Dear Beacon Lights readers,
Near the end of 1992, I was approached by members of the Beacon Lights staff requesting that I consider writing a series of devotionals for the magazine. I believe the editor at that time was Peter Faber. I prepared several devotionals for their consideration and presented them to two staff members during the teachers’ convention that was held in Grand Rapids that year. The staff accepted the format, which is similar to the one used today, and asked me to have a month’s worth ready for the January 1993 issue.
Except for several hiatuses I have been writing these devotionals since then. In the early years I would pick texts for the days of the week, as I would use a calendar to know when the devotional would run. In those early issues I picked texts from all over the Bible, thinking to make sure that the whole of scripture was used. I remember a man from Doon saying that I had him looking up texts all over the place. In those early editions I had picked many Psalter numbers as well. Another reader commented that there were times his family would just read them, as the tunes were unfamiliar.
Later I began series writing. I did a series on the Lord’s prayer, the ten commandments, the beatitudes and others. Devotionals were written using the texts of the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dordt. Of course during the Christian holidays devotionals were written which were applicable to Christmas, Easter, and the like. I also remember using the Psalter as the basis of a series, though I had help with that one.
As I visited other churches, I would be approached by members thanking me for my work; it was gratifying to know that there were indeed readers of those devotionals. I was happy not for my sake, but rather that our covenant God was using me for the edification of his people.
A few years ago I had again taken a break, but when my daughter went to college, I realized that writing her a devotional each morning would benefit both of us. These then were used to fill the pages of the Beacon Lights. After she graduated, I wondered what next to use as the basis for the devotionals.
I decided to work through the Bible, much as it would be read at the table. I covered a chapter a day, understanding that a family might have to use the same devotional twice for longer chapters. I began that series in 2011, and, now, just over three years later, it is finished.
As I came to the end of the New Testament, I also decided that I should put this work aside as well. It is not that there is no more material. I have only scratched the surface of God’s word. I believe that it is time for me to set it aside. I do have an idea for another writer. It has come to my mind that a chronological approach to the Scriptures would be very worthwhile.
As I ended Revelation, I did not have a month’s worth of material for publication. While casting about for an idea, I came upon the idea of using Psalm 119. Like the psalmist, I have a high regard for God’s revelation to us in his word. It is my prayer that this is the regard that the Beacon Lights readers have for the Bible. We need that regard, for on the pages of Holy Writ is found the way of our salvation.
As I end this work, it is my prayer that it was done only to God’s glory. I hope that the solas of the reformation guided my work. Sola Scriptura, Sola Christo, Sola Gratia, Sola Deo Gloria.
In His service,
Chester (Skip) Hunter
P.S. Thank you to my wife Barb who has proofread almost every one of the pages that I have submitted over the past 21 years.
November 8 Read James 1
The writer of this book, who may have been a brother of Christ, writes to the Christian Jews much like the last book. However, the theme of the book is different. The theme can be found in the last verse of this chapter. What is true religion? True religion is living out of the salvation afforded to us by Christ’s death in a life of sanctification. True religion is helping those who are less well off than we might be. True religion is to stay away from all manner of evil. Young people, do you seek to walk in this way? This is our calling in this life no matter what our age may be. Sing Psalter 13.
November 9 Read James 2
Is your faith like that of the Old Testament figures mentioned in this chapter? Or is it a faith of convenience? Do we regard all kinds of men as brothers, or do we pick and choose those whom we will count worth of honor? James points out a fallacy often found in the church of God. We are quick to esteem some people higher than others due to their social or monetary position on this earth. This is not working out our salvation with fear and trembling. This is accounting our desires more important than God’s commands for us. We cannot sing versifications from Psalm 133 with our whole hearts while esteeming some more important than others. Sing Psalter 369.
November 10 Read James 3
As we read through this epistle, we are struck by words that seem to fit in the book of Proverbs. That is because true wisdom is from God and not from man. In this chapter we find words of wisdom concerning our tongues. Think about all the good and evil our tongues can do. What kinds of songs do those tongues sing? Are they songs that extol God or man? What kinds of words come from our tongues about our neighbor? Are they words of love or hatred? What kinds of words come from our tongues as we go about our daily work? Do we swear or do we speak well of our God and neighbor? Guard your tongues, people of God, and in that way please him. Sing Psalter 386.
November 11 Read James 4
Let us ponder the phrase submitting to God. By nature we do not like to submit to anyone. We want our own desires to be first in our lives. Submitting means we need to be humble, and that is not our nature. What does it mean to submit to God? It means that in all aspects of our lives we need to bow to his will even as we pray, “Thy will be done.” In submitting to his almighty will we will use the Latin phrase Deo Volentie daily. We will make no plans with out saying, “If God wills.” By submitting to God we will find that peace that passes all human understanding. Sing Psalter 64.
November 12 Read James 5
Along with submitting to God we need the virtue of patience in the way that he leads us. Patience is not often a characteristic of the modern person. We are not prone to wait for someone else to do something for us; we plunge ahead and do it ourselves. The epistle’s writer counsels us to be patient in God’s way. We can do that if we give ourselves to prayer. Reread the examples given in this chapter. Elijah surely needed patience with the people of the northern kingdom. But he also needed patience in the way that God was leading them and him. Be patient, people of God, and be given to much prayer every day. Sing Psalter 235.
November 13 Read 1 Peter 1
Peter, the leader of the disciples, was mandated to preach to the Jewish converts after Christ’s ascension. In his two epistles he address those Jews who had left Judea, as well as Gentiles who had been brought into salvation by the blood of Christ. Peter reminds his audience of that salvation, from whence it came, and the calling to live in brotherly love because of it. Already in this first chapter we see Peter using his experiences as a disciple as he sets forth various doctrines. He also points the Christians ahead to the second coming of Christ. May we live in and out of our salvation merited for us by Christ alone. Sing Psalter 363.
November 14 Read 1 Peter 2
In the first chapter Peter enjoins the church to live in holiness even as God is holy. This Old Testament references and many others in these epistles show to us that Peter learned his lessons well while sitting at the feet of Christ. This is our calling as well. Whether it is the word preached on the Sabbath, the lessons in the catechism room, or what we glean from personal study of the scriptures, we must learn our lessons well so that we can apply them in our lives and live the life of holiness that is becoming to the child of God. This way of life must be found in all that we do. There is no sphere of life that can be devoid of a Christ-like walk. Sing Psalter 1.
November 15 Read 1 Peter 3
In the previous chapter Peter gives instructions to servants and masters how they are to carry out the command to love our neighbor as ourselves. He continues in the first part of this chapter with similar instructions to wives and husbands. This is valuable instruction for women and men who are sisters and brothers in Christ. While it may be hard sometimes to bear one another’s burdens, we must do so in love, even as Christ loved us. Our marriages are to be pictures of the marriage of Christ and his bride, the church. When we can live with our spouse in this way, there will be peace, joy, and happiness in our marriages. We cannot put ourselves first if this is to be true. Sing Psalter 360.
November 16 Read 1 Peter 4
In the last days there will be many trials. Peter understood this from a practical viewpoint as he lived in the Roman Empire, which was prepared to crush all who tried to rebel. He also saw farther ahead to the days when antichrist would reign. The lessons learned on the Mount of Olives were well learned. Even in troublous days, we must love our neighbor as ourselves. We need to practice hospitality when it is easy so we know how to be hospitable when it is not so easy. We must pray for our neighbors, and we must show to them the love we have for them as brothers and sisters in Christ. This is how we watch for the last days. Sing Psalter 370.
November 17 Read 1 Peter 5
We all have cares in this life. We all have burdens to bear. Do we cast those cares upon Jehovah? We can, you know, because he cares for us. We do this by humbling ourselves before him in prayer as we go to the throne of grace. We can have the confidence that our prayers will be heard because we can have the assurance that he cares for us. This is the testimony of scripture in many places. When your burdens become seemingly too great to bear, read Psalm 55, John 14, and this chapter. Go unto God if you are burdened and heavy laden, and he will give you rest. Sing Psalter 150.
November 18 Read 2 Peter 1
There is much to learn in this first chapter of Peter’s second epistle. First, we find his list of the fruits of the spirit in verses 4–7. After reading that list, we can see what it takes to walk in a sanctified way in this life. It is not of ourselves that these good works are done, but it is God who works in us. But in walking in this way, we can make our salvation sure within our souls. Peter goes on to show to us that this sanctified walk is from the Holy Spirit, as he talks about inspiration. We do well to commit the verses at the end of the chapter to memory as our guide to the blessedness of scripture in our lives. Sing Psalter 203.
November 19 Read 2 Peter 2
As we walk in the way of sanctification described in the previous chapter, we will come upon false teachers. This will be even more true as the end of time approaches. Peter shows the church of all ages how to identify those evil teachers, using examples from the Old Testament. Knowing our Bible, the inspired word of God, can and will help us in this matter. We need to know our enemy so that we can defend ourselves and our families against him. The Bible is our sword; let us keep it sharp, and let us continue in practice with it. Sing Psalter 333.
November 20 Read 2 Peter 3
Peter had to remind the church of his day of those who scoffed at the idea of a second coming of Christ. He reminded the church of those who scoffed at Noah as he built the ark. It is no different for the church today. There are those, even those who call themselves church, who scoff at the idea that Christ will come, will judge the living and the dead, and will bring about the destruction of this present creation for the re-creation of a new heavens and new earth. Like Noah, are you ready to answer to those scoffers? Are you ready for Christ to appear on the clouds of heaven? Do you want him to come? Let us watch and pray for the coming of our savior even as he commanded the church before he died. He is coming. Sing Psalter 362.
November 21 Read 1 John 1
After reading the epistles of Peter, we turn to the epistles of the beloved disciple, John. John too draws from his three years of being with Jesus, and he shows us what we must know as only one who had been with our Lord could tell us. He tells us that God is light. Stop and think for what we use light. Think about its opposite, darkness. The earthly ideas of light and darkness are only small pictures of the spiritual. We must walk in the light because we are children of the light. Only the children of darkness can feel comfortable in the dark. Let us seek the light and let us walk in it. Sing Psalter 71.
November 22 Read 1 John 2
Because we are children of the light, we must walk in the light with our brothers in Christ. This is not just an abstract idea; this is truth. John recorded Jesus’ words about this thought in his gospel. Now he tells the church of his time and of all ages the necessity of walking in love with our brothers and sisters in the faith. This love starts within our homes, but then it must extend to all those around us. We must keep the second “great” commandment, that is, to love our neighbor as ourselves. When we do this, we follow the truths spoken by Christ and reiterated by John in this chapter. Walk in the light, people of God, and walk in love with each other. Sing Psalter 24.
November 23 Read 1 John 3
Verse 18 shows us how we must love one another. The words, “I love you” are not enough. We must show that we love our brother by our deeds. Those deeds will make “I love you” true. This is explained elsewhere in scripture. Paul tells us “to speak the truth in love.” It is possible to tell a true thing about someone, but not show love in doing so. James tells us to show our faith by our works. The same is true of our love. If our love is out of a true faith, it will be genuine love. As we live one with another, let us love one another in word and deed. Sing Psalter 369.
November 24 Read 1 John 4
The first verse of this chapter exhorts and admonishes us to try the spirits. What does this mean? It refers to the activity that we must do as we live a life of sanctification. As we hear doctrine, we must be like the Bereans and search the scriptures to see if it is true. As we listen to songs that are so-called Christian songs, we must try the spirits and see if those songs portray the truth of scripture in their entirety. As we fellowship with various people, we must try the spirits and see if they are of God. Our whole lives must be one of trying the spirits. In this way we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Sing Psalter 256.
November 25 Read 1 John 5
John continues with his theme of love. Once again he reminds his readers that the child of God must love God, and that he must also love his neighbor. This love is based on the love that God has for us in that he sent his Son to die on the cross. Notice that John goes back to the theme of his gospel that Jesus was truly the Son of God. If this truth is not foremost in a person’s life, there will be no other love emanating from that person. In this chapter we see that doctrine is first, and then practical living flows out of doctrine. Search the scriptures, people of God, and know how to live the life prescribed by our God. Sing Psalter 198.
November 26 Read 2 John
Some think John is writing this letter to a specific person, a lady, while others think the lady is the church. Did you notice how many times the word truth is used in the chapter? Truth is important for the Christian. That is because God is truth and Satan is the lie. We live out of either one or the other; there is no middle road. John is happy to hear that the lady’s children walk in the truth. What grandparent is not thrilled when their grandchildren exhibit in their lives the truths of scripture? What elders are not joyful when the young people of the church live what they have been taught in catechism? Young people, walk in the truth, for this is the will of God for you. Sing Psalter 334.
November 26 Read 3 John
The writer in Hebrews admonishes us with these words: “Let brotherly love continue.” This is the thought in this short book consisting of one chapter. Who Gaius is does not matter; the message of the book does. Gaius had followed John’s command to show brotherly love to all and especially to strangers. This is in contrast to Diotrephes, who had not. What is our reaction to strangers in church? Do we ignore them? Do we think others will welcome them? Or do we seek them out, try to make them feel welcome, and even invite them into our houses so that they can have a sabbath day’s rest? This is our calling, and this is part of walking a walk of sanctification. Sing Psalter 371.
November 27 Read Jude
Early in this epistle we are called to contend for faith. Then we are given two main ways to do this. First, we have to avoid those who are and do evil. The writer gives many examples of why this must be done. As scripture instructs us elsewhere, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,” so does one evildoer adversely affect the church. The second way to contend for the faith is to build ourselves up in the faith. We do this by learning and using the true doctrines and by showing compassion to those in need. Sometimes this compassion means we have to admonish them, sometimes quite strongly, for a way not pleasing to God. Finally, the epistle ends with a beautiful doxology. Reread it, maybe memorize it, and include it often in your prayers. Sing Psalter 53.
November 28 Read Revelation 1
The final book of the Bible is the Revelation of Jesus Christ to the apostle John while he was exiled on the island of Patmos. This revelation is important to us because it shows us where we are going. Similar in places to other parts of scripture, it is a clear road map to us of what will come before the church is united with each other and with her Lord. In this first chapter we see a glorious picture of Christ. That it is a divine Christ is evident to see. This is important and should show to us the way to understand what will be ours in the years to come. Sing Psalter 29.
November 29 Read Revelation 2
After seeing Christ, John is instructed to write to seven churches with which he is familiar. These churches are in various states of development, and they show us the development of the church of all ages. We must see in them our congregations, and more importantly, in our own personal spiritual life. Have we lost our first love like the church at Ephesus? Do we face persecution like the church at Smyrna? Do we allow certain sins into our lives such as the churches at Pergamos or Thyatira? If the characteristics of one of these churches characterize us, let us have ears to hear and let us be encouraged or admonished as only Christ can encourage or admonish. Sing Psalter 140.
November 30 Read Revelation 3
The final three churches of Asia Minor are addressed here. Are we like Sardis, so that though we are called Christians, our lives show that we are anything but Christians? Let us watch and live as we should. Do we evangelize like the members of the church of Philadelphia, the church of brotherly love? That was Christ’s command to us in Matthew 28 just before he ascended into heaven. Surely we are not like the church members at Laodicea. But because of our old nature we are at times. When we are fit only to be spewed out of Christ’s mouth, let us pray for forgiveness and walk in a way that uses the spiritual ears we have been given by grace to hear what Christ through the Holy Spirit says to us. Sing Psalter 83.
December 1 Read Revelation 4
In this chapter we are shown a picture of the majesty of almighty God. He is also shown to us as the thrice-holy God, as is shown in other places in scripture. It may be hard for us to understand what that throne looks like, as we are only given a small picture of God’s majesty here on earth. We must be sure not to miss the pictures given to us in nature of this beauty. The heavenly creatures testify God is holy. We are enjoined elsewhere in scripture to be holy as he is holy. Is this our goal throughout the day and throughout our lives? Sing Psalter 266.
December 2 Read Revelation 5
In this chapter we are shown the truth that the glorification of God through the redeeming work of Christ is the purpose for the creation and all actions on earth. We study history to see how it has unrolled throughout time. We also study it to see what is going to come to pass in the future as it is shown to us in the rest of this book, as well as in other places in scripture. History shows us that the world did not evolve into it present form. History shows us that the history of the world has been purposefully unrolled so that our sovereign, supreme God will be glorified. Is this the God whom you worship? Sing Psalter 213.
December 3 Read Revelation 6
As the first four seals are opened, horses ride forth, bringing with them their work on this earth. We can find many evidences that these horses have been traveling throughout history by studying the history of the world and of the church. We can see that those horses are running even now by considering what is happening in the world around us. Today we can see evidences that the horses are more active and are working at the same time. Are you considering? Do you hear the horses coming, bringing with them the return of our Savior? Sing Psalter 214.
December 4 Read Revelation 7
In the previous chapter the opening of the fifth seal described those who had died for the faith. At the end of this chapter they are further recognized as wearing white robes and worshipping God. In our country few are openly persecuted for worshipping the one true God. This has not been so in other time periods and even in other places today. Are we ready for the great tribulation that will come before Christ returns? Are we ready to be denied even daily necessities because we will refuse to give up our faith? This is the reality that scripture declares will be ours. Let us watch and pray for grace to stay faithful in spite of any difficulty. Sing Psalter 246.
December 5 Read Revelation 8
We find two characteristics in the book of Revelation. First, we find repetition. As we move from the seals to the horses and finally to the vials, there are some elements that are very similar. Repetition is used to show us the certainty of what will happen before Christ returns. Repetition also ingrains in our minds the events that will happen. Just as you repeat various memory passages to learn them, so Christ uses repetition to teach us the signs of his return. Second, we find progression. As we move from seals to horses to vials, there is progression in the elements. Activities happen faster and with more force as the return of Christ approaches. It is like riding a sled down a steep, snowy hill. You move the fastest the closer you approach the bottom of that hill. Our calling is like that of the saints who have gone before us. We must pray fervently, “Thy kingdom come.” Sing Psalter 434.
December 6 Read Revelation 9
A new character arrives on the scene of the revelation of the last time. This character has been in evidence since just after creation. This character is none other than Satan himself. Satan wants the kingdom that lasts forever, and he will do all in his power to gain it. We need not fear, however. The victory is sure. We do not have a dualism of forces fighting it out for the prize. Rather we have forces fighting where the end is certain. God will be glorified, and his entire church will be gathered from all nations. Throughout scripture there is a comforting theme for the people of God. That theme is, “Fear not.” Sing Psalter 73.
