouraged Abram with the same promises He had made in Ur: the promise of a great nation and of an international community. But the latter promise would depend on a nation’s attitude to Abram. Those who would be on good terms with him and identify with him and his God, God would bless. However, those who would be hostile to him and treat him lightly, God would curse. But God’s overriding concern was that in Abram all the families of the earth would be blessed. God blessed Abram to be a blessing by living for the other, the nations. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to show you how He has blessed you. Then ask Him to use these blessings for the sake of the other. 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....

Daily devotional

March 15 – Called to be a blessing for the world

“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.’" – Genesis 12:1 Scripture reading: Genesis 11:27-32 How are you a blessing to those outside the church as an individual and as a Christian congregation, living for the other by being a person and a place where heaven and earth meet? God had also called Noah and his family to be a blessing for the world by living for the other and by subduing the chaos and disorder in the world by increasingly entering into the fullness of God’s Sabbath rest and urging others to do the same. But the chaos and disorder were not subdued because the intention of the human heart was still evil. And so the chaos and disorder only got worse. However, because God had promised not to destroy humanity and creation with a flood, He confused their language and dispersed them over the face of the earth. So, what does God do? Does He give up? No, He does not! He cannot give up because He is on a mission for His glory to make all things new in a world where His people and His world will once again dwell in His loving presence and be people and places where heaven and earth meet. And He had demonstrated His commitment to advance this goal of His creation with a covenant with Noah and a second covenant with him and all of creation. And so, God makes a new beginning. He calls Abram to be a blessing for the world and to live for the other by becoming a people and place where heaven and earth meet. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to enable you to be a blessing for the world and to live for the other by being a person where heaven and earth meet. 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....

Daily devotional

March 14 – The rainbow as a sign of the goal of God’s Creation

“I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” – Genesis 9:13 Scripture reading: Genesis 9:12-17  We have seen that in the Old Testament the Sabbath was a sign of the goal of God’s creation. For Israel, the Sabbath was the weekly reminder to enter into the fullness of God’s Sabbath rest by being people where heaven and earth meet. It is as well a promise that one day this fullness, where God will be all in all, would descend from heaven on a new earth. For New Testament believers, Sunday is a weekly reminder that they are a new creation in Christ, called to bear witness to this new creation by being people where heaven and earth meet. It is as well, a promise that they will bear witness to the fullness of this new creation when Christ returns. Today, we see that God gives another sign of the goal of His new creation: the rainbow. But signs only function in our life of faith to the extent that we remember them. We need to remember them and allow them to become constructive forces in our consciousness that shape the way we think and behave. However, the interesting thing in our Scripture reading is that God says that when the rainbow is seen in the clouds, He will remember His covenant with Noah and creation. This means that He will act upon His covenant commitment and bring the goal of His creation to fruition in a glorious new heaven and earth where a new humanity and creation will live in His loving presence and participate in His life in Christ through the Holy Spirit. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to help you cultivate the spiritual discipline of remembering the signs of the goal of His creation. 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....

Daily devotional

March 13 – God’s covenant with Noah and Creation

“Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you....” – Genesis 9:9-10a Scripture reading: Genesis 8:20-22; 9:9-11 Covenants between God and His people regulate the relationship He has with them and are often meant to deal with a problem that causes uncertainty in the relationship. We read how God did that with Noah before He came with the waters of the flood. After the flood, God makes a new covenant with Noah and his family as well as with all of creation. This shows us another aspect of biblical covenants between God and His people. A new covenant often updates an earlier covenant to the new situation that it is dealing with. You can see this, for instance, with an engagement covenant and a marriage covenant. The marriage covenant simply regulates and updates the engagement covenant to the new situation of the marriage. The new situation of God’s second covenant with Noah, now also including creation, is the new situation of continuing to live in a world that has once been destroyed by a flood. The problem that causes uncertainty in this new situation is the fact that the human heart was not cleansed with the water of the flood. The intention of man's heart is still evil from his youth (Genesis 8:21). But whereas before the flood, humanity’s depravity was the ground for God’s judgment, now this depravity becomes the ground for God’s mercy. God promises to never destroy the earth with a flood again. In doing so, He guarantees His commitment to the goal of His creation. He seals this commitment and guarantees it by establishing His covenant with Noah and creation. Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father that His commitment to a glorious new heaven and new earth is firm and sure. 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....

Daily devotional

March 12 – The recreation of Creation

“And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.” – Genesis 8:1b  Scripture reading: Genesis 8:1-9:7 After 150 days, God made a wind blow over the earth so that the waters began to recede. The Hebrew word for ‘wind’ is the same word that is used for ‘Spirit’. This reminds us of the Spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters in Genesis one. This is an indication that as God began with His work of creation in Genesis one, so now He will begin with His work of recreation in Genesis eight. This is confirmed when we compare God’s work of recreation with His work of creation described in Genesis one. After God made a wind blow over the earth so that the waters began to recede, He had the living creatures in the ark leave it and begin to repopulate the earth, reminding us of the way God populated the sky and the earth with living creatures during days five and six of creation. In Genesis eight, we read about God re-establishing the days and seasons, reminding us of day four of creation when He put the light-bearers in the sky to mark the seasons, days and years. In Genesis nine we read about Noah and his sons being blessed and commanded to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and have dominion over it. In Genesis one we read about this same command being given to Adam and Eve. In Genesis nine we read about God providing food for Noah and his family. In Genesis one He did the same for Adam and Eve. Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father for the work of His Spirit in the renewal of creation (Ps. 104:30). Thank Him especially for the spiritual renewal that His Spirit works in you. 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....

Daily devotional

March 11 – The uncreation of Creation

“...on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.” – Genesis 7:11 Scripture reading: Genesis 7:1-24 This past Sunday, we read about human wickedness being so great during the time of Noah that people thought and imagined evil continually. All this wickedness and evil was essentially a disintegration and uncreation of the form and order of God’s good creation. In Genesis one, God saw that everything was very good. Now, in Genesis six, He sees that everything is very wicked. Thus, this uncreation is a return to the disorder and formlessness of before the six days of creation. This is what sin always is. Because sin is an intentional refusal to live in the form and order that God has given to life, it inevitably results in the uncreation of this form and order. Just think how this is manifested in the sexual and gender ideologies of today as well as in your own life. Since all this wickedness is a return to the disorder and formlessness of before the six days of creation, when God comes in judgment He simply completes the uncreation of creation that the wickedness had resulted in. He tears the protective canopy, opening windows in it, and has rain come down for forty days and forty nights. He tears the dry land and has the fountains of the deep burst forth for forty days and forty nights. As a result, creation returns to the formless, watery mass from before the six days of creation. At least, this is all that is seen for 150 days. God completes the uncreation that all the sin and had caused. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to open your eyes to the uncreation of creation that sin causes in your own life and pray for healing. 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....

