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June 7 Read Zechariah 10
The first oracle of blessing that Zechariah began in chapter 9 continues in chapter 10 with the description of a coming king. The Lord of hosts cares for his flock, and he shows this care by promising them a better shepherd. This prophecy refers in part to the future leadership of Judah, but the ultimate fulfillment is found in the coming Messiah.
Verse 4 contains four images that describe this promised Savior, who comes forth out of God to bring both judgment and blessing. He is the cornerstone, the foundation and object of our faith. He is the nail on which we can hang all our hopes and troubles, especially the hope of our salvation. He is the battle-bow, a warrior and champion that will defeat even his most powerful enemies. And he is the absolute ruler over every oppressor, the Lord of lords and King of kings. As citizens of God’s eternal kingdom, contemplating these powerful representations of Christ inspires us to praise and worship his holy name.
Sing or pray Psalter #2.
June 8 Read Zechariah 11
In this chapter, Zechariah depicts a prophecy of judgment by inscribing two shepherd’s staves with the words “Beauty” and “Bands.” “Beauty” represents the favor and grace that God shows to his chosen people. “Bands” represents the union that God has with his people and their internal unity as well. But then Zechariah breaks these two staves, symbolizing what happens when the people reject the shepherd that God has sent them and embrace a false shepherd instead. This false shepherd will neglect the people and lead them away from God towards judgment.
The prophet breaks the staff of Beauty, signifying the breaking of the covenant and the resulting punishment that would come on the people. And he breaks the staff of Bands, signifying the disunity between God and his people and between individual believers. What sin has broken only Jesus can put back together. It is only by the power of his blood shed on the cross that we are able to be reconciled with God and live in harmony with each other (Eph. 2:13–16).
Sing or pray Psalter #4.
June 9 Read Zechariah 12
This next chapter marks the beginning of the second oracle of blessing from the Lord. Verse 1 gives authority to these promises of God by emphasizing his role as the creator. The one who created all things can most certainly punish all the enemies of Judah and give his people spiritual restoration.
After God pours out his spirit of grace upon his people, they mourn for him “whom they have pierced”—the Good Shepherd that they rejected. They mourn as a family who has lost their only hope for the continuance of their generations. This repentance brought on by the Spirit of God leads them to entreat the Lord for forgiveness.
The Holy Spirit also carries out the important work of regeneration in the hearts of God’s elect people today. The Spirit works in our hearts to make us aware of our sin and leads us to repentance. Just like the Jews, by nature we reject Jesus. But by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us we are able to embrace Jesus as our Savior. And it is only because of God’s Spirit in us that we may be bold enough to come into the presence of the Almighty through the means of prayer.
Sing or pray Psalter #414.
June 10 Read Zechariah 13
In verse 7 of this chapter we find a clear prediction of the coming sufferings of Christ and the dispersal of his disciples: “smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” The fulfillment of this prophecy is recorded in the New Testament, where we read that Jesus’ disciples all forsook him and fled when he was betrayed in the garden. As the church faces increasing persecution, there will always be those that flee when confronted with difficult situations.
The remnant of the church that remains at the end of the world will go through a time of great suffering as well. God’s people will be scattered, and many will fall away as a result of persecution. But the small portion of people who survive this time in the fire will find themselves purified and strengthened by the hand of their heavenly Father. Praise the Lord that this time of tribulation will culminate in the second coming of Jesus, when the entire flock of the church will be gathered together again!
Sing or pray Psalter #6.
June 11 Read Zechariah 14
This final chapter of Zechariah describes the glorious “day of the Lord” when the promised Messiah will finally come again. But before that great day comes, God’s people will have to endure great trials, signified by the siege of Jerusalem and severe destruction that are described in verses 1–2. It will appear to the surrounding nations that they have won the battle and God’s people are about to be extinguished.
But just when all hope seems lost, Jesus will come again. He will fight as a mighty warrior on behalf of his people and completely destroy all the nations of this world who have united to persecute the church. The enemies of the church will be plagued forever in hell, while the people of God will inhabit a New Jerusalem that is far more glorious than the original. Although we know who will ultimately have the victory, enduring the great tribulations at the end of the world will still be extremely difficult. But if we keep our eyes upon Jesus, even as we anticipate increasing persecution, we can still say, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).
