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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....

Daily devotional

January 26 – God is beautiful

One thing I have desired of the Lord, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple. - Psalm 27:4 Scripture reading: Psalm 27 Although the fact that God is beautiful might be strictly speaking more of an experiential reality than an attribute of God, it still shows us something of Who God is. We could say that God's beauty is an offshoot of God's goodness and/or holiness. For not only did God create our physical universe in such a way that everything sparkles with unique beauty, but especially in worship we are expected to worship Him in the beauty of holiness. The deep longing of David is to be close to God, for he knows that when we are intimate with God we experience the loveliness and comfort of His glorious character. We can study God's character factually, but this verse calls us to know Him with our whole being, both mind and heart experiencing His favour, His closeness and relishing in His loveliness. How important for us to know this experiential reality! So, let's ask ourselves today, "Do I know this experiential reality in which God is lovely, desirable, and beautiful to me?" If not, is it perhaps because we are not seeking Him with singleness of heart and focus? Ask Him to be close today! If we do, then let's praise God and let's treasure His beauty! God promised one day believers will see the King (our precious Lord Jesus) in His beauty with our very eyes (Isaiah 33:17). Now we see Him only by faith, but then we will see Him face to face treasuring Him in His temple forever (1 John 3:2). Suggestions for prayer Moses asked the Lord to show His glory. Let us ask today for God to show His beauty to our hearts. Thank God for the hope of the Gospel for all believers, who will one day see Jesus, the King in His beauty, face to face. 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 25 – God is perfect

Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. - Matthew 5:48 Scripture reading: Matthew 5:37-48 Jesus never shied away from confronting us with God's perfect moral standard. In this text, He requires perfection. The reason for this, according to Jesus, is because your Father in heaven is perfect! Think about it, God is complete, faultless and totally sufficient in every aspect of Himself; His Being is perfect. His ways, words, laws, and desires are perfect. His knowledge and wisdom are perfect. He is impeccable! One of the glorious ways in which God's perfection is shown is that He patiently allows rebellious sinners to enjoy His generosity. He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and the unjust. Even when they try to fault God, their attempts tragically show they are blinded to the glory of God's perfection. That's because they are blinded to the glory of God's Son and to their own imperfections. God's powerful remedy is opening our eyes to the glory of Christ, the only Mediator our High Priest. Hebrews states about Him, "For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; (…)  for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself." (Hebrews 7:26-28). Christ offered Himself up for rebels, such as we are by nature. Will we by the power of His Spirit, mirror His generosity towards rebellious and blind sinners around us? Suggestions for prayer Pray that you and I may reflect more of God's perfect character through the power of His Holy Spirit living in us. 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 24 – God is wrathful

God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; The Lord avenges and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies; The LORD is slow to anger and great in power and will not at all acquit the wicked. - Nahum 1:2-3a Scripture reading: Nahum 1 God's love for His people as well as His holy hatred and revulsion for sin, together with His righteous desire for justice, requires that the Lord will punish all evil and evildoers. Though God is slow to anger, all the wicked, unbelievers and unrepentant sinners will be punished. None will escape His wrath. It is reserved and stored up for His enemies. Nahum prophesied against Nineveh, years after Jonah saw them repent. They had returned right back to their violent sins and immoral wickedness. When we look around at world powers and governments promoting wickedness, we see similar things. Though God still patiently allows much evil, one day His wrath over sin will be poured out. Our comfort is that He will punish all evil at a global scale for everyone who ever lived. Eternal shame, reproach and wrath will be heaped upon those who have not seriously sought to escape His wrath by fleeing to and trusting in Jesus Christ. Micah asks, "Who can endure the fierceness of His anger?" (vs. 6). Obviously none! Please let the consequences of God's wrath sink in for a moment - eternal damnation. Knowing this, would anyone want anyone else to endure God's eternal wrath? Shouldn't our feet skip over the mountains of impossibilities to bring the good tidings of the Gospel, proclaiming peace through Jesus Christ? (vs. 15). Paul allowed the wrath of God, together with Christ's love to motivate him in evangelism (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10-14). Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Lord would give us a burden for souls who are not saved. When we feel intimidated by evangelism, pray for boldness and opportunities to reach the lost and God's empowering Holy Spirit to lead and guide you. 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 23 – God is jealous

For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. – Exodus 34:14 Scripture reading: Exodus 34:1-17 When we read God's law, we can hear that God is jealous. But have we ever stopped to consider what this means? Some people wonder how God can hate people while He is love. We need to recognize that God does not love all people in the same way. Those who are in covenant to Him by faith, are the ones He loves with a special love. Their devotion to Him, He guards jealously. He expects believers to be faithful, loyal, loving and continually learning about Him and His glory. However, often His people are shown to be covenant-breakers, as we see in the context of our text. This comes right after the episode with the golden calf. Yet, as Moses desired to see God's glory, the Lord graciously granted Moses' request. This not only reveals God's glorious name (vs 6-7), but He adds, "My name is Jealous!" (vs. 17). We recognize that this is a good thing because this is the passionate zeal that guards the exclusivity of the marriage covenant between God and His people. Jealousy evokes anger against an unfaithful spouse. God demands and desires our total commitment and surrender to Him and His glory. No spiritual adultery! Of ourselves, we are covenant-breakers; this is seen in Joshua 24:19. However, God by His Spirit, and through the ministry of His servants, will jealously guard the relationship to betroth us unto one husband, so that we may be presented as a chaste virgin to Christ. (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:2). Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the fact that His name is Jealous and pray that He will guard your relationship with Him jealously so that you can enjoy more of the love of Christ in your life. 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 22 – God is just

For I proclaim the name of the Lord: Ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He. - Deuteronomy 32:3-4 Scripture reading: Deuteronomy 32:1-18 God's justice means God gives us only and always strictly what we deserve. Justice is a glorious attribute which, on the one hand, can be very comforting, but, on the other hand, can make us tremble. It can be very comforting when we (have) experienced abuse, injustice and are hurt by the sins of others, or when we groan about the results of our fall into sin. At Sodom's destruction, Abraham was comforted by this thought, "Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Meanwhile, it can make us tremble to think what would happen if God would give us sinners perfect justice. It would mean that you and I would be enduring the destructive fires of God's wrath in hell; none of us are exempt. We know everything God does is perfect; His judgments are perfect! He is truth-filled and without any injustice. Yet, perhaps you wonder, how can we rejoice in and celebrate God's glorious justice? We can when, like Lot, we flee out of sinful Sodom to Zoar, or to echo our text, when we flee to the Rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ! On Golgotha, He received the just punishment we deserve for our sin. Now He can be both just and the Justifier of those who believe in Him. That's perfectly satisfying justice! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for His satisfied justice in Christ. Pray that we would not forget this, especially in times when we feel entitled, discontent, and are tempted to grumble, or slow to leave our sins. Christ paid dearly to earn justice exalting God's mercy. 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 21 – God is righteous

I have not spoken in secret, In a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, 'Seek Me in vain'; I, the Lord, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. – Isaiah 45:19 Scripture reading: Isaiah 45:15-25 What is righteousness? It is doing things in harmony with God's standard. What is God's righteousness? It is the perfection of God whereby He always acts perfectly consistent with His laws and spoken words. In our text, Isaiah says that God's people will not seek Him in vain! If God says that He allows Himself to be found by us (Isaiah 55:6), then He will indeed reveal Himself to us when we seek Him. But the opposite is true too. God says in vs. 16, if someone continues to serve idols, shame, disgrace and confusion are awaiting them. When God commands all the ends of the earth to look to Him so they will be saved because there is no other God, His righteousness demands that He will save us when we indeed look to Him for that salvation. (vs. 22). In chapter 46:12-13 the Lord says, "Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted, who are far from righteousness: I will bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off. My Salvation shall not linger." This is the Gospel! God brings salvation and righteousness near through Jesus Christ, even to the stubborn-hearted and those living far from God! When we bow our knee to Him, we will confess, "Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength!" (45:25). In Jesus, the perfectly Righteous Savior, God Himself comes close, fulfils the law, imputes righteousness and teaches us to live righteously! Are we daily seeking God's kingdom and righteousness in Christ? Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to make God's Kingdom and His righteousness the first priority in your life. Pray that we may more deeply learn of the glory that God is righteous (consistently dependable) and gives righteousness in Jesus Christ. 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 20 – God is merciful

Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. – Micah 7:18 Scripture reading: Micah 7:14-20 Micah the prophet, was called to expose the sins of the people. As a good lawyer, Micah thoroughly prosecuted the people of God on the Lord's behalf. He confronted their despicable sins: fraud, hypocrisy, greed, injustice, extortion and lying. But as is often the case, God's people did not want to budge. He tells them judgment will come if they persist! Yet, Micah does not leave God's people hopeless. In the last verses of his prophecy, he focuses their attention on God. He reminds the people by asking a rhetorical question, "Who is a God like You?!" If you come and confess your sin and humble yourselves before the Lord, know there is no God like ours! He pardons iniquity. He passes over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage. To those who truly know Him through faith and ongoing repentance, He does not retain His anger forever! He forgives like no one and nothing else! Completely and comprehensively! Why? Because our God delights in mercy! He is full of steadfast love and faithfulness. He keeps His side of the covenant, even when His people break their side of the covenant, by their wicked sins! They may return, trusting that He is not stingy, nor reluctant but happy, delighting to forgive their sins. Why? Because of what Jesus did on the cross. It pleased God to bruise Him, and delight in mercy towards repentant sinners. Suggestions for prayer Thank God that He, for Christ's sake, delights in mercy. And let's be humbly grateful that God found pleasure in bruising His precious Son, in order to show us how expensive mercy really is to Him. 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 19 – God is patient

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. - 2 Peter 3:9 Scripture reading: 2 Peter 3:3-13 God is patient! The fact that this world still exists in spite of all the wickedness that takes place, shows God's patience. Our smallest sin is infinitely despicable in God's eyes. This shows God's patience because our sins are committed against the infinitely high and holy Lord God. The fact that the Lord forgives His children even when at times we still fall into sin, failing to honour Him, shows God is patient. This world will one day end with judgement. Glory is awaiting all who trust the Lord Jesus Christ. A world on which righteousness dwells is promised to all who love the Lord Jesus in sincerity. Mockers, on the one hand, say, "Why didn't God fulfil His promise yet." Believers, on the other hand, stand in awe, "How can God tolerate so much sin?" Peter reminds us that the Lord is not slow to fulfil His promises. Peter writes, But the Lord is patient! He is not willing that any should perish. God is still bringing in the lost. He will continue to bring sinners to gracious repentance until the end, because He is patient! He assures us that He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked! If you think God is ready to give up on you, remember His patience! If you think you are beyond hope and your sin too great, remember God shows His patience so that you come to Him in repentance. Remember, God is slow to anger! Suggestions for prayer Pray for awe for such patience with yourself and our dark world. Pray that we would not lose sight of God's amazing patience, but that many would come to repentance. 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 18 – God is good

So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God." - Luke 18:19 Scripture reading: Luke 18:18-30 Jesus challenged the rich young ruler because it looked as if this man wanted to be commended by Him. If I call Him good Teacher, he thought, Jesus might call me good too. This man knew nothing about Jesus' perfections because he was puffed up about his own. He felt he was doing surprisingly well. This happens when we are blind to the spiritual nature and inflexible standard of God's law. The law is good, because God is good. And the law reflects God's character. "Everything that can be genuinely defined as good, is in some way, a reflection of God's character" Brad Hambrick wrote. When Jesus asks, "Why do you call me good?" He is not asserting that He is not good, but is testing to see if this man has any idea how good He really is and whether this man understands Who He really is. Jesus says, "No one is good but One, that is God!" We all know Jesus is God and therefore He is good! He alone kept the law perfectly. When Jesus confronts the rich young ruler with real goodness, gaining true riches in heaven instead of treasures on earth, this man went away sorrowful because he did not understand his covetous heart. Would you have stayed and followed Jesus? Or does all the goodness of this world eclipse the true goodness of God in your life? If so then you are no different from the rich young ruler. Oh, that you would have eyes to see God's goodness today! Suggestions for prayer Pray that God's goodness in our lives would not be eclipsed in any way by our inflated view of our own goodness. Instead pray that we would know God's goodness, through Christ our perfect law keeper. 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 17 – God is love

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. - 1 John 4:16 Scripture reading: 1 John 4:7-21 Many define love as a warm and fuzzy feeling. Is that true about God's love? No, God's love is about an unwavering commitment He has in His own blessed being, from eternity. God's love is visible in everything He does! Love starts in Himself; The Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father, in love through the Holy Spirit. God's sheer love motivated Him to create. His overflowing love poured into all of creation. It's God's love that motivated Him to make such a glorious world, such perfect creatures, able to enjoy and share His love. Tragedy struck when God's love was rejected in our Fall. Think about God's just wrath over sin; it's actually our rejection of His eternal, overflowing and fully satisfying love. Yet, sin did not stop God from loving sinners, verse 10 says, "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins." Or, as in Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Jesus' death, bloody sacrifice, perfect obedience to His Father's will, are all manifestations of God's love to loveless sinners. God's love is still first, "We love Him because He first loved us" (vs. 19). And His love in us cannot but be poured into other lives, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (vs. 11). Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will relish more in God's love shown in creation and Christ and that His unfathomable love might motivate you in everything you do today. 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 16 – God is holy

