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Daily devotional

March 13 – Continue with Jesus

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

Daily devotional

March 12 – In Christ you are wise

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

Daily devotional

March 11 – Our much talking spoils many good things

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

Daily devotional

March 10 – Our miscalculations spoil many good things

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance.” - Proverbs 21.5 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 10:1, 8-11 It says in Ecclesiastes 9:18, “One sinner destroys much good.” This applies to all of us. Even though we might “know better” we can be foolish (throw a dead fly into the perfume of life), and make things difficult. We always need God! Ecclesiastes has been showing us this with practical examples. We look at verses 8-11 today. It is true; in God’s world wisdom helps us to succeed. Thinking through the costs, drawing the plans, mapping out projections is very, very helpful (Proverbs 21.5). How can we slip up even though we know this wisdom? Notice verses 8-10. By our miscalculations, our oversights, or lack of concentration, an entire project can be thwarted. We can dig a pit and fall into it. We get hurt on the job because we didn’t take the time to put our safety boots on that morning. Look at v.11. If the snake handler is wise, he will charm the snake before he handles it. If he doesn’t he will be bitten. A young man was taught to take care of his finances. But two months before the wedding he came across a deal too good to pass up. He bought into it, but it was a scam! Such a small thing, but it brought down so much. Miscalculations and oversights happen all the time. Proverbs 21:5 is true, yet, in this present life, we are not always diligent. Christ Jesus always was. He never miscalculated and He did God’s will perfectly. By His perfect work, we have forgiveness for our foolish miscalculations. Suggestion for prayer Give thanks to God for His unchanging love for you, even when you have miscalculated. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 9 – Foolish leaders spoil many good things

“The greatest among you shall be your servant.” - Matthew 23:11 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 10:5-7 In this chapter, God is saying we do foolish things which can tear down the wise things we’ve done. The writer proves this point with four practical examples. The example today is in verses 5-7. Not all people in authority are wise! We might think prime ministers, presidents, conference speakers, or pastors with their PhDs are wise, able to teach, lead, and organize for the good of others. Sadly though, halls of power are often upside down. Ignoble people ride noble horses, while noble people walk the ground. People with great influence can often have selfish ambition in their hearts” (James 3:14), consequently spoiling countries, families and churches. How can we slip up even though we know this wisdom? By trusting people who are not trustworthy because we want what they have. For example, we go to a particular seminar or conference to learn the key to the Christian life, or how to be a better homeschooler. We trust so and so’s book; after all they are leaders. Yet, in the end, they didn’t bring the peace of Christ to us. They brought us to legalism or antinomianism, or we became self-righteous, or we gave our money to this candidate believing in him, only to hear he was a womanizer. Many times Christians have followed a “movement” only to find disappointment in the end. Christian, don’t follow any movement or man other than Jesus and His movement. Jesus and His truth never disappoint. Suggestion for prayer Pray for your pastor, elders, and deacons. Pray selfish ambition would not spoil them. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 8 – Rage spoils many good things

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” - Ephesians 4:26 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 10:1-4 Yesterday we read of the blessing of wisdom, but in our fallenness, none of us is perfectly wise or appreciates wisdom all the time! We should imagine that the wisdom we might have gained in life, would make us powerful and protect us from all mistakes and slip-ups! In chapter 10, God tells us to turn away from the false, self-righteous idea that a wise person will have a trouble-free, perfect life. Even wise people do dumb things which bring trouble into life. Our Father warns us of this in verse 1! We can do foolish things which can tear down the wise things we’ve done. No matter how wise we might be, we still slip up; we can still be foolish, so we need God! The writer proves this point with four practical examples. Let’s look at the first one in verses 1-4 Being calm and self-controlled in volatile situations, especially before authorities is wise. Fools are inclined to pride and think hot-blooded protest will work. But wisdom says in verse 4, don’t be angry before authority, be calm and self-controlled. How can we slip up even though we know this wisdom? By being a hot-head. Politicians, parents, or pastors in their anger can blow their top. Lack of self-control is the fly in the perfume that makes the perfume stink. As Christians, we know this, yet we often fall. All of us always need the forgiving and sanctifying grace of Jesus. Suggestion for prayer Forgive me, Jesus, when I blow up before others. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 7 – The treasure of wisdom

“Wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.” - Proverbs 8:10 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 9:16-17; 10:2, 10, 12 This Sunday, let’s remember that wisdom is better than might and the words of the wise are better than the shoutings of an unwise ruler. Why is this true? Because scripture tells us. The wise have knowledge about what kind of words to say and when to say them. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11). Wisdom enables people to get things done. The man in v.13-15 got things done. Wisdom can help a person in a tight spot and enables a person to get along with others. Foolish people always seem to live a life of drama because they don’t know how to listen and get at the real issue, whereas wisdom inclines a person to truth (10;2a), helps one to succeed (10:10b), and makes a man’s words winsome (10:12). Wisdom is helpful because it also admits that life is complex; that there is black and white, as well as grey, and that which is good, better, and best of all. Well, biblical wisdom helps us discern the best way through the complexity of life. Simply living wisely is living in the Spirit; being enabled to get things done, love people, use your God-given skills, enjoy the gifts of God properly…and to fear God, asking in every situation, “Will this glorify God?” Suggestion for prayer Ask God for wisdom in faith believing (James 1:5-8). Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 6 – Jesus is wisdom from God to save us

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

Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

March 2 – Life is better than death. Why? The living can live by faith.