Daily devotional

March 10 – God’s covenant with Noah (2)

“But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you.” – Genesis 6:18  Scripture reading: Genesis 6:9-21  Covenants between God and His people regulate the relationship He has with them and often deal with a problem that causes uncertainty in the relationship. There are two problems that occasion God’s covenant with Noah. First, there is the problem whether Noah and his family and the animals in the ark will really survive the waters of the flood. In order to deal with this problem and the uncertainty that it causes, God makes a covenant with Noah. Just like a groom pledges his commitment to his bride in a marriage covenant, so God pledges His commitment to Noah in the covenant He makes with him. Noah, his family and the handpicked animals will survive the waters of the flood. Second, there is the problem of God’s goal for His creation. God is on a mission for His glory to make all things new in a world where His people and His world will once again dwell in His loving presence and be people and places where heaven and earth meet. Now that God has decided to destroy humanity and His creation with the waters of the flood, except for Noah, his family and the animals in the ark, will He still be able to achieve the goal of His creation? The answer is Yes! Because God’s covenant with Noah is His covenant with him, God will take care that His commitment to the goal of His creation will be fulfilled. This commitment will be confirmed and established! Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father that His commitment to a new heaven and new earth, where we will live in the fullness of His loving presence, is firm and sure. 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....

Daily devotional

March 9 – God’s covenant with Noah (1)

“But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you.” – Genesis 6:18 Scripture reading: Genesis 6:9-21  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, honor 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 the relationship. After the fall into sin, all sorts of uncertainty crept into relationships. And so, 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? Well, this is necessary because of the fall into sin. Because of the fall into sin, there often is 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 Noah. Suggestions for prayer When you feel uncertainty in your relationship with your heavenly Father, ask Him to take this away by having you focus on His commitment to you, signed and sealed with your baptism, a promise 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....

Daily devotional

March 8 – God’s decision to destroy humanity and Creation

“So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” – Genesis 6:7 Scripture reading: Genesis 6:1-8 Today is Sunday. A day on which we remember that the Lord Jesus Christ successfully dealt with the problem of sin, death and the devil with His death on the cross, and ushered in the new creation which had been the goal of God’s first creation: a creation where we cannot sin, cannot die, where there is no devil, and where we bask directly in the light of the glorious, loving presence of God. Sunday is also a day on which we are encouraged to bear witness to the new creation that we are in Christ, by resting from our evil ways and letting the Lord work in us through His Spirit. In doing so we begin the eternal Sabbath in this life. Our Scripture reading is also about evil works. Human wickedness was so great during the time of Noah that people thought and imagined evil continually from morning to night. This evil was so bad that God was sorry that He had made the human race and decided He would blot it out from the face of the earth, including the birds in the air and the animals on the ground; with the exception of Noah and his family, for Noah was a righteous man who walked with God and found favour in God’s eyes. In order to keep Noah and his family alive, as well as at least one pair of every sort of animal, God commands Noah to build an ark to house him and his family and the animals. Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father for this day of rest He gave you. Ask Him to enable you to be open to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life so that you can learn to rest from your evil works and begin in this life the eternal Sabbath. 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....

Daily devotional

March 7 – Finding rest in the Lord Jesus Christ

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28 Scripture reading: Hebrews 3:7-19; 4:11  Wednesday, we noticed that God commanded Adam and Eve to enter the fullness of God’s Sabbath rest by extending the borders of the Garden of Eden over the whole earth through having an extended family that would spread the glorious presence of God. Moreover, they were to do this by subduing the earth and having dominion over it. Yesterday, we noticed that Adam and Eve failed in fulfilling this task through their lack of obedience. What happened to Adam and Eve, happened time and again throughout history. For instance, the people of Israel were also called to be people and places where heaven and earth meet, reflecting God’s glorious presence to one another and the nations around them. However, they also failed to fulfill their task. Accordingly, many of the desert generation did not enter into the rest of the Promised Land and those who did enter, did not enter into the fullness of God’s promised rest that this land foreshadowed. The Hebrew Christians were running the risk of making the same mistake. Accordingly, they are urged to strive to enter into the fullness of this rest. They and we do this by coming to Jesus and being yoked or joined to Him through faith. When we do, He will not only reproduce His own Sabbath rest in our lives, enabling us to be people where heaven and earth meet, but He also safely leads us to the fullness of this Sabbath rest on the new earth. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to daily enable you to go to the Lord Jesus Christ through faith and experience the rest He gives. 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....

Daily devotional

March 6 – The Sunday as a sign of the goal of God’s creation

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17  Scripture reading: Romans 6:1-11 Even though God had blessed Adam and Eve for their task of extending the glorious presence of God over the whole earth, Adam and Eve failed in fulfilling this task. As a result, the chaos and disorder that God had subdued with His six days of creation, slowly but surely, began to return in God’s good and harmonious creation. We know this chaos as sin, death and the devil. In order for God to fulfill the goal of His creation, He has to deal with this threefold problem of sin, death and the devil. He does so by sending into this broken world, His Son, Who paid the penalty of sin, broke the power of sin, cleansed the pollution of sin, destroyed the partition caused by sin, and defeated death and the devil. When the Lord Jesus arose from the dead on the first day of the week, He demonstrated that He had successfully dealt with the problem of sin, death and the devil by ushering in the new creation that had always been the goal of God’s first creation. When we are united to Christ through faith, we experience the first fruits of this glorious new creation through the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Sunday, the first day of the week, is a weekly sign or reminder of our being a new creation in Christ and a promise that one day we will enter into the fullness of the rest of this new creation.  Suggestions for prayer Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you in how you can bear witness to those around you that you are a new creation in Christ. 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....

Daily devotional

March 5 – The Sabbath day as a sign of the goal of God’s Creation

“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: Exodus 31:12-17 Before God commanded Adam and Eve to extend the glorious presence of God over the whole earth, God blessed them for this task. When God blesses people for a certain task, this blessing is meant to make them fruitful for their task. After God had created for six days, He rested on the seventh day. In addition, He blessed the seventh day and made it holy. If in Genesis 1, blessing people for their task means making them fruitful in fulfilling their task, then blessing a day in Genesis 2, would mean making this day fruitful for the fulfilling of its task. Thus, it should not surprise us that God made the seventh day holy, i.e. He set it apart and made it a special day for the fulfillment of the purpose for which He had blessed it. From what we have seen so far, we can conclude that right from the beginning the seventh day was a reminder for Adam and Eve and their posterity of the goal of creation: to increasingly enter into the fullness of God’s Sabbath rest by extending the glorious presence of God throughout the whole earth through being people where heaven and earth meet. Accordingly, it should not surprise us that when God enters into a covenant with Israel, the seventh day officially becomes a sign of this goal of creation; a weekly reminder to enter into the fullness of God’s Sabbath rest as well as a promise that one day this fullness will descend from heaven on a new earth. Suggestions for prayer Read the second part of Answer 103 of the Heidelberg Catechism and pray this back to your heavenly Father. 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....

Daily devotional

March 4 – Entering God’s rest

“And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” – Genesis 1:26-28  Scripture reading: Genesis 1:26-28  So far we have seen that God created for His glory. This not only means that human beings and creation were to praise God, but also that they would reflect the life-giving, light-giving and loving presence of God. We further saw that there is a relationship between God creating for His glory and God resting on the seventh day. Because the seventh day was meant to last forever, this day is the goal of God’s creation. In other words, having humanity and creation praise God and reflect His glorious presence involves increasingly entering into the fullness of God’s rest, enjoying God’s beautiful and harmonious creation, and celebrating the rest and peace that God’s creation radiates. Genesis one shows us what this would look like for Adam and Eve. God made them in His image, i.e. as His representatives who would reflect and embody His presence as they cultivated and maintained the Garden of Eden. Moreover, God blessed them, commanding them to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it. This meant that Adam and Eve were to extend the borders of the Garden of Eden over the whole earth by having children and grandchildren and a whole extended family that would spread the glorious presence of God. In doing so, humanity and creation would increasingly enter into the fullness of God’s Sabbath rest, reaching God’s goal of creation through their faithful living in God’s loving presence and reflecting this loving presence through their obedience of faith. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to enable you to spread the life of heaven by being a person where heaven and earth meet. 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....

