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Watching Daily At My Gates

May 1 Read I Peter 4:1-11; Lord’s Day 33 Q&A 90

Young people, what is joyous for you? In what do you find delight in this life? Is it things? Is it worldly happiness? This question and answer outlines for us what should be our joy. We should joy in living a life of thankfulness to God for the great salvation He has wrought for us in Christ Jesus. Is this your joy, people of God? Do we seek to live according to the will of God? Do we seek to walk in all good works in our lives? Are we happy to do such things? Let us examine our lives and live lives of joy founded on the quickening of the new man in Christ. Sing Psalter 24.

May 2 Read Ephesians 2:1-10; Lord’s Day 33 Q&A 91

In yesterday’s devotional we spoke of good works. What makes one of our works good? Is it acclaim from our fellow man? Is it some remuneration from someone? Is it even helping someone out of a tight spot? Today’s question and answer describe for us exactly what God considers a good work. First of all, it must come from a true faith. This indicates who can do good works. Secondly, it must be done according to the law of God. There is the how of good works. Thirdly, it must be to His glory. That is the why of good works. Following these three principles assures us that we are doing good works in the right way and for the right purpose. Quicken the new man and do good works, people of God! Sing Psalter 246.

May 3 Read Psalm 19:7-11; Lord’s Day 34 Q&A 92

Do you love God’s law, people of God? Today‘s reading gives us the reasons why we should. God’s law is the guide to our lives and the schoolmaster which points us to Christ. Obeying God’s law is an important way to show gratitude for the salvation He has given to us freely. Sing Psalter 14:1-4.

May 4 Read Matt. 22:34-46, Lord’s Day 34 Q&A 93

God’s law is divided into two tables. Can we have one without the other? Absolutely not! Even as the stone tablets on which they were first inscribed by the finger of God showed us they are to be one whole. We cannot love God without loving our neighbor, and we cannot love our neighbor without loving God. If we say we can we are called liars by the Apostle John. Can we ignore one of the commandments? By no means. To do that would take from the completeness of them shown in the number ten. Let us strive to keep these commandments and show gratitude to God for our salvation. Sing Psalter 321.

May 5 Read I Cor. 10:1-12; Lord’s Day 34 Q&A 94

People of God, who is your God? This may seem like a strange question especially as you look at whom I am addressing. But the question still stands. Who is your God? To whom do we give honor and allegiance during our daily lives? Do we place our trust in Jehovah God for our daily bread, or do we trust in man’s institutions such as welfare or the lottery? Do we submit to His will in all things, or do we seek to evade Him by moving away from churches which preach the pure word of God from Sabbath to Sabbath? Do we try to serve two gods? Do we add man’s perception of what a god is to the Scriptures clear teaching about our God? This is forbidden by this commandment as well. If our only comfort in life and death is that we belong to our faithful Savior, than we must worship the God that gave us that Savior. Sing Psalter 322.

May 6 Read II Chron. 16:7-14; Lord’s Day 34 Q&A 95

This question and answer singles out one aspect of breaking the first commandment. Here we are warned against idolatry. Do we have idols hanging in our houses, our cars, or our places of business? Do we fail to put our trust in our unseen God so that we might have something concrete to which we might look? This is thoroughly condemned by this commandment. However, we are more guilty of idolatry than we like to admit. We trust in our business, our farms, or our own ingenuity to make our way in this life. We must not do this. It is not the way of gratitude to the great God who has given to us our very being. Let us serve God and God alone. Sing Psalter 324.

May 7 Read Exodus 32:1-9; Lord’s Day 35 Q&A 96

Let us considered the way we worship our God. How do we do that? Do we worship God as He has commanded us to in His Word? Do we add to what we find in the Bible thinking that we know better? Do we change parts of His prescribed worship for something we like better? Do we constantly seek change in order that our earthly desires are satisfied? There are many ways in which we can violate this commandment. Worship should be very precious to us. We should desire to serve God as He wishes us to in order that we can thank Him for all He has done for us. We should never be caught trying to please ourselves in God’s worship. It is His worship after all. Let us not claim to be wiser than God as we worship Him. Sing Psalter 308.

May 8 Read Isaiah 46; Lord’s Day 35 Q&A 97

Does it bother us that we serve an unseen God? Do we think that if we just had some concrete representation of God that it would be easier to serve Him? What about His creation? Could not that inspire us to worship Him better? Would not God be pleased with that? Once again we are trying to be wiser than God. His Word expressly tells us not to use things to represent Him for the purpose of worship. Israel of old had to learn that. They had to go into captivity to find out the that God did not want to be worshipped by dumb images. Let us learn from them to worship our God in a way pleasing to Him. Sing Psalter 325.

