Watching Daily At My Gates

July 1 Read Romans 10:1 –11

The theme of this month’s devotionals is the confession of our faith. This can take various forms, as we shall see when we examine each day the confessions of various saints in Scripture. It is our desire that the gift of faith be stimulated in those who have publicly made profession before the church, and also encourage those who are of age and have not done so, to seriously consider this sacred privilege and duty. It is a privilege to become a member of the church by baptism into the covenant and it is a sacred and happy duty to announce to the church that you possess that faith in common with all the members of the body of Christ. By this sincere profession, one receives all the benefits of being a member, not only in the preaching of the Word, but also being a participant in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. In doing so, God is praised and His people are blessed. Sing Psalter 88:1–3.

July 2 Read Ruth 1:11 –17

Such a beautiful and sincere confession of her faith by Ruth the Moabitess, the likes of which is seldom heard, is our topic for today. We are all familiar with the story of Naomi and Elimelech and their two sons who left Judah because of a famine and went to Moab. Leaving the true worship of Jehovah had serious consequences for this family. God chastised them with the death of the three men. By God’s grace Naomi began her journey back to Judah. One of her daughters-in-law stayed in Moab, but Ruth, despite Naomi’s urging to do the same, responded with the well-known and beloved words, “Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” How wonderful are the works of God to show that despite a willful and costly excursion into Moab, one of His chosen children is brought to the faith, declares a beautiful confession, and becomes a mother of Christ in the royal line. Dear reader, is that God your God, and His people your people? God grant it! Sing Psalter 112:1, 2 and 4.

July 3 Read John 20:24 –29

Thomas witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus on that dark Friday afternoon and with hopelessness flooding his heart, went home. How could such a terrible thing as this occur? He was not present when the women first reported the news of Jesus’ resurrection to His disciples, or when Jesus appeared in person to them. This was not by accident, but by sovereign design. Thomas would not believe this wonder unless he could see and feel for himself some physical evidence. We too, all too easily fall victims to similar doubts and unbelief. For Thomas’ sake and ours, Jesus confronted him in mercy with a mild rebuke and said “be not faithless, but believing.” Thomas responded in faith. “My Lord and my God.” The wicked world demands scientific proof when we uphold the truths of Scripture. But by faith, which is the evidence of things not seen, we embrace the truths of God’s word and confess with the church of all ages, “My Lord and my God.” Sing Psalter 385:1 and 2.

July 4 Read Acts 16:25 –34

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” This was an agonizing question wrung from the lips of a desperate soul. Many sovereignly directed and miraculous events led to this scene in the prison of Philippi. Of utmost importance is this question, not only for the Philippian jailer, but for you and I as well. Oh, surely, many would say just accept God’s gracious offer of salvation freely given to all men. But what does Scripture say? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” Yes, “believe.” But that same Scripture tells us “as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” (Acts 13:48), and that it is the power of God through the Spirit which draws Christ’s sheep to salvation. Paul preached the word that night to the jailer and his household and God was pleased to work faith in their hearts through sovereign grace. May we, too, bow before that word and confess that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Lord and have the blessed assurance that we are saved. Sing Psalter 99:4 and 5.

July 5 Read John 6:66 –69

Jesus had performed the miracle of feeding the five thousand and the people were convinced that He was the promised Messiah. Jesus knew of course that they were seeking an earthly Messiah Who would free them from Roman tyranny and provide them with material comforts. When He proclaimed to them that He was the living bread from heaven, and that they must partake of Him by faith, they left Him and went away. Jesus then asked His disciples, “Will ye also go away?” In answer, Peter gave a beautiful confession: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” People of God, what is earthly bread compared to heavenly? And what is this temporal life compared to eternal glory? Young people, echo this confession of Peter and the disciples. Give diligent heed to the preaching of the gospel and proclaim to the church and to the world that you, by His grace, unashamedly confess Jesus as Christ, the Son of the living God. Sing Psalter 163:1–3.

July 6 Read Matthew 15:21 –28

Young people, do you appreciate and love the truths of the gospel in which most of you have been brought up, or do you take them for granted? Many people do, you know, but the Syrophenecian woman in our passage today certainly did not. When Jesus seemingly ignored her request to heal her daughter, she persisted in her endeavor and worshiped Him. Then Jesus told her that it was not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs, meaning that He was sent to proclaim the gospel to the Jews and not to the Gentiles. She answered, “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ tables.” What a hunger for the truth she possessed. And what a beautiful confession of her faith she expressed. Jesus exclaimed, “O woman, great is thy faith.” Now the gospel goes forth to all nations. Do you love that gospel as the power of God unto salvation? God grant that you do. Sing Psalter 263:1–3.