Daily devotional

March 3 – God’s glory and God’s rest

“And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.” – Genesis 2:2 Scripture reading: Hebrews 4:1-11 In Genesis one, we read about God bringing form in formlessness by subduing chaos and disorder. The first three days He forms light, sky, land and vegetation. Then for three days, He fills the forms: light-bearers for the day and night, birds and fish in the sky and water, and animals and people on the land. In the beginning of Genesis two, we read about God resting on the seventh day. First, God rests from His work of creating, but it also means that He celebrates the rest and peace His creation radiates. Truly, everything that He had made is very good! Everyone and everything reflected the loving presence of God and His glory. This harmonious creation was meant to last forever. We see that in a little detail that is missing in our Scripture reading. After each of the six days of creating, we read that there was an evening and a morning. However, with the seventh day, we do not read this. This does not mean that the seventh day did not have an evening and a morning. However, by not mentioning this, Moses draws attention to the fact that the harmony and rest of God’s good creation was meant to last forever. Not in the beginning stage as we saw yesterday, but in the full-grown, mature state of the new heaven and the new earth. This is the Sabbath rest that remains for the people of God on which the author of Hebrews speaks (Hebrews 4:9). Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father for your hope of glory: entering into the fullness of the joyful rest and peace of God’s loving presence. 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....

Daily devotional

March 2 – God created for His glory

“And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” – Revelation 21:23  Scripture reading: Revelation 21:9-22 Why did God create the world? God created for His glory so that human beings and creation would praise Him. However, the glory of God also means His life-giving, light-giving, and loving presence. Thus, God not only created the world so that human beings and creation would praise Him, but also so that human beings and creation would live in His loving presence and reflect this by participating in His life, light and love. However, when we look at the end of Scripture, we see 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. In other words, there is room for growth to the perfection and fullness of living in God’s life-giving, light-giving and loving presence. You see this, for instance, in the fact that in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, there were sun, moon and stars. But in the end, with the new heaven and the new earth, there will be no sun, moon, or stars, for creation and humanity will bask directly in the light of the glory of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. And there is even more. While Adam and Eve could sin and die in the beginning, in the end, God’s new humanity will not be able to sin and die. We will be incorruptible and immortal just like God. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to enable you to live not only so that people will praise Him, but also so that you reflect His life-giving, light-giving and loving presence. 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....

Daily devotional

March 1 – Introduction to God’s mission for His glory

This month’s meditations will be about God’s mission for His glory. God created the world for His glory, that humanity and creation would reflect His life-giving, light-giving, and loving presence 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 once again abide in His loving presence and be people and places where heaven and earth meet (Genesis 3:15). However, from the end of Scripture, we know that 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. In other words, right from the beginning of God’s good creation there was room for growth to reach the perfection and fullness of living in God’s life-giving, light-giving, and loving presence. The biblical covenants made or cut in Scripture are designed with a view to advancing and guaranteeing 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. Covenants often deal with a problem that causes uncertainty in this relationship. A new covenant often updates an earlier one to the new situation that the new covenant is facing. Because of space restrictions, these mediations only focus on the biblical covenants mentioned in the book of Genesis. That’s why I have entitled these meditations: God’s Mission for His Glory and His Covenants with Noah, Creation, and Abraham. I look forward to continuing this series some time in the future and deal with God’s mission for His glory and His covenants with Israel, His covenant with David and the promise of a new covenant. But that will have to wait for some other time. I enjoyed writing these meditations. I was edified in doing so. I hope and pray that you will be too. **** “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell 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. As such, they participated in His life, light and love and reflected this to one another and throughout the Garden. This made Adam and Eve people where heaven and earth meet. And it made the Garden of Eden a place where heaven and earth meet. As such, Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden reflected the glory of God, 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 as they once used to. Moreover, they no longer lived in a place, nor were they people where heaven and earth met, 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. All things would be made new, where 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. What a beautiful and encouraging mission this is! 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....

Daily devotional

Friday August 31 - Wisely making the best use of the time

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. - Colossians 4:5 Scripture reading: Mark 9:49-50; Colossians 4:5-6 To be watchful for the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ, we need to make the best use of the time God gives us. The Greek has two words for time, one referring to every second, minute and hour, the other to special occasions. Here Paul uses the latter: special moments where God gives us an open door for the proclamation of the gospel either in word or deed. When that happens, we wisely make use of this opportunity. We buy it up, just like we buy up a bargain. It’s important to buy up these opportunities because the reason God gives us time is that He is patient, not wanting any to perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9). This is the redemptive story that is unfolding. When we are joined to the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the awesome privilege of participating in this redemptive drama, buying up the opportunities God gives us to bear witness to the Lord Jesus Christ and insisting that all need to be ready for His appearance. Being watchful for the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ will also entail that our speech be seasoned with salt. When it is, we are to remember that because our lives are a sacrifice to God, so also is our speech. Accordingly, we do our best to listen well to outsiders and speak graciously. When we do, it will have the taste of a sacrifice for God and He may be pleased to use it to prepare others for the appearance of His Son. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to enable you to behave wisely towards outsiders, making the best use of the time and paying careful attention to your speech.  This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Thursday August 30 - Praying for the appearance of the Lord Jesus

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. – Colossians 4:2 Scripture reading: Colossians 4:2-4 How watchful are you for the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you praying for His appearance? Are you praying for an open door for the gospel? All of history is heading for the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now is the time of repentance for everyone. To be watchful for the Lord Jesus Christ, we need to persevere in prayer for His appearance, for prayer is a spiritual discipline, meant to sanctify us and keep our lives oriented towards why we are here and where we are going. Thus, the more we pray for the appearance of the Lord Jesus, the more being ready for His appearance will be on our minds. When we pray with thankfulness that our lives are hidden with Christ in the glory of the Father, we will pray more for the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ, for we will then appear in glory with Him (Col. 3:3-4). To be watchful for the Lord Jesus Christ, we also need to pray for an open door for the proclamation of the Word. God called Paul to proclaim that Christ was also working among the Gentiles, including them into His body, the church, on the basis of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul asks the Colossians to pray for an open door for the proclamation of this mystery of Christ. Because we are concerned not only about our own salvation, but also about the salvation of others, we need to daily pray for an open door for the proclamation of the mystery of Christ. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to enable you to persevere in praying for the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as an open door for the gospel. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Wednesday August 29 - Employers and employees

Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters . . . Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. - Colossians 3:22, Colossians 4:1 Scripture reading: Colossians 3:22-4:1 What does having put off the old self and being renewed look like for Christian masters and bondservants, or employers and employees? What implications does Christ being all and in all have for them as members of the body of Christ? Bondservants are to submit to the authority of their earthly masters in everything, unless, of course, they are asked to do something against God’s will. They are to do so with sincerity of heart, as if they were actually doing their work for the Lord Jesus Christ, keeping in mind that He will give them a salary that is of far more value than any earthly salary. Moreover, if the master has wronged him, he will be repaid by God on the Day of Judgment and if the bondservant has done wrong, he too will be repaid for there is no preferential treatment with God. Masters who have put off their old self and are being renewed in knowledge after the image of God are to treat their bondservants justly, giving them what they are entitled to, with the same rights as if they were not bondservants. Slavery, through debt, in the Old Testament could last no longer than six years. For the New Testament congregation this meant that slavery could not go on forever. Furthermore, masters are to remember that as they demanded obedience from their bondservants so their heavenly master demanded obedience from them. In other words, they are to give them the wages and social/political equality they are entitled to. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father that all employers and employees would be given the grace to serve each other as if they were serving the Lord Jesus Christ. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Tuesday August 28 - Parents and children

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. - Colossians 3:20-21 Scripture reading: Proverbs 6:20-23 What does having put off the old self and being renewed after the image of God look like for fathers and children? What implications do Christ being all and in all have for them as members of the body of Christ? Children are to obey their parents, accept their authority, listen to them and do what they are asked to do in everything. They are always to obey, unless what they are being asked to do is against God’s Word. This obedience should be natural for children because without their parents they would not exist. Moreover, parents daily provide them with the necessities of life. But while obedience to parents should be natural for children, they should also obey because God has invested authority in their parents. They are one of God’s primary means to teach them how to be wise in life, beginning with the fear of the LORD. When children obey their parents, this is pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ because this is what having put off your old self and being renewed in knowledge after the image of God looks like in your life. Fathers (and mothers) are not to provoke their children by demanding too much of them. They are called to be patient with them, bear with them and forgive them. When parents fail to do this, their children run the risk of becoming resentful and angry. The result can be that children give up on obeying their parents because their spirits are broken. No matter how hard they try, it is never good enough. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father that all parents and children would be given the grace to please the Lord Jesus Christ. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Monday August 27 - Husbands and wives

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. - Colossians 3:18-19 Scripture reading: Ephesians 5:21-33; Colossians 3:15, 17 Members of the body of Christ have put off the old self with its practices and put on the new self that is being renewed after the image of its Creator. Their commitment to Christ is now all that matters since it is no longer they who live, but Christ Jesus who lives in them. What does this look like in Christian marriages? The wife will acknowledge the authority of her husband and submit to him, not because she is inferior, but because God has instituted a hierarchy where the wife follows her husband, as Paul writes: “For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives should be subject to their husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:23-24). A wife who has put on the Lord Jesus Christ and lives in Him will accept her subordinate place in this hierarchy as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, who have put on the Lord Jesus Christ, will love their wives. They will care for the wellbeing of their wives in a sacrificial manner like Christ did this for His body, His church. They will not become bitter and angry with their wives because they are not everything they had hoped they would be. Instead, they will let the peace of Christ rule their hearts (Col. 3:15) and give thanks to God the Father for all the good they have received in their wives (Col. 3:17). Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father that all husbands and wives would be given the grace to live as is fitting in the Lord. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Sunday August 26 - Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly

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. - Colossians 3:16 Scripture reading: Ephesians 4:15-16 Does the Word of Christ dwell in you and among your congregation? In the light of verse 16, take a test. First, what place does reading, meditating and studying the Bible have in your life and the life of the congregation? The more we do this, the more the Word will dwell in every part of our being, our thoughts, feelings and desires, being a living force in our lives, encouraging us to daily die with Christ and rise with Him to a new life so that He is all and in all. The second test is: what place does teaching and admonishing one another with the Word have in your marriage, family and congregation? By nature, we love ourselves more than our neighbour. That’s why we need to teach and admonish one another with the Word and others need to do this to us so that our love can be conformed to the image of Christ. This is not easy and needs to be done with wisdom. When we do this, the Word of Christ will dwell in us and among us and the body of Christ will build itself up in love (Ephesians 4:16). The third test is: what place does singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness have in your life and the life of the congregation? Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ involves feelings and desires. Music influences our feelings and desires. The more we sing Christian songs and listen to them, the more the Word of Christ will dwell in our hearts. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to enable you to make a good use of the means of grace He has given you to have the Word of Christ dwell in you richly. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Saturday August 25 - Love that binds together in perfect harmony

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. - Colossians 3:14 Scripture reading: John 13:34-35 The Lord Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment. He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” When He said that the Law and the Prophets depend upon the twofold commandment of love, the Lord Jesus meant that the Christian life was about learning how to love God and your neighbor. Before He ascended into heaven, He repeated this commandment and added that love for each other would be the mark of identification of the Christian church. Paul writes that love binds all things together in perfect harmony in a twofold way. First, love binds all the virtues he had just listed together. Compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forbearance and forgiveness are all manifestations of love. In his letter to the Galatians, he wrote that the fruit of the Spirit is love and then follow eight manifestations of love: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Love binds all its different manifestations together in perfect harmony. But love not only binds its different manifestations together, it also binds the congregation together in perfect harmony. Without love, the congregation falls apart. Without love, the world will not recognize the church as the body of Christ, the new man! With love, all men will know that we are disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord Jesus to clothe you with Himself so that His love shines in and through you. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Friday August 24 - Wearing the clothing that fits our new self

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience ... – Colossians 3:12-13   Scripture reading: Philippians 2:1-5 Members of the body of Christ, the church, have put off the old self with its practices and put on the new self that is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator. Racial, religious, cultural and social barriers no longer separate them because Christ is all and in all. Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ is like putting on new clothing so that Christ is all around us and can be recognized in and through us. When we put on the Lord Jesus Christ, we become people with compassionate hearts like the Good Samaritan who saw a person in need, was moved with compassion and did something. We become kind and generous like God has been kind and generous towards us. We become humble, considering others better than ourselves and their interests more important than ours. We become meek and gentle, considerate, willing to give up our rights and willing to be injured rather than asserting ourselves and injuring others. We become patient in the face of wrongdoing and irritating behaviour, not lashing out in anger, but patiently enduring, like God. We bear with one another, persevering in the relationship when someone does not live up to our expectations. If someone offends us, we take the initiative and forgive like God did with us. This is why God chose us, set us apart, loved us and gave us new clothing in the Lord Jesus Christ. He did this so that we would spread the life of Eden and win others for the Lord Jesus Christ and this life in Him and His church. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord Jesus to clothe you with Himself so that His compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience shine in and through you. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Thursday August 23 - Christ is all and in all