October 9 Read 2 Thessalonians 1
The church of Thessalonica along with the church of all ages suffered persecution at the hands of enemies of the truth. Paul had to leave this city and its fledgling church, but the persecution continued. In the opening chapter of this letter he assures them that he will pray for them in their troubles. He also reminds them that when Christ returns, vengeance will be brought against those who oppose Christ and his bride, the church. People of God, we have that same hope today. We know that as the time gets closer to the return of our Savior, persecution will increase. Let us pray for ourselves amidst persecution, but let us remember our brothers in Christ even as Paul did. Sing Psalter 300.
October 10 Read 2 Thessalonians 2
The church at Thessalonica had an error bubbling up in the church. There were those who were teaching that Christ was returning soon. Paul had to combat that error, as it was affecting not only the church life of these saints but also the personal lives of some of the members. Paul reminds them of two signs of Christ’s return that must occur. First, there must be a great falling away in the church. Second, antichrist must appear and delude many. People of God, are you watching for the signs of our Savior’s return? Are you ready for the last days? We need Paul’s encouragement as it is found in verses 13–15, and we need to pray for all the saints, even as Paul does in the last two verses. Sing Psalter 33.
October 11 Read 2 Thessalonians 3
In this chapter Paul first covets the prayers of the church for him and the work God has given him to do. Do we pray for ministers, elders, deacons, missionaries, and seminary professors in our daily prayers? These men are carrying out the work of watching over our souls. These men are carrying out the work of spreading the gospel. These men are carrying out the work of causing the return of Christ. They need our prayers. Paul’s second point in the chapter is that daily life must be lived to the glory of God. Once again, we need this admonition as well. Are we living our lives as ones who are watching and waiting for Christ’s return? In living our lives in this way we will find a peace that will give us comfort as we wait to go to our permanent home. Sing Psalter 253.
October 12 Read 1Timothy 1
After leaving Ephesus in Timothy’s charge, Paul writes to the young minister this epistle. The intent of the letter is to encourage the minister and to give to him advice concerning his charge. This first chapter also shows the power of the grace of God in Paul’s life and in the life of all Christians. Reread verse 14. Our salvation is by grace through faith and love that abide in Christ. We need this reminder of the power of God’s grace. Without irresistible grace we would not be gathered into the number of the saints. Salvation is of God alone and not by our works. Paul closes the first chapter with the benediction found in verse 17. May the truths found in it be evident in our lives. Sing Psalter 172.
October 13 Read 1Timothy 2
One of the matters in which Paul instructs Timothy is the subject of public prayer. This is prayer uttered in the church by the ordained officebearers. That these officebearers are men is evident from the instruction given in the latter half of the chapter. While the instruction is primarily meant for public prayers, we may learn from it and use its instruction in our private prayers. Do we pray for all kinds of men, knowing that God gathers his church from every strata of society? Do we pray for the government officials even when we are displeased with their decisions? This is the command of God for us. The reason is that by their good governing the church may flourish until Christ returns. Sing Psalter 223.
October 14 Read 1Timothy 3
At the end of the chapter Paul speaks of truth–the pillar and foundation of the church of God. Those who uphold that truth are its officebearers–elders and deacons. In a young church these men were essential to its wellbeing. Elsewhere in scripture these men are spoken of watchmen over the souls of God’s people. Young men, do you desire to take up the work of these offices? Older men, do you continue to work in the offices if you are able? The church is blessed when capable men do the work that God has placed in front of them. Uphold the truth, men, and receive God’s blessing. Sing Psalter 241.
October 15 Read 1Timothy 4
A young minister would do well to reread this chapter often in the early stages of his ministry. Paul reminds Timothy of evils that will confront him and his charge as Satan seeks to make the church fall away from the truth. Paul encourages Timothy to read. This admonition is needed not only for ministers, but for all officebearers and for the congregation as a whole. While books are easy to obtain in these days, God’s people have fallen into the disease of not reading. We need to seek the truth as it has been written about in days gone by as well as in this day. Give attention to reading, people of God, for in that way we will know the truth and it will make us free. Sing Psalter 333.
October 16 Read 1Timothy 5
There are many situations that come up in the church of Christ. In this chapter Paul gives Timothy advice how to approach some of those situations. Each of them has to be handled differently. Sometimes it depends on the age of the person, and sometimes on their position in the church. There are two things that must be remembered. First, these are members of the body of Christ and must be dealt with accordingly. Second, all of us have sinned; none can say, “I am better than you.” As we live in the church of Christ, let us love our neighbor as ourselves. Sing Psalter 369.
October 17 Read 1Timothy 6
Verse 6 is a verse after which we can pattern our lives. We can use verse 6 in any situation within and without the church. First, we must be godly. That means we follow God’s law in all that we do. We do not let a situation dictate what we do, but rather ask what God in his word tells us to do. Second, we must be content in the situation in which God has placed us. If we are not content, we fall into the sin of covetousness. If we fall into that sin, we place ourselves in danger of many other sins. Think of David’s lamentable fall. May our prayers each day be that God will direct us in his law and give us contentment in the way that he leads us. Sing Psalter 40.
October 18 Read 2 Timothy 1
People of God, can you, like Paul, say, “I know whom I have believed”? Can you, again like Paul, face death because of your faith in Christ Jesus and say, “I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day?’” Chronologically this seems to be the final epistle of Paul. He writes it as he faces seemingly certain death at the hand of wicked Nero. But yet Paul trusted that God would bring him through this trial. Do we claim that same faith? Are we ready to confess God before men in the most trying circumstances? By faith we can. Through Jesus Christ we can embrace persecution, knowing that it is for God’s glory. May we pray for the grace to sustain such things. Sing Psalter 152.
October 19 Read 2 Timothy 2
Paul continues his instruction of Timothy with the striking words of verse 15. These are not just words for a preacher or a seminarian. These are words for all of God’s people. Young people, do you approach school in this manner? Do you study in order to take up your appointed places in God’s kingdom? Do you study God’s word, looking for the truths of scripture in order to have a right understanding of them? Do you wish to be approved of God or men? After verse 15 Paul shows Timothy whom he must face in his work. The same sorts of men lurk around us as well. Let us prepare ourselves in school, in catechism, and in worship to be approved of God. Sing Psalter 322.
October 20 Read 2 Timothy 3
In the beginning of this chapter, Paul describes what it will be like in the days before Christ returns. He especially points out those who pretend to know the truth, but do not know it and/or twist it to say what it should not. In contrast to this description comes his charge to Timothy found in verses 14–17. This is not just a word to a young minister, but it is the word of God to members of the church of all ages. First, we must believe that the entire Bible is the God-breathed word to his church. Second, parents, like Timothy’s mother and grandmother, must exhaust themselves teaching that word to their children. Finally, all of God’s people, including children and young people, must spend time learning, studying, and living out of that word. May we learn that word and use it even in the evil days that have and will come upon us. Sing Psalter 334.
October 21 Read 2 Timothy 4
People of God, here, as in other places in scripture, our lives on this earth are described as an arduous race that must be run. It is not a sprint; it is not a two-mile race on an oval racetrack. It is a marathon on a steeplechase course. While we may not be called to run as arduous a race as Paul did, and while our race on this earth may not end as Paul’s did, we are called to run that race. We have a fight to finish. How are we running? How are we fighting? We run and we fight so that God’s name may be glorified. Is it in our daily lives? Sing Psalter 234.
October 22 Read Titus 1
We read of Titus in many places in Acts as well as in other epistles of Paul. It appears that Paul and Titus visited Crete, and now Titus was there finishing the work that had been started earlier. The gospel had been established there by means of preaching. We find the necessity of sound preaching in the first verse of the letter as well as later on, as Paul gives Titus direction on how to go about the work in Crete. Preachers must take this admonition to heart, but a congregation must as well. Preaching is for the good of the congregation because by it the way of salvation is opened to the listener. May we covet sound preaching; may we listen attentively and take it into our hearts. Sing Psalter 222.
October 23 Read Titus 2
While the previous chapter showed us the necessity of sound preaching, this chapter shows us the content of sound preaching. Each of us is mentioned in this chapter. Each of us must listen to the word as it is expounded from Sabbath to Sabbath to find how we must live. This chapter also gives us the goal of that life. We live on this earth in expectation of the coming again of Christ. We are not to be idle as we wait for him to come, but rather we must each in the station and calling that we have been given work out our salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that it is God who works in us out of his good pleasure. Are we listening? Are we working? Sing Psalter 419.
October 24 Read Titus 3
Notice the first verse of this chapter of final instruction to this young minister. There are two matters to which Titus had to attend; they are related. First, he had to admonish the church to obey those who had been placed in authority over them. We need this admonition as well. Think of all those who are our authorities. In the sphere of home, church, school, and state, there are many who are our authorities. We must obey them in order that we keep the fifth commandment as well as the other words from God. Second, we need the admonition to do what is good. Good is not necessarily what we want to do, even if our choice may not be sinful. Good is what obeys the commandment to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We need to heed the commands given to the church at Crete as they are given to the members of the church of all ages. Sing Psalter 393.
October 25 Read Philemon
Philemon is thought to have been a minister at Colosse. He had a servant, Onesimus, who had run away, had come to Rome, been converted under Paul’s preaching, and was useful to Paul while Paul was in prison. Paul does what is right; he sends Onesimus back to his rightful owner with this letter imploring Philemon to receive his slave as a Christian brother and treat him as such. In this personal letter we see application to us. We too need to receive wayward, repentant brothers and welcome them back into our fellowship. The basis for this instruction is God’s love for us when we were in our sins. Sing Psalter 369.
October 26 Read Hebrews 1
In this book, whose author cannot be positively identified, we have an argument to the Jewish nation of the work of Christ for our salvation. The message of this book is not time-bound, but important for the church of all ages and situations. Christ was ordained for our salvation before time even began. The work that he does is for his people alone without any help from them. We will find these ideas more in this book of Holy Writ. Look in this first chapter for evidence for the manner of our salvation, for creation, for the work of the angels, and for our place in God’s created order. Sing Psalter 14.
October 27 Read Hebrews 2
In this chapter the author continues with the theme of the excellence of Christ and his work concerning the salvation of the church. Let us go back and look at the first verse of the chapter. Notice the command found there. We are enjoined not to let what we have heard slip away from us. What we have heard is undoubtedly the preaching of God’s word. We have such a privilege to hear that word from Sabbath to Sabbath. What do we do with it? Do we let is go in one ear and out the other like the rocky soil hearing in Jesus’ parable? Is it gone once we step out of church? Do we forget it when faced with the challenges and temptations of daily life? God’s word is precious and we should hold on to it with all our might and main. Sing Psalter 42.
October 28 Read Hebrews 3
Young people, if you have not already, you should be consider making public profession of your faith. Throughout this book of holy scripture we find that idea. It is not enough to say within ourselves that we are Christians. We need to come before the body of Christ and confess him as our savior and the high priest who sacrificed himself in our behalf. The Hebrews were reluctant to confess Christ before men. For this they were admonished. Confession of faith is a finishing of the work begun at baptism. Parents have vowed to see children brought up in the fear of Jehovah until those children reach the years of discretion. This is a solemn vow and brings with it the solemn vow of young people to seek to make confession of faith. Sing Psalter 255.
October 29 Read Hebrews 4
There are several verses in this chapter to which we can look to gain strength and guidance as we make our pilgrimage on earth, looking for our eternal home in heaven. But it is the last one to which I call your attention. Do we come boldly before God’s throne of grace each day? Do we begin and end our days in prayer, knowing that we will find an answer of peace to our prayers? We have many times of need, and they are different for each of God’s children. This verse assures us that we will find grace. We find that grace not because of what we have done, but because our high priest resides in heaven, preparing for us a place. This high priest is merciful and will provide for us grace no matter what our need may be. Remember, people of God, to go to that throne often. Sing Psalter 235.
October 30 Read Hebrews 5
The Hebrew Christians continued to fall back into the ways of the old dispensation. The writer of this book had to point them to the true priest who was after the order of Melchisedec. Their fallings were such that they had to be fed with the milk of the word and not the meat. What would be said about us? Do we need to be fed milk like an infant, or are we seeking the meat of God’s word? To seek the meat means that we must daily study that word. We must be like the Bereans and search the scriptures. Milk is good, but the mature child of God needs the meat. Let us daily and from week to week on the Sabbath seek the meat of God’s word. Sing Psalter 325
October 31 Read Hebrews 6
After explaining the doctrine of Christ’s priesthood, the writer begins to admonish his readers to live out of the salvation purchased for them. First in these admonitions is the necessity of believers to live out of the word of God. We are fed each Sabbath day. How do we use that food? Do we consider those sermons during the week, seeing how they apply to us? We might be quick to apply them to someone else, but what about our lives? If we do not use that word that we heard for our good, we might as well not have heard it. We have a goal in our lives, and that goal is eternal life. Are we working out our salvation with fear and trembling? Sing Psalter 26.
November 1Read Hebrews 7
In this chapter the writer to the Hebrews goes back to the earlier theme of the priesthood of Christ. Why does he do that? He wants to make sure that the Hebrew Christians do not think that the doctrine of works righteousness as developed by the Pharisees and others is the acceptable doctrine in the church and in the lives of the believers. While we probably do not go back to the works righteousness of the Levitical law, we may be tempted to live out of a works righteousness doctrine contrived by us or someone else. This has been a weakness in the church ever since the apostolic age. Our salvation is from Christ and from Christ alone; of that there is no doubt. Sing Psalter 302.
November 2 Read Hebrews 8
After summarizing what he has stated before and showing the work of any priest, the writer once more turns to the excellence of the work of Christ for our salvation. He leaves no doubt that the Levitical priesthood has passed away even as the veil of the temple rent asunder at the moment of Christ’s death. For us there is great hope and comfort. We have hope that our lives on this earth are but a pilgrimage to a better place. We have the comfort that we will not be forgotten, but will be gathered by the covenantal work of Christ for us. We have no need to despair in this life; a better one is coming. Sing Psalter 29.
November 3 Read Hebrews 9
Sometimes we may wonder why we would hear sermons taken from the first part of the Old Testament, especially on all those laws that seemingly have no meaning for today. The Hebrew Christians had to learn that those laws have been fulfilled. Their purpose was to point them to Christ, who now had come and was the better high priest. But yet there is meaning and purpose for us in those laws. They help us first to appreciate the work of Christ on our behalf. Second, in hearing and learning about those laws we can gain insights into the doctrines that should guide our lives. The writer in other places in this book points out the necessity of the word in our lives. He means the whole word, not just parts of it. Sing Psalter 334.
November 4 Read Hebrews 10
Reread verses 23–25 and 38. In those verses we have a summary of doctrine and life. In verse 38 we find the watchword of the Reformation. For those who cling to works righteousness this phrase is first stated in the Old Testament and then referred to in several places in the New. Verses 23-25 show to us how to live. We must continue in the confession of our faith. First, we must make such a confession. Young people, do not neglect this necessity. Second, we must live out of that confession. As verse 24 tells us, we must do this daily and with our neighbors. Finally, our presence in God’s house on the Sabbath is required. It is not an option; God commands it. Let us live out of the faith won for us by Christ on the cross. Sing Psalter 109.
November 5 Read Hebrews 11
After stating that the just shall live by faith in the previous chapter, the writer demonstrates with many examples how the just live. We know or should know the accounts of these “heroes” of faith. Do we live lives with them as examples? Their faith is the faith of all Christians because it has one source: our covenant God. After refreshing our memories of the battles of these Christians, the Holy Spirit reminds the Hebrews and us that faith is perfected in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. That is the better thing prepared for us. Sing Psalter 187.
November 6 Read Hebrews 12
After listing a large number of those who had by faith endured on this earth, the writer shows us that we must follow Christ as our example. This is the theme of this book. The race that we run is a race that we are in because of Christ’s work on the cross. The faith described in the previous chapter was not because of those men; it was of Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, by his work on the cross in our behalf. As members of the church militant we must persevere by that faith until we too become part of that cloud of witnesses, the church triumphant. That church will reign with Christ forever in the new heaven and earth. As the last verses of the chapter state, our calling now is to live a life of sanctification while waiting on our entrance into that kingdom purchased by Christ. Sing Psalter 30.
November 7 Read Hebrews 13
Do you need to know what you must do as you run the race of faith on this present earth? Read this chapter often and then follow it. The theme is found in the first verse. Christ loved us as our elder brother; we must love our earthly brother in all things. This may not be easy, but it is a command. The writer expands on the theme by talking about our life in marriage, in the church, and toward rulers. Our life on this earth must show the activity of faith. Our salvation has been earned by a perfect high priest. Our calling is to live out of that salvation until our place in heaven is prepared for us. The writer also reminds us to pray. We should and we must, daily. As you finish your devotions today, reread verse 20 and make a new resolution to live the life that is set forth in this chapter. Sing Psalter 371.
September 10 Read 2 Corinthians 10
There were those in Corinth who disparaged the work of Paul and therefore the work of God through Paul. The apostle tries to answer those scoffers. His final argument points at their boasting, and he leaves them with the admonition of verse 17. We do well to heed that admonition in our lives. The world loves to glory in itself. Do we do the same? Is our speech sprinkled with the pronouns I or me? Let us glory in God who has created us. To him be all glory now and forever. Sing Psalter 99.
Spetember 11 Read 2 Corinthians 11
Some might think that the apostle repudiates what he has stated in the previous chapter. This is how fierce the opposition was to him and the gospel he preached. He had to answer all the scoffers so that God’s name would be glorified. Paul takes great pains to show how his work was not of himself, but of God who sent him to minister to the Corinthians. God’s grace is great toward us. How do we receive it? Do we disparage those who bring to us the word? Let us esteem our officebearers highly, for they do the work of Christ even to watching over our souls. Sing Psalter 133.
September 12 Read 2 Corinthians 12
In defending his work Paul shows what God has done to him. While Paul saw a glimpse of glory, he was also afflicted with a severe thorn in the flesh. Many have tried to explain exactly what this affliction was, but we do not know and do not need to know. God afflicts his people to keep them humble in their lives. We must learn to bow before his good will and accept such afflictions as for our profit. This was the testimony of the psalmist in Psalm 119, and it is Paul’s testimony as well. Reread verse 9 for comfort in all afflictions. Let us know that God loves us and his afflictions are never more than we can bear. Sing Psalter 329.
