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Daily devotional

October 5 – Marvelling at His grace

Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you too will be cut off. – Romans 11:22 Scripture reading: Luke 4:16-30 As Jesus said, God could have sent Elijah to many widows in Israel. So why to a foreigner? Our multi-tasking God did this for at least two reasons. First, as a judgment on His own people. God’s prophet was unacceptable in his “hometown” and so he was sent to shower grace to a foreigner. He came to his own but his own did not receive him. Second, to showcase His grace. Grace comes to those who don’t seek it. Clearly, the widow wasn’t a believer. She speaks about the Lord, Elisha’s God (1 Kings 17:12). But the Lord sought her. Grace comes to enemies. Zarephath is of Sidon. Wicked Jezebel introduced the worship of the Sidonian god, Baal, in Israel and to that place and those people the Lord sends His servant and His grace. As seen in the incarnation of the Lord Jesus and the Great Commission, God directs His grace to enemy-occupied territory. Grace stops at nothing to save the elect. God used the disobedience of the chosen nation to send His prophet to save this chosen foreigner. The Jews’ rejection means salvation for the Gentiles (Romans 11:11) and the death of His Son is a price God is willing to pay to save His own. Grace comes to those who believe. The widow’s faith is evidenced by her works. She trusted the word of the prophet and “did as Elijah said.” Christ, the final Prophet, invites us to come to Him and faith does precisely that, repenting and receiving the offer of salvation. Suggestions for prayer Pray for the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your hearts that you may marvel at the glory of His grace and mercy. Pray that your minister may faithfully proclaim God’s Word, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting, with complete patience and teaching and that you would receive Christ as He is offered to you. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. John van Eyk is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta. ...

Daily devotional

October 4 – Not by bread alone

And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone.– Deuteronomy 8:3  Scripture reading: 1 Kings 17:7-16 What an encouragement the dried-up brook must have been to Elijah. God was fulfilling His promise of withholding dew and rain! It also meant that God was going to provide for Elijah some other way. He reaches Zarephath and, encountering the widow, he instructs her to bring him some water. As she leaves to comply he asks for a morsel of bread too. This unleashes an outpouring of her pitiable story. She has nothing baked, little flour, little oil, few sticks, and little time left to live. You might think that Elijah might respond with something like, “I’m sorry. Yes, I understand. I’ll ask someone else. Just the water will be fine.” You might even think that would be the kind and sensitive thing to do. But he doesn’t. He intensifies the request. Do what you are going to do “but first make a little cake of it and bring it to me.” Does it need to be said that God’s request should have given her no hesitation? If obedience meant that yesterday’s supper was her last meal she should have given a morsel of bread to the man of God. God doesn’t ask for our leftovers or what we can conveniently part with. He demands our all to be given without hesitation. But notice the Lord’s gentleness. He wins her obedience with a sandwich of assurance. Top slice: ‘Do not fear.’ Bottom slice: ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not empty . . .’ And every day thereafter was a reminder of the faithfulness of the Lord and His Word. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to teach us how generous and gracious He is, even in His demands, so that we might trust Him for His daily provision of grace and cheerfully give Him whatever He asks of us. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. John van Eyk is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta. ...

Daily devotional

October 3 – God’s gracious judgement

Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? – Romans 2:4 Scripture reading: Matthew 3:1-12; 1 Kings 17:1-7 Talk about a short-term ministry! No sooner does Elijah begin than he is sent away. What is God doing? He’s judging his people. They refused to listen to His Word. Now He refuses to speak it. He’s sending a famine, not only of food, but of the hearing of the Words of the Lord (Amos 8:11). Sobering, isn’t it? But in God’s judgment, we see grace. In the midst of the famine, He preserves Elijah by feeding him with ravens because God has a plan to send him back. He has not completely deserted His people. Prophets communicated God’s message both by their lives and their mouths. We hear God’s judgment in “Neither dew nor rain these years.” That’s God’s response to incessant rebellion. But even this announcement is gracious. First, God is going to showcase the incompetence of the storm god, Baal, so that Israel would abandon him and return to the Lord. Second, threatened judgment is always a call to repentance so that we might experience God’s forgiving grace. Notice how John the Baptizer warns in preparation for the coming of grace in Christ. What a mercy when your engine temperature warning light brightens your dashboard! Imagine if God had abandoned them to their sin like He had the other nations. Jesus, the greater Prophet has come. We have heard the warnings from His mouth and have seen the seriousness of God’s wrath in His death. What have we learned? Though not soft on sin, our God is gracious in His judgments. How much more gracious is He in His grace! Suggestions for prayer Pray for His Spirit so that we would cherish the Word of God we have, both as we read it and hear it preached. Praise the Holy God that He is gracious and forgiving. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. John van Eyk is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta. ...