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. - Colossians 3:11 Scripture reading: Ephesians 2:11-22 Adam, created in the image of God, was called to spread the life of Eden throughout the world and fill it with perfect offspring. For this, God filled him with knowledge of His will in spiritual wisdom and understanding. Adam, however, failed to use it, and the life of Eden was not spread throughout the world and it was not filled with perfect offspring. The Lord Jesus Christ is the new Adam created in the image of God (Col. 1:16). He succeeded where the first Adam failed because He did use the knowledge of His Father’s will with spiritual wisdom and understanding. He will one day spread the life of Eden throughout a new earth and fill it with perfect offspring. He begins to do this today by gathering a new man, a church, a body for Himself through His Word and Spirit. When people put Him on, through faith, they are joined to Him and become members of His body. They increasingly die to life in the old Adam, the old man, and increasingly arise to new life in the new man, the Lord Jesus Christ, filled with knowledge of God’s will with spiritual wisdom and understanding. In this new man, His body, His church, all barriers that once divided people from one another — racial, religious, cultural and social — are abolished. Sharing a common allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ is all that matters because He indwells all members of His body. This is how the church spreads the life of Eden and fills the world with Christ-like offspring. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to fill you with all knowledge of His will, with all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that you and your church can spread the life of Eden in your environment This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Wednesday August 22 - Put to death what is earthly in you

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. - Colossians 3:5 Scripture reading: Romans 13:11-14; Colossians 3:5-11 How are you dealing with what is earthly in you: your sinful thoughts, your greed, your anger, your gossip and slander? Some people were trying to influence the members of the church in Colossae to deal with what was earthly in them by way of self-made religion, asceticism and severe treatment of the body: do not handle, do not taste, do not touch. While this had the appearance of wisdom, it ultimately was of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. This power only lies in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is now hidden in the glory of the Father (Col. 3:3). Because we participated in the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus and are joined to Him, by faith, through the bond of the Holy Spirit, our life is also hidden with the Lord Jesus Christ in the glory of the Father. We should not set our minds on things that are on the earth – self-made religion that has the appearance of wisdom – but on things that are above. When, by the grace of God, we do, we will experience that having died to what is sinful and having arisen to what is holy will increasingly begin to manifest itself in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. How do we deal with what is earthly in us? By putting on Christ, through faith, every day again and living, remaining and maturing in Him. In this way, He will do in us what He has done for us (Romans 13:14). Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to enable you to experience the mystery of dying to sin as you put on Christ through faith and live in Him. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Tuesday August 21 - Seeking the things that are above

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. - Colossians 3:1 Scripture reading: Colossians 2:16-3:4 As Christians, we are on a journey to the new heaven and earth. On this journey, we all long for certainty. Will we reach our destination? Will we be provided for on our journey? What is the road that leads to our destination? Will it be safe? There is nothing wrong in looking for certainty because we are broken people who travel in a broken world. Moreover, as members of the body of Christ, we are engaged in a cosmic spiritual warfare where demonic powers are doing their utmost to hinder us from reaching our destination. While there is nothing wrong in looking for certainty on our journey, it is wrong to look for it in what is visible on this earth because the form of this world is passing away (1 Corinthians 7:31) and thus does not offer us the lasting support we desire. The Colossians were also tempted to seek their security in things that were visible and transient, such as philosophy and empty deceit (Col. 2:8) and regulations, such as do not handle, do not taste, do not touch, according to human teachings (Col. 2:21-22). Instead, we should seek our security in Christ with Whom our life is hidden in the glory of the Father. This will not be easy because this security is hidden and thus will require the certainty of faith. But because it is faith that joins us to our risen and ascended Saviour with Whom we are hidden in the glory of the Father, it is the only lasting security we need. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to help you seek and experience that your life is secure in Christ with Whom you are hidden in the glory of the Father. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Monday August 20 - Hidden with Christ in God

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. - Colossians 3:3 Scripture reading: Colossians 3:1-4 When the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, He withdrew from three-dimensional reality and ascended into another dimension of God’s created reality. The disciples did not see Him enter heaven, for the cloud of God’s glory took Him out of sight. Since His ascension, He is hidden in the glory of His Father and glorified with Him. However, the Lord Jesus Christ is not only hidden in the glory of the Father, Christians are also hidden with Him. Paul wrote that we were buried with Christ in baptism and also raised with Him (Col. 2:12). He asked that if we died with Christ, why do we submit to regulations competing with His place in our lives (Col. 2:20). Now, he writes that our life is hidden with Christ in God and will appear with Him in glory (Col. 3:3-4). The expressions “in Christ” and “with Christ” show that we participate in the life and death of the Lord Jesus Christ. We participate in what He did in the past, what He is doing in the present and what He will do in the future. We died and arose with Him, we ascended with Him in glory and we will appear with Him in glory. This participation with Christ is a hidden reality. The source of our life is hidden, is not visible to others, or to ourselves. We need to believe this. Moreover, our life being hidden with Christ in the Father also makes our life safe and untouchable. It is eternally secure. Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father that your life is hidden with Christ in the glory of the Father. Ask Him to help you believe this and be encouraged by it. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Sunday August 19 - Guard your freedom in Christ

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations? - Colossians 2:20 Scripture reading: Colossians 2:16-23 Most like the song In Christ Alone. “In Christ alone my hope is found He is my light, my strength, my song. This Cornerstone, this solid ground... This is the power of Christ in me.” How firm is your confession of Christ alone in your life? Do you allow yourself to be judged by others as if Christ is not sufficient for you? Do you judge others as if Christ is not sufficient for them? You want them, or others want you to believe in Christ plus some regulation. Do you allow yourself to be disqualified by others as if Christ is not sufficient for you? Do you disqualify others as if Christ is not sufficient for them? You want them, or others want you to believe in some rule in addition to Christ. This is happening to the Colossians. Others were judging them in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival, a new moon or a Sabbath. Others were disqualifying them, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, and going on about visions. They were forgetting that because they had died with Christ to these regulations, they should no longer submit to them. In doing so, they were not living in the freedom in which Christ had placed them. When we are judged or disqualified by others or when we judge and disqualify others because we want them to submit to Christ plus some regulation, we are also not living in the freedom Christ has placed us or allowing others to live in this freedom. Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father for the freedom you have in Christ and live in this freedom through faith, allowing others to do the same. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Saturday August 18 - Disarming the rulers and authorities

He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. - Colossians 2:15 Scripture reading: Colossians 2:13-15 Baptism not only reminds us of our burial and resurrection with the Lord Jesus Christ, it also reminds us that God, with the Flood, drowned the whole known world except Noah and his family, and with the waters of the Red Sea, drowned the obstinate Pharaoh and his army. Baptism was signified by these two events showing us that it is both a violent and a gracious event; violent because it shows us we need to die to our old nature because we are conceived and born in sin and by nature children of wrath and cannot enter the kingdom of heaven unless we die, like the people of the Flood and Pharaoh with his army, and are born again. It is a gracious event because it shows that, just like God saved Noah and his family and led Israel through the Red Sea, so our old nature has been buried with Christ and raised to newness of life in Him. Paul reminds the Colossians of the violence and grace in their baptism, stating that it not only is a sign and seal of their having died and risen with Christ, but also a sign and seal of God having disarmed the rulers and authorities by triumphing over them in Christ. With His death on the cross, He defeated all earthly and demonic powers that want to hold us captive and triumphed over them as His resurrection and ascension demonstrated. Baptism is a powerful illustration that we are included in this violent and gracious victory. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to help you remember that your baptism is an illustration that you have been freed in Christ from enslaving powers. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Friday August 17 - Raised with Christ in baptism