July 7 Read Mark 9:17 –24

We see in this passage a desperately troubled father and a son who was the very picture of misery, being deaf, dumb and possessed by a devil. Isn’t this a picture of our wretched and sinful state as well? By nature we do not have ears to hear the gospel nor mouths to praise the Lord. After approaching Jesus’ disciples for help, which they were unable to give, the father appeals to Jesus and cries, “If thou cans’t do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Strong faith would not approach Jesus thus with an “if.” So Jesus replies in kind, “If thou cans’t believe, all things are possible.” Then we see the father, by grace emptying his heart of doubt, crying, “Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.” This is a beautiful confession and one that we must with an eye of faith also express daily in heartfelt contrition. Jesus, the powerful Savior, healed the son and restored peace to that troubled family. In the way of confession and forgiveness, we too possess the peace that passes all understanding and our doubts are changed to blessed assurance. Sing Psalter 398:1 and 3.

July 8 Read Job 19:21 –26

Are you going through a period of trial and sadness? Do you perhaps have bodily afflictions, or feel forsaken and hopeless? We do not mean to minimize these afflictions, but wish to direct your thoughts to Job, a man who suffered unspeakable trials and afflictions. He was made destitute and childless in a day or two. His body was afflicted with a most horrible and painful disease. His friends added to his misery by accusing him falsely of committing sins that were the cause of his troubles. Although Job did not understand why God did this, yet he believed that all this was in the hands of a sovereign God Who loved him, and would vindicate him someday. That’s the meaning of a redeemer, and even in the depths of his misery, he could confess, “I know that my redeemer liveth.” He could not see Christ in that full revelation as revealed to us today, but he could see him through prophecy and sacrifices. Is that your confession also, dear reader? Then you can face each day with that blessed confidence that our redeemer lives and He will be your advocate with the Father in heaven. Sing Psalter 123:1, 2 and 4.

July 9 Read Acts 8:26 –39

What a wondrous work of God we see displayed in this passage! A certain man, not of the Jewish nation, who nevertheless had a copy of the Old Testament in his possession, was reading aloud from the book of Isaiah. He had a hunger for God in his heart that was divinely put there by the Spirit. Philip the Evangelist was directed to leave his mission field in Samaria for the sake of this one elect soul and preach the gospel to him. And what a gospel he preached! Christ, the Son of God, led as a lamb to the slaughter, prophesied throughout the scriptures, and fulfilled at Calvary. That gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe. By grace this Ethiopian eunuch believed and gave expression with his lips, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” a simple confession to be sure, but heartfelt and sincere. Young people make this same confession yours also, and you, too, will go on your way rejoicing. Sing Psalter 198:1, 3 and 6.

July 10 Read John 9:24 –38

Jesus demonstrated that He is the light of the world in the healing of the man who was born blind. He performed this miracle on the Sabbath day and the hypocritical Pharisees were indignant and found fault as usual. They questioned both him and his parents seeking to discredit Jesus. But the man who was healed of his physical blindness gave evidence that he was also healed of his spiritual blindness, and displayed his faith by boldly refuting the Pharisees’ accusations. As a result he was excommunicated from the synagogue, a really frightening thing. What about you, young people? Are you willing and ready to defend your faith at all costs? Throughout history Christians have always been persecuted for their faith, and when Antichrist reigns, this will intensify. Jesus sought out this man in love afterward and revealed to him who He was. The man, in childlike faith, responded, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped Him. May we likewise confess this Savior, never counting what the cost may be. Sing Psalter 190:1, 3 and 4.

July 11 Read Philippians 1:18 –21

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Such a wonderful confession, yet such a seeming paradox. How can death possibly be a gain? Through death one loses all the things of this earth—his possessions, his family and friends and his name. Even his body is destroyed. Death, from an earthly point of view appears to be a total loss. For those to whom Christ means nothing, whose lives are centered on earthly wealth and sinful pleasures, death will be for them a complete loss. They had no Christ in their life and neither will they have Him in death. In contrast, those who by grace have Christ as the main focus in their lives can face death in the confidence that they shall forever be with Him in glory. Do you love Christ, dear reader? Do you live for Him despite your faults and imperfections? Then confess with the apostle Paul that for you also, death will be gain, a gain so great that “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (I Cor. 2:9). Sing Psalter 29:1 and 3.