Daily devotional

October 2 – God’s man

Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” – 1 Kings 17:1 Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; 1 Kings 17:1-5 No scholar seems able to tell us about Tishbe. Neither do we know much about Elijah’s parents except what is most important: in a day of rampant unbelief they confess their faith in the covenant Lord by naming their son Elijah, meaning, My God is the Lord. God’s chosen servant’s beginnings are clouded in obscurity yet Elijah’s character explodes in this introduction. Elijah is a man of courage, addressing the king of Israel, one who is no friend of God’s prophets. What emboldened him? First, conviction that God lives, in contrast to Baal, who according to pagan mythology, annually died. Second, consciousness of God. God was not simply one before Whom he stood but before Whom he stands. To Elijah, the colossal figure of the King towers above the king. Third, confidence in God’s promise to punish idolatrous people (Deuteronomy 28:15, 23-24). Elijah is also a committed man. He is told to go and he goes (vv. 2, 5). It doesn’t seem that significant except that people like that were scarce in his day and also in ours. But it should be common among Christians. Whatever God calls me to do, I will do. Whatever He forbids, I will forgo. This is the man Elijah. He was like Christ, the greater Prophet, who was chosen from obscurity, courageous before men, and committed to serving His God unstintingly. The Spirit upon Christ is the Spirit upon Elijah and is the Spirit upon us to shape us to be that kind of Christian. Suggestions for prayer Ask that God would pour out His Holy Spirit upon us to conform us to the image of Christ so that we might fearlessly serve Him in his Church and our nation. Pray that God would make your Minister a man of courage and commitment. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. John van Eyk is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta. ...

Daily devotional

October 1 – Introduction

The word of God is living and active. It is not only something we study, it studies us. As the Bible reveals truths about itself, it also, simultaneously, reveals truths about us. That's what you will discover as we work our way through the sacred account of the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, Elijah. From his sudden appearance before Ahab to his surprising disappearance before Elisha, his successor, these studies will highlight the astonishing grace of God to his people in his Son, Jesus Christ, the greatest of all prophets and the final Word of God. In the lead up to Reformation Day, and in light of the 400th anniversary of the Synod of Dort, we will end the month looking at the five main points of doctrine in dispute in the Netherlands in the early 1600s, not so much for disputation, as for celebration. Hope in the dark days ...according to the word of the Lord – 1 Kings 16:34 Scripture reading: 1 Kings 16:29-34 There were dark days in Israel when Ahab came to the throne and they only became darker. It was bad enough that Ahab sanctioned the breaking of the second commandment by worshipping God through the golden calves. He also promoted the worship of Baal, the nature god of the Canaanites. Ahab bears responsibility for this because, contrary to God’s gracious command, he married the pagan Jezebel who had an evangelistic zeal to supplant the Lord‘s worship with Baal’s. Ahab further demonstrated his contempt for God’s Word by rebuilding Jericho, the ruins of which were a monument to God’s grace and judgment. Ahab wants to worship God and Baal. Would to God that this sin of syncretism, attempting to serve two masters, were only a past malady in Christ’s Church. Alas, we see those same Ahabian tendencies when we limit the Lordship of Christ to specific areas of our lives. Christ is Lord, we confess, but I will marry whom I will. I will not let that confession interfere in maximizing profits in my business or His Lordship dictate what will entertain me. He is as Lord as I make Him Lord. Syncretism. But if the sons of Hiel die according to the Word of the Lord (Joshua 6:26) doesn’t that encourage us to believe that other promises of God will be fulfilled too, including the promises to destroy the serpent, to forgive syncretistic sinners, and to sanctify His people? Indeed it does! Suggestions for prayer Ask that God would unite your heart to fear His name (Psalm 68:11) and praise Him that none of His promises fail, neither His promises of judgment nor of blessing. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. John van Eyk is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta. ...