Sing or pray Psalter #11.
June 12 Read Esther 1
The opening scene of the book of Esther describes an opulent feast celebrating the glory and wealth of Ahasuerus’ kingdom. Against this backdrop we notice the troubled relationship of the king and queen. Although it is certainly a biblical command that a husband should rule his household, Ahasuerus has corrupted this good order by being a selfish tyrant. Vashti responds to his sinful leadership with stubbornness and prideful disobedience, and the conflict between them ultimately ends in divorce.
In contrast, Ephesians 5 sets forth the idea that a godly husband should love his wife just as Christ loves the church. This sacrificial love will not make him a cruel dictator, but a servant-leader. And a godly wife will complement her husband’s leadership by respecting and submitting to him. Unfortunately, since all marriages are between two sinners, selfishness often gets in the way of husbands and wives properly carrying out their respective roles. Whether you are already married or still seeking a spouse, it is good to remember that the purpose of marriage is not to make ourselves happy, but rather to showcase the glory of Christ. The more that we love God and strive to follow his design for marriage, the happier our marriages will be.
Sing or pray Psalter #12.
June 13 Read Esther 2
In chapter 2 we are introduced to the main character of this book—Esther. She is described in verse 7 as a “fair and beautiful” young woman. It is undoubtedly because of her great beauty that she was chosen as a potential replacement for Queen Vashti. But as we read on in the story, we see that it was not just her physical appearance, but her humble spirit that made her stand out from the other women in the king’s harem.
Young ladies, were you gifted with a physical appearance that people find attractive? Or do you consider yourself not so beautiful? Esther’s beauty was given to her so that she could be used by God to save the Jews. If you struggle with discontent over your appearance, remember that God has made your physical features exactly the way he wants them to be in order to serve his purposes. Rather than dwelling on how you can try to change your appearance, trust God’s perfect design and focus on cultivating “a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Pet. 3:4).
Sing or pray Psalter #13.
June 14 Read Esther 3
Mordecai was a Jew in exile. He was living in a foreign land that was not truly his home. Yet we read in chapter 2 that he acted as a faithful citizen of the Persian Empire by reporting a plot to kill the king and sparing Ahasuerus’ life. Nevertheless, when he is expected to bow to Haman as a god, he refuses to reverence this wicked officer of the king. Commentators disagree about whether Mordecai’s motives for refusing to bow were godly or not, but we do know that Christians must not worship anyone other than the one, true God.
Like Mordecai, we are pilgrims living in a strange land. This earth is not our forever home. But 1 Peter 2:17–18 reminds us that we are still called to honor the civil authorities that have been placed over us for the Lord’s sake. We must ask God for wisdom and strength to live as faithful citizens while here on this earth, while still remembering that our citizenship in the heavenly kingdom is far more important. Are you prepared respectfully to disobey civil authorities if they command you to worship someone other than God?
Sing or pray Psalter #14.
June 15 Read Esther 4
After encouraging Esther to place her life on the line in order potentially to save the Jewish people, Mordecai asks her, “[W]ho knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (v. 14). In other words, what if God placed you at this time and place specifically to save his people from extinction? From our vantage point in history we can see that he most certainly did. Although we cannot be sure whether Mordecai was a Christian or not, his question does seem to demonstrate a strong belief in divine providence.
The providence of God is an amazing thing to think about. How comforting is it for the Christian to know that nothing in our life happens by chance! Every situation and aspect of our unique journey on this earth, whether good or bad, is under the control of God’s fatherly hand. This knowledge enables us to be “patient in adversity; thankful in prosperity; and that in all things which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 10).
Sing or pray Psalter #17.
June 16 Read Esther 5
Ecclesiastes 3:7 reminds us that there is a time to be silent and a time to speak. We see this illustrated in the story of Esther. She listened to the advice of her uncle Mordecai and did not reveal her nationality immediately when she was taken to the palace. But when it was necessary, her uncle urged her to approach the king and reveal her true identity. She was cautious about making her petition to the king as well, first inviting him to a banquet, and then to another before revealing her request.
Through reading the scriptures, prayer, and noticing the godly example of others, we may cultivate the discernment that is necessary to recognize the time to be silent and the time to speak. Often our pride causes us to speak out when it is not expedient. Or our fear causes us to keep quiet when we should be speaking out. Pray that God will give you the wisdom to know when to speak and when to keep silent.
Sing or pray Psalter #19.
June 17 Read Esther 6
Even though God is never specifically mentioned in the book of Esther, the entire story still glorifies his name by demonstrating the sovereignty and faithfulness of our heavenly Father. We are not just reading a dramatic, exciting story, but actual, historical evidence of the way that God preserves the church. He used the events of Esther’s and Mordecai’s lives and even the actions of sinners such as Ahasuerus and Haman in order to protect his chosen people.
Our God is perfectly faithful. This faithfulness serves as both a comfort to his dear children and a terror to those that oppose him. Not just the book of Esther, but the entire Bible is a testament to God’s faithfulness. When we regularly immerse ourselves in God’s word, we will be reminded that he is faithful in times of trial and temptation, he is faithful to forgive our sins, and he will faithfully fulfill all the promises that he makes to his people. How can you reflect this faithfulness by being faithful to others?
Sing or pray Psalter #20.
June 18 Read Esther 7
The great irony in the death of Haman on the very gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai reminds us of the absurdity of the plans of wicked men. Even the most arrogant and powerful people in this world have nothing on the omnipotent God. He laughs at their plans (Ps. 2:4) as they only succeed in bringing about their own destruction.
Just like Esther and Mordecai, we also live in a time of moral corruption and political instability. Yet we have no to reason to fear, despite any evil leaders that may come to power or threats that the church may face from the government. We can be confident that no plot that is devised against God or his people will ultimately succeed. Our security is not found in political peace, and our safety does not rely on those who sit on earthly thrones. Rather, our confidence is in the one who sits enthroned on high. “Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Ps. 2:12).
Sing or pray Psalter #21.
June 19 Read Esther 8
Although King Ahasuerus was unable to reverse his former decree, he worked with Mordecai to write a new one that would allow the Jewish people to fight back against any who would try to destroy them. Upon hearing the new decree and realizing that their lives were to be spared, we read that the Jewish people all over the Persian Empire “had light, and gladness, and joy, and honour” (v. 16). The result of this celebration was that many were converted to the Jewish faith.
Just as the Jewish people in Esther’s time were saved from certain death, we have been saved from spiritual death. It is easy to get busy with our daily lives and to forget the wonder and delight of the great deliverance we have received. Philippians 4:4 reminds us that our duty as Christians is to rejoice continually in the Lord. Are you filled with the joy of the Lord? Does it spill out of you and shine as a witness to everyone with whom you come into contact?
Sing or pray Psalter #22.
June 20 Read Esther 9
After the Jews escaped Haman’s plot to destroy them, a great feast was held. But it was not meant to be just a one-time celebration. Esther and Mordecai used their authority to establish the Feast of Purim, which was to be celebrated by the Jewish people every year. The annual observation of the Feast of Purim served as a memorial to the generations to come of how God had saved his people from destruction.
Many devout Jews today still celebrate the Feast of Purim. And as Christians we also set aside a time each year to celebrate Christ’s victory over Satan’s plot to destroy him. At Easter we remember and rejoice over how God has saved us through Jesus Christ. And regularly throughout the year we commemorate the Lord’s Supper for the same purpose. How can you make the most out of these joyful celebrations? Do you take seriously the personal examination that we should do in the week leading up to the Lord’s Supper? Could you set aside time at Easter to read and reflect on the gospel accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection?
Sing or pray Psalter #23.
June 21 Read Esther 10
This short chapter serves as an epilogue to the story of Esther. While reflecting back on the book of Esther, we may marvel at the fact that Mordecai, an unremarkable Jewish man who used to sit at the king’s gate, ends up becoming the second in command of the mighty kingdom of Persia. When we contrast this with Haman’s thirst for power, we can see the truth of 1 Corinthians 1:27 exemplified: “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” Mordecai’s rise to power reminds us of how God is pleased to exalt the humble in order to bring glory to his name.
God has not chosen us to be his people because we are so great, but because he is so great. Our weakness serves to emphasize his strength. Commentator Matthew Henry remarks, “It is the will of God that all our glorifying should be in the Lord: and, our salvation being only through Christ, it is thereby effectually provided that it should be so. Man is humbled, and God glorified and exalted.”
Sing or pray Psalter #25.
June 22 Read Ezra 7
In contrast to the first six chapters of Ezra, which recount the first wave of exiles that returned to Jerusalem around 537 B.C., these last few chapters are a first-person memoir of events that happened in Ezra’s lifetime. They begin with his arrival in Jerusalem in 458 B.C. Ezra was a scribe that was well-versed in the law of Moses. He receives permission from King Artaxerxes to go to Jerusalem and teach the people about the law.
It was vital for the people returning from captivity to learn about the law of God, because following the law was what set them apart from the heathen nations. Without a guide to follow, they would quickly fall back into the same sins that led them into captivity. We read in verse 10 that Ezra “had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” We should be thankful for faithful pastors that have this same heart to instruct their congregations in the word of God.
Sing or pray Psalter #28.
June 23 Read Ezra 8 `
The genealogies found at the beginning of Ezra 8 detail those families who were part of the second wave of returnees to Jerusalem. The group was made up of about 6,000–7,000 people, led by Ezra. But before they return to Jerusalem, Ezra demonstrates wise leadership by telling the people to humble themselves before God with fasting and prayer in order to seek what his will was for them to do.
Do you follow the example of Ezra when you are faced with changes in your life? Do you make it a priority to seek out what the Lord wants you to do instead of simply making decisions based on your own desires? The spiritual discipline of fasting may not be familiar to you, because it is not something that is commonly practiced in the church anymore. But if you are facing a difficult decision, the practice of setting aside certain earthly things for a time so that you are able to focus single-mindedly on what God’s will is may be wise.
Sing or pray Psalter #32.
June 24 Read Ezra 9
Ezra receives some upsetting news shortly after arriving in Jerusalem. The remnant who had returned to Jerusalem was failing to keep itself separate from the surrounding nations and had even begun to intermarry with these pagan people. The returning exiles failed to recognize that separation from the other nations was vital to their continued existence. The reason they had been sent into exile in the first place was because they had become like the pagan nations around them. This was their second chance to live as God’s unique, chosen people.
It is just as vital for us to be cautious when choosing whom to date and marry. We also have a calling to keep ourselves separate from the world. Although there are rare cases where God uses a dating relationship to bring someone into a true church, far more often when we choose to date a person who does not believe the same doctrines as we do, compromises will be made. Pray that God will help you to make wise decisions when dating, and seek out godly counsel from your parents or other trusted mentors.
Sing or pray Psalter #34.
June 25 Read Ezra 10
Ezra’s very public prayer of confession served to convict of their sin those who had married pagan women. It was clear that not just a physical, but a spiritual return from exile was needed. God worked in the hearts of the people, and they were filled with godly sorrow. They showed that their repentance was genuine by immediately beginning to rectify the situation. It took some time, but all of the unlawful marriages were annulled.
There is an immense difference between the sorrow of the world and true sorrow for sin. Simply being sorry for doing something bad is not true sorrow. True, godly sorrow is followed by repentance and a change in behavior. When a heart is transformed by God, it always results in evident changes in the life of that person. When you repent of a sin, do you also ask God to work not only in your heart, but in your life as well?
Sing or pray Psalter #39.
June 26 Read Nehemiah 1
The book of Nehemiah begins 15 years after the book of Ezra ends. It has been almost 100 years since the first captives came back to the promised land, but walls of the city are still in a state of disrepair. Considering how much time has passed, Nehemiah is very distressed to hear about the sad condition of Jerusalem. The matter weighs heavily on his heart, and we read in verse 4 that he spends many days fasting and praying to God. Nehemiah’s response serves as a godly example of how we also should deal with distressing circumstances.
It is instructive to take note of what Nehemiah does not do. He does not complain or whine. He does not gather a group of people together to tell them all about how upset he was (like an ancient equivalent of social media). And he does not try to distract himself from the stressful situation by focusing on his work or seeking out entertainment. Instead, he immediately brings the burden of his heart to God in prayer. He gives his distress over to God, knowing the truth of Isaiah 40:31: “But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.”
Sing or pray Psalter #44.
June 27 Re-read Nehemiah 1: 4–11
Instead of moving on to the next chapter today, let’s take a closer look at Nehemiah’s prayer from chapter 1. Did you know that the book of Nehemiah records nine different prayers? Some are lengthy, and some are short, such as the quick prayer that Nehemiah offers up in the moment before speaking to the king of Persia (2:4). This man clearly embodies the biblical command from 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “[p]ray without ceasing.”
Nehemiah’s prayer in chapter 1 is beautiful, and one that we can certainly learn from and model our own prayers after. It is interesting to note that it somewhat follows the ACTS (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication) template for prayer that you may have memorized as a child. Nehemiah begins his prayer with humble adoration, and then follows by confessing his sin and the sin of the people. He reminds God of the promises that he made to Israel in the time of Moses. And finally he asks that God grant mercy to him as he prepares to take action and speak to the king of Persia.
Sing or pray Psalter #45.
June 28 Read Nehemiah 2
Nehemiah risks his life by petitioning the king for the opportunity to go back to Jerusalem. And he seems to be single-handedly organizing the campaign to rebuild the city’s wall. Nevertheless in verse 8 he attributes his success with the king to “the good hand of my God upon me.” And at the end of the chapter he encourages the people in their wall-building efforts, not by reminding them of their own abilities, but by pointing out how God always orchestrates blessing for his people.
Are you similarly humble when you achieve success in your own life? Or are you quick to take credit for what you’ve accomplished? Pray that God will work in you a spirit of meekness and the realization that we can do nothing apart from him.
Sing or pray Psalter #49.
June 29 Read Nehemiah 3
The long, detailed record of who rebuilt which section of the wall that is documented in this chapter may seem tedious to read. But don’t skip over it too quickly! As part of God’s inspired word, it is profitable for instruction. As we read through this record we can notice all the different families that worked together, albeit differently, but with a united purpose.
1 Corinthians 12 reminds us that all the parts of the body of Christ have different purposes, yet they are all equally important to the function of the church. Each and every believer has a key role in the kingdom of God. We must never think that someone, including ourselves, is not a significant part of the church because of their abilities (or lack thereof). When we all work together and use our unique gifts for the glory of God, his purposes are accomplished in a beautiful way.
Sing or pray Psalter #52.
June 30 Read Nehemiah 4
There was an element of truth in the criticism of Sanballat and Tobiah, just as there is in most of the attacks of Satan. The Jews were relatively weak and slow at building. And they did not have access to the best materials. But Sanballat and Tobiah had forgotten one important detail: the remnant of Judah had God on their side. This was his work. Therefore Nehemiah properly responds to this verbal attack by praying to the Lord.
Satan often tries to fill our heads with deceptive lies that have elements of truth in them in order to deceive and discourage. He loves it when God’s people become discouraged, because discouragement is the opposite of faith. Faith believes in God’s promises, while discouragement forgets who God is. Pray that the Lord will work faith in your heart so that you are able to resist the lies of the devil.
Sing or pray Psalter #57.
July 1 Read Nehemiah 5
The next attack on the wall-building effort came not from the surrounding enemies, but internally. There was strife among the people because of money problems, and it was hindering the work on the wall. Usury, or the practice of lending money at inflated rates, appeared to be a big problem among the people who returned to Jerusalem from Babylon. High taxes and a famine in the land, combined with the amount of time that was spent working on the wall, resulted in many of the families struggling financially.
Nehemiah is very angry when he discovers that this has been going on. Usury has no place in the church because it is selfish and stirs up disunity. He publicly condemns the practice of usury and commands the people to give freely to those who are in need, even if it means making personal sacrifices. As their leader, Nehemiah leads by example and shares his own bread, wine, and meat with those who require food. Are you willing to give freely to those who are in need?
Sing or pray Psalter #415.
July 2 Read Nehemiah 6
After resolving their internal strife, Nehemiah and the people are faced with continued efforts from their enemies to derail the completion of the wall. In a last attempt to prevent the wall from being finished, Sanballat and Geshem try out some new tactics. They try to deceive Nehemiah first by inviting him to a friendly meeting, then slandering him, and finally sending a false prophet to lure him to the temple. But despite their best efforts, Nehemiah is successful, and the wall is completed in only 52 days.
