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Watching Daily At My Gates

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.