May 9 Read II Peter 1:16-21, Lord’s Day 35 Q&A 98

The authors of the catechism want to leave no doubt that we must worship and come to the knowledge of our God through the lively preaching of the Word and not through any kind of imagery. As we look to the Sabbath are we anxiously awaiting the call to worship God through the means of preaching? Do we daily search the Scriptures to learn more and more of our covenant God? God has given to us this wonderful book. Let us not disparage it in any way. Let us not put our ideas of interpretation into it. We can cause the Bible to become an image when we impose our desires upon God’s will and word. Treasure the Scriptures, people of God, and rely on them along as you worship God. Sing Psalter 333.

May 10 Read Matt. 5:33-37; Lord’s Day 36 Q&A 99

Do we like to hear our names spoken in a bad light? Do we bristle when our family’s name is spoken evil of? What about the name of our God? How do we use it? Do we make light of its glory? Do we use it when things go bad against us? Are we silent when we hear others take it in vain? To take God’s name in vain or to allow it to be taken in vain is a vile sin. The commandment itself tells us that God will not hold a man guiltless who takes God’s name in vain. We must protect the glory of God. We must by our words glorify Him and not bring despite to His holy name. Let us not sin this sin, and let us seek to honor and glorify the name that is above all names. Sing Psalter 352.

May 11 Read Lev. 24:10-16; Lord’s Day 36 Q&A 100

The catechism’s authors want to drive home the point that God’s name must be hallowed by us and by those around us. In this second question and answer on this topic they remind us that God in His Word pronounced the death penalty upon those who profane His name. Do we stop and think about that when we are tempted to take a curse upon our lips? Do we do more than blush when we hear God’s name used evilly by those around us? We must think about these things and we must do more than think about them. We must be found actively protecting the name of our God. Sing Psalter 328.

May 12 Read Neh. 13:23-31; Lord’s Day 37 Q&A 101

There is a positive side to this most serious of commandments. God’s name may be used as security when the truth must be borne out. We may swear by God’s name in court if it is required of us. We may call upon God’s name in situations in which it is needed to assure the truth of the matter. But this does not allow us to do this lightly. First of all, we must tell the truth in these situations. Secondly, we may not make light of this procedure. If we sin in either of these two ways, we sin against the third commandment. The allowance to use God’s name in this way must be done in only in a way that is pleasing to Him. Sing Psalter 334.

May 13 Read II Cor. 1:15-24; Lord’s Day 37 Q&A 102

When we are called to call upon something or someone to affirm the truth of a matter, we may not swear by anything else but by God’s name. This is because no one or nothing else can know the truth. This is because God is truth, and in Him is all truth. To swear by anything else would be to say that something else has God’s attributes of truth. We may and must never do this. We must uphold God as truth even as we are swearing to the truth of a matter. Sing Psalter 336.

May 14 Read II Chr. 36:14-21; Lord’s Day 38Q&A 103

After being told that we must hallow God’s name, now we are told that we must hallow His day. Did we prepare to do that today? Do we finish the old week with the first day of the new week in mind? How are we going to spend this day? How are we going to spend the whole day? The Lord’s Day tells us that we are preparing ourselves for the eternal Sabbath. We must put as much effort into each and every Sabbath as we do into our national holidays. We must remember that Christ arose on the first day of the week and gave to us this day to remember that resurrection. To do this is an expression of gratitude that we must make part of our lives each week. Let us do that today and every Sunday. Sing Psalter 348.

May 15 Read Romans 13:1-8; Lord’s Day 39 Q&A 104

We now come to the second table of the law; in this one we are shown how we must behave towards our neighbors. We are first told that in gratitude we must bow before all authority that God has placed before us. Notice that the command comes to us to obey. We must obey all authority that it pleases God to place over us. This might not be very easy at times. This may cause us great hardship either now or as the time for Christ’s return draws nearer. But the commandment stands. God has given to us many opportunities to show gratitude to Him by obeying this commandment. Let us strive to thank Him in this way. Sing Psalter 223.

May 16 Read Matt. 5:21-26; Lord’s Day 40 Q&A 105

This seems like an easy commandment to keep, doesn’t it? None of us would take a gun, knife, or some other weapon and murder our neighbors, would we? But what about with our minds, our tongues, our faces? We can kill someone just as dead with these weapons of destruction as we can with the other. In fact, when we examine our lives we find that we break this commandment quite often, don’t we? We can find our faces on “most wanted” posters often because of the commission of this sin. Let us daily pray for the grace to avoid this sin and that we love our neighbor even as we love ourselves. Sing Psalter 23.