Daily devotional

September 30 – One last consideration

Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the LORD! – Psalm 144:15 Scripture reading: Psalm 144 It has been a pleasure to write these devotionals and very helpful for my walk with Christ. With you, I have looked at this Psalm from a variety of angles, and verse by verse, asking those two most important questions: Who is God; who am I? We have grown in His Word. So how do we continue? How are we to remain “in such a state,” happy in God? Well, by staying in His Word. By repetition. When we read Scripture regularly and with careful attention to the context in which each word appears, we are trusting God the Holy Spirit Who authored this Word to lead us into all truth. This is what we each and the entire church needs in these trying times. God is faithful; His Word never fails. When you are sensing that you are entering into a trial, run to His Word and fall on your knees in prayer. Run with expectation to the house of the Lord on the Lord’s Day, knowing that the better you come to know your God the deeper will be your faith. Above all, trust that He holds you. We will mature in the Christian faith, but never beyond being a child of our Father in heaven. He says this, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!”Amen. That’s Who He is – Father. And all our days, we are His beloved children. Rest well in Him. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to show you, each day this week, how great is His love for you in Jesus Christ. Ask Him to teach you how rich is His mercy and forgiveness to sinners in Jesus Christ. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri....

Daily devotional

September 29 – Happy in God, because of God

Happy are the people who are in such a state; Happy are the people whose God is the LORD! – Psalm 144:15 Scripture reading: Psalm 144 In our Psalm, David began by extolling the LORD. He ends exactly the same way. Through the twists and turns of the Psalm, as in life, there were challenges discussed and blessings rejoiced in. The constant through it all is the blessedness of our God and of the people who serve and follow Him. This is again the day to lift up praise to God for Who He is! The Lord’s Day is the day every reason for happiness comes together to be focused on praise to the “Father of lights” (James 1:17) Who is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Are you joyful today? God is the source of your joy. He is God, the LORD! Given who David was, it should not have surprised us that he thought a lot about war. But so should we. We struggle against evil enemies in this life. Knowing Who God is, we should be even less surprised that the Psalm is ending with praise. We are blessed with eternal life and none can take away what the Lord has given. This, then, is our “state.” We have been endowed with eternal blessing and joy from God through Jesus Christ. The knowledge of God, by His Word, works to remind us that He is “…eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, immutable, infinite, almighty, perfectly wise, just, good, and the overflowing fountain of all good”! Happy are the people who know Him – we are so blessed. Shout His praise this day! Suggestions for prayer Ask God to make this a Lord’s Day to remember His goodness and to find joy in His faithfulness. Ask Him, He is able! This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri....

Daily devotional

September 28 – Walking in agreement with life and peace

That our oxen may be well-laden; That there be no breaking in or going out; That there be no outcry in our streets. – Psalm 144:14 Scripture reading: Psalm 144 The Heidelberg Catechism at Lord’s Day 7, gives us a description of true faith which includes, as a basic component part, knowledge. Knowledge is vital to faith. But it is also vital to the assurance of faith as Lord’s Day 32 explains the necessity of good works. That is to say, the richer our knowledge of God, the deeper will be our certainty that all is well with our soul. This truth counsels us as to how we “read” or interrupt the situations on-going around us. Do we take from these situations lessons as to Who God is and who we are? Again, do you know yourself to be a dependent creature, rather than an independent one? Knowledge of ourselves as needy will cause us to overflow with thanksgiving when we have peaceful streets and safety in home, at hearth. That knowledge of who we are as needy people builds faith. Faith has a fruit called contentment which we all need very much. The Psalm is ending on this high-note of peacefulness that should lead to contentment. But what do we do if we don’t sense or feel such contentment? Do you know the God of peace through Jesus Christ? Have you confessed your sins and trusted in Jesus Christ alone for salvation? If so, are you constantly thinking about how much God loves you and how He sustains, protects and provides all your needs? These are things we will finish with in the last two days of our devotional. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to give you a moment or two in this day to quietly ask yourself if you trust in Jesus Christ for salvation and all else you need. Pray for wisdom to answer truthfully. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri....