September 13 Read 2 Corinthians 13
As Paul ends this letter, which seemingly rambles from subject to subject, he ends with the theme found throughout the epistle. That theme is that he has the Corinthians’ good in his mind and heart. Sometimes when we are chastised, we think those who chastise us do so in hatred. But we must see that they are God’s servants who have our welfare in mind even as our heavenly Father does. Paul prays for the Corinthians even as a father prays for his children. Paul’s benediction to them, found in verse 11, should show to us how to live toward one another and with the church of Christ. Sing Psalter 216.
September 14 Read Galatians 1
In this chapter of the letter written to various churches that Paul established on his second journey, Paul must defend his apostleship. He wastes little time in doing so, as there is only a short benediction. Paul reminds the Galatians that his apostleship was given to him by none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. He also reminds them that the gospel that he preaches is from that Christ. Those who have been disparaging Paul and the gospel that he preached are to be ignored. We need this admonition today as well. We must not stray from the old paths that have been set before us. There is but one way to salvation, and that is by faith alone. Sing Psalter 82.
September 15 Read Galatians 2
After continuing with the argument that his apostleship was from Christ alone, Paul then proceeds to the great doctrine of justification by faith. You will notice similarities between this epistle and the one to the saints at Rome. This has been an issue throughout the new dispensation. How are we saved? Is it of us? Do we have any part in our salvation? The answer is a resounding No! Our salvation is from God alone and merited by Christ alone through his death on the cross. There is no other way in which we receive eternal life. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift! Sing Psalter 186.
September 16 Read Galatians 3
It is obvious from this chapter that those who sought to lead the Galatians astray were Jewish. They wanted to bring these churches under the Old Testament law once more. Paul now uses proofs from the Old Testament itself that salvation through Christ was pointed to by that scripture. First, he points to the righteousness of Abraham, whom many Jews clung to as their father. Second, he shows that the law had a place, but its place was to bring them to Christ as their teacher. Now Christ has come, and they are no longer under the constraints of the whole law. We must see that nothing can give us salvation except faith. Sing Psalter 214.
September 17 Read Galatians 4
What a joy it is to be called the sons of God! The Judaizers in Galatia were trying to make the new church go back to the ways of the law. Paul uses various means to show that this was not God’s way for the church of the new dispensation. He finishes using the idea of Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac was a son of the promise, given to Abraham and Sarah when humanly it was impossible for them to bring forth a child. Ishmael was their attempt to do God’s work for him. We must not fall into that error today. Our salvation is from God alone. What else do we need or want? Sing Psalter 172.
September 18 Read Galatians 5
Because we have been saved by God through the operation of the Spirit, who applies to us the benefits Christ has obtained for us, we must walk in the Spirit. We must live a life of sanctification in which we live antithetically in this world. In the church we must live in unity; in the world we must show ourselves to be true sons and daughters of the Most High. In this sanctified life we will bring forth the fruit of the Spirit as outlined in verses 22 and 23. We have been made free from the law and from sin; let us use that freedom to glorify God in all that we do. Sing Psalter 25.
September 19 Read Galatians 6
In this final chapter of the letter written by Paul’s own hand, he exhorts the Christians to walk in love. We are to work with one another even when a brother sins against us. This is not easy, since our natures want us to get back at that person, but this is not the way that God has treated us. Then Paul exhorts the Galatians to not be weary in well-doing. Sometimes we tire of helping our neighbor and doing the “right thing.” We must continue to glorify God in all that we do. The second half of the epistle is a reminder to stay away from the evils brought upon the church by those who would have them find justification by means other than faith. We need this warning as well. Like Paul we should glory in Christ crucified and live a life of those redeemed by his blood. Sing Psalter 113.
September 20 Read Ephesians 1
Paul had visited Ephesus at least three times. He found a group of believers there on his second missionary journey. On his third journey he visited Ephesus twice. First he spent a long period of time there as his main objective on the journey; then on his way back to Jerusalem he called the elders of the church to him for a farewell address. In this opening chapter he praises God for his work for the church. Read through verses 3-14 once again and see all the various doctrines on which the apostle touches. Then in the final part of the chapter he prays for the church. We too must praise God for his work on our behalf and then pray for saints wherever they may be. Sing Psalter 235.
September 21 Read Ephesians 2
What a blessed gift our salvation is to us! We who do not deserve any such gift are saved by faith. Paul expressly states in verse 9 that our salvation is not by any of our works. What further proof do we need of justification by faith alone?! Notice how the apostle first addresses the personal salvation of the believers in Ephesus and in the church of all ages and then goes on to show how that salvation leads to a unity of the church as a whole. We must avoid the individualism of this present age and realize that we have been made part of the body of Christ. For this we must give thanks daily. Sing Psalter 369
September 22 Read Ephesians 3
In the first part of the chapter Paul reminds the Ephesians of his qualifications for the work that he had done among them. These qualifications were not man-bestowed, but were given to Paul by God through Christ. We see that Paul is in prison in Rome as he writes this epistle; he wants the Ephesians to know that he cares for them and that his work was not of himself, as some said, but was solely of God. In the second part of the chapter he once again prays on their behalf. Do we pray for God’s people throughout the world? Do we remember that Christ will not return until all his people are gathered? When we pray, “Thy kingdom come,” we pray for all of the kingdom and not just for ourselves. May we remember this fact each time we bow our heads in prayer. Sing Psalter 204.
September 23 Read Ephesians 4
While we do no works to earn our salvation, out of that salvation we work the works of God. In the first part of the book Paul expresses several doctrinal truths. Now in the second part of the epistle, Paul turns to the life of the Christian. We must walk in a sanctified way in all that we are called to do. Once again Paul calls the church to walk in unity one with another. Then he exhorts the individual believer to walk in a pure and holy way. This is a sober calling for each of us. Let us walk in the Spirit, who has given to us so great a salvation. Sing Psalter 391.
September 24 Read Ephesians 5
Paul continues with the exhortations that he gave in the previous chapters, but now he makes them specific. He speaks about our daily lives. Young people, do you walk in the Spirit with your friends? In what kinds of activities do you engage? With whom do you do these activities? Husbands and wives, how do your live one with another? Do you obey all the commandments of God in regard to marriage, as those commandments began to be given shortly after creation? What songs do we sing for worship? Would we rather sing the man-centered songs of much of what calls itself church or are we content with the songs of Zion as given by God in the psalms? We should review this chapter often in our lives so that we remember how we must walk in gratitude for our salvation. Sing Psalter 360.
September 25 Read Ephesians 6
Children and young people, Paul has directions for your lives as well. We find them in the first part of the final chapter of this epistle. Workers—and this includes students—did you hear God’s word to you in this chapter? After pointing out our individual calling in this life, the Holy Spirit through Paul reminds us that we are in a battle. It is the battle of faith in which we fight against Satan and all of his hosts. Are you wearing the armor of faith? Are you comfortable in that armor? This is what we need to fight the battles that we will face in this life. David could not wear Saul’s armor, but he wore the armor of faith as he went out to face Goliath. Are we wearing the correct armor? Sing Psalter 53.
September 26 Read Philippians 1
People of God, do you make the confession that Paul makes in verse 21? In our lives do we live Christ? This is not just when we worship, but we must live Christ in our daily lives: in our work, in our play, and in whatsoever place God has put us. This is not easy. To live Christ means that we will face persecution and hardship. This is the way it must be if we call ourselves Christians. But Paul does not stop there. He says that if we die, we gain. We may wonder about that. We may not want to see that no longer to live on this earth is a gain for us. But we must always remember that this earth is not our home. Our home is in heaven, where Christ is preparing our place for us. Let us live Christ, but let us look ahead to the glory that will be ours in heaven. Sing Psalter 203.
September 27 Read Philippians 2
In this chapter Paul continues to exhort the saints at Philippi to be Christ-like. To be Christ-like means first to take on the mind of Christ. What did Christ do for our salvation? He put off his own glory and became like us, sin excepted, so that we could have salvation. This means we do nothing to earn our salvation; we only live in the salvation that Christ has merited for us. Second, we must be lowly in mind. While Moses was the meekest man that lived on this earth, he was only a type of Christ who humbled himself for our salvation. We must take the I out of our vocabulary and put Christ and our neighbor ahead of our desires. Finally, Paul exhorts them to walk in Christ in all things. Sing Psalter 366.
September 28 Read Philippians 3
There are many verses that a child of God could hold on to as precious. One of these is verse 14. Do we press toward the mark? The picture here is of a long distance runner working hard to attain first place. He has spent himself over the course of the race, but must continue to work hard and to press ahead. This is a picture of our life here on this earth. We must press forward to reach the mark. That mark is eternal life in heaven. It is achieved by those who live as God has commanded. Of ourselves we cannot achieve that mark. We must have the help of him who shed his blood on our behalf. While we do nothing to gain that high calling, we must live out of that salvation. We must live a life of sanctification as we work out that salvation, as we learned in the previous chapter. Press on, people of God, and receive the prize that is ours though faith in Christ Jesus. Sing Psalter 234.
September 29 Read Philippians 4
Which verse of this chapter might you hold dear in your lives? There are truly many. Look at verse 19. Here we have the assurance that God will supply all our needs. We have many needs in this life. We have spiritual needs. Sometimes we feel weak in the faith. We do not know which way to turn. God will supply that need. Sometimes we have physical needs. Our health may be frail, or we may be smitten with some disease. God will supply that need. Saints have lacked the basic necessities: food, shelter, or clothing. God will supply those needs as well. We may have emotional needs, which may be caused by a lack of the previously mentioned needs. God will supply what we need in that case as well. What a precious gift we have through Christ. God will supply our needs; of that there is no doubt. Sing Psalter 378.
September 30 Read Colossians 1
In the first part of the chapter Paul prays for the church at Colosse. This epistle too seems to be another of the prison epistles. It is thought that Paul never personally worked in this church, but here we find him praying for these saints and their needs. This should be an admonition for us. There are many saints whom we do not know personally. Do we pray for them and their needs? In the second half of the chapter we see a summary of the doctrine of salvation. We can find many gems of doctrine here in an easily understandable form. We should take the time to review this doctrine in order that we can live out of it. Sing Psalter 403.
October 1 Read Colossians 2
Throughout all ages the church is beset by those who would introduce false doctrine into it. The church of Colosse had this problem as well. It seems from the chapter that there were two errors against which the Colossians had to fight. First, there were the errors of those who wanted them to go back to the Old Testament ceremonial laws. Paul states that we have been delivered by Christ from such things, and we must live out of that salvation. Second, there was the error of worldly philosophy. This too is something against which we must fight. Satan attacks us using the philosophies of the world. Prevalent today are philosophies that are rooted in evolution. We must not let our lives be tainted by this error. By knowing God and his word we are armed against such evil. Let us pray for guidance in our lives to fight this aspect of the fight of faith. Sing Psalter 392.
October 2 Read Colossians 3
In this chapter, similar to one in Ephesians, we find exhortations on the manner of living the life given to us by Christ in our salvation. First, we are called to put away all evil in our lives. There is much evil that can tempt us. There are evils around every corner. Our young people are faced with the evils that Satan sets before them. They must be trained to ward off these evils. Second, we are called to live a new and godly life. This means we seek the things of God. This too is an admonition that our young people need. They must not only put off the old man, but with the whole church of God they must put on the new man. Finally, Paul exhorts the Colossians and us to walk in love one with another in whatever station or calling God has placed us. Husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, children, employers, employees, do you seek God in all that you do? Sing Psalter 369.
October 3 Read Colossians 4
After finishing the thoughts of the previous chapter, Paul turns to the subject of prayer. People of God, how is your prayer life? Have your prayers become rote and stale? Are they full of repetition, even bordering on the vain repetitions of the Pharisees? Young people, do you seek to pray prayers that rise to heaven? Praying is hard work. It takes knowledge of the word of God and knowledge of prayer itself. Scripture is full of instances of exemplary prayers. Study them and use them to help you in prayer. Prayer is the chief means of thankfulness, according to the Heidelberg Catechism. We not only need not to avoid prayer, but we must also seek to pray meaningful prayers. Sing Psalter 434.
October 4 Read 1 Thessalonians 1
Paul established this church on his second missionary journey after his work in Philippi. He was driven out of Thessalonica and moved down the Balkan Peninsula. After leaving the church, he later sent Timothy back to see how the congregation was doing. While in Corinth he writes this letter to them. He commends the church for being an example to other believers. What does this say to us? Are others encouraged by our actions as believers? As we have seen in other epistles, our life must be one that shows our thankfulness in salvation. The Heidelberg Catechism exhorts us to lead a worthy life so that others may be brought to Christ? Is this life that we live? Sing Psalter 246
October 5 Read 1 Thessalonians 2
In this chapter Paul describes the gospel that he preached. It is a good chapter to read to examine our hearing of the gospel. Do we seek to hear what God will have us hear as the word is preached? Assuming that the preacher is preaching Christ crucified, which should be the heart of all sermons, do we listen for that message? Do we seek to hear that message so that our faith is strengthened? Preaching is not only the power of God unto salvation, but it also contains the spiritual food that we need for our lives. We must seek the pure preaching of the word that gives us life. Sing Psalter 366.
October 6 Read 1 Thessalonians 3
This is a very personal chapter that Paul writes to the Thessalonians. He is concerned about their faith in God. Not only should this be true of officebearers, but also each Christian should concern himself with the faith of his friends. This is not being a busybody or being nosy, but this is showing love for fellow believers. Each believer has his own trial. Each believer is part of the body of Christ. Each member of that body needs to care for the other members. In doing this the members walk in peace one with another. Let us show the same concern for each other as Paul showed for the Thessalonians. Sing Psalter 371.
October 7 Read 1 Thessalonians 4
In this very personal letter Paul points out three areas to which the Thessalonians need to give heed in their walk of love one with another. First, they need to walk in holiness concerning matters of the seventh commandment. Marriage and all that goes with it is a beautiful picture of the relationship of Christ and his church. We must be pure one with another in this aspect of life. Second, Paul enjoins them to live in love with fellow believers as they carry out their daily work. Each has been given his own station and calling by God. We must be diligent in that calling as we seek to glorify God all the days of our lives. Finally, Paul gives some instruction concerning life after death. Death is not the end; it is the opening to eternal life in heaven. Our mourning at a funeral must be replaced with the hope of the resurrection and the life that follows. Sing Psalter 29.
October 8 Read 1Thessalonians 5
After finishing the thoughts concerning Christ’s second coming, Paul exhorts the Thessalonians concerning their lives on this earth. Reading this chapter often will provided much needed instruction for the church of all ages. As you consider the commands of verses 14–22, ask yourselves the questions, “Which of these do I especially need to heed?” While it is true that all of them are for our edification, each of us may have a particular need in our lives. While living that life we need to follow the command of verse 22. We need to abstain from all evil in all aspects of our lives. In doing that we can follow the other commands that precede it. In doing this we live a proper life of sanctification and truly “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” Sing Psalter 206.
Reminder: Beacon Lights is still looking for someone to write the Devotions rubric in light of Mr. Hunter’s imminent retirement.—Ed.
August 11 Read Romans 12
From the beautiful doctrines of the preceding chapters, Paul exhorts us to a right way of life. It is a life of sanctification in whatever calling God has given to us. We would do well to reread this chapter throughout the year. Our life of Christian service is not one in which we do good deeds for the deeds’ sakes, but our life of Christian service is one in which we thank God for our salvation. These are not planned acts of service, but a right way of living every day. When we do this we glorify God and live at peace with the whole body of Christ. Sing Psalter 369.
August 12 Read Romans 13
There are three sections in this chapter. The first deals with the requirement to obey those whom God has put in authority over us. By obeying we live in accordance with the tenets of the fifth commandment. Think of when Paul wrote this. Obeying the cruel Roman government was no easy task, but it was the will of God for the Christians of that era. Next, Paul enjoins us to live peaceably with our neighbor. This is another aspect of the second great commandment. Finally, we are called to live a godly life even as we look ahead to the return of Christ. The true Christian religion is not just doctrinal; it is very necessarily practical. Sing Psalter 223.
August 13 Read Romans 14
Paul continues with a practical application of the doctrine of justification by faith. We must love our brothers and sisters in the Lord. This does not mean we love some of them; we must love them all. If we cause a brother to fall because of our actions, even though that action may be permissible, we are guilty of not loving that brother. This is one aspect of Christian liberty. We do well to heed the last verse of the chapter. As James says, we show our faith by our right walk before God. Let that be our goal as we live out of our salvation. Sing Psalter 371.
August 14 Read Romans 15
Paul finishes the discussion of the preceding chapter in the beginning of this one. Then he begins his closing remarks. He plans to come to Rome if it be the will of God. He uses the words of Isaiah to show these Gentiles that it is God’s will that they were brought into the church of Christ. We too must use the whole scripture as we seek how to live our life and to find the principles needed to live that life. His final words of the chapter are instructive as well. He calls upon the God of peace. The church of Christ of all ages needs the peace that comes from the God of peace. In all the actions of a congregation peace must be evident. May we seek the peace of God and live peaceably with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Sing Psalter 304.
August 15 Read Romans 16
Paul talks about two kinds of people in this concluding chapter. First, there is a list of those whom he wishes to be greeted or about whom he has good things to say. These are people who have either been zealous in the work of the gospel or upon whom the grace of Christ has abounded. The second group are those about whom the church must be on guard. These people do not seem to love the gospel and even attempt to do despite to the church of God. Finally, Paul closes with a loving benediction. May we seek the God of peace who gives grace to his people. Sing Psalter 315.
August 16 Read 1 Corinthians 1
On his three missionary journeys the apostle Paul visited many of the churches more than once. He first came to Corinth during his second missionary journey. While in Ephesus during his third missionary journey, he received news that things were not going well in Corinth. A major problem was a lack of unity in the congregation. This is evident in chapter 1. While there were other problems within the church, many of them stemmed from this primary problem. Notice that right away Paul says that proper preaching answers these questions. Who is to be preached? The answer is the crucified Christ. May we cherish this kind of preaching, knowing that in heeding it we will stay away from divisions in the churches. Sing Psalter 371.
August 17 Read 1 Corinthians 2
Paul continues with his discussion of the content of his preaching. Paul says that his preaching was not infused with the wisdom of the world, but the wisdom of God given to him by the Holy Spirit. The Corinthians seemed to have been enthralled with a good speech showing good logic. Yes, preaching needs to have sound logic in it, but it must be the logic found in the word of God. Let us seek that preaching weekly and not be desirous of preaching that is based on the wisdom of the world. Sing Psalter 334.