The church today is also under constant attack from Satan and the world around us. Nehemiah shows his trust in God by wisely using prayer as a defense against the attacks of the wicked. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” (2 Cor. 10:4). He recognizes that his own strength is not enough to prevail against the power of the devil. How can you use prayer as a defense in your own daily, spiritual warfare?
Sing or pray Psalter #69.
July 3 Read Nehemiah 7
Similar to Ezra 2, Nehemiah 7 records a census of all those who returned from exile. These families’ names were recorded in the Bible because they were important to God. Only a small remnant (about 2%) of the Jews who were carried away to Babylon returned to Jerusalem. And this list reminds us of the primary purpose of the wall of Jerusalem being rebuilt — to provide a refuge for God’s people.
Psalm 12:7–8 remind us that God will keep and preserve his people “from this generation for ever” even though “[t]he wicked walk on every side.” We know that God’s promise of safety includes rescue from sin and evil, which is the safety that we need most of all. Therefore we can have confidence in our security even if it does not take the form of a life of comfort and ease.
Sing or pray Psalter #72.
July 4 Read Nehemiah 8
In this chapter we see evidence of the Spirit of God working revival in the hearts of the people. They all gathered together and asked Ezra to read them the book of the law of Moses. And they responded to the reading of the word with thanksgiving, prayer, and worship, further showing the work of the Spirit in them. The Levites continued this work by explaining the meaning of the Mosaic law to the people, similar to the work of pastors today.
John MacArthur describes expository preaching as that which finds its sole source in scripture. The message should be extracted from scripture through careful exegesis and correct interpretation of the context. It should clearly explain the original God-intended meaning of scripture, while also pointing out the scriptural meaning for today. Does your pastor “expose” the word of God to you each Sunday? If not, I encourage you to seek out a true church where the word of God is faithfully preached.
Sing or pray Psalter #75.
July 5 Read Nehemiah 9
Reading the word of God has the necessary effect of exposing sin. After their rediscovery of the law of Moses, the people recognize their sin and take part in a national assembly of repentance. Repentance requires humility, which they show by dressing in sackcloth and putting dirt on their heads. But more important than the outward signs of humility is a humble attitude of the heart.
The Lord is always merciful and gracious to his people despite their persistent sin. He is ready to pardon those who come to him with true humility. The entire history of the nation of Israel/Judah attests to this fact. Over and over again they rebelled against God; “Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them” (v. 31). How wonderful it is that this gracious and merciful God is our God as well!
Sing or pray Psalter #76.
July 6 Read Nehemiah 10
Do you ever wonder why we still physically take collection during the worship service? It may seem like an outdated or inconvenient practice in an age where we pay for most other things with our smartphones. Who even carries cash anymore? The people’s pledge in verses 32–39 to faithfully support the work of God with tithes and offerings reminds us that joyful giving is an important part of worshipping God.
Passages in the New Testament emphasize similar principles when it comes to giving. 2 Corinthians 9 talks about how giving must be generous and cheerful. And 1 Corinthians 16 reminds us that giving should be a regular, planned activity. When you take the time on Saturday to write a check or go to the ATM and get cash, instead of seeing it as an annoyance, recognize that it is part of your preparations for the Sabbath.
Sing or pray Psalter #78.
July 7 Read Nehemiah 11
A special blessing was given to the people who willingly offered to live in Jerusalem in order to help reestablish the city. This move may have involved giving up land that they had acquired, as well as leaving behind friends and family. And once in Jerusalem they would probably have to find a new way to make a living. Yet the men recorded in this chapter were willing to endure adversity and discomfort in order to further the kingdom of God.
Are you willing to sacrifice comfort and ease for the sake of God’s kingdom? It is our calling as Christians to worship God by presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to him (Rom. 12:1). Self-denial is an important part of the Christian life. But John Calvin reminds us that “the more we are afflicted with adverse circumstances, so much more certainly is our communion with Christ confirmed. By virtue of this communion, sufferings themselves not only become blessings to us, but they also serve to promote our salvation.”
Sing or pray Psalter #82.