May 17 Read James 1:19-27; Lord’s Day 40 Q&A 106

How many times have we said, “I am going to get back at…?” Maybe we just said it. Little children, have you done this? Older children, have you worked at removing this sin from your lives? This Lord’s Day reminds us that these kinds of words are the same as murder. There does not have to be a corpse for murder to have occurred. All it takes is a few ill-chosen words for murder to have been committed. We must work at fleeing from this sin. We must work to help our children flee from this sin. Let us ask God for the grace to do this now and every day until Christ returns. Sing Psalter 26:1-5.

May 18 Read Gal. 6:1-10; Lord’s Day 40 Q&A 107

Now the catechism presents the positive side of this commandment. We must love our neighbor as we love ourselves. In the world in which we live a person loving himself seems second nature. A person loving his neighbor seems to be a hard concept to follow. What about us as brothers and sisters of Christ? Christ loved us while we were yet sinners even to dying for us. Do we reflect that type of love in our lives? Do we show this to all kinds of people? Or do we reserve our love for those whom we are confident that they will return our love? If we do, we have sadly misunderstood the sacrifice Christ has made for us. We can never repay Him for His love. We should never desire repayment for our love toward our neighbor. Let us seek to love our neighbor as ourselves and so keep this commandment. Sing Psalter 369.

May 19 Read Hebrews 13:1-9; Lord’s Day 41 Q&A 108

Here is a commandment in which Solomon tells us that we wound both ourselves and our neighbor in committing this sin. James shows us the development of this sin as it begins in our hearts and springs into our physical lives. This is a commandment that the world has cut out of their list of the ten commandments. What about us? Are there still ten commandments that we try to keep in order to show gratitude for salvation? Does the manner of dress we employ indicate to those around us that this commandment is not so important? Does our attitude toward the divorces in our families indicate that we wish this commandment did not exist? If we wish to maintain the beautiful picture of the marriage of Christ and His church, we had better strive wholeheartedly to keep this commandment. Sing Psalter 93.

May 20 Read Eph. 5:1-8; Lord’s Day 41 Q&A 109

Those of you who are house owners, how do you keep your house? If it is the place that you and your family dwell, what does it portray about you? This is the figure found in this question and answer and in Scripture. What does the home of the Holy Spirit look like? Does it look like it belongs in the nice part of town, or does it appear as if it is in a place that “nice” people do not belong? This temple of the Holy Spirit, does it look like a temple? As we dress, as we speak to others, or as we communicate by gestures, do we show that our bodies are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit? If not, than we must put some work into cleaning up the mess so that our bodies appear to be in a “nice” neighborhood. Sing Psalter 65.

May 21 Read Neh. 5:1-13; Lord’s Day 42 Q&A 110

We might protest about the charge of robbery next to our name at judgment day. We might be appalled if someone called us a common thief. If these are our thoughts, then we need to reread this question and answer. Young people, from where did that last research paper come? Was it copied from some encyclopedia? Did you find it all finished for you on the Internet? If these were its source, you are guilty of sinning against the eighth commandment. Those of us who are employees have we given an honest day’s work to our employer? If we have not, than we need to work at expressing gratitude by keeping this commandment. There are many ways in which we can break this commandment. Let us seek to stay clear of them. Sing Psalter 25.

May 22 Read Eph. 4:24-28; Lord’s Day 42 Q&A 111

Notice several things about this question and answer. First of all, it again calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Secondly, it reminds us of Jesus’ words about doing unto others as we would have them do to us. Thirdly, it admonishes us to work hard at our occupations. Finally, it reminds us to care for the poor. Were the writers of the catechism making this commandment say more than God intended? I do not think so. There is a connection in these things. That connection is once again gratitude. By loving our neighbor even as God and Christ loved us, we show gratitude for our salvation. By caring for the poor, we obey they injunction of Christ to care for the poor whom we always have among us. There is much that we can do in the positive keeping of this commandment. Let us seek daily to do it. Sing Psalter 305.

May 23 Read Acts 5:1-13; Lord’s Day 43 Q&A 112

Again we are warned against sins of the tongue. We are admonished to flee from bearing false witness. We must show love to our neighbor with our tongues by not lying either to bring shame upon him or to cover up our misdeeds. We must not let Satan have control of our tongues as we speak to and about others. We must speak that which promotes our neighbor in all that we say. The adage not to say anything if we cannot say anything good about someone fits here. Do we do this? Do we do this when we whisper thinking that no one hears our evil speech? God hears us, people of God. He hears us when we speak evilly, and He hates our evil speech. Let us seek God’s favor as we talk to and about our neighbors. Sing Psalter 343.