And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!" – Isaiah 6:3 Scripture reading: Isaiah 6:1-8 This verse gives us a glimpse of heaven. Immediately, we are struck by glorious angels exalting God's holiness. No other attribute is repeated three times in Scripture as His holiness is. This is significant! Is it because God's holiness in His radiant beauty perhaps best describes Who He really is? Trying to define His holiness is not so easy. We can say holy means "to be set apart", and "utterly pure, separated from sin." But unfortunately, unlike these angels, we can say that, without being impressed by God's sheer otherness and infinite purity. Strikingly, when these sinless creatures exalt the Lord for His holiness, it humbles them! They cover their faces, they cover their feet, and fly with the other set of wings. What a lesson for us! Seeing something of God's holiness made Isaiah tremble and become acutely aware of his own sinfulness. And so will we! We will cry out with Isaiah, "I am undone - unravelling!" But at the same time, it prepares us to seek God's glory in this world. For when the Lord asked, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Isaiah eagerly answered, "Here am I, send me!" Looking to these holy angels to learn about holiness is good and necessary. But, looking to Jesus, our perfect High Priest, is better! For it is His holiness these angels exalt! Jesus, higher than the heavens, is holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners! He approaches God on our behalf! That's good news for unholy sinners! Suggestions for prayer Pray that God's holiness would grip you, supplying fresh appreciation for Christ and make you desirous to spread God's gospel and glory in this world. 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 15 – God is faithful

Great is Your faithfulness. - Lamentations 3:23b  Scripture reading: Lamentations 3:22-25 In preparation, I read this question, "How many people do you know who, no matter what the circumstances and no matter how they feel, will always do exactly what they say they will do every single time, (...) With the same thoroughness and perfection that you never have to worry about anything they say or do, because you know if they say it, they will definitely do it without fail, without change and without excuse?" That is what we mean with faithfulness! Not to be found in man, but found perfectly in God! Jeremiah, who sat upon the smoking heap of Jerusalem's ruins, knew that God was faithful! God had warned His people over and over not to continue in their sin. Yet, they would not hear! He threatened them over and over that if they would continue, God would allow Jerusalem to be ruined, the land to be forsaken, and His people to be exiled. God faithfully kept His promise to punish His unfaithful people. William Hendriksen observes, "Divine faithfulness is a wonderful comfort to those who are loyal. It is a very earnest warning for those who might be inclined to become disloyal." Jeremiah knew it firsthand, on top of the rubble... Deeply aware of what he really deserved, namely a total wipe-out (vs.22). Yet, he celebrates God's compassionate faithfulness toward himself and his people! Every morning he still saw new mercies! Undeserved! (vs.23). Can you see them too, especially when you consider your own daily unfaithfulness? Suggestions for prayer Consider and confess your unfaithfulness and God's faithful mercies. Thank God for Christ's faithful obedience, even unto death, to cover your unfaithfulness (1 John 1:9). Pray that you would serve the Lord faithfully today. 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 14 – God is true

God, who cannot lie, promised before time began... - Titus 1:2b Scripture reading: Titus 1:1-4 Paul wrote to Titus who was in a culture similar to ours, a culture of lies, in which appearance and popularity are valued over truth and faithfulness. We are surrounded by fake news, empty promises and by science (falsely-so-called). How confusing that can be. But blessed be the Lord, there is not the slightest hint of untruth in God Himself! Paul reminds Titus and us that God is the God Who cannot lie! He is the God of absolute truth! In the Old Testament, the Lord often revealed Himself as the God of truth (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29). Promises made before creation will be fulfilled. He kept each one of His promises concerning His Son, Jesus Christ. Truly, His promises are Yes and Amen in Jesus Christ! Jesus said about Himself, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." He is not only saying that He is trustworthy, and the Source of all Truth, but rather that He is the embodiment of Truth! When Jesus stood before Pilate, a lying judge, about to suffer for speaking nothing but the truth, He confessed a good confession when He said, "For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." Will you listen to His voice today, following His truth, even when it painfully exposes our lies? Suggestions for prayer Thank God for His truth! Let us also pray that the Truth of Jesus will set us more and more free, that we would be truth-seekers and truth-tellers, and filled with God's Spirit of Truth, in a world of lies. 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 13 – God is wise

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. – Daniel 2:20b Scripture reading: Daniel 2:14-23 Yesterday, we considered that God knows all things perfectly. But there is more to God's knowledge.  He uses His perfect knowledge of everything for the very best purposes, with the very best means possible, for His greatest glory and our greatest good! That is His wisdom! 100% trustworthy! The Lord makes His knowledge and wisdom available to us. He did so with Daniel so that lives would be spared and the king's dream could be explained. It brought Daniel to humble adoration, for the Lord is the Source of all wisdom! God's wisdom is not only seen in how He governs the world and upholds creation, but especially in how He designed His marvellous plan of salvation! Who could ever have thought about a world like ours? But even more so, who could ever have thought about a plan of salvation in which both justice and mercy are fully satisfied, and wretched sinners are saved to the uttermost? What unfathomable wisdom it is that the cross, (which is considered foolishness by many, and a stumbling block to others), is the place where God shows His wisdom, by crucifying Christ, God's Wisdom, in order to save fools! Truly, the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of the wisest person on earth! (1 Corinthians 1:20-31). Let us, like Daniel, adore God's breath-taking wisdom wherever we see it in His creation, in His providence and most of all in His wonderful salvation! Let us trust His wisdom, even when we don't understand it. Suggestions for prayer Praise God for His wisdom, especially for the wisdom shown in the Gospel. Also, pray for the grace to trust His Wisdom especially in times when you don't understand what He is doing in your life. 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 12 – God is all-knowing

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! - Psalm 139:17 Scripture reading: Psalm 139:11-24 We finite creatures never stop learning, unless we are too proud to learn anything new. But think about it, "There is no limit to what God knows, and there is nothing He needs to learn!" The Psalmist shows us that dark and light do not make a difference to God. Nothing escapes His knowledge. For Him, the night shines as the day! He does not only know the universe in its endless complexity, the greatest marvel is that He knows us! When you and I were created and formed, nothing escaped His attention. He knew us in the most perfect way. When His Almighty power shaped our unformed substance, there was nothing that escaped His attention. Indeed, How great is the sum of God's thoughts! God's knowledge of us, should make us honest and repentant before God, like the Psalmist, who says, "Search me, O God, and know my heart… and see if there is any wicked way in me, lead me in the way everlasting." Let's never forget, He knows what you do at school, at your job, whether doors are open or closed, whether you are behind your screen, or behind another machine. He even knows your and my thoughts, anxieties and sins. He knows us, sees us, even when we might think nobody sees us. This is only comforting to us when we know and trust Christ's saving power and Christ's knowledge of us. Then we say, "How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!" Suggestions for prayer Thank God for His thoughts toward you, that He knows you. Pray you may learn more of His thoughts toward you in Christ, and that His thoughts might become ever more marvelous and precious to you. 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 11 – God is every-where present

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? – Psalm 139:7 Scripture reading: Psalm 139:1-10 The Puritan Stephen Charnock, wrote, "Innumerable worlds cannot be a sufficient place to contain God; He can only be a sufficient place to Himself." That's the reality of God being everywhere present! He is in constant touch with the universe He created. He is present on our planet, in the sky, in space, in heaven and in hell. But still, God is greater; He is beyond everything created. We realize that God is not present everywhere in the same way. In hell, for instance, He is present with His judging power and in creation with His upholding power. Yet, there is nothing better than His special and favourable presence with us when His hand leads us and His powerful right-hand holds us. In the Old Testament, God was present through His Shekinah glory cloud filling the tabernacle. But in the New Testament, that glory cloud hovered over His Son, as He came to be graciously and truthfully present with us when He pitched His tabernacle among us (John 1:14). After Pentecost, His glory cloud still fills His temple, God's people. Through His Spirit, we can daily enjoy His favourable presence. God's Spiritual presence is so rich. He visits us when we are lonely, showing us our comforts in Christ. How we need a greater sense of His presence! Not just for our comfort, but especially in moments of temptation, so that we would say with Joseph, "How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" Suggestions for prayer Thank God for Jesus, Who is God with us! Pray that you may be reminded of and comforted more by the presence of God's Holy Spirit and that His presence would guard you against sin and temptation, today. 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 10 – God is sovereign