August 18 Read 1 Corinthians 3
This chapter is a continuation of the thoughts of the previous two. Paul reminds the Corinthians of their sinful divisions. He shows them that they are divided because they give not God the glory due to him in the preaching of the word. They are considering the preacher and not the content of the preaching, which is to be Christ. Christ is the foundation of his church, and he must be the foundation of the preaching that we seek. As we listen each Sunday to the preaching of the word—and we do listen, don’t we?—let us seek to hear Christ in each sermon. Only then will God’s name be glorified. Sing Psalter 428.
August 19 Read 1 Corinthians 4
People of God, in what esteem do you hold the ministers of Christ? Do you hold them in high esteem? Of course, that esteem may not be for earthly characteristics that they may or may not have. We may not esteem a preacher for his eloquent preaching, nor may we lightly esteem a man because he is not as eloquent as others are. Our esteem must be based upon the content of the word that they preach. If they preach the word, even if it is not in a way that we desire, we must esteem them, for it is the word that brings to us salvation. Let us esteem the messenger for the message that he brings. And preachers, bring the word and the word alone. Sing Psalter 325.
August 20 Read 1 Corinthians 5
The church of Corinth had allowed a man who had committed a terrible sin to continue in their congregation. For this Paul must take them to task using the word of God. Church discipline is one of the marks of the true church of Jesus Christ. To ignore this mark is to refuse to follow the commandment of our Lord Jesus. The keys of the kingdom have been given to the church. The church is to use all of their functions, one of which is discipline. If the elders must come to you using this key, receive them with thankfulness, as they have the care of your soul. In the end of the chapter Paul reminds the congregation with whom they may have fellowship. Who are your friends? Sing Psalter 216.
August 21 Read 1 Corinthians 6
The congregation of Corinth had a problem of living with one another in love. This seemed to be the root of many of their problems. We must love one another even as Christ loved us, as another sacred writer has exhorted us. We cannot pick and choose which saints we will love. We must love all those in the church. A second problem that plagued the Corinthians was misuse of Christian liberty. Christian liberty is not a license to sin; some in the church then and now have this wrong notion. Christian liberty is the glorious calling to please God in all that we do, and not to please ourselves. Let us walk in that glorious liberty we have been given and love one another as Christ loved us. Sing Psalter 369.
August 22 Read 1 Corinthians 7
Marriage is honorable, is the confession of the writer to the Hebrews. He also tells us to flee sins against the seventh commandment in our marriages. This was a problem for the Corinthians. They did not understand the beautiful relationship that is established in marriage. Just as Christ and his church have been joined together in an unbreakable bond, so must the bond between a man and a woman be unbreakable. Seeking marriage in the Lord is a good thing. Is that the kind of marriage that you are seeking, young people? Marry, but marry in the Lord who bought you with his blood. Sing Psalter 125.
August 23 Read 1 Corinthians 8
Another aspect of the proper use of Christian liberty is to not offend the Christian brother. Paul instructed the church at Rome in this matter, and now he has to instruct the church in Corinth. Not offending the brother is part of living with that brother in love. There are many aspects to this matter that must be examined. The proper use of this passage must be studied carefully. We must be careful not to take offense where it is not present. If we are the weaker brother, we must move past that weakness. Living in love with all in the church is a two way street. Let us share the street of love with all in Christ’s church. Sing Psalter 24.
August 24 Read 1 Corinthians 9
In this chapter Paul defends his right as an apostle over against charges that were leveled against him in the Corinthian church. We might ask why he felt he had to do this. The reason is simple. Paul has denied himself many things in order that the gospel might be brought to Corinth. It was not for his benefit that he was a preacher, but for the benefit of God. How do we treat those whom God has given to us to lead us in the green pastures of his word? Don’t think that it is just the minister whom we must hold in high esteem. We must also honorably treat those who have been called by God to be elders and deacons in our congregations, for they too are watchmen on the walls of Zion. Sing Psalter 362.
August 25 Read 1 Corinthians 10
At the end of the previous chapter Paul not only shows how he has denied himself, but he also shows how the child of God, in his denial of self, walks in a great gift. In this chapter he warns them that they must not left that gift go unused. He uses the example of the Israelites as they passed through the desert. Some thought that just because they had received the law at Sinai they would receive the promise of Canaan. Many died in the wilderness in their sins. Paul goes on to remind them to use their liberty in Christ in a right way. They were not to do evil, but they were also not to offend the brother in their use of earthly things. May we walk in liberty in a way pleasing to God. Sing Psalter 326.
August 26 Read 1 Corinthians 11
Throughout this letter Paul answers questions that the Corinthians have for him. In this chapter there are two of them. First, there is the matter of the proper conduct of women in the church. The Bible shows that we are to esteem the sister in Christ very highly. We can find many references where this is so. Yet just like a man, a woman must conduct herself in a proper manner in the church of Christ. Second, there was a misuse of the sacrament of the Lord’s supper. This is one of the marks of the true church of Christ. How do we use that holy sacrament? Do we wish it to be more than it should be? Do we make of it less than a mark? Proper conduct in the church helps us to live a life of sanctification before our God. Sing Psalter 203.
August 27 Read 1 Corinthians 12
Another issue in the church of Corinth was the use of spiritual gifts. It appears that the Holy Spirit had poured out many of these gifts upon this congregation. However, they had become proud and boasted that their gift was better than another. To show them a proper use, Paul compares the church of Christ to the human body. Just as no organ is unneeded, so no gift and its possessor are of no use in the congregation. From this analogy Paul hints at the beautiful exposition to come in the next chapter. Sing Psalter 369.
August 28 Read 1 Corinthians 13
In this short chapter we find the way that the child of God must walk is not only to live in harmony in the church of Christ, but also to glorify God in that walk. All of our gifts must be used in love. This is not self-love, but this is the love that keeps both aspects of God’s law. We must first love God above all things, and then we must love our neighbor as we love ourselves. In this way we can properly use whatever gift God has given to us in a way that is pleasing to him and profitable for his church. Sing Psalter 348.
August 29 Read 1 Corinthians 14
Paul continues and concludes his teachings about the use of spiritual gifts. It appears that the gift of speaking in tongues was a preferred gift in the church at Corinth. Paul implores the Corinthians to seek prophesying as a gift that will aid their worship of Jehovah. He goes on to rebuke them for a misuse of their gifts when they hinder a right worship of God. He finishes the chapter with a few other admonitions concerning worship ending with the well-known verse, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” May this be our desire as we worship God. Sing Psalter 137.
August 30 Read 1 Corinthians 15
It seems that another issue in the Corinthian church dealt with the truth of the resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees had long denied this truth, and now the error had come into the churches of the new dispensation. After a logical argument why the doctrine the resurrection had to be correct, Paul shows to the church of that day and to us the blessedness of believing this truth. In the resurrection we find extreme comfort. At the end of this exposition is the admonition to live a life of sanctification, fully expecting a greater glory to come. Sing Psalter 28.
August 31 Read 1 Corinthians 16
In the final chapter of this epistle, Paul deals with some practical matters concerning a collection and with his impending visit. Christ had told the church that they would always have the poor with them. In the time of this epistle, the church at Jerusalem was suffering extreme poverty. These new churches were encouraged to give liberally for the care of the saints in Jerusalem. We too need this admonition, as we also have the poor with us. In caring for our needy neighbor we care for Christ. Paul closes the epistle with a final admonition concerning those who do not walk in the truth. This too is for us. Sing Psalter 13.
September 1 Read 2 Corinthians 1
Since Paul had written the first epistle to the church at Corinth, he desired to see if his admonitions had had an effect. He was also worried that he had been too harsh on the church and that he had done despite to them and the cause of the gospel. By his providence God had not allowed him to go immediately to Corinth and had not let his messenger, Titus, meet up with him. This allowed the church at Corinth to use his advice with a good result. God cares for all of his people and makes it so that the work of the gospel will prosper. May we seek grace not to run ahead of God. Sing Psalter 234.
September 2 Read 2 Corinthians 2
In Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians, he gave them strict instructions to discipline a sinner. Now that Titus has met him and given to him the news of the man’s repentance, he instructs them in how to receive the sinner back into the fellowship of the saints. This is the goal of Christian discipline. We must be instructed first to keep this mark of a true manifestation of the church of a Christ, and second, when discipline is applied and has it appointed goal, to receive the sinner back into our fellowship. This takes grace upon the sinner and upon the congregation. Let us seek this grace each day as we walk with one another in love. Sing Psalter 83.
September 3 Read 2 Corinthians 3
There is a difference in the way God comes to his people in the old and new dispensations. In the old, God came to his people in the law and its ordinances, which were but types and shadows of the glorious gospel to come in the new. Now that we are recipients of that gospel, we must look ahead to a more glorious way that will be ours in glory. Both the law and the gospel have the intent of bringing God’s people to salvation. Let us learn from the old to live in the new as we prepare for the future. Sing Psalter 40.
September 4 Read 2 Corinthians 4
As we live this life on earth, we must always look above for the life that eye has not seen. We know that there is a glorious place and end awaiting us when our savior will return on the clouds of heaven. Yet the life on this earth is often marked by affliction and troubles. The Holy Spirit through Paul has comfort for us, as found in verse 17. The afflictions that we bear on earth are light when compared with the grandeur of glory that awaits us in heaven. People of God, do not despair of your afflictions. Look up and watch and wait for the glory that will be yours when Christ returns. Sing Psalter 29.
September 5 Read 2 Corinthians 5
Paul continues with the theme of the previous chapter in this one. We see that in the little word For that begins the first verse. We do not know when Christ will return, but if he tarries, the end for us is the dissolving of our earthly body by death. This is not a sorrowful event, as death is the passageway into glory for the child of God. Those of us who stand by an open grave may mourn our earthly loss, but we should rejoice at the gain of our dear, departed family member or friend. We who remain on this earth must constantly seek Christ, who gave himself for us that we too may have eternal glory. These are Paul’s words to us in the last part of the chapter. Sing Psalter 33.
September 6 Read 2 Corinthians 6
In the first part of the chapter Paul describes his work of preaching to the Corinthians. We should remember that while Paul’s preaching may not have won him any awards in Corinth for exemplary oration, his preaching was with power, the power of the word of God. By preaching God’s people are brought to salvation by justification through faith alone. In the last part of the chapter, Paul admonishes the Corinthians and us not to become unequally yoked with unbelievers. This admonition is one to which we would do well to pay heed in the world in which we live. Who are our friends? In what activities do we join with our neighbors? What would Paul say to us? Let us live a sanctified life in all that we do. This is the way of thankfulness for our salvation. Sing Psalter 206.
September 7 Read 2 Corinthians 7
Paul returns to one of the purposes of this epistle. That purpose is his joy at hearing that a sinner had repented of his sin through the work of Christian discipline. After digressing into other subjects, Paul comes back to this purpose. He tells the Corinthians to received this returned saint into their midst. He wants them to enjoy the unity that this event gives to the church. He is also comforted by this news. Christian discipline is a remedy for sin. It must be used in the right way, and when it brings the desired results, we must rejoice and be comforted in this way that God has given to his church. Sing Psalter 371.
September 8 Read 2 Corinthians 8
Paul now returns to another purpose of this epistle. The church in Jerusalem was suffering financially because of their faith. The churches of Greece had been exhorted to take benevolent collections for these suffering saints. Now Paul is reminding the church of Corinth that God had blessed them physically and spiritually. They needed to give gifts of thanksgiving that God had given to them for those suffering saints. We too need this instruction. Christ has told us that the poor we have always among us. Are we caring for them? Sing Psalter 24.
September 9 Read 2 Corinthians 9
Are we cheerful givers? As we place our offerings in the collection plates, what is our attitude? Do we give grudgingly, wishing that we could use that money for our own benefit? This is the subject of this second chapter concerning giving. Along with singing, giving is an active role that we have in our weekly worship of Jehovah. When we give, we are worshipping God. How are we worshiping—cheerfully or grudgingly? God has given to us a gift that cannot be described in human terms; it is “unspeakable!” What is our reaction to that gift? Sing Psalter 113.
July 12 Read Acts 10
After receiving the vision instructing him to preach to the Gentiles, Peter is sent into action immediately. Through the Holy Spirit he is sent to Caesarea. Peter must get over his shock of eating what previously had been unclean meats. Now he must go and preach to a Gentile. It is important that this is done in order that the way be paved for the work of Paul. Peter must learn the truth that we too must acknowledge. God is no respecter of persons. As we go through our daily lives, let us not respect a person for who he is other than if he is a child of God. Sing Psalter 176.
July 13 Read Acts 11
Things were happening very fast for the church of Christ. Some might say too fast and seek to slow them down. But we must never hinder the work of the Spirit. When he leads, we must follow. The church had to become comfortable with the fact that Gentiles were to be counted among their number. By his providence and sovereignty God moved some away from Jerusalem so that the gospel would spread, as Christ instructed before his ascension. Saul would be used in this process as well. Finally, the new converts also had to learn about care for fellow Christians. As we work our way through this book of scripture we must always be asking, “What is the Holy Spirit teaching us about life in Christ’s church?” Sing Psalter 287.
July 14 Read Acts 12
Reread verse 24. Notice the little word but. Throughout Holy Scripture we see that word used to emphasize some point. The point in this chapter is that in spite of all Satan could do to halt the progress of God’s word, it grew and multiplied. Of course, that is the work of the Spirit. Just as a small amount of leaven causes dough to rise, so the work of the Spirit caused the word to grow and spread in the hearts of many believers. That word must continue to grow until it is spread throughout the four corners of the world. When that happens, and the last child of God is gathered, then it will be time for Christ to return. There will be intense persecution in those days, but we know that Christ will triumphantly return to take us all to glory. Sing Psalter 407.
July 15 Read Acts 13
In this chapter we see that Paul begins the work for which he was called. He was called to spread the gospel to the Gentiles. The manner in which he was to do this was to go to the Jews first, and when they rejected the gospel, to go to the Gentiles. Notice the progression Paul makes in his sermons. He leaves no doubt that Jesus was the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. In rejecting Paul’s sermons, the listeners were rejecting Christ. May we never reject the true preaching of the word as we hear it from sabbath to sabbath. Sing Psalter 263.
July 16 Read Acts 14
Paul finished the work of the first missionary journey by retracing his steps. In each church he encouraged the new believers and helped them to ordain elders. These men showed the ability to use the word for the good of the new believers. Office bearers are given by God for our good. They help us in our faith and carry out the work of Christ in our midst. May we thank God for such men as they preach the gospel, oversee the church, and distribute the mercies of Christ to those who are in need. Sing Psalter 348.
July 17 Read Acts 15
The church of Christ has been given church government for its organization and care. When disagreements arise, it is imperative that we go the route of church government, acting under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in order to solve those disagreements. Church government must use Scripture, as did James, to work out problems that arise. In this way Christ’s church on earth will be preserved until he returns and takes us all to join the church triumphant. Sing Psalter 228.
July 18 Read Acts 16
After separating from Barnabas, Paul retraced his steps through Asia Minor on his way to Europe. While in Lystra he was given a new traveling companion whom he instructed in the preaching of the gospel as he made his way where the Spirit led him. Bypassing many areas where he would return, Paul crossed from Asia into Europe and brought the gospel to Lydia, the Philippian jailer, and others. In doing so Paul, Timothy, and others faced persecution from all sides. But by God’s grace the gospel was preached, the church was gathered, and the word was spread. Sing Psalter 391.
July 19 Read Acts 17
As we read through this chapter we find Paul traveling to three cities in Greece. In two of the three cities he was chased away by those who want nothing to do with the word of God. Yet in each place God had his believers. We know that in Thessalonica a church was established and was later a recipient of two of the inspired letters of Paul. In Berea there were those who “searched the Scriptures daily.” Finally, in Athens the unbelievers mocked the word of the true God of heaven and earth, but even there, a few of God’s elect resided. As we read these words of grace, may we be thankful for the grace given to us in the scriptures. May we search them daily to grow in that grace. Sing Psalter 325.
July 20 Read Acts 18
Paul continues his journey through Greece and comes to the city of Corinth. This was an important city in the Greco-Roman world, and one that was very wicked. However, here too God was pleased to establish a church. Paul preaches, and those who are moved by the Holy Spirit cleave to that preaching. Once again, however, the Spirit has more work for Paul, and he travels to Asia Minor to the city of Ephesus. After giving to them a taste of the gospel, Paul leaves to return to Jerusalem. But out of that preaching comes Apollos, who is convicted by the Spirit to preach. He then goes to Corinth and fills the need for the word of God there. May all of God’s young men listen for the call to preach, and hearing that call, obey. Sing Psalter 428.
July 21 Read Acts 19
On his third missionary journey Paul returns to Ephesus and spends a long period of time among the saints there. We know little about the work, but what we know shows to us Paul’s zeal for and love of God’s word. This is the zeal and love that we must have where God has placed us. We may not be ministers, missionaries, elders, or deacons, but each of us has a calling concerning the word of God. We must learn it and use it in our daily lives. While we may not be called into an amphitheater to defend the word, we must defend it in whatever place God puts us. Even as Paul learned to follow the Spirit in his work, so we must follow the Spirit as expressed in scripture in our lives. In this way we will be used to further the cause of God and to hasten the day of Christ’s return. Sing Psalter 389.
July 22 Read Acts 20
Among the many circumstances of Paul in these chapters, two of them stand out in this chapter. First, we see the zeal of believers as is expressed in the church at Troas as they listened to Paul preach all night. They soaked up those truths as a sponge soaks up water in a drought. Second, we see a good description of the work of ministers, elders, and congregations in Paul’s farewell address to the elders of Ephesus. Reread that speech. See where you as an individual fit into that speech. We all have a calling in the church of Christ. Are we living out of that calling? Sing Psalter 350.
July 23 Read Acts 21
As Paul made his journey toward Jerusalem, we see a parallel to the journey our Lord made. Both were journeying toward the end of their lives. Paul had taken up Christ’s cross, had fought the good fight, and was ready to be offered for the cause of the gospel. What about us? Are we willing to undergo persecution for the cause of the gospel? Do we endure scorn from neighbors, co-workers, and others around us? The day is coming when that will be more and more a normal way of life. We, like Paul, must not shrink from that situation. Let us be ready to face opposition, knowing that the Spirit will help us in whatever difficulty we may face. Sing Psalter205.
July 24 Read Acts 22
Young people, when you make confession of faith, sometimes the minister or elders reassure you not to be frightened as you face the consistory. Those men are your friends in Christ. Could you make a confession of faith as Paul did? Could any of us who are members of Christ’s church face an audience as Paul did and confess our faith even when we know it will bring a firestorm of hatred upon our heads? We can, if we rest assured that Christ by his Spirit is with us. We need to immerse ourselves in the word of God, knowing that the Spirit will guide us in that word. Let us do that daily, never knowing the hour in which we will be called to give an account for our faith. Sing Psalter 204.
July 25 Read Acts 23
While Christ was on earth, he told his disciples that they would be brought before councils. These councils might even be acting in the name of God. But he also told them that they did not have to be concerned about what they would say, since the Holy Spirit would put the proper words in their hearts and mouths. Paul experienced this. He was visited by Christ at night with the most comforting words, “Be of good cheer.” Paul was reassured that he would carry out Christ’s calling to go to Rome. We too can know that the Holy Spirit will aid us when we are called to defend the truth. Let us learn that truth and be ready to use it when necessary. Sing Psalter 91.
July 26 Read Acts 24
For two years Paul was kept in custody by Festus. What does Paul do during that time? He does what he has been called to do. He preaches the gospel. He knows that God is no respecter of persons and has his people among all kinds of people on this earth. Paul has instructed Timothy and us to pray for those in authority, as God will bring to salvation some of those people. God uses means, and Paul knew that he could be the means to bring some of Festus’s court to salvation. May we be ever bold to speak the wonderful words of life to any with whom we come into contact. Sing Psalter 310.
July 27 Read Acts 25
God’s ways toward his people are mysterious. They are not a mystery like a suspense novel, but they are mysterious according to our way of thinking. For more than two years a dynamic preacher and faithful servant was kept from spreading the gospel. But this was God’s way. We will never know on this side of the grave what God’s purposes are for much in our lives, but like the experience of Paul, that they are for our good and for God’s glory. When we have the opportunity to spread the gospel, let us make use of it just as Paul did in Festus’ court. Above all let us know “that all things work together for good to them that love God.” Sing Psalter 319.
July 28 Read Acts 26
In this chapter we have Paul’s sermon to Festus’ court. We do not know the outcome of that sermon for everyone who heard it. We do know that God’s word never returns to him void. We also know that that word is a savor of life unto life and death unto death. Any elect in the audience that day who believed received life through grace. Any reprobate who was hardened received the judgment that they deserved without any excuse. May we attend to the preaching of the word faithfully from week to week. May we preach where we have an open door, knowing that salvation is of God and from God alone. Sing Psalter 223.
July 29 Read Acts 27
People of God and especially our young people, do you take the opportunity to spread the gospel by praying in the presence of strangers? Do you pray in a restaurant before you eat? For fourteen days Paul and his shipmates had been tossed by a storm sent by God. Now as their ship is about to be broken by the storm, Paul persuades the people to eat, and before they eat, Paul gives thanks for the bread that they will eat. We can imagine that he also prays for their safety. This should give us the impetus to pray before anyone for the food that God has given to us. In that prayer we should pray for the salvation of any who are seated around us. In that way we can be used as instruments for the salvation of one of God’s own. Sing Psalter 272.
July 30 Read Acts 28
Paul had been assured by God that he would reach Rome. Now he is there. On the way to Rome and in Rome itself, Paul continues the work to which he has been called. He seeks to gather the elect through the means of preaching. The final historical book of the Bible ends with that action. That is the work with which the church is to be busy with. If a church is not preaching, it is likely that it is no church at all. May we never give up that precious heritage that God has given to us. Let us preach the gospel and let us preach it in the confidence that God will use it to hasten the day of the coming of Christ. Sing Psalter 263.
July 31 Read Romans 1
Martin Luther drew from this chapter for his defense of the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Paul begins the letter with the usual salutations found in his epistles. Then in verse 16 he begins a section about the deplorable spiritual state of the Gentile world and the only escape from it, as found in verse 17. In verse 20 we find a summary of much of what goes on in the world. People throughout history have seen in creation the necessity of God. However, because they were not given to know the one true God, they could not worship him as he should be worshiped. They also live in opposition to what they see in the world around them. What about us? Do we live as we should? Do we acknowledge the one true God, the creator of heaven and earth? Sing Psalter 86.
August 1 Read Romans 2
Paul does not only shows the evils found in the Gentile world, but he also shows that those who had grown up in the church had fallen far short of the glory of God in their lives and worship. Again we must ask the question, “What about us?” Do we glorify God in thought, word, and deed? Do we take the treasure that we have been given in the word and use it properly throughout our lives? We must know the truth as found in verse 6 to be true. God will render to every man, without exception, according to his works in this life. How will we measure in the final judgement? Sing Psalter 162.
August 2 Read Romans 3
In this chapter the apostle Paul continues an argument about salvation for Jews and Gentiles. Some would argue that the Jews and anyone born in the sphere of the church has a right to salvation. Paul, however, using the doctrine of total depravity, shows that it is only by grace that anyone is saved. From total depravity, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” Paul moves to justification by faith alone. Is this doctrine precious to us? Do we try to thwart it by introducing even a small bit of works righteousness into it? We cannot and we must not. If we do, we remove from God his glory, and that cannot happen. Sing Psalter 253.
August 3 Read Romans 4
Paul continues with the argument of justification by faith alone. He introduces two Old Testament figures, Abraham and David, into the argument. He shows that Abraham was justified before the law was written. It becomes obvious that his justification was without the law and only by grace. From David the apostle quotes from Psalm 32 concerning righteousness being imputed only by God through Christ. In order to combat the errors found in today’s church world, we need to study Romans. Paul’s approach is useful today, even as it was in the early church of the new dispensation. Sing Psalter 83.
August 4 Read Romans 5
Like the good preacher he was, Paul now turns to the application part of his sermon. After establishing the doctrine of justification by faith, he shows us the benefits of that doctrine for us. Being justified gives us peace with God. What a blessing that is! When we are at peace with our covenant heavenly Father, we can rest assured that no storms on this earth can reach us. We can be at peace because our sins have been removed by Christ through his sacrifice, and not even a stain remains on us. We also have as a benefit the hope of what lies ahead. All of our life here on this earth gives us a blessed hope. We go through all kinds of tribulation knowing that there is something much more glorious ahead. Thanks be to God for the gift of his Son who has given to us hope and peace. Sing Psalter 24.
August 5 Read Romans 6
Once again we have Paul answering those who would argue. The next argument is that if a Christian is justified by faith only, then he can live however he wants on this earth. This idea is called licentiousness. Paul quickly forbids that thought and tells us that the next logical step after justification is sanctification. God’s people are called to live a holy life on this earth. Because we are saved, we will want to live a life that is pleasing to God. This is the last part of the Heidelberg Catechism. Young people, you are called to live in a holy manner. You cannot sow wild oats, as some say, because it is a truth that what you sow, you will reap. A life of thankfulness is required of the Christian as a result of the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Sing Psalter 217.
August 6 Read Romans 7
Since Christ has fulfilled the law, are we free from obeying the law? Paul answers that question with a resounding No! If that were the case, then his call to sanctification in the previous chapter would be for naught. We need the law to help us walk as sanctified children of God. That is why the law is found in the third part of the Heidelberg Catechism. That is why for us the law is read each Sunday morning. It shows us our need for a savior, and it shows us how to walk in gratitude for that savior. We need that law because as Paul states in verse 19, we are prone to sin in whatever we do. Sing Psalter 42.
August 7 Read Romans 8
In this chapter there are many thoughts that the child of God can cling to in living his life in this world. Look at verse 28. Can there be any more comfort than in knowing that all things work together for good to those who love God? The next verses show to us the golden chain of salvation. That too is a comfort, as it shows to us that the work of salvation is all God’s; nothing from us sinners is required. Finally, reread verses 31 to the end of the chapter. What a comfort! Thanks be to God! Sing Psalter 204.
August 8 Read Romans 9
Once again Paul answers an objection. Was God unrighteous in condemning some, especially Jews? By using the beautiful doctrine of election and reprobation, as well as the doctrine of the sovereignty of God, Paul shows that God is not unrighteous. Many in today’s world do not want a sovereign God. They do not want a God in control of all things. What is your conception of God? Is it a god who loves all men, or is it the God who loves those whom he has chosen from the foundation of the earth. Our God is truly gracious, as the apostle Paul demonstrates. Let us never take away from his grace to exalt man’s works. Sing Psalter 187.
August 9 Read Romans 10
The crux of Paul’s dissertation in this portion of the epistle to Rome is whether righteousness comes by faith or by the deeds of the law. Once again there can be no doubt in the reader’s mind that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone. People of God, do you confess with your mouth this truth? Do you do this not only before the church as you make your public confession of faith, but do you do this every day in whatever situation God leads you? This we must do. We are led to such a confession by the preaching of the word. That preaching is God’s way of bringing his people to salvation. Do we listen attentively from Sabbath to Sabbath? Sing Psalter 191.
August 10 Read Romans 11
Another objection is raised from those to whom Paul is writing. In the Old Testament God had called the Jews his precious treasure; has he cast them away? Paul uses himself as an example to show that he had not. While doing so he uses the doctrine of election to show that salvation is not man’s work but God’s alone. To make the Gentiles, to whom he is writing, understand this truth, Paul shows that this truth is also from a God whose ways are past finding out from man’s perspective. Read the grand doxology in verses 33–36 once more. Has not God been merciful in our lives? We do not deserve what we have been given, but it is ours nonetheless. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift. Sing Psalter 271.
June 12 Read John 1
The theme of the fourth gospel is that Jesus is truly divine. This John sets forth already in the first several verses of this chapter as well as very explicitly in verse 34. Obviously there were those who denied this fact, and to counter their claims the Holy Spirit uses John to tell the good news from this aspect. Those who doubt creation must cut out this first chapter from their Bibles, along with all the other references to that act of God. We see that Christ is no afterthought to God’s work of salvation for us, but rather is the purpose of the whole counsel of God, for in his son God glorifies himself. To do away with Christ’s divinity is to destroy God’s glory. Sing Psalter 40.
June 13 Read John 2
In this gospel we have recorded Jesus’ first miracle. These miracles were means by which our savior showed to his disciples and to all the church the grace that he would bestow on his elect people. From various angles this unmerited favor of God is shown that we may know him, which is another purpose of John’s gospel. Our marriage form mentions this miracle as proof that Jesus sanctioned marriage. As we live in marriage or seek marriage, may we know that God ordained this good institution for us. Let us use it as a true picture of the relationship between Christ and his bride, the church. Sing Psalter 125.
June 14 Read John 3
By night Nicodemus came to Jesus. He was a member of the sect of the Jewish leaders called the Pharisees. He did not dare to come by day, but yet he was moved by the Holy Spirit to find out more of this man, whom he called a rabbi, and what he taught. Jesus taught him about the gospel. The words of verse 16, twisted by many, show to the elect the gospel in a nutshell. We know that the same Holy Spirit continued to work in Nicodemus as he showed his love for the savior at his death. Do we dare to come to Jesus by day? Sing Psalter 141.
June 15 Read John 4
Jesus came to save the lost sheep. Sometimes those sheep were in undesirable places such as Samaria. Sometimes those sheep have unparalleled faith. All of them need the living water. Just as we cannot do with out the familiar clear liquid in our physical lives, so we cannot do with out the living water in our spiritual lives. There is only one shepherd who leads us to that water. May we follow him by seeking him in his word. May we daily search the scriptures to drink of the living water, and in drinking be refreshed. Sing Psalter 53.
June 16 Read John 5
Another of Jesus’ miracles for a helpless man stirred up the ire of the Pharisees. These men were so full of unbelief that they could not see the work of mercy performed by Christ. They were so blinded by their own importance that to think of some one else receiving the praise of men infuriated them. Of course, they missed the whole point of Jesus’ miracles. It was not to receive man’s praise that he healed, but rather to establish himself as the son of God who came to take away the sins of his people. It was only someone divine who could perform such miracles, and it was only someone divine who could bear the wrath of God. We must guard against the thoughts of the Pharisees in our lives. Sing Psalter 85.
June 17 Read John 6
Do we seek the bread of life or do we seek bread? This was the question Jesus put to those who followed him across the sea after being miraculously fed. There are many things that could be said about that miracle and the one that followed. However, the important idea that we must grasp is that by his divine nature Jesus showed his true identity. Only those who were and are given the eyes of faith can see Jesus for who he is, the savior of his people. Do you see? Sing Psalter 311.
June 18 Read John 7
Such teaching! Such preaching! Such unbelief! Those are the subjects of this chapter. Jesus does not spend a lot of time in Jerusalem, the home of the “church” in those days. His reasoning is that his hour was not yet come. Spending time in the nest of hatred would have hastened that hour from an earthly viewpoint, since we know that all things are in God’s hands. When he appeared in Jerusalem he encountered the church’s leaders’ hatred because of the doctrine that he espoused that so differed from theirs. We must seek the true bread and the living water that comes from the doctrine of our savior. Sing Psalter 258.
June 19 Read John 8
Jesus’ doctrine that he was the Son of God evoked the two responses that come from all true preaching. Some believe and are brought to eternal life. Others do not believe and fall farther from the truth into eternal damnation. While we do not attempt to judge the hearts of the individuals of the group that surrounded Jesus this day (he alone could do that), we can say that their reactions and teaching did condemn them. The day that the Son of God would be lifted up by them would be the day that they would be thrown out of their offices. Let us believe and in our belief cling to the truth that Jesus is the Son of God. Sing Psalter 251
June 20 Read John 9
Notice the difference between the blind man and the Pharisees. One was blind but was given sight. The others were blind and apparently could not be given sight. The blind man, when he was brought back to Jesus, confessed his faith and said, “I believe.” The Pharisees at this time (as we will make no judgments about the future), refuse to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. May we be as the blind man and confess our faith in Jesus, the Son of the living God. Sing Psalter 164.
June 21 Read John 10
It was appropriate that Jesus used the figures of sheep, sheepfolds, and shepherds as he battled the Pharisees over his true identity. These men were called to be shepherds of God’s flock. They were not true shepherds and led the sheep away from the paths of God’s word and the safety of the true church. Jesus identifies himself as the true shepherd and further as the door of the fold. It is only through Christ that the elect will enter the final fold in heaven. May we hear the voice of the true shepherd each week as we attend to the hearing of God’s word. May that word lead us through the one true door into heaven. There is only one. Sing Psalter 52.
June 22 Read John 11
The death and resurrection of Lazarus prefigured the death and resurrection of Christ in many ways. First, it showed the glory of God. That is the reason that all things happen in this earth: God is glorified. Second, it showed the disciples how the Son of God would accomplish his purpose in a very short time. They could not put all the pieces of the puzzle together yet, but they did later. Third, it set in motion the counsel of God concerning the way to our salvation. As the Jews met and Caiaphas made his statement, we see the how of our salvation. Jesus died, God was glorified, and we were saved. Thanks be to God. Sing Psalter 47.
June 23 Read John 12
John not only unfolds the glory of the doctrine of Christ’s divinity, but he also shows to us the certainty of his resurrection. It was not enough that Jesus die on the cross. It was also necessary that he bodily be raised from that grave. Both the activities on the days we call Good Friday and Easter were necessary for our salvation. Notice also how the unbelief of the Pharisees is unmasked. Many of them knew the truth intellectually. Some, like Nicodemus, knew it unto salvation. Many stumbled and fell over the stone rejected by men. Do we know, do we believe, do we sing “Hosanna”? Sing Psalter 318.
June 24 Read John 13
John covers a lot of ground in this chapter. Notice that much of it concerns Peter’s actions. I know that it is not to discredit Peter, but I believe that it is to show Peter’s eventual rise to head the Jerusalem church. But in order to do this, Peter, and all of God’s children, must learn to be servants. And not only servants, but the lowest of servants: we must learn to wash the feet of others. We do this by helping anyone, no matter what their station in life is, with the most menial task. We must not be afraid to get our hands and knees dirty in reflecting the love Christ showed to us when he died on the cross. We must wash one another’s feet. Sing Psalter 25.
June 25 Read John 14
A blue-covered Bible resides on a shelf in my house. It is the Bible presented to me by my parents for memorizing John 14. But they gave me more than a Bible. They gave me the knowledge of a very powerful chapter in the Bible. Reread and ponder verses 1, 6, and 27. A Christian can rely on these verses to guide him through the turmoil of this life. Commit portions of Scripture to memory, people of God, for in doing so you will hide God’s word in your heart that you might not sin against him. Sing Psalter 334.
June 26 Read John 15
On the night in which he was betrayed Jesus spoke these powerful and moving words. First, he commanded the disciples to love one another, even as he laid down his life for his people. This is one of the great commandments. We must follow this in order to preserve the unity in the church. Second, he warned them of the hatred of the world. How does the world treat us? Are we worthy of their hatred or do we compromise the doctrines of Christ to keep peace with all men? Finally, as in the last chapter, he speaks to them about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would lead the church into the new dispensation. Let us follow his leading. Sing Psalter 221.
June 27 Read John 16
People of God, do you seek peace? Do you know where to find it? This chapter and the preceding two give us ample instruction on this subject. Peace is not found in the philosophies of this world. Peace is not found in some substance found in this world. Peace is given to the child of God by the Holy Spirit, the Comforter sent from the Father by the Son. This is the only way of true peace. There was much turmoil in the disciples’ minds on this night of Jesus’ betrayal. We might have much turmoil in our minds during various situations on this earth. The only comfort that will quiet our fears is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Seek the peace that passes understanding. Sing Psalter 309.
June 28 Read John 17
In this chapter is Jesus’high priestly or sacerdotal prayer. As he closes his discourse to his disciples about life without him and of what is expected of them, he turns to his Father and ours in prayer. In that prayer he prays not only for his disciples but also for the whole church of the new dispensation. He prays for us! In verse 9 he limits those for whom he prayers to those whom the Father has given him. He does not pray or nor will he die for all men. As we read this prayer let us see that Christ prayed for us, died for us, and continues to uphold us before the Father’s throne of grace, and then let us pray. Sing Psalter 235.
June 29 Read John 18
John in this chapter captures the high points of the activity of Jesus’ betrayal and trial. He also in a few verses details only the high points of Peter’s denial of his Savior. But in the details that he gives, John shows us the essence of our salvation. Jesus, who knew all things, including Peter’s actions, walked the way that God ordained to the cross for us. In this chapter we see evidences once more of Jesus’ divinity, as is a theme of this gospel. Do we seek a kingdom not of this world? Do we realize that this world is not and never will be our home? We need to look above where Christ sits as king and wait the day that he will usher us into the new heavens and earth by his death on the cross. Sing Psalter 203.
