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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....