Daily devotional

September 27 – God creates civilization

That our oxen may be well-laden; That there be no breaking in or going out; That there be no outcry in our streets. – Psalm 144:14 Scripture reading: Psalm 144 We have now read Psalm 144 around 27 times. Have you come to know and appreciate the Psalm? God makes Himself known in His Word, including Psalm 144. He is the help to the warrior and as this verse shows to us, God is the One Who creates society. For society to survive and thrive, basic components must be in place, namely, life, safety and peace. These are what we find coming from God’s own mind. Those words – life, safety and peace – describe the garden of Eden before the fall. That former beauty is hard – no, impossible for us to imagine. But this joyful truth comes at the end of the Psalm as the postlude to the victorious end of the war. When violence and warfare have ended, joy will fill the vacuum. Why? Because this is Who our God is. He is the God of life. Is it not curious that on Resurrection Sunday morning Mary mistook Jesus for the gardener (or was she right?) We can only begin in this life to understand what the New Heavens and New Earth will be like, but surely there will be no breaking in or going out, no outcry in the streets. All of life will be marked by safety and peace, primary components of joy. Do you yearn for what God yet has in store for you, for us all? Take a moment to ponder how knowing God now prepares us for what is to come! Suggestions for prayer Ask God to prepare your heart and mind for the glory to come. Ask Him to enable you to see something of His character in the joys we experience in this life. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri....

Daily devotional

September 26 – Handling the blessing

That our barns may be full, Supplying all kinds of produce; That our sheep may bring forth thousands, And ten thousands in our fields; – Psalm 144:13 Scripture reading: Psalm 144 “Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings and see what God has done!” Wow, what a long list! As we have been reading this Psalm each day it may have begun to occur to you that the Psalm began with war, but ends with peace. Christ is the centre of the Psalm and His work on the cross – as the One Who allowed abuse to be heaped on Him – brings the peace needed, even while in this world remnants of warfare persist. We are doing “mop-up” work. The warring is ending. So also, the glorying is beginning. Glorification, that is, has already begun to break into this fallen world. One way we see this is the multitude of good gifts our God gives to us. We are richly supplied! This begs a question: How do we handle these blessings? Should we build bigger barns (or multiple thousand square foot homes with multiple car garages)? For what purpose, to what end does God supply His people, many times quite richly? Does money last? Riches wither and supply dwindles. How should we hold what we have? Ask Job. Loosely. Let’s be open-handed Christians. Once we are sure we are providing for our family and our congregation and paying all we owe, we need to be givers. Are you a generous Christian, or stingy? Believers, we give as a testimony to the God Who gave His Son, His only Son for us. Be generous. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to search your heart and reveal the ways you could be more generous. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri....

Daily devotional

September 25 – God of food and finance

That our barns may be full, Supplying all kinds of produce; That our sheep may bring forth thousands, And ten thousands in our fields; – Psalm 144:13 Scripture reading: Psalm 144 “Give us this day our daily bread,” a prayer we have probably uttered countless times. He does hear us. He does. God hears each and every prayer made by His people. Our struggle is probably in believing that He has time to care for us, or is really interested in the minute details of our lives. But this verse admonishes those faithless notions. King David prays that the covenant people have barns full of all kinds of produce and sheep that keep bearing young. He asks for plenty of food and money. In the agrarian culture of the ancient near east, food and flocks meant survival. Do those things come from God? Does He tend to the sprouting, growth and completion of a seed planted in the ground? I would guess many of us can think of different Bible passages (mustard seed; seeds and soils; etc.) which we know prove that God causes agricultural growth. Likewise, God makes or halts pregnancy, as Jacob knew well. Those sheep were money to Jacob! This is what our God is like, dear people. He gives us food and finance to keep us alive. He creates and sustains life in this world, with an abundance of those, such that the Christian can ever prosper. Out of our excess, we offer thanks to the Lord and supply the needs of those less fortunate than we are, and we do so with voluntary generosity. Why? Because our God is like this! Suggestions for prayer Ask God to give you confidence that He will provide all your needs and will give you enough so that you can share with others out of your abundance. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri....

