Watching Daily At My Gates

March 19 Read Psalm 37:1-6

In this Psalm we have many beautiful expressions for the child of God to grasp. We worry about those around us. We worry that they will oppress us. We are envious because they have more than we do. Notice in this short section we have two verses to that thought and then four to God’s wonderful care over us. Notice the three commands: Trust, Delight, and Commit. Notice the order. Read these expressions again. Meditate upon them. And then pray for his help to make them yours. Sing Psalter 95.

March 20 Read Psalm 37:7-15

It has always been the lot of the child of God not to be patient. We want things to happen immediately. We might see something in the world around us or see someone else with something, and we feel we should have it as well. Or, as the other thought of these verses states, we see the wicked coming against us, and we cannot be patient for God’s justice. Verse eleven sounds like one of the beatitudes. We must take comfort in such thoughts and wait for our God to give to us the victory. It will happen; wait patiently. Sing Psalter 96.

March 21 Read Psalm 37:16-22

There are many comparisons throughout this Psalm. Several of them are found in this section. We see responsibility must accompany whatever material blessings God gives to us. There is also the comfort found in whatever God gives to us whether it be much or little. Our most important blessing is not found on this earth; it is a heavenly blessing. Notice in verse 21 the result of that spiritual blessing; God’s people are to be merciful. Here we find the basis for the principal of the diaconate. The more I read through this Psalm, the more gems I find in it. Take time to read it over and over. Sing Psalter 97.

March 22 Read Psalm 37:23-31

There are several thoughts in this part of the Psalm. First of all we see the earthly life of the child of God. God will always be with him. Even though we may enter a situation that we think unfavorable, God will be with us and care for us. What a glorious realization that is! Secondly, God’s people must reflect the mercy that he shows to us. This is part of the true religion that James urges us to carry out. Finally, the second part of that true religion is found in the last part of this section. We must walk in the law of God daily. When we do these two things, we can be assured that we are keeping the two great commandments to love God and the neighbor. Sing Psalter 98.

March 23 Read Psalm 37:32-40

There are several verses in this last section of Psalm 37 which would help the Christian throughout his life. Verse 24 gives advice that we would all do well to heed. “Wait on the Lord”! Most of us are not good at waiting. We want answers to our questions now. In the New Testament God, through various writers, teaches us that in our lives we must learn patience with his ways. When we see God’s ways, we must keep them. Secondly we see verse 39. Many people in today’s world look for plans of salvation from any calamity. What does God tell us? Our salvation is from our covenant-keeping God. He will be our strength in the time of trouble. We will have troubles, but we will have his strength to keep us during those troubles. Thanks be to God. Sing Psalter 99.

March 24 Read John 1:1-5

There are those who say that Genesis 1-6 comprise a myth. They also say that those chapters can be removed from Scripture and not affect our salvation. Those who do that must also remove John 1:1-5. And then you see that it affects our salvation as these verses speak plainly of Christ by whom and for whom all things were made. Christ is our Savior; to remove the creation story is to remove our Savior. Then what do we have? These are most comforting verses. They show us that all things are in our Savior’s hand. He will never forsake his creation of which we are a part. Thanks be to God. Sing Psalter 85.

March 25 Read John 1:6-10

In the first verses of this chapter we saw that Jesus is the Word by whom all things were created. Here in these verses we see Jesus as the light. We know what a wonderful thing light is. When a child awakens in the night it is comforting to him to see the little night-light burning. When we are faced with an emergency at night, light is important to figure out what to do. John in his gospels will show that Christ came for men of very race, for Gentiles, and for us. That is the implication of verse 9. Jesus is our light, and as light he shows to us the way of salvation. Even though the darkness of sin may overwhelm us at times, he is the light to show us the way out of that morass. Thanks be to God for the gift of the true Light. Sing Psalter 71.

March 26 Read John 1:11-18

Again we have a passage full of meaning. The crux of the matter is verse 14, Christ came into the world to bring to his people, given to him by the Father, salvation. Our salvation comes by the means of grace and truth. Grace is that unmerited favor toward his people by God. Truth is the absolute knowledge only possessed by God about all things. The Jews of old tried to find salvation by the works of the law. Many in this world try to find salvation by their own works. It is most comforting to us to know that salvation is by grace alone. That’s the truth, and there is no other way. This is the comforting way of salvation. When we face death, whether it be the death of an old pilgrim, a young saint, or someone taken in what we call “the prime of life”, this gives to us the comfort that those who are the Father’s will be saved. Is there anything more comforting than that? Sing Psalter 65.

March 27 Read John 1:19-23

Here we see a faithful man of God. He had every opportunity to claim Christ’s identity for his own. But he knew and confessed what he really was. He was the forerunner or as he put it “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” This is what true preaching should be. Ministers should show to the people the way of the Lord. That way is a way of patient waiting for his return. We should not go to church expecting the latest philosophy or self-help instruction, we should go seeking God’s way. John the Baptist understood that well. Later he says that he had to become less popular so that the real Word was known. Let us seek the Word made flesh. Let us seek the way of Jehovah. Sing Psalter 334.

March 28 Read John 1:24-34

John the Baptist continues to point the way to Christ. That way to which he points is the way that leads Christ to the cross as the ultimate sacrifice-the Lamb of God. John was a witness that Jesus was the Messiah even as he baptized Jesus. God sent the Holy Spirit in the form of the dove not only to strengthen Jesus, but also to confirm to John that this was the true Lamb of God. And now John seeks to teach the people and us about Christ. Israel was looking for a Christ. They would later manifest that this was not the Christ they wanted. Are we looking for the Christ? Do we want the Lamb of God? Sing Psalter 140.

March 29 Read John 1:35-41

There are two points in these verses to which I wish to draw your attention. First of all we again see evidence of the humility of John the Baptist as he directs two of his disciples to now follow Jesus. This is a true humility as he turns any spotlight away from himself on to Jesus. Secondly, we see Andrew’s concern for his brother as he finds him and takes him to Jesus. We must have this concern first of all, of course for our own family, but secondly for any God has placed in our path. We must show this ultimate concern as children of the heavenly Father. May we daily seek to follow these examples. Sing Psalter 369.

March 30 Read John 1:42-51

Jesus continues to collect those who would be his disciples and later would be ordained as apostles. Each of them has his own characteristics. Each of them would work in the church with those characteristics. It is no different today. The church is made up of men and women with different characteristics. Each of them make up the whole body of Christ using those characteristics in God’s service. He has a place for us and will use us according to those gifts that he has given to us. May we all be like Nathaneal-true Israelites with no guile. May we all confess that Jesus is the Son of God, King of his church. Let us “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” using what gifts God has given to us. Sing Psalter 368.

April 1 Read John 2:1-11

Here we have the familiar account of Jesus’s first miracle. Even though miracles themselves are astonishing, what they picture is even more astonishing. We cannot look at a miracle unless we see grace. For in every miracle is a picture of the grace that brings us to salvation. Jesus himself pointed toward that salvation when he said, “Mine hour is not yet come.” He knew he had an hour to work. That hour was the time he spent on the cross. For us that is truly the miracle. Even in death this miracle works for God’s people. For even in death salvation is present for those who have been chosen before the foundation of the world. In the wonders we see daily, we must see the wonderful gift of grace given to us by Christ. Sing Psalter 215.

April 2 Read John 2:12-17

Does the zeal of our Father’s house eat us up? Are we as jealous for the church as our eldest Brother was? Because Jesus lived in the old dispensation the physical building was still important. