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Watching Daily At My Gates

September 10   Read 2 Corinthians 10

There were those in Corinth who disparaged the work of Paul and therefore the work of God through Paul. The apostle tries to answer those scoffers. His final argument points at their boasting, and he leaves them with the admonition of verse 17. We do well to heed that admonition in our lives. The world loves to glory in itself.  Do we do the same? Is our speech sprinkled with the pronouns I or me? Let us glory in God who has created us. To him be all glory now and forever. Sing Psalter 99.

 

Spetember 11   Read 2 Corinthians 11

Some might think that the apostle repudiates what he has stated in the previous chapter. This is how fierce the opposition was to him and the gospel he preached. He had to answer all the scoffers so that God’s name would be glorified. Paul takes great pains to show how his work was not of himself, but of God who sent him to minister to the Corinthians. God’s grace is great toward us. How do we receive it? Do we disparage those who bring to us the word? Let us esteem our officebearers highly, for they do the work of Christ even to watching over our souls. Sing Psalter 133.

 

September 12   Read 2 Corinthians 12

In defending his work Paul shows what God has done to him. While Paul saw a glimpse of glory, he was also afflicted with a severe thorn in the flesh. Many have tried to explain exactly what this affliction was, but we do not know and do not need to know. God afflicts his people to keep them humble in their lives. We must learn to bow before his good will and accept such afflictions as for our profit. This was the testimony of the psalmist in Psalm 119, and it is Paul’s testimony as well. Reread verse 9 for comfort in all afflictions. Let us know that God loves us and his afflictions are never more than we can bear. Sing Psalter 329.

 

September 13   Read 2 Corinthians 13

As Paul ends this letter, which seemingly rambles from subject to subject, he ends with the theme found throughout the epistle. That theme is that he has the Corinthians’ good in his mind and heart. Sometimes when we are chastised, we think those who chastise us do so in hatred. But we must see that they are God’s servants who have our welfare in mind even as our heavenly Father does. Paul prays for the Corinthians even as a father prays for his children. Paul’s benediction to them, found in verse 11, should show to us how to live toward one another and with the church of Christ. Sing Psalter 216.

 

September 14   Read Galatians 1

In this chapter of the letter written to various churches that Paul established on his second journey, Paul must defend his apostleship. He wastes little time in doing so, as there is only a short benediction. Paul reminds the Galatians that his apostleship was given to him by none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. He also reminds them that the gospel that he preaches is from that Christ. Those who have been disparaging Paul and the gospel that he preached are to be ignored. We need this admonition today as well. We must not stray from the old paths that have been set before us. There is but one way to salvation, and that is by faith alone. Sing Psalter 82.

 

September 15   Read Galatians 2

After continuing with the argument that his apostleship was from Christ alone, Paul then proceeds to the great doctrine of justification by faith. You will notice similarities between this epistle and the one to the saints at Rome. This has been an issue throughout the new dispensation. How are we saved? Is it of us? Do we have any part in our salvation? The answer is a resounding No! Our salvation is from God alone and merited by Christ alone through his death on the cross. There is no other way in which we receive eternal life. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift! Sing Psalter 186.

 

September 16   Read Galatians 3

It is obvious from this chapter that those who sought to lead the Galatians astray were Jewish. They wanted to bring these churches under the Old Testament law once more. Paul now uses proofs from the Old Testament itself that salvation through Christ was pointed to by that scripture. First, he points to the righteousness of Abraham, whom many Jews clung to as their father. Second, he shows that the law had a place, but its place was to bring them to Christ as their teacher. Now Christ has come, and they are no longer under the constraints of the whole law. We must see that nothing can give us salvation except faith. Sing Psalter 214.

 

September 17    Read Galatians 4

What a joy it is to be called the sons of God! The Judaizers in Galatia were trying to make the new church go back to the ways of the law. Paul uses various means to show that this was not God’s way for the church of the new dispensation. He finishes using the idea of Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac was a son of the promise, given to Abraham and Sarah when humanly it was impossible for them to bring forth a child. Ishmael was their attempt to do God’s work for him. We must not fall into that error today. Our salvation is from God alone. What else do we need or want? Sing Psalter 172.