For the Lord is our Judge, The Lord is our Lawgiver, The Lord is our King; He will save us. - Isaiah 33:22   Scripture reading: Isaiah 33:13-24 Our government has a division of powers. Generally, a person is not a judge, lawmaker and prime minister or president all at once. Sinners who have all these three tasks, generally end up dictators. Not so with God! When we say God is sovereign, we mean He has all authority. He is our righteous Judge, Who decides, based on His tailor-made laws, how everything should be ordered in His Kingdom, for His glory and for our good. None can resist His will; none can do anything He has not ordained. Our problem, since our Fall in Paradise, is that we are law-breakers by trade; we have rebelled against His rule in our lives and He must judge us for our sins! Our Lord as Judge, Lawgiver and King will never make mistakes. He will be perfectly righteous and just. Abraham was certain, when he said, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25). The short answer is, "He will!" Yet, our King, Lawgiver and Judge is also perfectly merciful! Our text shows He will save us! Salvation is through Christ, Who had God's law perfectly written on His heart. He is able to save lawbreakers! Jesus Himself, Who has all authority in heaven and earth, died on the cross and rose again and can therefore pardon rebels like us. Jesus will judge! Because He was treated as the criminal and traded places with Barabases (cf. Luke 23:18; 2 Corinthians 5:21), He liberates us through His glorious Kingship! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for His sovereign justice and mercy! Thank God for Christ and the Gospel. Pray that you will enter His glorious Kingdom by faith and that He will write His law upon your heart today (Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 10:16), ruling you by His Holy Spirit, until you see Jesus as your Savior and Judge. 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 9 – God is all-powerful

Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing. – Isaiah 40:26 Scripture reading: Isaiah 40:25-31 Just consider for a moment, God created 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone. And as far as we know, there are probably 125 billion galaxies in the universe. In this text, we are invited to look up and consider, not just the incredible number of stars, but especially the Creator Who counts each one of them, and more astonishingly has names for each of them! (cf. Psalm 147:4). Now, the creation of stars shows God's incredible power! But let's not forget that they are just a fragment of God's power on display in creation. He also created everything else, from the tiniest molecule to the greatest mountain. He is All-powerful! Are we able to measure the waters of this world in the hollow of our hand? Are we able to weigh the mountains in a balance? (Isaiah 40:12). God is! He didn't grow weary or faint when He created everything. Nothing can ever wear out His strength! Let us be astonished about His All-mighty power! The truth is, nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37). That doesn't mean that He will do everything we want. We know He does everything for His glory and our good. Still, it does mean that He can, if He so desires, do everything we ask for. The fact that you and I feel weak or weary doesn't hinder Him in the least! He is able to renew our strength. Let's wait upon Him in prayer (vs. 29-31 cf. Ephesians 3:20). Suggestions for prayer Let's keep in mind that when we pray to God, that nothing is too hard, too complicated or too strong for Him. But at the same time let us submit to His powerful will for our lives. He does all things for His glory and our good! 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 8 – God is infinite

But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built! – 2 Chronicles 6:18 Scripture reading: 2 Chronicles 6:12-21 Think about this: God is beyond measurements! We cannot define Him by size or amount like we do with ourselves. We measure our length and weight; there are boundaries to each one of us.  But God has no limits! When Solomon built a temple for the Lord, his prayer shows that he was acutely aware of the fact that a temple could never contain our immense God. Even God's own throne room cannot limit God. When we think about God's infinity, it is not just the fact that God is infinite in His dimensions. No, His infinity defines every other attribute of God! And how encouraging this is because our greatest problem is that, by nature, we are sinners against our infinitely holy God. Matthew Mead, a Puritan, shows us the comfort of the Gospel and how that links to God's infinity: Alas! It is an infinite righteousness that must satisfy for our sins, for it is an infinite God that is offended by us. If ever your sin be pardoned, it is infinite mercy that must pardon it; if ever you be reconciled to God, it is infinite merit must do it; if ever your heart be changed, and your soul renewed, it is infinite power must effect it; and if ever your soul escape hell, and be saved at last, it is infinite grace must save it. Such grace should make us infinitely thankful when we enter the infinity of eternity. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for infinite grace and mercy, and let us humble ourselves, trusting that Christ took the infinite wrath of God on our behalf, as our sins are infinitely offensive to our infinite God. 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 7 – God is eternal

But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. – 2 Peter 3:8 Scripture reading: 2 Peter 3:1-13 God lives in an eternal present! For God, there is no past or future. He knows our yesterdays in the same way He knows our tomorrows. Peter reminds us that one day with God is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. He not only knows everything in His eternal present, He exists in this eternal present. He cannot be captured in terms of our time. He is the great I AM! Time began to exist when He created us. Before that, there was no time. Mind-boggling! Amazingly, He still gives us time to repent and trust in His Son, offering us eternal life! When we do not use our time to repent of our sins, we face the eternal fire of hell. There, those who refused to serve God will face His eternal wrath. Eternal death will not only feel like slow time, just as going through suffering always seems to take long, but worse, it will never end. What mercy that God still calls sinners to repentance, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance! When we do repent, or have done so, we may be certain that our times are in His hands. That's why Peter also writes about the promised new heaven and earth upon which righteousness dwells. What hope we have in Christ! We will enjoy God's favourable presence forever! Believer, what bliss awaits us! Suggestions for prayer Let us thank and praise the Lord for the promise of eternal life through Christ. Let us also intercede for the unsaved, realizing that they are awaiting eternal misery unless they repent. 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 6 – God is self-existent