“The just shall live by faith.” – Romans 1:17 Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 9:1-12 Over the next few days, we will be exploring chapter 9:1-12. The basic message is this: Life is better than death because living people can live by faith in God, have hope and comfort from God, and enjoy God. We are first given a call to live by faith in verses 1-6. In giving this call, God first reminds us that God is sovereign. All the deeds of the righteous and wise are in God’s hands, and the deeds of the wicked are before God too. Also, similar events happen to the righteous and to the wicked. God is sovereign. Does God love you?! You cannot answer that question by whether you are sick or healthy, poor or rich, or do certain good works because the same event happens to the good and to the evil. Can we assert, “God loves only these kinds of people,” or “God can’t love me, I’m so bad,” or “God must love me, look at my kids?” No. Human experience or good works do not decide whether God loves you and will save you. God is sovereign. See verse 2 and verses 11-12. Man is terribly sinful; madness is in his heart. Our future under the sun is unknowable and uncontrollable by us. So the call on us is to live by faith in the Lord. God loves His people and we know we are His loved people when He gives us faith to live for the Lord in life. Suggestion for prayer Pray for the fruit of the Spirit of faith. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

March 1 – Introducing our study of Ecclesiastes 9-12

Earlier, my devotionals explored God’s message from Ecclesiastes chapters 1-7. The devotional meditations for March 2021 will continue our readings in Ecclesiastes, particularly Ecclesiastes chapters 9-12. Before we begin let’s remind ourselves of the author of Ecclesiastes, its overarching themes, and the general outline of the book. Solomon, by the inspiration of the Spirit, wrote this book. He is the son of David, king in Jerusalem (1:1, 16). The title means “the Preacher” or “one who assembles.” Solomon was an assembler of the people (12:9-11). Near the end of his life (around 930 BC), he assembled the people together to hear Ecclesiastes! Wisdom, joy, the fear of God, the sovereignty of God, and repentance are the overarching themes. Therefore, Ecclesiastes preaches Jesus to us. After all, Jesus is the wisdom and joy of God who sovereignly rules, and is the reason why people repent of sin to live life with meaning. Welcome back to Ecclesiastes “...but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” – 1 Peter 2:25b Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 9:1-6; 12:9-14; 1 Peter 2:21-25 Ecclesiastes can be divided into four distinct sections. 1 – Chapters 1-2 Life without God is vanity. However, life lived in Christ brings meaning and joy. In God, wisdom, pleasure, knowledge, and possessions are gifts to enjoy for God’s glory. 2 – Chapters 3-5 The overarching theme is: God is sovereign over our lives. Our lot in life is His will for us (3:11a, 17b, 22; 5:2b, 18-19). 3 – Chapters 6-8 Life brings us face to face with tragedies. Solomon speaks about evil and the wicked (6:1,2, 7:15, 17, 25; 8:3,5, 8, 10-11, 13-14). However, God is sovereign over all and we do not always know why he allows what happens to us. (7:14, 25-29; 8:17). The conclusion to which God drives us is in chapter 8:10-17 – the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. 4 – Chapters 9-12 This is the section we will study this month. Notice chapter 9:1. “But all this I laid to heart, examining it all.” “All this,” means all the breadth and depth of human life. All the awesome sovereign ways of God spoken of in chapter 1-8, he has lain to heart. Now he gives some concluding, “this-is-what-it-is-to-live-by-faith” points. These come from what he has said and drive us to confess the life of faith described in chapter 12:13-14. The conclusion is: live by faith in God, and though life is not always explainable, God can be trusted through it all…Christ is our One Shepherd to guide us so rejoice and live by his Word. Suggestions for prayer Pray we would examine life and understand we must live it by faith. Rev. Henry Bartsch has been serving as pastor of the Trinity Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (Chatham, Ontario) since 2003. He and his wife Tammy have seven children and two grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 28 – The consummation of God’s mission for His glory