Daily devotional

September 24 – Erecting trees and pillars

That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars, Sculptured in palace style; – Psalm 144:12 Scripture reading: Psalm 144 Have you ever been inclined to say “let go and let God” about a situation in your life? It is sometimes very tempting to take that advice. Yet, even well-intended, that sentiment is bad advice. If you were racing down a steep hill on your bicycle and tried that, I fear it would not end well. I doubt many of us would agree to try that approach with parenting. Why not? Well, because we know ourselves. When you were a teenager, did you do something that later you hoped (and prayed!) would never be known by your parents? Prayer and parenting are not opposed, but are two sides of one coin. This is also that (well-known) secret of the Christian life, we pray and do. The request for deliverance in verse 11 was made with a mind to this “domestic tranquility” which only the Christian family may fully and richly enjoy. The Christian family enjoys this domestic tranquility (not perfectly, though) by applying scriptural truth to all actions within the home and family. Behind all this parenting is prayer to the God Who gives sons as trees (Psalm 1) and daughters looking as majestic temple pillars, full of beauty and might. Yet, along with that praying, we work hard to see them raised as ones who desire to glorify God in all they do (Colossians 3:17). Covenant parenting is part and parcel of the warfare of this Psalm. May He strengthen us for the battle! Suggestions for prayer Ask God to show you the precious gift our children are, and the commitment to do all needed to raise them as covenant children in Christ. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri....

Daily devotional

September 23 – God’s victory in covenant

That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars, Sculptured in palace style; – Psalm 144:12 Scripture reading: Psalm 144 How well do we know God? What do we mean when we call Him “Father”? Are we confident that God, in Christ loves us? Are we sure He will give us all we need, when we need it? These are the kinds of questions that can rattle around in our heart and head when we are looking at a verse like this one. The statements, or requests by the Psalmist, begun in this verse, are very brave – almost daring! Why that, why daring? Because of what is being asked. The requests begin with the home, the family, and goes out from there. But daring, especially in that what the Psalmist actually asks for is a perfect life! Who has a perfect life? Which parents, father or mother, reading this verse has only stout, healthy sons and beautiful, stately daughters? Do any? But we need to go back to that primary question: How well do you know God? Who is He? Is it His intention and plan, in His covenant power and faithfulness to give us beautiful, godly children? Yes, of course it is. Yes. Yes! Beauty and godliness are words which describe God and He is remaking our children, by the mercies of the Lord Jesus Christ, to be men and woman who portray Him. Do you believe that? Whether you do makes all the difference in how you will raise those covenant children. What joy and help it is to know Who God is as we raise our children in His Name! Suggestions for prayer Ask God to convince you that He is generous in giving you children who grow up to be godly men and women. Ask God to do all that is needed to preserve those covenant children. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri....

Daily devotional

September 22 – Delivered by God from the worst attacks

Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, whose mouth speaks lying words, and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood – Psalm 144:11 Scripture reading: Psalm 144 You may have noticed one word changed in the title of the devotional from yesterday to today. Jesus Christ was delivered by His Father to these sufferings for us so that today, the Lord’s Day we can rejoice that we are delivered from such attacks. We are coming to know Who our God is. But what about us? Do we know why this category of attack can be so destructive? David laments the attack of words and deception. These wounds can hurt far more than the blow of sword or financial collapse. The attack of words, lies and deception strike a blow to our heart, our inner man. Paul prayed that we would be… "strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16) because that is where we are the most vulnerable. Strike a blow in the inner man and recovery is difficult and tenuous. Perhaps you know how hurtful these wounds are. In our Christian culture, we still don’t give depression and mental illness their proper place. We tend to think like we can wave a wand and these griefs will wisp away.  Yet, David prays earnestly for rescue from just such a trial – one that is internal, rather than external. We usually can’t see the wound that brought depression, but its sad fruits are quite evident. Rejoice today, believer, that the Lord’s Day is the day to know the shadow of His wings (Psalm 57:1) He will keep you safe from every attack. Trust Him. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to help you rejoice in the shadow of His wings and to keep you safe from every attack. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri....

Daily devotional

September 21 – Delivered by God to the worst attacks

Rescue me and deliver me from the hand of foreigners, whose mouth speaks lying words, and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood – Psalm 144:11 Scripture reading: Psalm 144 A few days ago we saw that these exact words (with one difference – see September 13) appear twice in this Psalm. While repetition in the Old Testament Hebrew is normal, repetition of a negative appeal is not. This devotional exercise has been a practice of repetition because God repeats in the Bible what He wants emphasized. These words are important to Him. He knows we need to have these words pressed into our hearts. This is what a kind and loving Father does. Knowing what we most need, He brings it to our attention twice. Take note of this. God wants us to know how He feels about what will happen to His beloved Son that day of His unjust trial and crucifixion. Those who will cast votes and cause nails to pierce His perfect Son will speak lying words and will be the epitome of falsehood. God wants us to know this. There is another reason we need to know this and we will look at that tomorrow, but first, know God. What we can learn about God today is that He wants you to know His love by what His Son endured for us. The shame and agony of the cross were but one aspect of His suffering – He also was betrayed, even by His closest friends. How He suffered, how terrible His grief. We are so blessed to be able to know Him well, for this is the Father’s desire – that we know and love His Son. Praise Him! Suggestions for prayer Ask God to show you something of Jesus Christ in your Bible reading every day. He is the finest gold and richest treasure we can ever mine in the pages of Scripture. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri....

