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Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

February 14 – God’s covenant with David and His mission

And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever. - 2 Samuel 7:16 Scripture reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-17 Yesterday, we saw that Israel’s continued failure to participate in God’s mission for His glory by keeping His covenant and being those people and places where heaven and earth meet, led to the failure of God’s covenants with Israel. We also saw that this, in turn, led to the uncertainty of whether God could still use Israel in His mission for His glory. We saw that when God makes a covenant with His people, He does so to rescue His mission for His glory out of dead-end streets and update it to new situations. We see the same when God makes a covenant with the house of David. After David was anointed king of Israel, brought rest to Israel by defeating her enemies, and brought the ark of God to Jerusalem, he wanted to build a house for the ark. However, God will instead build a house for David by establishing his throne forever (see also Psalm 89 and 132). In making this covenant with David and his descendants, God demonstrates His faithfulness to His mission for His glory by rescuing His bankrupt covenants with Israel and giving stability to these covenants. Perhaps, with a king after His own heart and with worship in the Temple, God can still use Israel as His treasured possession in His mission for His glory, to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation that brings the blessing of Abraham to the nations by making God visible on earth, through being people and places where heaven and earth meet. Suggestions for prayer Praise God that Sunday is a reminder of His faithfulness to His mission for His glory because it is a reminder that He raised Jesus from the dead. Ask Him to make you abide in Christ and bear witness to the resurrection 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 13 – God’s mission and the failure of his covenant with Israel 

And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. - 1 Samuel 8:7 Scripture reading: 1 Samuel 8 As God predicted, the failure to keep His covenant, soon became a reality in the Promised Land. Not only did Israel fail to drive out all the Canaanites, their life soon resembled the life of the Canaanites. Repeatedly, we read, “And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals.” They abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, Who brought them out of Egypt. They went after and bowed down to other gods, from among the gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the Lord to anger” (Judges 2:11-12). By the end of the book of Judges, Israel became like the nations and the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. We see the same failure when Israel demands a king like all the nations. Although when God made His second covenant with Abraham, he promised that kings would come forth from His descendants (Genesis 17:6, 16), Israel demands a king. They reject God as their king. When God grants Saul as Israel’s first king, Saul also rejects God as his king. Because he rejects God as king, God rejects him as king. This constant failure to keep God’s covenant leads to the bankruptcy or failure of God’s covenants with Israel. This, in turn, leads to the uncertainty of whether God can still use Israel in His mission for His glory by bringing the blessing of Abraham to the nations and making God visible on earth through being people and places where heaven and earth meet. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father to show you whether you are serving any other gods in your life. If you are, ask Him for forgiveness and renewal of 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 12 – God’s law and God’s mission

Moreover, I gave them statutes that were not good and rules by which they could not have life… - Ezekiel 20:25 Scripture reading: Psalm 19:7-14 Yesterday, we saw that God predicted that Israel would fail to keep His third covenant with them because their hearts were not circumcised. Today, we see that Israel would also not be able to keep this third covenant because the commandments He gave them were not good, nor could they give life. Elsewhere in Scripture, we read that God’s commandments are good. For instance, the psalmist writes that the law of God is perfect, pure, and true. He also writes that the law of God revives the soul, makes wise the simple, enlightens the eyes. Consequently, God’s law is to be desired more than gold and is sweeter than honey. God’s law is all of this and more because it shows Israel how to participate in God’s mission for His glory, by bearing witness to the glory of God’s perfect life through living a life of love: love for God and love for one’s neighbour. However, the law does not give the power to keep God’s commandments. In this sense, they are not good and do not give life. Accordingly, Israel’s failure to keep God’s law placed them under the condemnation of the law. Suffering the consequences of their disobedience, clearly laid out in the law, Israel, in exile in Ezekial’s time, reflected on God’s judgement in their lives. This reinforces why God needs to circumcise the people’s hearts so that they can experience the goodness of His law through the obedience of faith. Suggestions for prayer Praise God about the goodness of His law. Thank Him that Christ has delivered you from the condemnation of the law and that the Holy Spirit enables you to fulfil the requirement of the law as you abide 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. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 11 – Circumcision of the heart and God’s mission

And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. - Deuteronomy 30:6 Scripture reading: Deuteronomy 30:1-10 Yesterday, we saw that God made His third covenant with Israel, a new generation committed to participate in God’s mission for His glory. This was to bring the blessing of Abraham to the nations by making God visible on earth through being people and places where heaven and earth meet. However, this new generation is no better because their hearts were just as uncircumcised as those of the previous generation. To participate in God’s mission for His glory, our hearts need to be circumcised. This means that just as physical circumcision removes a piece of flesh from a male’s foreskin, so spiritual circumcision removes the ways of the flesh from our hearts. Because the first generation of Israelites had not done this, most of them were not allowed to enter the Promised Land. When God made His third covenant with Israel, He predicted that they would be just like the first generation. Accordingly, they would not be able to walk in His ways, keep His commandments, and obey His voice and experience the blessings of living in covenant with God. As a result, they would experience the curses of the covenant as well as the ultimate curse of exile from the Promised Land. Yet, precisely because God is faithful to the drama of His mission for His glory, He offers His people hope by promising to come to the rescue of His mission for His glory and one day bring His people Israel to repentance by circumcising their hearts and restoring them to the Promised Land. Suggestions for prayer Ask your heavenly Father what you may need to be circumcised in your heart if it is hindering you from walking in His ways, keeping His commandments, listening to His voice and thus participating 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 10 – God’s third covenant with Israel and His mission