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away - Revelation 21:1 Scripture reading: 2 Peter 3:8-13 Today is again a Sunday. Earlier we saw that every Sabbath day was meant to remind Israel that the reason for her existence was that she was called to participate in God’s mission for His glory by making Him visible on earth through being people and places where heaven and earth meet. We also saw that the Sabbath was a guarantee that God would one day reach this goal. One day, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is now hidden in the glory of the Father, will suddenly appear in glory and usher in the eternal Sabbath rest in the kingdom of God where humanity and creation will be transfigured by being glorified into the likeness of the resurrected and glorified Christ. Before this, God will first come in judgment with a cosmic fire that completely destroys the old heavens and the earth with all its unrighteous works. Once the heavens and earth are completely destroyed, God will usher in a new heaven and earth, according to His promise, where righteousness will dwell. Thus, the continuity between the old creation and the new creation lies in God’s faithfulness to His mission for His glory to make all things new. God’s mission for His glory, which began with the creation of the world and humanity, will then continue for all eternity as a new humanity participates in this mission for God’s glory by making the mutual glorification that takes place in heaven, visible on earth by being people and places where heaven and earth meet. On earth as in heaven! Suggestions for prayer Praise God for His faithfulness to His mission. Thank Him that every Sunday is a guarantee that His mission for His glory will reach its goal in a new heaven and new earth where He will be all in all. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 27 – Christ living in us and God’s mission

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. - Galatians 2:20 Scripture reading: John 15:1-11 When God fulfills the promise of the new covenant by circumcising our hearts and filling us with the Holy Spirit, it is no longer we who live, but Christ Who lives in us. Just like a vine reproduces its own life in its branches, so Christ reproduces His life of glorifying the Father in our lives when we, through faith, clothe ourselves with Him, through the Holy Spirit. Participating in God’s mission for His glory by making God visible through having Christ live in us with His Spirit will lead to a cruciform or cross-shaped life. This involves denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Jesus. In losing our life and following Jesus, we will find it in His death and resurrection. However, this will lead to a participation in the sufferings and death of Christ. Participating in God’s mission for His glory by making God visible on earth through having Christ Jesus live in us with His Spirit, will also lead to a resurrectional life that bears witness to the resurrection of God’s new creation. This resurrection life of God’s new creation is a manifestation of the wholeness of a life of love for God and one’s neighbour. However, like leading a cruciform life of daily putting off the old self in Adam, leading a resurrectional life of daily putting our new self in Christ will involve participating in the sufferings of Christ. Yet, these sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18). Suggestions for prayer Praise God for the blessing that Christ now lives in us with His Spirit when we put Him on through faith. Ask your heavenly Father to help you consider it a joy to suffer together with 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. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

February 22 – Christ’s sacrifice of his death and God’s mission

And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” - Luke 22:20 Scripture reading: Luke 22:14-23 Having identified with Israel with the sacrifice of His life as their substitute and representative, Jesus also identifies with them with the sacrifice of His death in order to deal with the problem of sin, death and the devil and bring the blessing of Abraham to the nations. After entering Jerusalem as Israel’s king and bringing the temple service to a standstill, He celebrated the Passover with His disciples giving the elements of bread and wine a new interpretation. The bread was interpreted as His body and the wine as His blood of the new covenant, clearly alluding to the blood of the old covenant. In this, Jesus is interpreting His own imminent death as the means that will bring about a new exodus that will deal with the problem of sin, death, and the devil once and for all. In dying a death on the cross, Christ continued to surrender His life to His Father and offer Him the sacrifice of His death through the power of the Holy Spirit as His people’s substitute and representative. In doing so, He continued to fulfill all righteousness and deal with the problem of sin by making atonement for His people’s sin, removing it from God’s sight and stilling His wrath. As a result, He reconciled His people to God and freed them from the curse of the law and the power of the devil, so that they can continue to participate in His mission for His glory by making Him visible and bringing the blessing of Abraham to the nations. Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father that He dealt with the problem of your sin by removing it from His sight and reconciling you to Himself, freeing you from the curse of the law and the power of the devil so that you can participate in His mission for His glory. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 21 – Christ’s sacrifice of His life and God’s mission

Whoever has seen me has seen the Father - John 14:9 Scripture reading: Luke 4:1-13 Having identified with Israel when He was baptized by John and having been anointed with the Spirit when He rose from the water of His baptism, Jesus continued to identify with Israel by offering the Father the sacrifice of His life, through the Holy Spirit as Israel’s substitute and representative. This began by His being led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days where He was tempted by the devil with regard to His relationship with Himself, the world and God. In being tempted for forty days in the desert, He is repeating, in Himself, Israel’s temptation in the desert for forty years and Adam and Eve’s temptation in the Garden of Eden. However, where Adam and Eve and Israel failed, Christ, as the faithful Adam and true Israel, passed the devil’s temptations in the power of the Spirit. Having passed the devil’s temptations in the power of the Spirit where Adam, Eve and Israel had failed to pass them, Jesus proclaimed the good news of the coming kingdom of heaven in the power of the Spirit, and demonstrated this by healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead in the power of the Spirit. Moreover, He perfectly kept and embodied the law of love in the power of the Spirit. As such, Jesus participated in His Father’s mission for His glory and made His Father visible on earth by surrendering His life to His Father and thankfully offering Him the sacrifice of His life through the power of the Holy Spirit. Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father that Jesus perfectly fulfilled the law of love for you and that what Jesus has done for you He now wants to do in you through His Holy Spirit as you put Him on through faith and abide in Him. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

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