.... in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. - Colossians 2:12b Scripture reading: Romans 6:1-11 The Form for the Baptism of Infants explains being baptized into the name of God the Son as follows: “The Son seals unto us that He washes us in His blood from all our sins, incorporating us into the fellowship of His death and resurrection, so that we are freed from our sins and accounted righteous before God.” Those who are baptized into the name of the Son have the washing of their sins and the daily renewing of their lives in Christ. But what we have in Christ needs to be imparted to us through the Holy Spirit as we take ownership of our baptism. Therefore, at the close of each baptism of infants, we pray that God would govern these children with His Holy Spirit so that they may be nurtured in the Christian faith. When, by the grace of God, this happens, children are not only in Christ, but Christ is also in them, so they can say it is no longer they who live, but Christ Jesus who lives in them (Galatians 2:20). When unbelievers become Christians and are baptized, being in Christ and having Christ often occur at the same time. For their children who are baptized, however, there is almost always a time gap between the two. Sometimes, —Christ being in them—never happens. For the Colossians, it did and Paul describes this miracle of grace as a being raised with Christ. The power of God that raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead also spiritually raised them from the dead and now lives in them. Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father that the risen Christ also lives in you. If not, ask for this miracle of grace to take place. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Thursday August 16 - Buried with Christ in baptism

In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism... – Colossians 2:11-12a Scripture reading: Exodus 28:6-21 Baptism is an identity marker reminding us we are not our own, but belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, not only because we are baptized in His name, but also because we were buried with Him in baptism. To understand our being in Christ, it is helpful to remind ourselves of Old Testament Israel being in the high priest. On each of his shoulders he had a stone engraved with the names of six of the tribes of Israel. In the breast piece of judgment, he had four rows of three stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Thus, when he was wearing his official robes, Israel went with him, so to speak, because as their representative he acted for them and as their substitute he acted in their place. The Lord Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of the Old Testament high priest. He functioned as the representative and substitute of New Testament Israel, the church, His body. When He died, the members of His body died with him. Baptism is a sign and seal of our having died and been buried with Christ. Because, in the Old Testament, circumcision made with hands was an identity marker that members of the church had been cut off from the life of the flesh in the world—the old order—and had been placed in the church—the new order. Paul calls our being buried with Christ, in baptism, the circumcision of Christ, made without hands. It is a sign and seal that, in Christ, we have died to the life of the flesh in the world. Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father that in Christ you have died to the life of the flesh in the world and have been placed in the new order of life in the church. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Wednesday August 15 - Baptism as an identity marker

.... having been buried with him in baptism ... - Colossians 2:12a Scripture reading: Colossians 2:11-12 Most of us have a birthday calendar to remind us to congratulate family members and friends with their birthdays. Rightfully so, for birthdays are wonderful reminders of where we came from, why we are here and where we are going. Most, probably do not have a baptismal day calendar. In fact, most, probably do not remember the date. While we think it is important that we were baptized, that fact does not play as great a role in our spiritual formation as it ought to. That is odd, because God gives Himself to us through His Word and sacraments. Both baptism and the Lord’s Supper are signs and seals of His grace towards us and were given for the strengthening of our faith. So, why do we not use the sacrament of our baptism more for the strengthening of our faith? This question presses more when we consider that baptism is an identity marker. Identity markers tell us something about who we are: for instance, our race, our ethnicity, our language, and our gender. Baptism tells us something about who we are and to Whom we belong. Knowing this is important for young people when they grow up. It is also very important for people in our society, many of whom have difficulty finding a stable self-identity. Baptism is helpful in this regard. It reminds us that we are not our own, but belong to the Lord Jesus Christ because we are baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to regularly remind you of the significance of your baptism. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Tuesday August 14 - Filled with the fullness of God

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. - Colossians 2:9-10 Scripture reading: Colossians 2:8-10 If you google “the grass is greener on the other side,” you will be confronted with an image of a cow, kneeling to eat grass on the other side of a barbed wire fence. It has lots of grass in its own field, but it thinks the grass on the other side of the fence is better. What is true for a cow is also true for humans. We too often think the grass is greener on the other side because we are not satisfied with what God has given us. Belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ with body and soul, in life and in death, sometimes is not enough for us. We long to belong to things or people in addition to the Lord Jesus Christ. Earlier we saw that we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. These cosmic demons deceive us into not being satisfied with what we have in the Lord Jesus Christ and tempt us into seeking greener grass outside of Him. Paul warns the Colossians not to allow themselves to be taken captive by these demons who do their deceptive work through so-called human wisdom and false teachings. They should not do this because in Christ the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily and they have been filled in Him. Because Christ is the image of the invisible God, all the fullness of God dwells in Him. Thus, we have all that we need by being in Him, through faith. Suggestions for prayer When you think that the grass is greener on the other side, ask God to make you content and satisfied by being in Christ and having Christ in you. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Monday August 13 - Maturing in Christ

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. - Colossians 2:6-7 Scripture Reading: Psalm 1 If you ask a fish what it means to swim in water, it would say it means living and moving and having its being in water, surrendering and submitting to the laws of water and finding its nourishment there, because it was created for this. Human beings are created to live and move and have their being in Christ, surrendering and submitting to the laws of Christ and finding their nourishment in Him, for they were created for this. When human beings have received the Lord Jesus Christ by committing their lives to Him, they ought to thankfully walk in Him, i.e. live and move and have their being in Him, through faith. In doing so, they will mature in Christ. This is what the psalmist writes in Psalm 1 about living and moving and having your being in the Word of God. The more we make the Scriptures the element of our lives, like a fish makes water the element of its life, the more God will use the Scriptures to nourish and strengthen us, because these Scriptures will unite us more and more to the Lord Jesus Christ, the essence of the Scriptures. We will be firmly rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ and established in the faith as we increasingly mature in Him. We will be like those trees planted by streams of water that yield their fruit in their season, and whose leaves do not wither. They prosper in all that they do. How are you maturing in the Lord Jesus Christ? Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to enable you to mature in Christ by living and moving and having your being in Him through faith. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Sunday August 12 - Maturity in Christ and spiritual warfare

... God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. - Colossians 2:3 Scripture reading: Ephesians 6:10-13; Colossians 2:1-5 Members of the body of Christ are in a spiritual warfare in which the devil does his utmost to undermine the work of the Lord Jesus Christ in bringing us to maturity in Him. Because Paul is aware of this, he toils with all his energy that God powerfully works within him to present everyone mature in Christ. That’s why he writes to the Colossians that no one would delude them with arguments that would draw their attention away from maturing in the Lord Jesus Christ to teachings that undermine the centrality of their union with Christ, through faith. That’s why he shares with them how great a struggle he has for them and the church in Laodicea to have their hearts reach the riches of full assurance of understanding of God's mystery, which is Christ, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. When Paul had written about Christ being the Mediator of creation, he had written that this included that Christ holds all things together (1:17). When it concerns being the Mediator of re-creation, this is also true. As the Head of the church, He holds the church and its members together. He does so not only because He is the Son of God, but also because in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Thus, in our spiritual warfare, we need to go to Him and put Him on, through faith, so that we are able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord Jesus Christ to give you all the wisdom and understanding you need for your spiritual warfare. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Saturday August 11 - Maturity in Christ