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

Daily devotional

February 9 – Obedience of faith and God’s mission

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

Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

February 6 – God’s second covenant with Israel and His mission

And the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” - Exodus 34:27 Scripture reading: Exodus 32:1-14; 33:12-16; 34:5-7 A few days after Israel agreed to participate in God’s mission for His glory, it violates the second commandment by having Aaron build a golden calf and worshipping it. Consequently, God no longer considers Israel to be His people. Moreover, He wants to destroy them and make a great nation out of Moses. When Moses intercedes for the people, invoking God’s promise of making Abraham into a great nation, God decides not to destroy Israel. When God decides to send an angel with Israel instead of going Himself, Moses intercedes again and God has compassion on His people and forgives them.  He commits to personally accompany His people with His presence. Because of the crisis and uncertainty, Israel’s violation of God’s covenant with them had caused, God demonstrates His faithfulness and rescues His mission for His glory with another covenant. The new covenant updates His first one with Israel to the new situation of them having broken the first one. This second covenant is different from God’s first covenant with Israel because it is first a covenant with Moses and in Moses a covenant with Israel. Because Moses had found favour in the sight of God, God has compassion on His people and forgives them. As such, Israel can only participate in God’s mission for His glory because of God’s faithfulness and His willingness to forgive. It is precisely the name “LORD” that should remind Israel of this fact (Ex. 34:6-7). Suggestions for prayer Praise your heavenly Father for His steadfast love, grace, mercy, and willingness to forgive. Thank Him that you can always make a new beginning and continue to 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 5 – The blood of the covenant and God’s mission

And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” - Exodus 24:8 Scripture reading: Exodus 24:1-8 Keeping God’s covenant as His treasured possession that functions as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, will involve Israel keeping God’s commandments and statutes (Exodus 20-23). To impress upon the people His holiness and the required holiness of living in His presence, God manifests Himself to them in a powerful display of His majesty and holiness (Exodus 19:16-25). When Israel keeps God’s covenant in this way, she will not only increasingly learn what participating in God’s mission for His glory entails, she would also concretely bear witness to the surrounding nations what that involves.  Essentially, it involves a life of love, living for others as God lives for others (Matthew 22:37-40). God’s covenant with Israel is formally ratified in Exodus 24. After telling them all of God’s commandments and statutes, the people agreed to keep them. Having offered sacrifices to God, Moses threw some of the blood of the sacrifices on the altar, symbolizing God’s presence, and some of the people, symbolizing their willingness to participate in God’s mission for His glory. The people again repeat their commitment to be God’s treasured possession by being a kingdom of priests and a holy nation through keeping God’s covenant. In doing so, they formally agree to be God’s means to bring the blessing of Abraham to the nations by being a people and a place where heaven and earth meet because they bear witness to the glory of God’s perfect life by living a life of love, i.e. Living for the other. Suggestions for prayer When you publicly professed your faith, you publicly promised to participate in God’s mission for His glory. Ask your heavenly Father to help you keep your commitment. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 4 – The theatre of God’s mission for His glory

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. - Exodus 19:5-6 Scripture reading: Genesis 12:1-3; 1 Peter 2:9-10 God called Abraham and Sarah to make a complete break with their past, leaving behind everything dear to them, and go to the land that He would show them. He wanted to use them to deal with the problem of sin in the world caused by Adam and Eve, by having them bear witness to the glory of His loving presence to one another and to the world around them, by being people and places where heaven and earth meet. On earth as in heaven! God’s two covenants with Abraham were demonstrations of His faithfulness to this purpose. Before God makes His covenant with Israel as a nation, He explains what kind of a nation Israel will be if they keep His covenant. They will have the status of being His treasured possession among all people, meaning they will be a people with whom He has a valued and special relationship for the sake of the other people in the world. As a treasured possession, they will function as a kingdom of priests, who will mediate the presence of God to the nations by making Him visible through being people and places where heaven and earth meet. As a treasured possession, they will also function as a holy nation, that is a nation set apart from the other nations and consecrated to God as the theatre of God’s mission for His glory. In doing so, God wants to use them to bring the blessing of Abraham to the nations. Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father for the privilege of belonging to His treasured possession, meant to be the theatre of His mission for His glory by bearing witness to His perfect life by living in His presence. Ask God to show you where you may need to make some changes in your life. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 3 – God comes to the rescue of His mission