July 12 Read Daniel 1:3 –8

Young people, can you imagine what it would be like if you were taken away from your home, from covenantal instruction, and from your church and brought to a strange land when you were about 15 years of age? Young Daniel from the tribe of Judah had to undergo this frightful experience and be brought to Babylon. Not only was his name changed from Daniel, which means, “God is my judge,” to Belteshazzar, a name most likely associated with some heathen idol, but was appointed a portion of the king’s meat as well. We read that Daniel “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat.” What an astounding act of faith on Daniel’s part! Surely the king’s meat was delicious and tempting. So are the world’s pleasures and allurements today. But Daniel by grace remained true to his calling. And that calling which also comes to us is to live an antithetical life in the Babylon of this world that surrounds us. Will you dare to be a Daniel? Will you dare to stand alone? Pray that God will give you the guidance and strength to be faithful to Him. Sing Psalter 336:1 and 2.

July 13 Read Daniel 3:13 –18

We all know about the great image that king Nebuchadnezzar erected as a monument to his exalted ego and majesty. Oh, it was an imposing structure of some 90 feet high and 9 feet wide, covered with gold. To this image all must bow and worship with the threat of a horrible death to all who refused to comply. Do we hear some faint echoes of this today; work on Sunday or lose your job, join the union or go hungry, serve the gods of this world or have no place here? Daniel’s three friends resolutely defied the king’s decree. By grace they were determined to obey God rather than man and faced this angry king who defiantly said “and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” Then followed their beautiful confession that their God was certainly able to deliver them from the fiery furnace, but if He chose not to do so, they would nevertheless refuse to serve the king’s gods or worship his image. This is true faith in action. We may not be faced with such an ultimatum as this, but the devil today in many ways seeks to have us deny the faith and serve the gods of this world. Let us answer him as Jesus did in Matthew 4:10, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Sing Psalter 326:1, 3 and 4.

July 14 Read John 4:39 –42

Young people, what does the preaching of the true gospel mean to you? Do you attend worship services because your parents expect it? Do you come out of custom or habit? Or do you come because you hunger for that word? Perhaps at times it is a combination of the above reasons, but do you realize whom you hear in this preaching? It is Christ Himself. This is the means God has chosen to convert, feed and gather His Church. The Samaritans heard about Jesus from the lips of the woman Jesus met at the well, but when they heard Jesus’ own words, they believed and confessed that He was indeed the Christ. This word is given to the Church by the Spirit of Christ. This word is powerful. It is a two-edged sword that not only saves, but also condemns. Pray that this word may have a saving effect on your own heart that you may also confess that this Christ is indeed your Savior. Sing Psalter 337:1, 2 and 3.

July 15 Read John 11:19 –27

Lazarus had died. Martha, upon meeting Jesus, heard Him say, “Thy brother shall rise again.” When she affirmed that he would rise again at the last day, Jesus spoke these words, “I am the resurrection and the life…whosoever believeth in me shall never die. Believeth thou his?” Is Martha’s answer the same as yours, dear reader? “Yea Lord I believe that thou art the Christ….” Notice that Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life,” not only at the end of the world, but right now. Because He is the life, He is also the resurrection. Resurrection does not begin after death, but before death. In regeneration we possess the life that can never die. Our bodies must enter into physical death, but never in the spiritual sense. When by grace you confess that Jesus is the Christ, that He is your Savior and Lord, you have a blessed hope and an unspeakable comfort. Sing Psalter 28:1, 4 and 5.

July 16 Read Acts 4:5 –13

Can the people you meet take notice that you have been with Jesus? Oh, not personally, as His disciples were, but can they tell that His Spirit dwells in you, influencing your actions and words? Peter and John had healed a lame man in the name of Jesus and fearlessly proclaimed the gospel. This was too much for the Sanhedrin who sent soldiers to take them by force. When asked by this wicked assembly “By what power or by what name, have ye done this?” Peter boldly confessed that by the name of Jesus Christ, whom they had crucified, and whom God raised from the dead, even by Him did they heal the lame man. He then quoted from the Psalms that the Sanhedrin knew so well and which was an indictment of their guilt in refusing the cornerstone. The Sanhedrin marveled at their boldness and took knowledge that they had been with Jesus. Let us also be ready to confess His name among men regardless of the cost. Sing Psalter 71:1, 2 and 5.