 

September 18   Read Galatians 5

Because we have been saved by God through the operation of the Spirit, who applies to us the benefits Christ has obtained for us, we must walk in the Spirit. We must live a life of sanctification in which we live antithetically in this world. In the church we must live in unity; in the world we must show ourselves to be true sons and daughters of the Most High. In this sanctified life we will bring forth the fruit of the Spirit as outlined in verses 22 and 23. We have been made free from the law and from sin; let us use that freedom to glorify God in all that we do. Sing Psalter 25.

 

September 19   Read Galatians 6

In this final chapter of the letter written by Paul’s own hand, he exhorts the Christians to walk in love. We are to work with one another even when a brother sins against us. This is not easy, since our natures want us to get back at that person, but this is not the way that God has treated us. Then Paul exhorts the Galatians to not be weary in well-doing. Sometimes we tire of helping our neighbor and doing the “right thing.” We must continue to glorify God in all that we do. The second half of the epistle is a reminder to stay away from the evils brought upon the church by those who would have them find justification by means other than faith. We need this warning as well. Like Paul we should glory in Christ crucified and live a life of those redeemed by his blood. Sing Psalter 113.

 

September 20   Read Ephesians 1

Paul had visited Ephesus at least three times. He found a group of believers there on his second missionary journey. On his third journey he visited Ephesus twice. First he spent a long period of time there as his main objective on the journey; then on his way back to Jerusalem he called the elders of the church to him for a farewell address. In this opening chapter he praises God for his work for the church. Read through verses 3-14 once again and see all the various doctrines on which the apostle touches. Then in the final part of the chapter he prays for the church. We too must praise God for his work on our behalf and then pray for saints wherever they may be. Sing Psalter 235.

 

September 21   Read Ephesians 2

What a blessed gift our salvation is to us! We who do not deserve any such gift are saved by faith. Paul expressly states in verse 9 that our salvation is not by any of our works. What further proof do we need of justification by faith alone?! Notice how the apostle first addresses the personal salvation of the believers in Ephesus and in the church of all ages and then goes on to show how that salvation leads to a unity of the church as a whole. We must avoid the individualism of this present age and realize that we have been made part of the body of Christ. For this we must give thanks daily. Sing Psalter 369

 

September 22   Read Ephesians 3

In the first part of the chapter Paul reminds the Ephesians of his qualifications for the work that he had done among them. These qualifications were not man-bestowed, but were given to Paul by God through Christ. We see that Paul is in prison in Rome as he writes this epistle; he wants the Ephesians to know that he cares for them and that his work was not of himself, as some said, but was solely of God. In the second part of the chapter he once again prays on their behalf. Do we pray for God’s people throughout the world? Do we remember that Christ will not return until all his people are gathered? When we pray, “Thy kingdom come,” we pray for all of the kingdom and not just for ourselves. May we remember this fact each time we bow our heads in prayer. Sing Psalter 204.

 

September 23   Read Ephesians 4

While we do no works to earn our salvation, out of that salvation we work the works of God. In the first part of the book Paul expresses several doctrinal truths. Now in the second part of the epistle, Paul turns to the life of the Christian. We must walk in a sanctified way in all that we are called to do. Once again Paul calls the church to walk in unity one with another. Then he exhorts the individual believer to walk in a pure and holy way. This is a sober calling for each of us. Let us walk in the Spirit, who has given to us so great a salvation. Sing Psalter 391.

 

September 24   Read Ephesians 5

Paul continues with the exhortations that he gave in the previous chapters, but now he makes them specific. He speaks about our daily lives. Young people, do you walk in the Spirit with your friends? In what kinds of activities do you engage? With whom do you do these activities? Husbands and wives, how do your live one with another? Do you obey all the commandments of God in regard to marriage, as those commandments began to be given shortly after creation? What songs do we sing for worship? Would we rather sing the man-centered songs of much of what calls itself church or are we content with the songs of Zion as given by God in the psalms? We should review this chapter often in our lives so that we remember how we must walk in gratitude for our salvation. Sing Psalter 360.

 

September 25   Read Ephesians 6

Children and young people, Paul has directions for your lives as well. We find them in the first part of the final chapter of this epistle. Workers—and this includes students—did you hear God’s word to you in this chapter? After pointing out our individual calling in this life, the Holy Spirit through Paul reminds us that we are in a battle. It is the battle of faith in which we fight against Satan and all of his hosts. Are you wearing the armor of faith? Are you comfortable in that armor? This is what we need to fight the battles that we will face in this life. David could not wear Saul’s armor, but he wore the armor of faith as he went out to face Goliath. Are we wearing the correct armor? Sing Psalter 53.