For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. – Romans 11:36 Scripture reading: Romans 11:33-12:2 When Paul stood on the Areopagus and spoke to the Athenians, he showed them that God is self-existent. He told them that He doesn't live in a temple made with hands, nor is He worshipped by us as though He needs something. In other words, Paul showed that God has never ever been in need! When He created us and the world, it did not change God in His essence. He doesn't need us. This humbles us and when we understand this, it also puts us in our rightful place. Paul shows in Romans 11, that God is the source of all things; all things are of Him, that is, created by Him. Secondly, all things are through Him; He is the means by which everything comes into being. And all things are to Him; that means, He is the goal of everything in this world. In other words, everything originates in God, was made by God, and is to manifest His glory. In light of God's self-existence,  we realize that we cannot twist God's arm. He doesn't need us, we need Him! It makes us realize how different God is from us, especially when we stare our own puniness and neediness in the face. Therefore, this God comes to us today and calls us with the Athenians and every man everywhere to repent! Why? Don't we too often proudly think that we can do without this God or that we are self-sufficient while only God is? Suggestions for prayer Praise God for needing nothing, not even us. Repent from every form of pride and self-sufficiency. Pray for greater dependency on Him and humility toward Him. 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 5 – God is transcendent

The Lord is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, who dwells on high? – Psalm 113:4-5 Scripture reading: Psalm 113 God is transcendent. You might wonder what that means. It means that God exists above and independent from anything and everything in our universe. In our text, it says, "He is above the nation; and the heavens; there is no God like Him, who dwells on High!" God is transcendent, that means He is exalted above everything. When we learn that God is transcendent, we realize that God should be worshipped with reverence and godly fear! We should not worship Him flippantly, but rather with great respect for Him, because He is so far beyond us and anything created which we see around us. God is transcendent, and yet we marvel that God is not unconcerned about His creatures and His creation!  He is also immanent, being very close to and caring for His creatures, especially for His own. Psalm 113 shows this very clearly. On the one hand, God is high, exalted, above and beyond anything and everything. Think about it: God even has to humble Himself to see the things that are taking place on this earth! And yet, as He humbles Himself, He looks in compassion on His creatures, raising the poor from the dust, lifting the needy out of the ash heap and granting motherhood to the barren. This is our God! Gloriously transcendent, yet preciously immanent, because of our Savior Jesus, Who came close to us when He dwelt among us. Praise the Lord! Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord that He is above everything and anything else, yet, that He is so gracious to humble Himself to see our need. Thank Him especially for sending His Son to show that He is near.  Pray for His nearness to you today. 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 4 – God is triune

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen. – 2 Corinthians 13:14 Scripture reading: Matthew 3:13-17 The fact that God is Triune, is strictly speaking not an attribute. However, we cannot know God properly when we don't understand that God is Three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet truly One God. Our minds again are stretched when we think about God as Three and yet One. We often distinguish His blessed Persons, for instance, when we say that the Father chose His people from eternity, the Son came and redeemed sinners like us by living, dying and rising from the dead, and that the Holy Spirit comes and lives in us, changing and transforming us. And yet, these three Persons are One God! Salvation is of the One, Only True and Triune God! When we think about and pray to, or meditate about God, it is easier to do so One Person at a time. But an important question to ponder is, "How should we understand God's Tri-unity?" Jonathan Edwards, a great Puritan theologian, probably understood this best. This is what he believed about the Trinity: God the Father is God in an absolute manner, while the Son is generated by God's self-understanding or idea about Himself, and the Holy Spirit is His infinite love that freely flows to Himself. How glorious God is! He knows Himself perfectly in His Son, and He loves Himself perfectly in the Holy Spirit! And this is the God Who has been pleased to love and know us through His Son, in the powerful love of the Holy Spirit! Suggestions for prayer Praise God for being Triune, relational in Himself, knowing and loving Himself. Pray that you may know Him better and love Him more, as your loving Father, blessed Savior, in the satisfying fellowship of His Holy Spirit. 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 3 – God is Spirit