Daily devotional

September 20 – I need to be saved

The One Who gives salvation to kings, Who delivers David His servant from the deadly sword.– Psalm 144:10 Scripture reading: Psalm 144 What does it mean to be saved? King David faced enemies many times, not just once. Do we get into the mindset that “once saved, always saved” means I have no need to be saved continually? The Apostle Paul didn’t teach that. Actually, in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit brings further clarity to the believer about salvation by using the past tense, the present tense and the future tense. At 2 Timothy 1:9 we are told that God…has saved us and called us with a holy calling. 1 Corinthians 1:18 reminds us that we are those who…are being saved. And 1 Corinthians 3:15 tells us that even weak believers…will be saved. Much more could be shown to prove these points. The question is, who do you know yourself to be? Have you been saved? Are you being saved? Will you be saved? Contemplating these questions reveals what you believe about God and about yourself. Again, what does it mean to be saved? What have you said or done this week that required “saving”? Have you been forgiven? Of course! But did you ask for forgiveness? Do you apply the value of Christ’s work to each and every sinful failure you are aware of? We won’t know all our sins. There are too many to know – but the ones we do know, we should seek forgiveness for and praise Him when we again remember that we have been delivered. What a glorious God we serve! Suggestions for prayer Ask God to show you today how full and rich is the work of Jesus Christ in your life. Ask Him to enable you to truly be thankful for His salvation. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri....

Daily devotional

September 19 – God saves

The One Who gives salvation to kings, Who delivers David His servant from the deadly sword.– Psalm 144:10 Scripture reading: Psalm 144 Do you struggle with sin? Is that a ridiculous question? Most, if not all of us would say that we do struggle with sin. But what do we mean by that and why is that an important question in connection with this verse? King David says here that God gives salvation, delivers David and that deliverance is from a danger which would otherwise cause death. Stop and ponder that. Are you faced with death? At Romans 8:36 Paul quotes Psalm 44:22 to the effect that believers “face death all day long.” Do you believe that? Is sin and temptation that “deadly serious” that you look to God to rescue you from certain destruction? How would that frame of mind improve your appreciation for Who God is? We need to go back to this question again – Who is God? Well, He is the deliverer. He saves. God brings us out of death. He gives us life hour by hour, day after day. This is Who He is and what He does. Professing this, our frame of reference for understanding who we are is altered – improved. God keeps us safe, not we ourselves. God delivers us more than we make choices that keep us safe.  We put on the full armor, but it is the “armor of God” that we put on. He saves! We need our thinking sanctified so that our behaving will follow in line. God is our deliverer, He saves! Suggestions for prayer Ask God to remind you that you are far weaker than you realize. Ask Him this, not to make less of you, but to make more of Him! This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri....

Daily devotional

September 18 – So why sing?

I will sing a new song to You, O God; On a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You, – Psalm 144:9 Scripture reading: Psalm 144 David is here responding to grace. This is why we sing. Songs of praise come forth from our hearts through our mouths because we do desire to honour, thank, extol and exalt the God Who has given so much to us. We remember, however, that this is a Psalm of warfare. David was a warrior king. The praise he offers to God through music is a response to military victory. God is the deliverer. He brought His people through battles and wars and they responded with songs of acclaim and thanksgiving. This makes the Psalm new to us again. Our battles are not with ‘flesh and blood’ but with spiritual forces of evil. Are our battles less important and less significant than were David’s and other Old Testament saints? We know enough to say, “No, our battles are not less important.” Neither are they less severe and challenging. When you know God has preserved you during a time of temptation or in the midst of a spiritual battle, do you feel like praising Him? Do you consider a song of adoration and thanksgiving? We need to ask questions of our own heart about how we respond to having been delivered. What I mean is, though we would never criticize King David for singing a song of praise to God for a military victory against an enemy of the covenant people…would we be very slow to sing songs of praise for deliverance out of temptation? If so, why? Praise God with Music! Suggestions for prayer Ask God to show you two or three ways He has delivered you in the past days so that you will know why praising Him with music is a blessing instead of a duty. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri....