....And I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, – Exodus 3:8 Scripture reading: Exodus 3:1-12 When God made His covenant with Abraham, He said, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions” (Gen. 15:13-14). After 400 years, God appears to Moses and tells him that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Implied in this revelation is that He remembers His covenant with Abraham. He shares with Moses that He is going to rescue His people from Egypt and bring them back into Canaan. After ten displays of His majesty and power in Egypt, and a display of this same power in leading His people through the Red Sea, God brings them to Mount Sinai where He makes His first covenant with them. God’s covenants with His people are not independent and unrelated to each other, but update previous covenants to new situations. God’s first covenant with Israel updates His covenants with Noah and Abraham to the new situation of Abraham’s descendants becoming a nation. Suggestions for prayer Thank your heavenly Father for His faithfulness to His mission for His glory that He will one day rescue us from this broken world and bring us into the new creation of 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. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

February 2 – God mission for his glory and his covenants

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

Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

January 31 – God is the God of peace

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

Daily devotional

January 30 - God is the God of all comfort

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

Daily devotional

January 29 – God’s name is Jehovah

And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" - Exodus 3:14 Scripture reading: Exodus 3:1-15 These days, names don't mean much, but in Bible times the meanings of names were important. God's names are packed with meaning! They reveal something of God's glorious perfections. His most well-known name is Jehovah or Yahweh. God revealed this name to Moses at the burning bush. This name speaks about the perfections and actions of our Covenant-keeping God. It tells us about three unchanging things He always does for His people. Because He, the Great I AM, is Who He is, was and will be and in Jesus Christ, He is still the same, yesterday, today and forever! These are the three things: He is present with us - God assures Moses and His covenant people that He will be with them. In Christ, our Emmanuel, God promises to never leave or forsake us. He protects us - God assures Moses that He has heard the cries of His people and He will bring them in safety to the promised land. In the greater Exodus in Christ, God will lead us out of all sin, slavery and oppression, bringing us to the Promised land where we will enjoy eternal protection. He provides for us – God showed, all through the wilderness wanderings, that He provided for His people, even when they did not deserve it at all! God's merciful provision in Christ, through the wilderness of this world, is guaranteed! In Christ, we are kept unto salvation. Why? Because God is the I AM WHO I AM! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for being Who He is, in Christ, as the Great I AM and especially His commitment to being present, protecting and providing for His people by promise and covenant. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek has been serving the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville since 2017. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

January 28 – God is unchangeable

For I am the LORD, I do not change: therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. - Mal 3:6 Scripture reading: Mal 3:1-7a God does not change, that is God in His being is never increasing or decreasing. His being, attributes and will are unchanging. Coming closer to the end of this month, we are confronted with ongoing change. What a comfort to know that everything about God never changes! God is completely dependable; He is stable like a Rock, while we are more like the ever-changing waters of the ocean. A.W. Pink shows how comforting this really is, "However unstable I may be, however fickle my friends may prove, God changes not." If He varied as we do, if He willed one thing today and another tomorrow if He were controlled by caprice, who could confide in Him? But all praise to His glorious name. He is ever the same. His purpose is fixed, His will is stable and His word is sure." And what is even more comforting, is that when we are in Christ by faith, our salvation doesn't change either! Malachi shows that despite the fickleness and fraud of God's people, God is faithfully and patiently inviting their repentance; that's why they are not consumed. James, in 1:17, shows that every truly good gift comes from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variableness or shadow of turning. We all know shadows are turning all the time as our planet keeps moving, but God never changes.  Through Christ alone, THE greatest Gift of all, God provides true stability for our lives! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for His unchanging character and wonderful dependability. Pray that knowing Him as such would translate in great and unwavering trust and stability in our lives. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek has been serving the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville since 2017. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

January 27 – God is glorious

...so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God. - 2 Chronicles 5:14 Scripture reading: 2 Chronicles 5:2-6:2 The word glory in the Old Testament is a word that means weightiness. In the New Testament, it has more the idea of brilliance and splendour. So, when we say that God is glorious, we mean His splendour and beautiful brilliance shines from His whole being, including His honourable reputation. In our text, the glory of God fills Solomon's temple. This was not the first time that God appeared to His people in His Shekinah glory cloud. Every time God appeared, it was a weighty and serious matter as the priests did not even dare to enter the temple, because He is so majestically glorious! In the New Testament, knowing God and being in His presence was weighty and serious (Hebrews 12:28-29). However, now we experience God's presence and glory through Jesus Christ. Paul shows that the glory of God shines in our dark hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). That's how our bodies become temples of the Holy Spirit in which God is worshipped and glorified (1 Corinthians 6:19). Contrary to our expectation, being filled with God's glory is often accompanied by personal weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) or suffering for Christ's name (1 Peter 4:14)! That makes living for God's glory still weighty and serious! Nonetheless, our comfort and hope are that the Lord of hosts will be like a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty to all believers, one glorious day! (Isaiah 28:5). Suggestions for prayer Pray that God's glory and presence with us will be our greatest concern and comfort in life and that we don't think mistakenly that His glory is not with us when we are weak or suffering. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek has been serving the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville since 2017. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

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