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. - Colossians 1:29 Scripture reading: Ephesians 4:11-16 Why do ministers preach and visit the members of the congregation? Why do elders make pastoral visits? Why do you busy yourself with the Scriptures? Why are you a member of the body of Christ? According to our Scripture reading, ministry in the church is about attaining the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, as we grow up into Him. That is why the Lord Jesus is gathering, defending and preserving His church. That is why He gives the church pastors, elders, and deacons. That is why He wants you to be an active and living member of His body: maturing in Christ and helping others mature in Christ. Because this is what being church is about, Paul toils and teaches with all his energy that God powerfully works within him to present everyone mature in Christ. Paul had written that the goal of God reconciling His people to Himself was to present them to Himself as holy, blameless and irreproachable living sacrifices for approval on the Day of Judgment (Col. 1:22). Working to present everyone mature in Christ is saying the same thing in regard to their maturity in Christ. This is what Paul strives for as he writes elsewhere that he has been crucified with Christ and it is no longer he who lives, but Christ who lives in him (Galatians 2:20). This is also what he strives for everyone else as he writes that he is in anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in the members of the congregation (Galatians 4:19). Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to help you keep the goal of maturity in Christ foremost in your mind when it concerns being a member of the church. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Friday August 10 - The mystery: Christ in us, the hope of glory

... the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. - Colossians 1:26 Scripture reading: Colossians 1:24-29 Paul suffered for the sake of Christ because God called him to make the Word of God fully known, especially to the Gentiles. He refers to this Word of God as the mystery hidden for ages, but now revealed to His saints. After Adam and Eve’s fall into sin, God promised that He would send a Messiah Who would defeat evil at its source, rescuing people from sin and transforming them into His image (Genesis 3:15). Moreover, He also promised that the Gentiles would be included in this work of rescue from sin and transformation into His image (Genesis 12:3). Israel knew this good news about the Messiah, but it had not been revealed to the Gentiles. Because they did not know this good news, Paul refers to it as a mystery. When Paul began to preach about the Messiah, the Gentiles became aware of the mystery that Christ was also working in them with the powers of rescue from sin and transformation into God’s image. They became aware that they are included in the body of the Messiah, the church, on the same basis as the Jews: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. What makes this magnificent is that it includes the hope of glory. One day, both Jews and Gentiles who have put on Christ through faith and led a life worthy of being in Him because it is no longer they who live, but Christ who lives in them, will be glorified with the Messiah and rule a new earth with Him. Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father that He has made you a member of the church and is working in you with the powers of rescue from sin and transformation into His image.  This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Thursday August 9 - Rejoicing in your suffering for Christ

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. - Colossians 1:24 Scripture reading: Psalm 2 Living a life worthy of being in Christ costs Paul a lot of suffering. Yet, that he rejoices in this should not surprise us for earlier in his letter he prayed that the Father of the Lord Jesus would strengthen the Colossians with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy (1:11). What he prayed for them, he had experienced and was still experiencing himself! God was strengthening Paul in his sufferings for the sake of Christ by reminding him that in his sufferings he was filling up what was lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body. Now, only Christ could and did bear this suffering. As a result, there is nothing lacking in this suffering for our sin. But there is another kind of suffering the Lord Jesus endured while on earth. Psalm 2 speaks about the nations raging, the peoples plotting in vain and the kings of the earth rebelling and the rulers taking counsel together against the LORD and His anointed. As the Anointed of the LORD, Christ experienced the affliction of this opposition. While Christ is in heaven, He continues to experience opposition in His body, His church. Thus, when Paul and other Christians experience opposition to living a life worthy of being in Christ, they fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for these will not be over until the Lord Jesus Christ returns. Paul considers it an honour and joy to fill up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to enable you to rejoice in your sufferings for Christ because you are filling up what is lacking in His sufferings for the sake of His body. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Wednesday August 8 - The cost of discipleship

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. - Colossians 1:24 Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 11:21b-29 What does it cost you to live a life worthy of being in Christ, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every kind of good work and increasing in the knowledge of God? If we were to ask Paul, we know what he would say. Living a life worthy of being in Christ costs him a lot of suffering. The Lord Jesus Christ had warned the people of His day that this would be the case when He said: “Whoever does not bear His own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). The Lord Jesus appeared to Ananias in a vision and told him to tell Saul (Paul) that He would show him just how much he was going to have to suffer for the sake of His name (Acts 9:16). In our Scripture reading Paul shares with the Corinthians how much he has indeed suffered for Christ. Paul had just urged the Colossians to persevere in the Christian faith, being steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which had been proclaimed in all creation and of which he had become a minister. While he had written this, he was in prison in Caesarea, waiting to be transferred to Rome. Who knows what further suffering awaited him for living a life worthy of being in Christ, bearing fruit in every kind of good work and increasing in the knowledge of God? What does it cost you to live a life worthy of being in Christ? Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to be willing to count the cost for following the Lord Jesus and then to grant you the strength for doing so. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Tuesday August 7 - Persevering in the faith

... if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard... - Colossians 1:23a Scripture reading: John 15:5-6; Colossians 1:21-23  Faith unites us to the Lord Jesus Christ so that we share in His fellowship of love with His Father and His ministry of love from His Father that He carries out on earth through His church. Being united to Christ, through faith, enables us to live lives worthy of our being in Him. We have been redeemed by His blood and qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light of the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ; we have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of light. But once we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy all the blessings of being in Christ, we also need to continue or persevere in our faith. The Bible is clear that those who are united to the Lord Jesus Christ through genuine faith will continue in the faith. But the Bible is equally clear that those who are not united to the Lord Jesus Christ through genuine faith will not persevere. The Lord Jesus Christ speaks about this in John 15. Some branches/believers abide in Him through true faith and bear much fruit. Other branches/believers do not remain in Him. The latter are cut off and thrown into the fire; the former God will present as holy, blameless and irreproachable living sacrifices for approval before Himself on the Day of Judgment. These conditional statements in the Scriptures are implicit warnings meant to keep us from a sense of false security. How are you persevering in the faith? Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to help you to persevere in the faith by remaining in Christ through faith, especially when you feel weary. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Monday August 6 - The Mediator of re-creation

...and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. - Colossians 1:20 Scripture reading: Colossians 1:18-20 The Lord Jesus Christ is not only the source of our being able to live a life worthy of our being in Him because He is the mediator of creation, but also because He is the mediator of re-creation. This mediation is necessary because we have alienated ourselves from the Lord Jesus Christ with our fall into sin. And creation was subjected to futility because of this (Romans 8:20). Thus, both we and creation need to be reconciled to the mediator of creation. The Father of the Lord Jesus Christ gives the mediator of creation to the church so that He can be its mediator of re-creation by reconciling both the church and creation to Himself. The Lord Jesus Christ accomplishes this as the Head of the church, the One who brings the church into existence and keeps it in existence by giving life to its members, by ruling them through His Word and Spirit, and by holding them together. Having reconciled His body and His creation to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross, He was the first one to rise from the dead with a glorified, immortal body, guaranteeing the general resurrection of the dead of all those who were in Him, through faith. Because of this work of re-creation, the mediator of creation continues to have the first place in God’s universe. He is more than able and also willing to be the source of your being able to live a life worthy of your being in Him. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to enable you to look to your mediator of creation and re-creation when you struggle with being able to live a life worthy of your being in Christ, and that He would encourage you in doing so. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Sunday August 5 - The Mediator of Creation