July 17 Read Acts 6:8 –10; 7:51–60

Scripture and history are replete with references to saints who have died for their faith. We think immediately of Abel, the first man to die for his faith. And why did this happen? Scripture says of Cain, “his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” Today we read of Stephen, the first martyr of the church of the new dispensation. Stephen, full of grace and power, gave testimony of his faith with such wisdom and knowledge that those to whom he spoke were not able to resist his words. Stephen had much knowledge. Just read his testimony before the wicked council. He brought the living word and it so enraged and convicted the Jewish leaders that they could not contain their anger. They stopped their ears and slew him. Do we have the courage to face persecution by a bold defense of the truth? By God’s grace we do, for Jesus said in Luke 21:15, “For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.” Sing Psalter 352:1, 2 and 4.

July 18 Read I Samuel 17:42 –47

Who doesn’t thrill to read about the story of David and Goliath in the Bible? From the very young to the very old, this episode captures our attention and interest. We read that David was only a youth, but what a testimony of his faith resounded in the valley of Elah. David, like most of our readers was brought up in a covenant home and instructed in the knowledge of God. Young people, how much do you appreciate that God in His mercy determined that you also have this blessed privilege? Do you confess with David that your only strength is in the God of Israel, and without Him you are helpless before the foe? We have many enemies to fight. The devil would love to see you in His grasp; the world about us invites you to join in their sinful pleasures; and our own flesh would succumb to evil except for the grace of God. Fight these enemies as David met Goliath with these words, “I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts.” Only then can you succeed in the battle of faith. Sing Psalter 97:1, 3 and 4.

July 19 Read Luke 2:25 –35

In the long period before the incarnation of Christ, we read of no special revelation from God to His Church. However, God never forsakes His people for we read in Malachi 4:16, “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened and heard it.” We believe that aged Simeon was one of these, and the Holy Spirit revealed to him that he would see the Christ before his death. When Mary and Joseph brought the infant Jesus into the temple, Simeon took Him in his arms and said, “mine eyes have seen thy salvation.” How could this be? Was his salvation all wrapped up, so to speak, in this little babe? But truer words were never spoken. This babe was Jehovah Salvation Who grew to manhood and was hung on a tree. He bore our sins to accomplish our redemption. Can you, as Simeon did, see your salvation in this babe? Can you see Him in the world of creation? Can you see Him on every page in Scripture? Can you see with spiritual eyes of faith that He is everything to you? If so, you can also confess when you close your eyes in death, “Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.” Sing Psalter 311:1, 2 and 5.

July 20 Read Joshua 2:1 –11

How strange it may seem sometimes, but how wonderful are the works of God! God is a covenant God who establishes that covenant with believers and their seed, and in that way gathers His Church. In the Old Testament that covenant line ran through the Jewish nation. However on certain occasions God reaches out to the so-called heathen people and plucks them into His fold. Such was the case with Rahab. She was a prostitute in a heathen city, yet God worked faith in her heart, for when she heard of His mighty works, she confesses to the spies: “The Lord your God, he is God in heaven above and in earth beneath.” This was not just an outward confession to save her life and that of her family, for she is numbered among the heroes of faith recorded in Hebrews 11. In inscrutable wisdom, God gathers His elect from all nations and all stations in life. Let us also confess this God as our God, Who will be our guide even unto death. Sing Psalter 139:1, 4 and 5.

July 21 Read Joshua 24:14, 15

Do you hear aged Joshua speak to you today, dear reader? As a type of Christ he led Israel into the promised land of Canaan. He had witnessed personally all the wonders God displayed in delivering them from Egyptian bondage and now he reminded the people of their history, holding before them all that God had done. It stands to reason then, so to speak, that they must serve this God and Him alone. But knowing that by nature they, and we too, are sinful and idolatrous, he adds, “if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve.” And then he gives examples or choices of some heathen gods. This is not a choice of a free will, as some would maintain, that we have the ability to choose either for or against God. No, God commands all to serve Him alone. Only by His regenerating grace are we able to do that. Joshua concludes with “but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” That is a testimony from one who, though weak and sinful by nature as we are, can confidently confess this before all the people. Take those same words on your lips, people of God, and give thanks to God for His great mercy. Sing Psalter 394:1–3.