June 30 Read John 19
In this chapter we learn of the end of Jesus’ trial, his sentence, his crucifixion, and his burial. Three of the cross words are told by John, all of them important, but none so important as the final one: “It is finished.” Found in those three words is the victory for us. Christ finished his work on this earth. He finished his work in undergoing the wrath of God for our sins. Yes, there are three more steps to his work for us, but this one was the end of his work of crushing the head of Satan. It was a victorious cry, and it was for us. Thanks be to God. Sing Psalter 185.
July 1 Read John 20
The first of the steps of Jesus’ exaltation is found in this chapter. He arose. In that resurrection he gave us the promise of our resurrection. In that resurrection he gave us the hope of eternal life with him in heaven. Peter found those things even as the Savior came to him and comforted him in the forgiveness of the sin of denying the Christ. Yet we must believe in that resurrection, or else we become like Thomas. In the upper room Jesus gave the disciples the Holy Spirit. In a short time that Spirit would be given to the whole church. Let us live the life of the spirit and bring forth the fruits of that spirit. Sing Psalter 391.
July 2 Read John 21
Peter’s confession and forgiveness had two steps. He privately confessed his sin to Jesus on the morning of the resurrection. But then he had to confess his sin and receive forgiveness publicly before all the disciples. This is a necessary step. Peter’s sin was public and needed a public confession. While it might have grieved Peter, it was necessary for the disciples who pictured the church to hear that confession and receive it. This is the way that confession of public sin must be handled today. It is a blessing for the church and for forgiven sinners. Sing Psalter 83.
July 3 Read Acts 1
The writer of this book, Luke the physician, continues were he left off in his gospel. He addresses the same man, one Theophilus. He begins by expanding the details of Christ’s ascension. This ascension is important for us, as now our advocate sits at God’s right hand making intercession for us and preparing us for the day when he will return to this earth and gather his people into glory. Before he leaves he charges his disciples with the task of spreading the gospel throughout the world. Representing the church of the new dispensation, Christ’s disciples return to Jerusalem awaiting the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Sing Psalter 182
July 4 Read Acts 2
Ten days after his ascension Christ poured out his spirit upon the church in the persons of the disciples who, as they had been commanded by Christ, were waiting in Jerusalem. The signs of the third person of the Trinity truly represented him. As we see the effects of the wind, so we see the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and in the church. As fire cleanses, so the Holy Spirit enables us to walk a life of sanctification. As the Spirit gives the church utterance, she spreads the church throughout the world. All of these things point to the next step in Christ’s work, his return to judgment. For that we wait. Let us watch and pray. Sing Psalter 287.
July 5 Read Acts 3
As we saw in the previous chapter, Christ through the Spirit enabled the fisherman Peter to preach. His preaching was powerful because it was the word, which is Christ. As we attend church from sabbath to sabbath, let us seek that living Word. Let us see that it is not just a man preaching to us, but it is one who has been called and sent by the same Spirit who enabled Peter to preach with power. And young men, seek to see if you have been called. While Christ today has personally called no preacher, true preachers have a calling that they must not deny. Preaching gathers the church; we need preachers. Sing Psalter 263.
July 6 Read Acts 4
The early days of the church were filled with turmoil. This was not an internal struggle, but one in which the devil tried to extinguish the flames that flickered within the members both individually and corporately. Even though Christ’s death had bound Satan, he still worked hard against the body of Christ. By the Spirit church members could say publicly as they faced persecution that they had to speak the things of Christ. Is this our testimony? Do we quench the Spirit, or do we fight Satan head on when he rears his ugly head? By the Spirit we need to fear no one or no false teacher. By the Spirit we too can speak the things of Christ, our exalted king. Sing Psalter 4
July 7 Read Acts 5
Satan turned his wiles to another corner. In the persons of Ananias and Sapphira, they faced a crisis within the church. Discipline was meted out swiftly. It was not a man-centered discipline, but one ordained by God. It was the severest remedy for the problem of sin. This had a two-fold effect. Pretenders to the faith were restrained; believers were encouraged. Once more the church was brought before the authorities. Once more they faced the problem head on with the well-known words, “We must obey God rather than man.” Do we speak those words when faced with adversity? Do we live out of those words? Do we teach them to our children by word and actions? Sing Psalter 109.
July 8 Read Acts 6
While Christ was on this earth he told the disciples that the poor would be among them always. In this chapter the church was called to establish the New Testament equivalent of the priesthood as a special office. Deacons were ordained and given the task of distributing the mercies of Christ to those in need. These were not mere financial officers; these men were charged with the task of bringing the comfortable words of the Bible and assistance to those whom God had made poor. We may never look at this office as second-rate or as a stepping stone to eldership. We must use the office to dispense those mercies of Christ even as he has given them to us. Sing Psalter 24.
July 9 Read Acts 7
After being ordained as a deacon, Stephan showed himself to be an excellent ambassador for Christ. He preached in the synagogue, and when challenged about his preaching, was not afraid to answer. For that he was taken before the Jewish officials. There too he was not afraid to give an answer. That answer was from scripture, and it so infuriated the council that he was ordered to be put to death. Are we ready ambassadors for Christ? Are we willing to speak the truth no matter what the consequences? For most of us in today’s world the consequences are light in comparison to what Stephan faced, but are we willing to endure scorn for the cause of Christ? Sing Psalter 253.
July 10 Read Acts 8
What does Christianity mean to us? In this fast-moving account of the acts of the church of Christ, many things are happening in that church. The gospel is being spread by many means. Are we Simons, looking to buy our way into what might be considered the glamour places of the church? Are we Philips, going to preach wherever the Spirit leads us? Are we found reading our Bibles even as we go from place to place in our daily lives? In Christ’s church each Christian has a calling? Are we carrying it out? We must not hide our light under a bushel. We must live the gospel so all may know whom we serve, and as the Heidelberg Catechism tells us, bring others to Christ by our godly walk. Sing Psalter 358.
July 11 Read Acts 9
In this chapter we see the different directions Christ directed his church. First, he called Saul who was to be a missionary to the Gentiles. While most ministers do not receive so striking a call today, God still calls men to go and serve him in the ministry and on the mission field. Others he calls to be elders and deacons. Men of all ages, are you listening and heeding that call? Second, we see other acts of Peter, whose main work was among the Jews. There were Jews who would leave the church of the old dispensation and follow Christ as preached by the apostles. Miracles, such as the raising of Dorcas, were used as signs of the power of that preaching. Let us pray for the gathering of that church here on earth, for as that church is gathered, the coming of Christ is ever closer. Sing Psalter 194.
May 13 Read Mark 11
We now come to Mark’s account of the passion week, the week in which Christ walked toward the cross for our salvation because of his love and the love of the Father. As has been pointed out before, Mark is the gospel of action. We see that in these closing chapters of this gospel. Notice the verses that declare Christ’s action of cleansing the temple. In a short, succinct description this action is described. His terse words carry much meaning. God’s house is to be a house of prayer. Do we make it such? Do we only allow elements of worship that are prayerful in their execution? God ordained more than prayer in the temple. He ordains more than prayer in the worship service, but each element must be prayer-like. Let us come to God’s house each week, and let us give ourselves to him in prayer in all that we do. Sing Psalter 185.
May 14 Read Mark 12
The preaching of the word is a two-edged sword. For the elect it provides the means of grace that imparts to them their salvation. For the reprobate it cuts them off from that means of grace. The parables in this chapter especially point out this second element of the preaching. The scribes and Pharisees standing around Jesus saw themselves in the parables. Were they moved to asked forgiveness? Not at all, and as Jesus said, it was because they did not know the scriptures. They knew them intellectually but not experientially. What about us? How well do we know the scriptures? Do we know them as the widow, and are we ready to give all that we have to the kingdom in thanksgiving for what God has done for us? Sing Psalter 138.
May 15 Read Mark 13
As in Matthew’s gospel, we find Jesus’ discourse about the end times. Both Matthew and Mark recount the material in a similar manner. In verses 21 and 22, Mark warns the church to beware of those who posit a false Christ. We need that warning today. In many churches, on many radio programs, and especially in much of what passes for sacred music today, false Christs are portrayed. We must discern those false Christs and not allow them into our lives. Our children need to see the false Christ in the music to which they listen. We must make sure that the sermons we hear, the radio programs we listen to, and the songs we hear and sing speak only of Christ, the Son of the living God. We must, as the last word of this chapter tells us: “Watch.” Sing Psalter 334.
May 16 Read Mark 14
As the chapter is long and self-explanatory, I will not comment much upon it, but I call call to your attention to verse 7. Do we do good to the poor who are with us? Do we seek them out and show to them Christian love? Those poor are around us. They may be poor only for a time because of some circumstance in which God has placed them. Especially during that time do they need the mercies of Christ showered upon them by fellow believers. Sing Psalter 101.
May 17 Read Mark 15
We see three items of note in this chapter that details Christ’s trial before Pilate, his crucifixion, and his death. First, note the silence. We know that Christ had other oral utterances during the trial. But we also know that he fulfilled Isaiah 53: “…as a sheep before her shearers is dumb.” Second, only one cross word is mentioned in Mark, but yet what a word! Christ was forsaken by God that we may live. Is there anything else that needs to be said about the mode of our salvation? Finally he gave up his life. Even Pilate was surprised at the rapidity of Jesus’s death. He died that we may live. Wonderful Savior! Sing Psalter 47.
May 18 Read Mark 16
Mark in his concise way details for us three steps of Christ’s state of exaltation. We see his resurrection and appearances to his followers: then in one verse we find his ascension and being seated at God’s right hand. Mark leaves him poised, as it were, for his coming for the final judgement of all things. Our salvation did not end in Christ’s birth, his death, and his burial. The culmination of our salvation is his final coming when he will receive us unto himself. Let us wait for that day by watching and praying. Sing Psalter 33.
May 19 Read Luke 1
We begin the gospel written by a trained scientist, a doctor. The Holy Spirit uses Luke’s gifts to show to God’s people the gospel in this unique light. We also see a Gentile who explains to his Gentile audience the Jewish customs that were evident and fulfilled in Christ. In this first chapter we have the announcement of the births of two babies. These two babies are intertwined in salvation: John was to be the forerunner of the Christ. In the songs of Zacharias and Mary are beautiful words concerning our salvation. Read them, consider them, and love them. Sing Psalter 198.
May 20 Read Luke 2
Many of us can recite long sections of Luke 2 by heart. What do those words mean to us? Are they just words that we learned for a Christmas program? Are they just words that we have learned because we have heard them repeatedly? Or are they words of comfort and joy? The joy of our salvation can be found in those beautiful words. Jesus was humiliated by this lowly birth for us. Is there no greater news? Let us not just know these words as mere facts, but let us know them in our hearts as the way of our salvation. Sing Psalter 4.
May 21 Read Luke 3
After Luke 2 scripture draws a veil over Christ’s life until he was about thirty years old. It does us no good to speculate what that life may have been like. Our salvation is contained in what scripture does tell us. In the first verses of this chapter we see those who had a prominent role in Christ’s crucifixion. Then Luke picks up his gospel narrative with the work of John the Baptist as he prepared the way for the coming of Christ. Before we have a genealogy to show Christ’s human nature, we have his announcement to the people in the way of his baptism. This account also gives to us proof of his divinity as the second person of the Trinity. What we have in this chapter is the essence of our salvation in a nutshell. Sing Psalter 187.
May 22 Read Luke 4
After the account of Jesus’s temptations, we have the account of his rejection in Nazareth. Why was he rejected? He was rejected because he preached the truth. Jesus did not come to this earth just to do miracles. These miracles were only signs of the grace that was shown in his preaching of the word. Imagine, here was the Word preaching the word. What would have our response been? Our human nature would have responded just as the townspeople of Nazareth did. Only by grace can we sit under the preaching of the word from week to week and soak in the wonder-words of life. How do we sit under the preaching of that word? Sing Psalter 85.
May 23 Read Luke 5
Much is covered in this chapter. Jesus is shown as one who heals not just the body from its physical ailments, but especially the soul from its spiritual ailments. We see the two reactions to that preaching. Some, who believe by grace, are thankful and follow Jesus. The others, who are cut to the quick by that preaching, mock and scoff. What do we do when we hear the preaching? What is our attitude to the preaching of the word from sabbath to sabbath? Are we following Jesus in our whole life? Sing Psalter 311.
May 24 Read Luke 6
What must disciples of Jesus do? As those called to follow the Son of God, we must obey the Father’s commandments. One of those commandments concerns keeping the sabbath day. Do keep it like the world and desecrate that day? Do we keep it like the Pharisees, with many man-made invented laws? Or do we keep it like true disciples remembering the sabbath day to keep it holy and thereby we honor the Lord of the sabbath? When we do the latter, then we will find the blessedness described in the last part of the chapter a real joy. Sing Psalter 137.
May 25 Read Luke 7
In this chapter we see Christ’s mercy and compassion upon his people. First, we have two miraculous healings. The truths found in those healings are truths that we need to follow in our lives. No matter what comes upon us in this life we must have the faith of those individuals. Sometimes we need reassurance even as John did. Where do we find that reassurance? We find it in the Word, as Jesus conveyed him to John. Finally we must come to Jesus weeping as we repent of our sins. In that way we will find and enjoy the compassion of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Sing Psalter 283.
May 26 Read Luke 8
“Where is your faith?” Those were the words of Jesus to his disciples as they faced a storm on the Sea of Galilee. These disciples had seen many mighty works performed by Christ. Yet in the face of a personal crisis, they panicked even with the Lord of creation with them. Are we any different? Do we confess that we believe in Christ and who he is and what he has done, but when we are touched personally, do we panic? The words that Christ spoke unto his disciples, he speaks to us daily. If your faith is low, reread this chapter. See what Christ has done for his people; see what he will do for you. Sing Psalter 271.
May 27 Read Luke 9
Are we fit for the kingdom of heaven? After reading the words of this chapter, which is the beginning of the road to the cross for our Savior, we must ask about our desire to walk that road. Are we willing to take of the cross of Christ and bear the shame of that cross even as he did, as we wait for the coming of the kingdom? Can we live the words of Peter’s confession when troubles strike? As the writer to the Hebrews puts it, he endured the cross and despised the shame. Why did he do this? He did it for us; those for whom the Father had given him. He did it so that we may live. May we follow him all the days of our lives. Sing Psalter 234.
May 28 Read Luke 10
Which of the people in this chapter are we? Are we the ones beaten and despised by the established church? Are we those who left a man in need alongside of the road? Are we good Samaritans? Do we attempt to trap Jesus? Are we Marthas, so busy that we forget what are the good things? Are we Marys, who cling to the words of Christ? Or are we those who answer the call to go and reap the fields of the world in Christ’s name? We are one of those people: which one? Sing Psalter 195.
May 29 Read Luke 11
Can we pray to our Father for all things and also withstand the troubles those in the world bring upon us? This is the teaching of Jesus in this chapter. He starts with prayer. At the behest of his disciples, Jesus gives to them and us a form of prayer that has served the church from Christ’s days until now. It is only a form. We can and must adapt it to fit the particular needs that we may have because of his sovereign hand. In praying daily, we receive the strength to fit against all the wiles of the devil and the hosts he sends against us. We will know how to answer those who call into question our faith. We will know how to stand in the last days. Let us pray, people of God, and let us pray often. Sing Psalter 386.
May 30 Read Luke 12
From warning us about Satan’s wiles, Christ teaches us about the trials that will be ours in the last days. He not only warns us about those trials, but he also shows to us that the cause and outcome of those trials are in the Father’s sovereign hand. We need not fear, as he tells the church in verse 32. We can look trouble in the face by looking past it to the face of our heavenly Father. In that face we will find the grace to withstand all trouble. Look to the Father, people of God, and look by faith. Sing Psalter 145.
May 31 Read Luke 13
Are we seeking to enter into the strait gate by walking upon the narrow path on this earth? Sometimes that narrow path does not seem so desirable. The wide path that leads to the wide gate seems to have a nicer way. That way seems to be more fun. If we choose that path, we will be selecting the same path of Israel of old who choose the worship of idols because it pleased their flesh more than the service of God. Let us follow him who leads us on that narrow path and will shelter us with his wings when trouble looms. Jesus is heading toward the cross; are we walking the same route? Sing Psalter 308.
June 1 Read Luke 14
Are we ready to sit at the feast of the great supper? Or do we have our excuses ready-made why we cannot attend. Jesus’s parable is very pointed. We must examine our lives and see if our lives are leading us to refuse to attend that great supper. Are we too busy for the things of the kingdom? Do we have other desires than the kingdom causes that God has placed before us? Do we seek that kingdom, believing that God will give to us the earthly needs that we have? Reading through this chapter more than once will show us how to be ready when God commands us to come. When we come, we will be blessed. Of that there is no doubt. Sing Psalter 120.
June 2 Read Luke 15
In this trilogy of parables dealing with lost things, we see two similarities. First, the obvious one is that all of them deal with something that has gone lost for some reason. Second, and more important, each of these parables deals with us. Each parable deals with a different aspect of the life of the Christian. If we say that one of these parables does not characterize us, we are no better than the Pharisees who did not think that they were lost. We are the sheep, we are the coin, and we are the son. Only by grace have we been found and brought back into the fold. Sing Psalter 342.
June 3 Read Luke 16
What would you rather have? Would it be the riches of this earth like the rich man, or the riches found in heaven like Lazarus? While we may say that the answer is easy, how are we living? Do we work on this earth to save up treasures in heaven? Or are the comforts and luxuries of this life more attractive? Which master do we serve? Is it our heavenly Father, or is it the god of this world? Pray for the grace to know what is important and to seek that which is above. Sing Psalter 403.
June 4 Read Luke 17
As Jesus was making his way toward Jerusalem, he was instructing his disciples in many things. They understood what was being taught but not always why; thus their simple request, “Increase our faith.” They understood that what their master was teaching them was important, but they wanted to know more. Are we like that? Do we delve into the scriptures with that prayer on our lips? Do we see the truths of scripture as they are unfolded, or do we want them to say what are our natural desires? Let us not only seek the truth, but let us be truly thankful for the salvation that removed from us the leprosy of sin. Sing Psalter 394
June 5 Read Luke 18
This chapter begins with some instruction on prayer, goes on to address the doctrine of salvation, and finishes with Christ, obviously pointed toward the way of our salvation, the cross. In each of the four parts of the chapter we are instructed by way of some person. In the first we are taught that we must often go to our heavenly Father in prayer. Second, we are shown that our prayers must center on God’s glory. Then we see that we must put away our earthly desires and seek that which is above. Finally we see that we must be insistent in seeking our heavenly Father like the blind beggars were. Sing Psalter 384.