 

September 26   Read Philippians 1

People of God, do you make the confession that Paul makes in verse 21? In our lives do we live Christ? This is not just when we worship, but we must live Christ in our daily lives: in our work, in our play, and in whatsoever place God has put us. This is not easy. To live Christ means that we will face persecution and hardship. This is the way it must be if we call ourselves Christians. But Paul does not stop there. He says that if we die, we gain. We may wonder about that. We may not want to see that no longer to live on this earth is a gain for us. But we must always remember that this earth is not our home. Our home is in heaven, where Christ is preparing our place for us. Let us live Christ, but let us look ahead to the glory that will be ours in heaven. Sing Psalter 203.

 

September 27   Read Philippians 2

In this chapter Paul continues to exhort the saints at Philippi to be Christ-like. To be Christ-like means first to take on the mind of Christ. What did Christ do for our salvation? He put off his own glory and became like us, sin excepted, so that we could have salvation. This means we do nothing to earn our salvation; we only live in the salvation that Christ has merited for us. Second, we must be lowly in mind. While Moses was the meekest man that lived on this earth, he was only a type of Christ who humbled himself for our salvation. We must take the I out of our vocabulary and put Christ and our neighbor ahead of our desires. Finally, Paul exhorts them to walk in Christ in all things. Sing Psalter  366.

 

September 28   Read Philippians 3

There are many verses that a child of God could hold on to as precious. One of these is verse 14. Do we press toward the mark? The picture here is of a long distance runner working hard to attain first place. He has spent himself over the course of the race, but must continue to work hard and to press ahead. This is a picture of our life here on this earth. We must press forward to reach the mark. That mark is eternal life in heaven. It is achieved by those who live as God has commanded. Of ourselves we cannot achieve that mark. We must have the help of him who shed his blood on our behalf. While we do nothing to gain that high calling, we must live out of that salvation. We must live a life of sanctification as we work out that salvation, as we learned in the previous chapter. Press on, people of God, and receive the prize that is ours though faith in Christ Jesus. Sing Psalter 234.

 

September 29   Read Philippians 4

Which verse of this chapter might you hold dear in your lives? There are truly many. Look at verse 19. Here we have the assurance that God will supply all our needs. We have many needs in this life. We have spiritual needs. Sometimes we feel weak in the faith. We do not know which way to turn. God will supply that need. Sometimes we have physical needs. Our health may be frail, or we may be smitten with some disease. God will supply that need. Saints have lacked the basic necessities: food, shelter, or clothing. God will supply those needs as well. We may have emotional needs, which may be caused by a lack of the previously mentioned needs. God will supply what we need in that case as well. What a precious gift we have through Christ. God will supply our needs; of that there is no doubt. Sing Psalter 378.

 

September 30   Read Colossians 1

In the first part of the chapter Paul prays for the church at Colosse. This epistle too seems to be another of the prison epistles. It is thought that Paul never personally worked in this church, but here we find him praying for these saints and their needs. This should be an admonition for us. There are many saints whom we do not know personally. Do we pray for them and their needs? In the second half of the chapter we see a summary of the doctrine of salvation. We can find many gems of doctrine here in an easily understandable form. We should take the time to review this doctrine in order that we can live out of it. Sing Psalter 403.

 

October 1   Read Colossians 2

Throughout all ages the church is beset by those who would introduce false doctrine into it. The church of Colosse had this problem as well. It seems from the chapter that there were two errors against which the Colossians had to fight. First, there were the errors of those who wanted them to go back to the Old Testament ceremonial laws. Paul states that we have been delivered by Christ from such things, and we must live out of that salvation. Second, there was the error of worldly philosophy. This too is something against which we must fight. Satan attacks us using the philosophies of the world. Prevalent today are philosophies that are rooted in evolution. We must not let our lives be tainted by this error. By knowing God and his word we are armed against such evil. Let us pray for guidance in our lives to fight this aspect of the fight of faith. Sing Psalter 392.

 

October 2   Read Colossians 3

In this chapter, similar to one in Ephesians, we find exhortations on the manner of living the life given to us by Christ in our salvation. First, we are called to put away all evil in our lives. There is much evil that can tempt us. There are evils around every corner. Our young people are faced with the evils that Satan sets before them. They must be trained to ward off these evils. Second, we are called to live a new and godly life. This means we seek the things of God. This too is an admonition that our young people need. They must not only put off the old man, but with the whole church of God they must put on the new man. Finally, Paul exhorts the Colossians and us to walk in love one with another in whatever station or calling God has placed us. Husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, children, employers, employees, do you seek God in all that you do? Sing Psalter 369.

 

October 3   Read Colossians 4

After finishing the thoughts of the previous chapter, Paul turns to the subject of prayer. People of God, how is your prayer life? Have your prayers become rote and stale? Are they full of repetition, even bordering on the vain repetitions of the Pharisees? Young people, do you seek to pray prayers that rise to heaven? Praying is hard work. It takes knowledge of the word of God and knowledge of prayer itself. Scripture is full of instances of exemplary prayers. Study them and use them to help you in prayer. Prayer is the chief means of thankfulness, according to the Heidelberg Catechism. We not only need not to avoid prayer, but we must also seek to pray meaningful prayers. Sing Psalter 434.

 

October 4   Read 1 Thessalonians 1

Paul established this church on his second missionary journey after his work in Philippi. He was driven out of Thessalonica and moved down the Balkan Peninsula. After leaving the church, he later sent Timothy back to see how the congregation was doing. While in Corinth he writes this letter to them. He commends the church for being an example to other believers. What does this say to us? Are others encouraged by our actions as believers? As we have seen in other epistles, our life must be one that shows our thankfulness in salvation. The Heidelberg Catechism exhorts us to lead a worthy life so that others may be brought to Christ? Is this life that we live? Sing Psalter 246

 

October 5   Read 1 Thessalonians 2

In this chapter Paul describes the gospel that he preached. It is a good chapter to read to examine our hearing of the gospel. Do we seek to hear what God will have us hear as the word is preached? Assuming that the preacher is preaching Christ crucified, which should be the heart of all sermons, do we listen for that message? Do we seek to hear that message so that our faith is strengthened? Preaching is not only the power of God unto salvation, but it also contains the spiritual food that we need for our lives. We must seek the pure preaching of the word that gives us life. Sing Psalter 366.

 

October 6   Read 1 Thessalonians 3

This is a very personal chapter that Paul writes to the Thessalonians. He is concerned about their faith in God. Not only should this be true of officebearers, but also each Christian should concern himself with the faith of his friends. This is not being a busybody or being nosy, but this is showing love for fellow believers. Each believer has his own trial. Each believer is part of the body of Christ. Each member of that body needs to care for the other members. In doing this the members walk in peace one with another. Let us show the same concern for each other as Paul showed for the Thessalonians. Sing Psalter 371.

 

October 7   Read 1 Thessalonians 4

In this very personal letter Paul points out three areas to which the Thessalonians need to give heed in their walk of love one with another. First, they need to walk in holiness concerning matters of the seventh commandment. Marriage and all that goes with it is a beautiful picture of the relationship of Christ and his church. We must be pure one with another in this aspect of life. Second, Paul enjoins them to live in love with fellow believers as they carry out their daily work. Each has been given his own station and calling by God. We must be diligent in that calling as we seek to glorify God all the days of our lives. Finally, Paul gives some instruction concerning life after death. Death is not the end; it is the opening to eternal life in heaven. Our mourning at a funeral must be replaced with the hope of the resurrection and the life that follows. Sing Psalter 29.

 

October 8   Read 1Thessalonians 5

After finishing the thoughts concerning Christ’s second coming, Paul exhorts the Thessalonians concerning their lives on this earth. Reading this chapter often will provided much needed instruction for the church of all ages. As you consider the commands of verses 14–22, ask yourselves the questions, “Which of these do I especially need to heed?” While it is true that all of them are for our edification, each of us may have a particular need in our lives. While living that life we need to follow the command of verse 22. We need to abstain from all evil in all aspects of our lives. In doing that we can follow the other commands that precede it. In doing this we live a proper life of sanctification and truly “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” Sing Psalter 206.

 

Reminder: Beacon Lights is still looking for someone to write the Devotions rubric in light of Mr. Hunter’s imminent retirement.—Ed.