July 22 Read Deuteronomy 33:26 –29

Moses must climb the mountain of Nebo and die there. Although he was an hundred and twenty years old, we read that his eye was not dim nor his natural force abated. Israel stood ready to enter Canaan. Moses, who led this people for forty years through the wilderness, understandably desired to enter with them into the promised land. Due to his sin at Kadesh, God withheld this privilege from him. Did Moses despair, or blame God for this? No, for he knew that God was forever faithful to His covenant people. He then pronounced a blessing upon the children of Israel, which culminated in these comforting and triumphant words, “There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun…. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” What a picture of confidence and faith in a God who is eternal and almighty. Moses can now die in the assurance that both he and all God’s people will surely enter that heavenly Canaan. Make that your confession also, dear reader, and nestle safely in those everlasting arms. Sing Psalter 281:1, 3 and 4.

July 23 Read I Samuel 2:1 –11

Hannah’s beautiful prayer of confession and praise came from the lips of one who formerly was sorrowful. The Lord had withheld children from her, and to aggravate this condition, her husband’s other wife constantly mocked and taunted her. Every believing Israelitess desired sons and daughters so that in their generations they might continue to have a name and a place in God’s country. She poured out her soul to God that if He would give her a son she would present him to the Lord in His service. God answered that prayer and gave her Samuel, whose name means, “heard of God.” When the child was weaned she took him to the house of the Lord in Shiloh and poured out a prayer of thanksgiving to God. This was a remarkable prayer which not only expressed vindication over against wicked Peninnah, but extolled the Lord as holy, as a rock of strength, and as a God Who keepeth covenant and mercy with His people. Make this prayer your own, dear reader, and go on your way rejoicing, as did Hannah. Sing Psalter 111:1, 2 and 3.

July 24 Read Psalm 73:22 –28

Most of you are well acquainted with this psalm that Asaph wrote under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Asaph certainly was a child of God, but for a time, when making a study of wicked men and their works, he states that his steps had well nigh slipped and he was envious at the prosperity of the wicked. Do we make this same mistake? It is true that most of the famous and wealthy people of the world care not one whit for the things of God and they revel in all sorts of sinful pleasures. It seems that everything goes their way, while God’s people suffer reproach, deprivation and mockery. Then Asaph entered the house of God and beheld the truth. The wicked are on a slippery slope that leads to destruction, while God’s people are held by His right hand that will lift them up to glory. And that glory is heaven with God Himself. We do not know very much about heaven, but the glimpses that are revealed to us in Scripture are wonderful indeed. Let us by grace confess with Asaph that God is the strength of our hearts and our portion forever. Sing Psalter 201:1 and 5­7.

July 25 Read Lamentations 3:21 –32

God raised up many prophets in the course of biblical history to testify against the wicked and admonish and comfort His people. A prophet’s life was not easy, as a rule, and Jeremiah’s is no exception. He stands alone in circumstances of the most desperate nature. He was called to testify of the awful judgment coming upon Jerusalem. He had to suffer terrible reproach including imprisonment, but he faithfully declared the word of the Lord. He is rightly called the “weeping prophet,” for he saw the wickedness of the people, the invasion of the Babylonians, and the final destruction of Jerusalem. In the book of Lamentations he pours out his heavy sorrow, but in the midst of his lament, he confesses that God is merciful, His compassions never fail and His faithfulness is great. These are words of faith wrought by the Spirit to give “beauty for ashes…and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” Dear reader, when you experience sorrow and loss, think on these words and be comforted with the only comfort we have in life and in death, and that is that we belong both body and soul to our faithful Savior. Sing Psalter 205:1, 3 and 13.

July 26 Read Jonah 2:1 –9

Jonah was a prophet in Israel at the time of the reign of Jeroboam II. He was sent to Nineveh, a great pagan city in Assyria, to warn of God’s impending judgment upon it. We all know how he disobeyed that command and booked passage on a ship going in another direction. Jonah, in his fervor for Israel, could not understand that God was making an exception to His primary concern and love for the people of Israel, by sending him to warn Nineveh. But this was disobedience on Jonah’s part and as a result he was cast into the sea, which could only mean into death itself. But God in His mercy prepared a refuge for him. He was preserved alive in the face of death inside the belly of the great fish. There he realized his deliverance, and though he was a castaway, yet he was convinced that he would once again see God’s temple. He confessed his sin and proclaimed that salvation is of the Lord. Upon his return to dry land he obeyed God’s directives. Young people, when you walk in disobedience and God chastises you, thank Him for it, turn from that way and confess with Jonah that God is indeed merciful and in Him alone is your salvation. Sing Psalter 110:1–3.