May 24 Read Romans 7:1-7; Lord’s Day 44 Q&A 113

The sin of covetousness is a sin from the heart. We must work hard at keeping this sin out of our lives. What is the reason for this? Of course, first of all, we must keep all sins from our lives. But, secondly, the sin of covetousness brings other sins into our lives. Rather than walk in sin we must from the heart seek to glorify God by walking in His ways. We must seek true thankfulness found in walking in God’s laws. This takes much effort, people of God. Are we seeking to do this? Let us seek the help of our heavenly Father as we approach His throne of grace daily. Sing Psalter 335.

May 25 Read Romans 7:8-16; Lord’s Day 44 Q&A 114

The catechism reminds us of our utter helplessness in this question and answer. It reminds us of the misery into which we daily plunge ourselves by sin. Then it tells us about the impossibility of our works being the way of salvation from this misery. What does this mean for us? Do we just give up? No, our beautiful catechism encourages us to begin to live the life of thankfulness to which we are called by striving to keep each commandment. By God’s grace His people will do this. Once again let us seek His help at the throne of grace. Sing Psalter 33.

May 26 Read Romans 7:17-25; Day 44 Q&A 115

People of God, are you preparing for the future? Some of you might be saying “Of course.” We are planting for next winter’s food. We are having our children taught so that they can take their places in the world and in the church. That is not the kind of a future spoken of in this question and answer. The future spoken of here is eternal life. By giving to us the ten commandments, God has given to us the way to prepare for that future. By working at keeping these ten words we more and more ready ourselves for the life to come. Let us constantly do this even as the catechism’s writers have admonished us. Sing Psalter 342.

May 27 Read Psalm 50: 7-15; Day 45 Q&A 116

God’s people are meant to be a praying people. Does that characterize us? Do we use this chief part of thankfulness each day of our lives? Do we pray often in our lives? Do those around us know that we pray often? We must work at this. Because of our sin, this practice does not come naturally. But, as this Lord’s Day teaches us, it is required. We need to pray for the grace to pray without ceasing. Let us not only do this for ourselves, but let us do this for our children and grandchildren. Prayer is a covenant activity, and we must pray with our families daily. Sing Psalter 137:1, 2 and 6.

May 28 Read John 4:19-24; Day 45 Q&A 117

What word might we use to describe a prayer acceptable to God? I think that the word humble might adequately describe those prayers. We must pray with humility. When we pray we must pray to a sovereign God who has made all things. We must humble ourselves before His majesty. Finally, we must acknowledge that we are unworthy of ourselves to receive anything from Him. It is only from a humble heart that such prayers can be offered. As soon as we pray out of pride in ourselves and our accomplishments we must know that those prayers will rise no higher than the ceiling of the room in which we pray. When we pray in humility for all the bountiful blessings that He has given to us, we can pray in assurance that He will hear us. Sing Psalter 339.

May 29 Read Matthew 6:7-12; Lord’s Day 45 Q&A 118

What are the bounds of the prayers that we offer to God? According to this question and answer, there is much for which we can pray. But there are three guidelines, I believe. First of all, we must pray for that which is necessary. Who defines necessary? Are we to define that ourselves? Does the church define it for us? The answer to both of those questions is no! God gives to us that definition. Necessary is what we need daily for our body and soul. That brings is to the second and third guidelines. We must pray for things for both our soul and body. We must! It is not an option. We are not to decide for ourselves for what we pray. Christ himself has told us to pray for things necessary for soul and body. Sing Psalter 242.

May 30 Read Luke 11:1-10; Day 45 Q&A 119

If Jesus’ disciples asked the question, “Lord, teach us to pray,” shouldn’t we also? Jesus graciously has given to us the Lord’s Prayer as a pattern for our prayers. In that prayer we find a complete pattern. We may use that prayer as it is written, but we may use that prayer to formulate those prayers which will be acceptable to our heavenly Father. As we examine this prayer let us use it to examine our prayers and see if our prayers are truly chief parts of thankfulness to God. For this, too, we must pray. Sing Psalter 233:1-4.

May 31 Read Isaiah 51:1-6; Lord’s Day 46 Q&A 120

To whom do we pray? In this Lord’s Day we find that we pray to our heavenly Father. The fact that we address Him as Father means that we are children. We must be as humble children seeking their father’s blessing. This helps us see, first of all, the attitude with which we pray. We do not pray in pride; we must pray in humility. Secondly, because we are children means that we are incapable of doing anything ourselves. Since we address God as father, we can with confidence know that He will answer us in a way that is good for us. Of course there is only one way that we can go to our heavenly Father and that is through Christ the mediator. Let us with childlike trust address God as our Father in each and every prayer that we pray. Sing Psalter 181.