God is Spirit: and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. - John 4:24 Scripture reading: John 4:15-26 We all have both a body and a spirit. There is something invisible in each one of us. We see that most strikingly when a loved one dies. The body is still there, but the spirit is not. How tragic and devastating is the result of sin. So, death, among other things, teaches us for a fact that we all have a spirit. In our text, God says that He Himself is Spirit. He is pure Spirit. He doesn't have a body. Yet, He shows Himself to us. How is that possible? Through His Word, we read about glorious appearances to both sinners and saints. When still in Paradise, God's Spirit spoke directly to Adam's spirit. This glorious, intimate and spiritual connection was ruined by our Fall into sin. As a result, by nature, we are all spiritually like a dead, lifeless body. But God came to restore our lost relationship! How? At Christmas, God, Who is eternal and a pure Spirit, took upon Himself a body, taking the place of guilty and spiritually dead sinners, ultimately by experiencing forsakenness of God. That's how we can have an intimate relationship with God again. Now, He speaks to us through His Word, by His Spirit and we pray to Him again. But most amazing is that, in salvation, our glorious God dwells with His Spirit in every believer! That's the only reason why you and I can worship Him, in spirit and truth. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for being a Spirit, who through Christ and His Holy Spirit is able to communicate to our spirit. Pray that the Lord will nourish your spiritual relationship with Him today. 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 2 – God is simple

And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation." - Exodus 34:6-7 Scripture reading: Exodus 33:17-23 & 34:5-7 Perhaps you have never heard about the fact that God is simple. However, in order to know God, it is important to understand what this means. It doesn't mean that God is unintelligent or foolish, of course, nor does it mean that it is easy to understand God. So, when we say that God is simple, we mean that He is not the compound of all His attributes. In our text, God is not partly merciful, partly gracious, partly longsuffering, partly good and that all these different attributes partly make up God. God is not merely good, instead, He is goodness Himself. He defines goodness, grace and mercy by His perfect and undivided Being! He is entirely loving, entirely merciful, entirely just, and so forth. Therefore, we can legitimately say that His goodness is His love, His love is His mercy, His grace is His justice and His love is His holy jealousy. God's grace and mercy in forgiving our iniquity are not in opposition to, or of lesser importance than the fact that He visits sinners and does not clear their guilt when they continue in sin. Knowing this will minister either comfort or conviction to our soul, depending on our relationship with God. It's difficult to wrap our minds around this concept. This is His glory! His justice, righteousness and holiness are in no way opposites to His mercy, grace and love! God is one simple or united, perfect Being, full of blessedness! Suggestions for prayer Worship the Lord for His undivided Being and pray for an undivided heart to serve Him. 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

Introduction to the month of January

What a blessing it is to be able to begin another year together! For many of us, new beginnings can be unsettling. We don't know what this year will bring. We might have a sense of anticipation, or perhaps as we think ahead or look around, we might have a sense of foreboding. How we need, therefore, to turn our gaze upward to God! As Jeremiah 9:23-24 shows, our natural inclination is to find security and stability in our own wisdom, might or riches! That wouldn't be a good beginning of the New Year! When we trust in these things, our sense of foreboding is not surprising. These things are a rather shaky foundation for a New Year. What then do we need? The answer is not overly complicated. It is this: we need to know our God! In the same chapter, Jeremiah answers that question for us when he says, "But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD." When you and I know our God, we have a solid beginning for the New Year. So for this first month, we would like to behold our God! That is, we will consider His glorious attributes and Who He is. This month's theme is taken from the very first words of the Bible: "In the beginning God…" Only when God is first in our lives, we will have a good beginning of 2021. January 1 – In the beginning, God In the beginning God… - Genesis 1:1a Scripture reading: Genesis 1:1-2 & Psalm 90:1-2 Can you think about nothing? Completely nothing? That's hard, isn't it? To think about eternity, when there was no time, there were no clouds, no water, no plants, no animals, no planet and no people. But as our text shows, in the beginning, there was nothing except for God! He has always been there. He has no beginning and no end. Before there was anything, there was nothing else but God. But even that is more than we can wrap our minds around. Who is God? We cannot see Him or touch Him. And yet He is there! He's always been there. When we begin a New Year, it is very important to know that God was there before anything else was.  He has been there from eternity. Everything that we see around us and that happens to us comes from God's eternal mind. Apart from Him, we cannot even lift a finger. Apart from Him, we cannot go into a New Year. Apart from Him, we would have reason to be full of fear about what could happen to us in 2021. But Jesus tells us that not a hair can fall from our head without the will of our heavenly Father. Paul shows the Athenians that in Him we move and live and have our being. Because God is, therefore we are! Therefore, remember what will happen to us is determined in God's eternal mind from eternity. Nothing in life is happenstance, because God is! Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord that God's Word is teaching us that nothing this coming year will happen outside His control. Pray that the knowledge of God would more deeply influence what we do and think. 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....