June 6 Read Luke 19
As a stone rolling down a mountainside gains momentum as it goes, so did Christ’s ascent to the cross. Today’s chapter shows him with his true mission, seeking the lost sheep of Israel—in other words, seeking us. Second, we see more instruction on the true kingdom. Are we looking, waiting, and praying for the kingdom found in heaven, not on this earth? Finally, we see the passion week begin with his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. While the world may not think much of that entry, for us it was the grandest of entries on this earth, for it signaled the final steps of Jesus’ road to our salvation. Hosanna! Sing Psalter 318
June 7 Read Luke 20
Jesus had to fight his enemies to the very end. The leaders of the church at that day wanted to discredit his work of salvation, and they brought many attempts to trip him up in doctrine and life. Even today many who call themselves church and leaders of those so-called churches seek to take credit for the work of salvation accomplished by Christ on the cross. The ideas of the well-meant offer, federal vision, and others seek to strip God and his Son Christ of their rightful glory. May we see that they are no better than the Pharisee’s of Jesus’ day, and may we seek the wonderful words of life found in scripture. Sing Psalter 302.
June 8 Read Luke 21
After the touching account of the widow and her last mites, Jesus instructs his disciples and us what must come to pass before our salvation is fully realized. Are we like the poor widow? Do we give for the kingdom causes, leaving our physical needs in our heavenly Father’s hands? Like the disciples, we must be instructed that Christ’s kingdom is not of this earth. All of man’s edifices will be destroyed, and the coming kingdom will be established on spiritual principles. Let us learn from both the widow and the disciples. Sing Psalter 13.
June 9 Read Luke 22
Today’s chapter is lengthy, so I wish to give us time to enjoy its depths. Here are questions to guide us. Are we like Judas or Peter? Or do we have characteristics and tendencies of both? When we partake of the Lord’s supper we must examine ourselves and remove from ourselves those tendencies. Sing Psalter 203.
June 10 Read Luke 23
Certain persons appear in scripture of whom we know little. But their actions or words speak volumes. We do not know who Simon was. But his action of bearing Christ’s cross must instruct us. It is not a literal cross we bear, but the cross of belonging to Christ. May we confess as the centurion did that Jesus was a righteous man who died for our righteousness. Finally, do we have the love of Joseph as he gave up his own tomb for the savior? Read the Bible looking for these examples of how we must live. Sing Psalter 312.
June 11 Read Luke 24
Which resurrection story is your favorite? Is it that of the women who loved Jesus so much that they were drawn to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus? Is it of Peter who found forgiveness from his sin of denying his Lord and Savior? Is it of the travelers to Emmaus whose eyes had to be opened to the truths concerning the work of Christ on this earth? Don’t stop with the resurrection. Embrace the doctrines of the ascension, sitting at God’s right hand, and return to glory. In those doctrines as well of those of his humiliation we find the complete way of our salvation. Sing Psalter 28.
April 12 Read Matthew 8
Jesus was a great preacher. That is what we saw in the preceding three chapters. Now the gospel writer shows that he was truly God. In this chapter we have a number of the miracles that Jesus did. As you read through them, you see that they are not only numerous, but also of great variety. They were truly wonder-works of God in which the usual creation was changed. We also see in each of these miracles the sign of grace. God heals the sickness of sin in each of us. He calms the storms of life that rage around us, and he calms the storms of life that rage within us. May we give thanks for the great miracle, the gift of salvation. Sing Psalter 213.
April 13 Read Matthew 9
Matthew continues to give to us proof that Jesus was truly the Messiah, the Son of God. In this chapter more miracles are reported. Matthew also reports on his call to be a disciple of Christ. Do we heed the call to “follow me?” Do we follow Christ every day in whatever situation in which we are placed? Do we see the multitudes around us that need the gospel? Men and boys, have you examined yourselves for the call to be a laborer in God’s fields? Take some time to reflect on the last two chapters and see what God has done for us, and what his will for us is. Sing Psalter 195.
April 14 Read Matthew 10
In the preceding chapter we saw in a general way the call of the disciples. In this chapter we see that Christ formally called them, ordained them, and equipped them for the work that they had to do. Officebearers in Christ’s church today are also called, ordained, and equipped. While the day of signs and wonders is over, today’s ministers, elders, and deacons are also called, ordained and equipped. They are given the word and the Spirit to use that word for the good of Christ’s church. In the end of the chapter is an admonition to those who are ruled by Christ through the officebearers. May we heed that word. Sing Psalter 265.
April 15 Read Matthew 11
How do we receive Christ? Are we doubtful, as John the Baptist was while sitting in prison? Do we look for a different Christ from the one portrayed in the Bible? John did, and he had to be reminded by Jesus of the Old Testament scriptures. Do we believe, as many of those in Galilee and Judea did not believe, that Jesus was the Christ? We must seek the Son of the Father, knowing that in him and by him is our salvation. We must come to the one whose yoke is easy. We must learn of him in the scriptures inspired by the Father, and we must cling to him for rest in this world of sin and trial. Sing Psalter 333.
April 16 Read Matthew 12
Are we quick to find fault with others, but then ignore our own sins? That is the error of Pharisaism. Throughout Jesus’s ministry on earth those supposed leaders of God’s church were looking for ways to accuse him. There is some of this sin in each of us as well. Do not misunderstand, however. Those in authority must seek to remove sin from God’s church. We must love our neighbor by turning him from his sin. Matthew will show this to us later. Let us remove the motes from our eyes and help our brothers keep their lives pure as well. Sing Psalter 25.
April 17 Read Matthew 13
Do we seek the mysteries of the kingdom? Do we do this by searching out the truths of scripture daily, and then look at creation for the pictures that God has placed there to teach us those truths? Throughout his ministry Christ used parables to teach his people those mysteries. Those parables were means of instruction, so that believers might learn about the kingdom of heaven. These are not just earthly stories; these are profound truths that lead us to Christ. Sing Psalter 169.
April 18 Read Matthew 14
How much do we trust our Father and his Son? Do we trust God enough to speak the truth even when much may be at stake, as John did? For speaking the truth John was killed to satisfy evil. Do we trust our Father enough to realize that he will provide our food, both physical and spiritual? The five thousand saw that lesson; not all understood it. Do we live a life that shows that we need more than earthly bread? Do we trust Jehovah enough to know that he is the Lord of all and will care for us through all the storms of this life? A life of trust is a blessed life; let us live it. Sing Psalter 152.
April 19 Read Matthew 15
Jesus both did miracles and preached great doctrine. We have both in this chapter. To the Pharisees and to us he taught that the speech of man is that by which man is judged. Physical food goes into the body, and after it makes its way through the body, it leaves with no spiritual affect. What we speak shows who and what we are. Do we hunger for the spiritual food that will affect our speech, even as the four thousand really hungered after bread? Do we have the faith of a woman who knew that she did not deserve grace, but by grace begged for her daughter’s healing? Let us pray for the grace to show our faith to all who are around us. Sing Psalter 334.
April 20 Read Matthew 16
Which leaven do you use in your spiritual life? Is it the leaven of today that identifies with common grace, the free offer of the gospel, free will, and all the other doctrines that pervade the church world and the lives of those who attend those churches? Sometimes that leaven gets into our spiritual life, and we become tainted with those false doctrines. Or do we have the leaven of the Holy Spirit, who moved Peter to say, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”? Do we attend churches in which the keys of the kingdom are present not because of the men who lead those churches, but because they are built on the foundation of Peter’s confession? Seek those churches, young people; help the young people in this, fathers and mothers. In doing this we will please the God of our salvation. Sing Psalter 318.
April 21 Read Matthew 17
As Jesus began to near the way of the cross, he continued to teach those around him who he was. He first showed the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration about his coming kingdom. That kingdom had been announced by John the Baptist. That kingdom would not be an earthly kingdom as many, including his closest friends, assumed. Second, he taught those around him that that kingdom would be obtained by faith alone. Even as the boy’s father needed faith that is by grace, so do we or will we misrepresent the kingdom, even as Peter had done. By grace are we saved, and by grace we will wait for the coming of kingdom of Christ, which will be manifest by his coming. Sing Psalter 306.
April 22 Read Matthew 18
As Christ spoke to the multitudes around him, including the disciples, he took time to teach them how they must live in his kingdom. Living in that kingdom means that there must be repentance from sins. Sometimes those sins need to be pointed out by others. We often speak of the way of Matthew 18, but do we truly understand what that entails and what we must do in that way? We must not wait for a great sin to walk in this way; we help our brothers and sisters in little matters, so that they do not grow into bigger matters. Addressing our fellow Christians in private can have more effect than waiting until that is too late. Let us walk in the way of forgiveness, even as Christ forgave us. Sing Psalter 283.
April 23 Read Matthew 19
As Jesus moved inexorably toward his crucifixion, by the Father’s providence he is provided with many teaching opportunities. The Pharisees give to him the opportunity to teach about marriage. Few in the world today will pay heed to the words of our Savior. Most will either ignore or disparage them and those who hold to them. We must see that lifelong marriages are God’s way for us to glorify him and to bring forth children for his kingdom. We must bring the covenant seed to Christ each day. We also learn that the kingdom is not of this earth, but it is heavenly, and in it earthly riches have no value. May we seek that kingdom in all of our daily lives. Sing Psalter 360.
April 24 Read Matthew 20
This chapter, which is a continuation of the one before it, contains a parable, some teaching, and a miracle, all given to us to show us more about the kingdom of heaven. First, we see that our works do not merit us any place in that kingdom. Second, we see that our place in that kingdom is ordained by God and not by any earthly desires. Finally, we see that entering that kingdom is by grace. Just as the blind man was made to see by Christ, our eyes are opened to the kingdom of heaven only by grace. Let us live lives of gratitude for that grace as we wait for the coming of the kingdom of heaven. Sing Psalter 275.
April 25 Read Matthew 21
The final eight chapters of Matthew deal with the end of Jesus’ humiliation and the beginning of his exaltation. The opening verses show how he was humiliated as he came to earth, but they also give to us glimpses of his exaltation as he ascended into heaven. Riding the colt of a donkey was not the way kings returned from battle. However, Jesus was not returning from battle, but was making his final entry into the battle against Satan. As the week ended, Jesus would bruise the head of Satan one last time, ensuring our salvation. Do we seek this kind of Jesus, or do we seek the good man, as the world likes to portray him? Jesus went to the cross for us willingly; let us seek that lamb who was slain for our sins. Sing Psalter 320.
April 26 Read Matthew 22
As part of Jesus’ final week on earth, sometimes called the passion week, he had to face his earthly adversaries, the Pharisees and all their cronies, numerous times. Whether it was by parable or by direct teaching, our Savior bested them each time. No, they did not give in and say he was the Son of God. However, they knew, and that knowledge would lead to their downfall. We must not just know intellectually; we must believe. In believing we will seek to live a life of sanctification guided by those two great commandments. People of all ages, do those commandments guide your life? If they do not, knowledge of them will not help you at all. Sing Psalter 322.
April 27 Read Matthew 23
People of God, do we have tendencies of the Pharisees? Do some of the woes Jesus pronounced upon them describe us? They do, unless we rely solely upon the word of God. The Pharisees had gone beyond what had been laid out for worship and life in God’s law. They had added to the law, they had subtracted from the law, and they had twisted the law to fit their own needs. We only need to run down the commandments to see where we fall short in this matter. Do we worship when and how we please, rather than in accordance with the first two commandments? Do we fail to honor God’s name and day because it is not convenient for us? What about the second table of the law? Do we put ourselves first rather than our neighbor? These were the sins of the Pharisees. Jesus condemned those sins and those who committed them. What would he say about us? Sing Psalter 24.
April 28 Read Matthew 24
After spending the first three days of the passion week with the multitudes in Jerusalem, Jesus retires with his disciples to the Mount of Olives. In answer to one of their questions, he instructs them in the things of the last days, or eschatology. What do we think about those last days? Are we looking for a heaven on this earth? Are we hoping that our favorite earthly activities will be the main part of our heavenly existence? Do we dismiss the hardships of the last days as not happening? If we answer positively to any of those questions, we deceive ourselves and need to spend time studying these discourses of our Savior, whose kingdom is not of this earth. Sing Psalter 30.
April 29 Read Matthew 25
Jesus continued teaching his disciples on the Mount of Olives, maybe in the quiet of Gethsemane. The subject of his instruction was the last times. He taught them using two parables. The instruction given was to watch, to pray, and to be busy in the work of the kingdom. We too, as Christians of those last days, must also heed that instruction. We must be watching for the return of Christ. The signs given in the last chapter are all around us. We must be often found in prayer. As Paul taught us, we must “pray without ceasing.” We must also do the work given to us in God’s kingdom. People of God, will Christ’s final coming find us busy in those things? Sing Psalter 407.
April 30 Read Matthew 26
Do we see ourselves in this chapter? Do we love Jesus even as the woman loved him, weeping as she anointed him? Do we hate Jesus even as the rulers of the church of that day hated him, despising him and condemning him to death? Do we deny him as Peter denied him, swearing that he did not know him? Throughout our lives all of these actions are probably ours. We must seek to be like the woman, loving our Savior in all things. When we deny him, let us seek repentance even as Peter later would. Let it never be said of us that our actions show that we hate our Savior. Christ died for us; let us love him in all things that we do. Sing Psalter 47.
May 1 Read Mathew 27
God had foreordained that Christ would die at the hands of those wicked men who brought him to Calvary. This is the testimony of Luke in the book of Acts. We may think that we would never cry out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” We may think that we would never give him over to be crucified as Pilate did, even while he knew that Jesuswas an innocent man. We may think that we would not mock him as he hung on the cross. Yet we do these things daily. That is why Christ went to the cross. He went for his people who daily crucify him. He took those sins upon himself for our sakes. Thanks be to God! Sing Psalter 185.
May 2 Read Matthew 28
The earthquake did not free Jesus from the grave. The earthquake announced that Jesus by the power of the Godhead had risen from the dead. Jesus begins the state of exaltation with his resurrection. He arose that we may arise when he returns on the clouds of heaven. The disciples did not believe at first. They all were somewhat like Thomas. Do we believe? If we do, then we must go forth and tell the nations. Our work in God’s kingdom right now is to spread the gospel. We are not all preachers or missionaries, but we all have the calling to do that work in the station in which God has placed us. We can do this because he is with us at all times, and will help us in all our needs. Sing Psalter 31.
May 3 Read Mark 1
The gospel according to Mark is a gospel of action. Notice that in this first chapter, the history of the first thirty years of Jesus’ life is omitted. The temptations are told in two verses. The calling of his disciples is also summarized. The writer quickly gets to the two main works of Christ: his teaching and his miracles. He teaches about the kingdom of heaven, and he does miracles to show his followers the authenticity of that teaching. Let us too be instructed about that kingdom, and let us, as children of Pentecost, believe. Sing Psalter 332.
May 4 Read Mark 2
Do we have the faith of the four friends? While we do not have the opportunity to bring our friends to a physical Christ, we have many opportunities to bring them to the Christ of scripture. Many of our friends may need that check-up that only scripture can provide. We may need to bring them comforting words, or encouraging words, or chastising words. Whatever they need, they can find from the great physician in his word. Do we bring it to our friends? As with Jesus, it may bring us oppression, but it is the calling that Christ has given to us as his disciples. Sing Psalter 101.
May 5 Read Mark 3
The world watches Christ’s followers even as they watched him. Does this fact affect you, people of God? Christ was ready and willing to do what was right as he followed the will of his Father. We too must be ready and willing to do what is in accordance with the word of God. We may not, as his disciples did, choose to do things that are convenient for us. Our choice must be predicated on the right words of Holy Writ. We also must be willing to forsake what is familiar to us for the sake of the gospel. All this Jesus did. All this he did for our sakes, as we will see as we journey through this book of good news. Sing Psalter 99.
May 6 Read Mark 4
The writer of this gospel also relates to us the parables found in Matthew. These means of instruction concerning the kingdom of heaven are important for us to learn and to use as we wait for the coming of that kingdom. The miracles too are a means of instruction. When Christ says, “Peace, be still” to the winds and waves, he says the same words to us as we face the storms of life. Satan tries to batter us as we go through our daily lives. Only the master’s words can calm our fears. We need to seek out that word in his word and use it as we live out our lives on this earth. Sing Psalter 278.
May 7 Read Mark 5
Three miracles dealing with healing are found in this chapter. In the first we see that Christ heals from the devil. Satan was able to possess many with his legions in Christ’s day. He still tries to possess us and cause us to walk in his way. Little sins that stay within us for long periods of time will eventually cause us to die, just as this woman was going to die. We need to be raised from this spiritual deathly nature even as the little girl was raised from physical death. What can accomplish all three? Only the grace that is portrayed in these miracles is able to set us free from Satan’s clutches. That grace is irresistible and is freely given by God. Seek grace, people of God, and give thanks for that free gift. Sing Psalter 310.
May 8 Read Mark 6
We see two kinds of unbelief in this chapter. First, we see the unbelief in his hometown of Nazareth. They heard him preach, and they saw his miracles, but they would not believe. After all, he was only a carpenter. They knew him, and there was no way that he could speak such wise words. Second, there was Herod’s unbelief. His unbelief was prompted by the fact that he had thought he had removed his tormenter from him. What does he do? He cannot get to Jesus, but he orders John the Baptist to be killed. We too can be guilty of either type of unbelief. Only by the grace of God are we delivered from that sin. Let us believe, and then let us praise God for his blessings toward us. Sing Psalter 253.
May 9 Read Mark 7
The Pharisees also exhibited unbelief. They knew the law; that is, they knew the law with their minds. Their hearts were full of Satan’s works. Those works characterized their lives. Jesus elsewhere calls them hypocrites. Do we know God’s word with our minds and not our hearts? If that is the case, we are no better than the Pharisees. We need to seek the crumbs of God’s grace. We need to seek them each week in his house, and we need to see them as we go about our daily work, for the crumbs of God’s grace are more filling than the feasts of the wisdom of this world. Let us not be faithless, but let us see God’s grace and believe. Sing Psalter 236.
