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Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

Wednesday August 29 - Employers and employees

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

Daily devotional

Tuesday August 28 - Parents and children

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

Daily devotional

Monday August 27 - Husbands and wives

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

Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

Saturday August 25 - Love that binds together in perfect harmony

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

Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

Thursday August 23 - Christ is all and in all

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

Daily devotional

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

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

Daily devotional

Tuesday August 21 - Seeking the things that are above

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

Daily devotional

Monday August 20 - Hidden with Christ in God

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

Daily devotional

Sunday August 19 - Guard your freedom in Christ

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

Daily devotional

Saturday August 18 - Disarming the rulers and authorities

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

Daily devotional

Friday August 17 - Raised with Christ in baptism

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

Daily devotional

Thursday August 16 - Buried with Christ in baptism

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

Daily devotional

Wednesday August 15 - Baptism as an identity marker

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

Daily devotional

Tuesday August 14 - Filled with the fullness of God

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

Daily devotional

Monday August 13 - Maturing in Christ

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

Daily devotional

Sunday August 12 - Maturity in Christ and spiritual warfare

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

Daily devotional

Saturday August 11 - Maturity in Christ

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

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