July 27 Read Habakkuk 3:17 –19

The exact time of Habakkuk’s life is not known, although we may conclude that he was one of the last prophets before the Babylonian captivity. He speaks in verse 6 of chapter 1 that the Chaldeans who were cruel and ruthless oppressors shall come and possess the land of Judah. He shudders at the very thought of it. He realizes that his nation was ripe for the judgment and he trembles at the majesty of God in chapter 3. Then he breaks forth in a prayer of confidence that although the entire land becomes desolate with no provision for human sustenance, yet he will rejoice in the Lord and joy in the God of his salvation. That is an amazing confession! It is a confession that is only possible by the work of grace and based on the redemptive work of Christ. We read in Psalm 63:3, “thy lovingkindness is better than life.” Life, after all, is only temporary. To be saved unto eternity in glory is so wonderful that it defies description. We probably will not experience such calamities as those that faced the prophet Habakkuk, but let us confess that regardless of what the Lord sends us, we will say that He is good and we will joy in His salvation. Sing Psalter 345:1 and 2.

July 28 Read Genesis 22:1 –14

How could God demand that Abraham offer up Isaac for a burnt offering? Isaac was the promised seed, a miracle son, out of whose loins the Messiah must come. If Isaac died, there could be no covenant seed, no Church, and no salvation. Abraham doubtless thought about all this as he obediently journeyed to Mt. Moriah. When Isaac asked his father about a lamb for the burnt offering, Abraham replied in faith, “God will provide himself a lamb.” We stand amazed at this demonstration of faith. Abraham by grace determined to obey God implicitly even if he had to kill his son, for we read in Hebrews 11 that he believed God could and would raise him up even from the dead. God spared Isaac and provided a ram on the mount, but God did not spare His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God for that precious sacrifice wherein is all our salvation. Confess this Savior before all the world, young people, and pray that you may always be faithful to Him. Sing Psalter 362:1–3.

July 29 Read Nehemiah 2:17 –20

What is your response, people of God, when you meet with opposition in pursuing God’s work? This work can take many forms such as starting our own Christian day schools, seminary, evangelistic endeavors, missionary work, and the like. Sometimes that opposition is from without, sometimes from within. Nehemiah was filled with a zeal for God and was convinced of the necessity to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and erect a temple. The people had become accustomed to their life in Babylon and many were content with living there. There were also enemies of God near Jerusalem who vigorously opposed any rebuilding of the Lord’s heritage. But Nehemiah, under the guidance of God, persisted because he knew it was necessary for the spiritual welfare of the people. Nehemiah answered those who opposed the work by firmly stating, “The God of heaven, he will prosper us, therefore we his servants will arise and build.” May this be our confession and zeal, too, when called upon to support kingdom causes. Sing Psalter 357:1–3.

July 30 Read Matthew 8:5 –13

Jesus had returned to Capernaum after preaching the sermon on the mount. This was His headquarters where He labored in Galilee. He performed many mighty works there, but the city made itself unworthy of the gospel. Even worse than Sodom, for Jesus declared, if those works had been done in Sodom they would have repented long ago. In this wicked city, a Roman centurion came to Jesus beseeching Him to heal his servant who lay at home grievously sick. When Jesus said He would come and heal him, the centurion confessed that he was unworthy of Jesus entering his home and that if He would but speak a word only, his servant would be healed. A beautiful confession from a Gentile in a Jewish city, which rejected Jesus! Jesus marveled and exclaimed that He had not found so great faith in Israel. Do we take all that we have for granted? Jesus said that the children of the kingdom would be brought in from the east and west such as this centurion. Pray that your faith may be sincere as was the centurion’s and that it may manifest itself in a godly walk. Sing Psalter 194:1–3.

July 31 Read Acts 10:1 –4

We have a fourfold description of a man in verse two which all of us by the grace of God should try to emulate. This man was not a Jew who normally would have been brought up in a covenant home with all its attendant blessings. He was a Gentile, a Roman centurion, but undoubtedly one who had heard the gospel. We read that he was devout, which means sincere and pious; he feared God with all his house; he gave much alms to the people; and prayed to God always. God had worked faith in his heart, and his whole life reflected that. God appeared to him in a vision, acknowledged his fervent prayers, and instructed him to go to Peter. Peter, being forewarned by a heavenly vision, was prepared to receive Cornelius and instruct him in the gospel of the resurrected Savior. As a result, Cornelius and his family were baptized and became the first Gentile converts into the Church. May all with whom we come into contact see the same qualities of Cornelius in our lives that our walk may be consistent with our confession. Sing Psalter 369:1–3.