May 10 Read Mark 8
In capsule form Mark presents some of the important events in Christ’s life. In this chapter after the feeding of the four thousand, Jesus teaches the disciples about doctrine. There are only 2 kinds: false and true. Those who seek after work righteousness follow the doctrine of the Pharisees. Jesus warns not only his disciples but also the church of all ages, about this false doctrine. In it man is everything and God only a silent partner. Later in the chapter the crux of true doctrine is stated by Peter. Jesus is the Christ, the one anointed to deliver his people from their sins. As we live, which doctrine is evident in our lives? Sing Psalter 168.
May 11 Read Mark 9
After being given a glimpse of the glory that would be his, Jesus and his disciples are confronted with an ugly scene of unbelief. This unbelief is not in the helpless father, but in the crowd around him and his son. This crowd was mocking the disciples, who could not heal the boy. The world, egged on by Satan, mocks those who follow the true doctrine. As Jesus talks to the man, it is evident that this man is not faithless; in fact, he knows that his faith needs strengthening. After calming his fears, as only Jesus can do, he heals the boy and quiets the crowd. Does he change their hearts? As a body, no, but for any believers in that body, the germ of regeneration is fanned as it is preparing to spring forth. Do we believe? Then let us pray for our heavenly Father to help our unbelief. Sing Psalter 232.
May 12 Read Mark 10
Marriage, children, and eternal life are three of the topics found in this chapter. They are all related by a fourth, found near the end of the chapter. When we walk by faith and not by sight, we will know how to live our lives. When we have faith that marriage is the unbreakable bond that pictures our covenant relationship with God, we will have no trouble remaining married even when times may be tough. When we walk by faith, we will know that children are a blessing from God; we will desire them and care for them in a way that is pleasing to him. When we live out of faith, we will see that riches do not cause us to inherit eternal life. As we read this chapter and all of Holy Writ, let us pray for the gift of faith necessary to live a life that is pleasing to God. Sing Psalter 360.
March 13 Read Zephaniah 1
Zephaniah is the last of the minor prophets before the exile into Babylon. We see in verse 1 that he is at work during the time of Josiah, who reigned soon after the reign of wicked Manasseh. In this first chapter he pronounces extreme judgment upon Judah and its inhabitants. The charge is idolatry and a false worship of God. God will tolerate neither kind of worship, as we see from the first and second commandments. God is God and there is no other. Once again we must be instructed to examine our concept and worship of God. What judgment will God make upon us as the great day of the Lord comes? Sing Psalter 251.
March 14 Read Zephaniah 2
Out of the judgments in chapter one comes a ray of hope in chapter 2. The faithful in Judah are called to repent and are called to draw nigh unto God. Then the prophet goes on in the rest of the chapter to pronounce judgment on those nations round about God’s people who have afflicted them. We too are called to repentance. As we hear God’s word preached each Sabbath day we must hear that call. As we daily read and meditate upon that word, we must hear the call to repentance. That word makes us fall to our knees and ask for forgiveness for our sins against the thrice holy God. Let us always remember to confess our sins in our prayers and seek forgiveness from the only one who can and will forgive through the blood of his own beloved Son. Sing Psalter 334.
March 15 Read Zephaniah 3
In this chapter we see the three divisions of the beloved Heidelberg Catechism. In the first part of the chapter we see the great misery that can afflict the church of all ages. Then we see the redemption that is only by sovereign, particular grace. Finally we see that the redeemed break into thanksgiving because of their deliverance from the great misery. While Zephaniah prophesied to the church of a particular age, his prophesy is timeless. Let us read this chapter and know that our God will redeem us and bring us into a better place. Sing Psalter 307.
March 16 Read Haggai 1
In this post-exilic prophesy we see a call to arms—not military arms, but spiritual arms. After the return from Babylon, the people dragged their feet in rebuilding. Not all rebuilding: they had nice houses in which to live. But they had not rebuilt God’s house. Today most of us attend a church that is in good physical condition. Some are more elaborate than others, but they are still serviceable as places of worship. What can be said about the spiritual condition of those places? Are the means of grace neglected? Do the causes of the kingdom go wanting? We need this call to arms because our nature is no different from that of Israel. Let us heed the call to build up the house of God. Sing Psalter 367.
March 17 Read Haggai 2
Commentators divide this chapter into three words or sermons to the people of Jerusalem. In the first they are encouraged in their temple building. While this temple might not be as grand as Solomon’s, God promises to them an event that would make it more grand. He then reproves them for sins that had tainted especially the priesthood and had hindered them in their work. Finally he makes a promise of further encouragement. In this chapter we see a prophecy of both the first and second comings of Christ. While our work in the kingdom does not bring about the kingdom, we are required to work and to serve as we await the day when the world will be shaken. Are we working? Are we watching? Are we praying? Sing Psalter 349.
March 18 Read Zechariah 1
Along with Haggai, Zechariah is another of the post-exilic prophets. We see him reprimanding Judah for their continued sins, as well as encouraging them to walk in the world as God’s people. Some of Judah had slipped back into the sins that led them into captivity. For this they are chastised. But Judah is also encouraged by the visions of the horses, the prayer of the angel, and the sign of the carpenters scattering the horns. We, as another people waiting for Christ, can draw much instruction from this book. We must live in a right way as we wait for our redeemer to return. Sing Psalter 273.
March 19 Read Zechariah 2
Zechariah is given a vision for him to use to encourage God’s faithful people. It was to be used, first, to encourage those who had returned from Babylon not to give up hope, for Jehovah would build his church, and none would prevail against it. Second, it was to be used for those who still remained in Babylon to encourage them to return to the city of God. It should also be an encouragement for us that as we await the fulfillment of the New Jerusalem we faint not, but that we are ever watching and praying. Sing Psalter 237.
March 20 Read Zechariah 3
Here we have an expression of the struggle between God and Satan. We do not look at this as a dualistic struggle in which the outcome is in doubt, but we see Satan clinging to some hope that he can overcome the curse that has been placed upon him. Satan is stating that Israel is not worthy to be God’s people because of their sin. But Israel has a redeemer. That redeemer is Christ, who is pictured as the branch and a cornerstone. This chapter served as Israel’s hope even as the enemy nations around them tried to cause them to fall. It can serve as our hope even as Satan wants us to fall in God’s sight. But that branch and stone is for us as well and is our hope even as we face the stormy future. Sing Psalter 318.
March 21 Read Zechariah 4
In this chapter we have not only a beautiful vision of how the temple of Zerubbabel’s time would be rebuilt, but also a beautiful depiction of how the church in the new dispensation will be rebuilt. Zerubbabel sometimes despaired of the lack of zeal shown by the people for the rebuilding of the temple. God had to show him that that work was not by man’s might, but by the power of God. God does not despise a small work, and neither should we in this age. God will use his anointed ones to bring forth a church that will be glorious in the new heavens and the new earth. For this we must look. Sing Psalter 368.
March 22 Read Zechariah 5
Zechariah was not only shown visions that depicted the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the comfort and peace that this would bring to the faith, but he was also shown visions thyat show God’s wrath upon the unbelievers in their midst. The church was not completely pure when it returned from Babylon, just as no church is completely pure today. There are those whose sins must be pointed out and who must be dealt with in the church of God. That final purification will not come until Christ returns upon the clouds of heaven. Even today we must suffer with those who are not obedient to God’s law. We must deal with them as God himself has commanded us in his word, even as Ezra and Nehemiah dealt with the wicked within the church of Zechariah’s day. Sing Psalter 227.
March 23 Read Zechariah 6
In this chapter we have a prophecy that looks forward not only to Christ’s first coming, but also past that to his final return. The four horses in the first part of the chapter parallel the horses of Revelation. These horses show that God rules over all parts of the world, and that all things must be fulfilled before the culmination of the new heavens and the new earth. There is also another reference to the righteous branch who is the Christ. Finally we see that the church, prefigured in the temple of that day, would not be made up only of Jews, but also of Gentiles from all nations. Are we building in that temple today? Sing Psalter 236.
March 24 Read Zechariah 7
In this and the following chapters the prophet speaks of the daily life of the returned captives. There was a question about the fasts that they had been holding even through the seventy years of the captivity. These fasts were a form of worship. They had not been carrying them out properly, and they are reproved for that lack. The prophet continues and reproves them for their lack of a walk of sanctification. He makes the connection between a right worship and a right walk. We must worship properly; of that there is no doubt. But we must also live out of that worship in a proper way. Either we keep both tables of the law or we keep neither. Sing Psalter 222.
March 25 Read Zechariah 8
This chapter is a continuation of the last one. After reproving Judah for their wrong manner of worship, the prophet now encourages them. He has the greatest message of encouragement for them. God is with them and will do great things for them. The prophet also encourages the people to continue the work of rebuilding the temple. This will be a source of blessing for them and for the Gentiles, who will come and join with them as the complete church of God. We need this encouragement as well. God has done great things for us. We need to respond with a right manner of worship and a zeal for the work of the kingdom. Most of us are those Gentiles who have been drawn to the church by sovereign, particular grace. Thanks be to God! Sing Psalter 357.
March 26 Read Zechariah 9
The chapter opens with God’s promising vengeance upon Israel’s enemies of old. He will do this by the coming of a king. This king, however, will come in a lowly manner. He will ride victoriously on the colt of an ass. This king is none other than Christ. This king will not bring a physical victory to God’s people, but the salvation that he brings is spiritual. This salvation will bring with it a peace and prosperity that has never been seen before. This will be a peace and prosperity of the soul. Let us behold our king and let us bow the knee to him in worship not just on the Lord’s Day, but on every day of the week in our homes, in our schools, and wherever we are. Sing Psalter 318.
March 27 Read Zechariah 10
Rain to the inhabitants of Israel was necessary. The farmer looked for a rain both at the beginning of the season to give the crops a good start, and the latter rain to make the increase abundant. Rain was a picture of the blessings that God gave to his people. Even through the seventy years of captivity, God blessed his people. Do we seek his blessing on our daily labors? Do we make this a part of our early morning prayers? And then do we live in a way that shows our dependence upon God for all things physical and spiritual? Let us pray with out ceasing, knowing that prayer is the chief means of thankfulness for the child of God. Sing Psalter 171.
March 28 Read Zechariah 11
The returned captives would not build a glorious, earthly kingdom. God’s kingdom is not of this world. In fact, the descendants of these returned captives would take a betrayed Jesus and put him to death. The chapter even looks farther than the work of Christ on the earth. It speaks of a shepherd who will not shepherd the people of God. This shepherd is the antichrist. This man will be used to usher in the culmination of God’s kingdom that will not be of this earth, but will be a spiritual and glorious kingdom. It is for that kingdom that we must look. We will not bring that kingdom to this earth, because it is not of this earth. Sing Psalter 221.
March 29 Read Zechariah 12
The church of all ages has had to undergo attacks from the world around her. The nations around Jerusalem were ever trying to attack and conquer her. The world at large today does not want the church of God to succeed. There are times, such as in the time of the kings, when God used these attacks to chastise his people for their sins. Even now God brings chastisement upon his church by means of the wicked world. But Jehovah God is gracious. He will work repentance upon his people and will gather them to him. For this we must hope; for this we must pray. Sing Psalter 386.
March 30 Read Zechariah 13
In this chapter we have a clear picture of what will happen within the church of God. We see that the idolatry that was prevalent would be removed. False prophets will be silenced. The Messiah will come, and the faithful will be tried and will be brought out of that trial as pure gold. As the church of the new dispensation we must see that we must go through those trials. We will be given grace, not of ourselves, to withstand those trials, and we will appear before the almighty judge as those cleansed by the blood of Christ. We must live our lives in this knowledge and live them in the hope of the new heavens and the new earth. Sing Psalter 174.
March 31 Read Zechariah 14
There are those who say that this chapter describes the final destruction of the Jewish nation and the installation of the Gentiles. Others say that the chapter looks forward to the final return of Christ and the final gathering of his church. Both seem to be true. The people of Zechariah’s day needed to know that the Jewish nation was not the end of God’s plan for his people. We need to know that the world as we know it is also not that end. There is a coming judgment and a coming realization of a glorious kingdom of God. All the manifestations of God’s kingdom have the calling to be holy even as God is holy. May we live a sanctified life ever seeking to be holy as we have been commanded. Sing Psalter 132.
April 1 Read Malachi 1
The final book of the Old Testament serves as a bridge between the old and the new. Some say Malachi is not a man’s name, but an office. Its meaning seems to be “my messenger”, which is appropriate. Malachi brings a final message about who Israel is: they are the ones God loves. What must they do? They must repent from their evil ways and walk in God’s ways. For whom must they seek? They must seek the Son of righteousness. As we read through the book, we must also take heed as we wait for Christ to return upon the clouds of heaven. Let us walk and worship in a way that is pleasing to our covenant God. Sing Psalter 132.
April 2 Read Malachi 2
While this chapter pointedly speaks of the situation in Judah after the captivity, its message is for the church of all ages. When Judah returned from captivity, the office of king no longer functioned as it did before they were carried away to Babylon. The priests were the supposed leaders. They corrupted their office in many ways, especially in the way of worship. They also influenced the people so that the ordinance of marriage was despised. People married unbelievers and divorced faithful spouses at will. The church today needs to hear and heed these words as well. Worship and marriage are carried out according to man’s desires and not according to the ordinance of God. Let us listen to the prophet and let us heed God’s ways. Sing Psalter 265.
April 3 Read Malachi 3
After prophesying of the coming of Christ and his messenger, Malachi continues his scolding of Judah for a wrong manner of worship. They were offering sacrifices that were not fit for the Righteous One. God would send his own sacrifice who would reprove the wicked priests and offer himself for the covenant people. The chapter closes with a beautiful blessing upon the faithful people of God. They would embrace Christ and would be gathered as a rich man gathers jewels and keeps them safe from all harm. Are we spending time speaking together of the wonderful things of God? Are we jewels worthy to be gathered? Sing Psalter 322.
April 4 Read Malachi 4
The last chapter of the canon of the Old Testament sets before the Jews of that day several things. First, the wicked are warned of the destruction to come. Second, the blessedness of the righteous is described through the coming of the Messiah. Third, an admonition to follow the law is given. Finally, Malachi describes the forerunner who will herald the coming Messiah. We, the church of the New Testament, need to pay heed to these words. All of them will come about at the Messiah’s final manifestation on this present earth. Let us watch and wait for him. Sing Psalter 69.
April 5 Read Matthew 1
The book opens with Christ’s legal right to be the Messiah. He is the son of David as evidenced by this genealogy. He is also the Son of God, as shown in the second part of the chapter. Finally, by name he is our savior as depicted by his name Jesus or Jehovah salvation. He who is Emmanuel has come to this earth and by his death on the cross has truly saved his people from their sins. When we read the Christmas story, we must never leave the Christ child in the manager. We must see that he willingly weny to the cross and died the accursed death for those whom the Father had giving him. Thanks be to God! Sing Psalter 198.
April 6 Read Matthew 2
“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets” is a phrase seen often in the gospel according to Matthew. One of the aims of this gospel is to show to the Jews and to the church of today is that Jesus is truly the messiah spoken of in the Old Testament. The whole of scripture is one. We cannot separate the testaments or take one without the other. There is ample proof of that in Matthew. We also see that Christ came to save people from every race. The wise men came from a far country. They worshiped the Christ for what he was and what he is today. We too must bow and worship our savior, not just as a baby, but as the one who died on the cross for our salvation. Sing Psalter 124.
April 7 Read Matthew 3
A forerunner arrives on the scene, announces his task, and leaves, having opened the way for what or whom he has announced. That was John the Baptist, the Elijah of Malachi 4. With seemingly little warning John begins preaching a different doctrine from what had been heard in Judea. Those who were supposed to be preaching the correct doctrine confronted him and were rebuffed. Then John baptized the one whom he announced. There will be signs before Christ’s second coming. Do we know them? Are we looking for them? Are we paying them heed? Sing Psalter 253.
April 8 Read Matthew 4
Part of Jesus’ becoming sin for us involves being tempted like us. The difference is that Jesus was sinless. This is the writer to the Hebrews’ commentary on this chapter. Christ had to undergo all sorts of temptations. His forty days in the wilderness was just the start of his three and a half years of public ministry. As disciples of Jesus we must follow his lead in facing Satan’s temptations. What must we do? We must say, “It is written…” There is only one way that we can use that phrase. We must know the word, which means we must dedicate ourselves to learning it. People of God of all ages must take time with that word so that we can say with confidence, “It is written.” Sing Psalter 333.
April 9 Read Matthew 5
Those who have been called to be disciples are called to become citizens of a kingdom. This is not an earthly kingdom; this kingdom is heavenly. This is not a kingdom in which outward deeds merit, but inward spiritual deeds are needed. These are deeds that require obedience to the law of God. Early in his ministry Jesus lays out for the twelve disciples, for the people of Judea and Galilee, and for the church of all ages what is required of those who would follow them. Those citizens will be the happy ones—those who are truly blessed. As we read through this sermon let us seek to walk according to its teaching, looking for the end, which is blessed life with God. Sing Psalter 1.
April 10 Read Matthew 6
The next section of Christ’s sermon on the kingdom of heaven details some of the activities of the citizens of that kingdom. One of the activities of those citizens is prayer. In the sermon Christ details parts of the prayers that we must bring to the throne of grace. Prayer should not be a once in awhile activity. As Paul says, we must “pray without ceasing.” In the model prayer we are taught to adore our Father, we are taught to bring certain petitions to him, and we are taught that the reason for praying is that all belongs to God. To sum up the duties of the citizens, we can turn to the last part of the chapter , in which we are commanded to seek the things of the kingdom above all else. Let us pray and let us seek. Sing Psalter 434.
April 11 Read Matthew 7
After some final practical injunctions, Christ turns to the goal of those who are citizens of the kingdom. We find that the kingdom of which Christ speaks is not an earthly kingdom. The Jews of Christ’s day were not going to find it in Jerusalem. It would not be David and Solomon’s glorious kingdom renewed, for the Christians of the new dispensation that kingdom will not be found on this present earth. No amount of renewing will make this earth that kingdom. Christ’s kingdom will be ushered in by him and by him alone. That kingdom will be established in the new heavens and the new earth, which will be a re-creation after this sinful world is destroyed. Look above, people of God, and seek the kingdom of God. Sing Psalter 4.
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