Daily devotional

September 17 – The God worthy of song

I will sing a new song to You, O God; On a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You, – Psalm 144:9 Scripture reading: Psalm 144 Martin Luther once wrote something to the effect of…next to the Bible itself, music is God’s greatest gift to mankind. We each probably know something of the power of music. Concert venues are usually packed to overflowing when a popular musician is in town. Many people have their favourite songs playing in their vehicle or on their personal listening devices. We love music. God says here that He loves music that is dedicated to Him. He created music as a means to glorify Him. You probably already know that life in the new heavens and new earth will be music-full! But what we are asking in this series of devotionals is, first, Who is God? Why would music bring Him pleasure? Well, He is creative and loves artistry and aesthetic beauty. I believe He gave songs to whales that they might sing to bring Him pleasure. He is enthroned upon the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3) and that praise-full enthronement is via music. For reasons not fully revealed, His nature and being resonate with joy to the sounds of musical praise. When we then seek to answer the question, Who is God, in relationship to music, we seek to say that He is able to be joyful. God is pleased by praise through music. Does this knowledge of an aspect of God change how you plan to worship Him on the coming Lord’s Day? He is delighted by music, and singing that praises Him is most excellent music indeed! Suggestions for prayer Ask God to give you a new appreciation for music. Pray that you would love to praise Him as much as He delights to receive joy through praise. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri....

Daily devotional

September 16 – Living with liars

Whose mouth speaks vain words, And whose right hand is a hand of falsehood. – Psalm 144:8 Scripture reading: Psalm 144 The Lord’s Day was a blessing – and we needed it. Perhaps you heard exactly what you needed to hear, sang a song your heart really needed, or maybe your experience of God’s grace in a sacrament nourished your heart. But now it’s Monday. Great, back to the land of liars. Oh, is that too harsh? So, the Bible is wrong? Man has “progressed” as the liberals and evolutionists want us to believe? We know the Bible is not wrong and we know that we go back to work among those who are not guilt-stricken when they lie or break a promise. Now what? Now we are in the day of opportunity! We know it’s wrong to lie, we know God would have us tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth….and that means we get to tell them of Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and the life! Monday is evangelism day. Monday is “tell the truth day.” Try these three ideas: First, tell them, truthfully, that you actually do care about them and their troubles. Most unbelievers will be shocked out of their socks to hear someone does love them. Second, tell them that the whole Bible is true. Don’t argue, just tell. The Holy Spirit will do His work. Third, tell them that you will pray for them. The truth will win out over all lies and we are blessed to be the people of the truth. Speak truth in love. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to give you love and concern for your unbelieving neighbor. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri....

Daily devotional

September 15 – God contra mundum

Whose mouth speaks vain words, And whose right hand is a hand of falsehood. – Psalm 144:8 Scripture reading: Psalm 144 You have now read this Psalm 15 times. Since that is the case, you might have noticed that the last part of verse 7 and verse 8 are largely repeated in verse 11. That is very significant in a way we will discuss at verse 11. For now, do take note, on the Lord’s Day, that the complaint King David has here is about lying and a double-cross. He trusted another human and that person has destroyed David’s confidence by a lie. God is not like the world (1 John 2:15-17). God is truth while all in the world will lie to us. “Let God be true and every man a liar!” (Romans 3:4). God intends for you to find assurance in His promises today. The Lord’s Day is when the church gathers together in a particular place and is reminded and taught that God tells the truth. He speaks only Words of Truth and when He makes a promise, He keeps it. Someone might get baptized today. The most significant thing about that baptism is that God makes a promise, His covenant, to that child or adult. He keeps His Word. We are covenant Christians. Our hope and certainty are built on God’s Word – He keeps His promises. What a blessing and what joy for us to know that all is well with my soul because God does all He promises. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to show you how His truth has already changed your life in many different ways. Ask Him to use this Lord’s Day to give you ever deeper assurance in His promises. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Harold Miller is the pastor of the Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) of Kansas City, Missouri....

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