For in him all things were created, . . . all things were created through him and for him and in him all things hold together. – Colossians 16 and 17b Scripture reading: Colossians 1:15-17 If Christians want to live a life worthy of Christ, they need to put on the Lord Jesus Christ like a garment and live in Him through faith, remain in Him when they encounter trials and mature in Him through faith. He is the source of their being able to live a life worthy of being in Him because He is the mediator of creation. He is able to be this mediator of creation because He is the firstborn of all creation. Accordingly, all things—whether visible or invisible—were created in Him, because the light and life needed to create all things resided in Him. Moreover, all things were also created through Him. He, who has light and life in Himself, creates light and life. Furthermore, He also holds all things together. We and creation do not live in an empty space, but in the Lord Jesus Christ who continues to uphold and sustain creation and us. This is what it means that the Lord Jesus Christ is the mediator of creation. Everything was created from Him and through Him and He holds everything that He created together. And He does so because everything was created for Him. Our destiny and creation’s destiny is the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the will of the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ that one day all things will be summed up and reunited in Him. Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father that, because everything is created from Him and through Him and to Him, He is able to be the source of your living a life worthy of being in Him. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Saturday August 4 - Living in a manner worthy of the Lord

... so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; - Colossians 1:10  Scripture reading: Colossians 1:9-14 As members of the body of Christ, Christians, through their union with Christ, have been redeemed and qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light of the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, they have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of light. Through the bond of the Holy Spirit, they are already seated with Christ in heaven (Ephesians 2:6). Because Christians are in Christ, they need to live a life worthy of Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. This means that, through faith, they need to put on the Lord Jesus Christ like a garment and live in Him, remain in Him when they encounter trials, and mature in Him, for He is the source of being able to live a life worthy of being in Him. When they do, He will be pleased with them. For this, we need to be filled with the knowledge of the will of the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. While we cannot know His will exhaustively, God can fill us with adequate knowledge of what He wants us to believe and how He wants us to live, i.e. having spiritual wisdom and understanding as we live and have our being in the Scriptures. The more we are filled with this, the more we will find ourselves leading a life worthy of being in Christ. Paul regularly prays this for the Colossian Christians. Are you praying this for yourself and your congregation? Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to fill you with knowledge of His will so that you and your congregation can live lives worthy of being in Christ. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Friday August 3 - The fruit of hope

... because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. - Colossians 1:5 Scripture reading: Romans 8:18-25 Why do you continue to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and participate in His ministry of love? According to Paul, we do this because as members of the body of Christ, we have the hope that all things will be made new when the Lord Jesus Christ returns. Then we will no longer groan because of the brokenness of our human condition, but we will receive glorified bodies. Creation will also no longer groan because of its bondage to corruption, but share in our glorified state by being glorified itself. We wait for the fulfillment of this hope with patience, while creation waits with eager longing for the fulfillment of our hope. Because we have this hope, we continue to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. We know that only through being joined to Him, through faith, will we experience the fulfillment of this hope. Anyone who does not abide in the Lord Jesus Christ is thrown into the fire and burned. Having this hope, we continue to love because we know that even if we have faith that can remove mountains, but have not love, we are nothing. Moreover, we want to give others a foretaste of the life of the new heaven and earth by participating in Jesus’ ministry of love today. When people hear that you are a Christian, is this what they hear about you: you are a person of faith, hope and love? When they hear that you belong to a Christian congregation, is this what they hear about your congregation: your congregation is a congregation of faith, hope and love? Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to make you and your congregation known to your environment as people of faith, love and hope. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Thursday August 2 - The fruit of faith

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints... - Colossians 1:3-4 Scripture reading: John 15:1-11 Faith unites us to the Lord Jesus Christ so that we share in His fellowship of love with His Father. When we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for our rescue from the power, pollution, partition and penalty of sin, we take hold of Him and put Him on, so that we are no longer clothed in our unrighteousness, but clothed in Him and His righteousness. We are no longer our own, but belong to Him and share in His fellowship of love with His Father. We are adopted into the Father’s family and are loved with the same love with which the Father loves the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith also unites us to the Lord Jesus Christ so that we share in His ministry of love from His Father that He carries out through His body, His church. The Lord Jesus speaks about this with the metaphor of the vine and the branches, saying that if we want to bear the fruit of love, we need to abide in Him through faith. When we do, the mystery of love will take place in our lives much like the mystery of grapes growing on a vine. As we live in Christ through faith, the Lord Jesus Christ transforms us into His image as He reproduces His life in our lives through His Holy Spirit so that we become His eyes, ears and mouth, His hands and feet in this world. This is what it means to be His body on earth. Paul had heard about this fruit of faith of the Colossians. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to unite you to His Son through faith so that it is no longer you who live, but Christ Jesus who lives in you. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....

Daily devotional

Wednesday August 1 - Introduction, and the fruit of love

This month’s meditations will focus on Paul’s epistle to the Colossians. When the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, He withdrew Himself from our three-dimensional experience of reality and ascended into another dimension of God’s created reality known as heaven. While the disciples saw the Lord Jesus ascend, they did not see him enter into heaven for the cloud of God’s glory took Him out of their sight. Since His ascension, the Lord Jesus Christ is hidden in the glory of His Father and glorified together with Him. However, the Lord Jesus Christ is not only hidden in the glory of the Father, Christians are also hidden with Christ in the glory of the Father (3:3). As the expression “in Christ” so also the expression “with Christ” shows that we participate in the life and death of the Lord Jesus Christ. We participate in what He did in the past, what He is doing in the present and what He will do in the future. We died and arose with Him, we ascended with Him in glory and we will appear with Him in glory. This participation with Christ is a hidden reality, as is the reality of our life being hidden with Christ in the glory of the Father. That the source of our life is hidden with Christ in the Father is not visible to others. It is also not visible to ourselves. We need to believe this. In a sense, Colossians is all about the different facets of the hidden reality of our real life and true existence: our life being hidden with Christ in the glory of the Father. That’s why I have entitled the series Hidden with Christ in God. I enjoyed writing these meditations. I was edified in doing so. I hope and pray that you will be too. *****  We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints... – Colossians 1:3-4 Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 13 When people hear that you are a Christian, what do they hear about you? When they hear that you belong to a Christian congregation, what do they hear about your congregation? If we were to ask Paul this question about the church of Colossae, what would he say? What had he heard about its members? What had he heard about the congregation? Paul had not planted this church. Epaphras had planted it. At the moment of writing, Paul is in prison in Caesarea. What did he hear about the church in Colossae while he is waiting to be transferred to Rome? What set this congregation and its members apart from its pagan environment? Paul had heard about their love for each other. The pagan world in which the members of the congregation lived was marked by lust, anger and lies that split up families and other communities. The Christian church, however, was marked by love that united families and the church community. Even major differences, such as race, social background and culture no longer drove a wedge between the members of the church. This did not mean that everyone had good feelings toward one another. They may have. But it meant that when others were rude, they were kind. When others offended them, they forgave. When others rejected them, they accepted them. This is ultimately what the Christian faith is about, as the summary of the law the Lord Jesus taught us. If we do not have this love, we are really nothing according to 1 Corinthians 13. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to pour out His love in you through His Holy Spirit so that others may experience His love in and through you. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC....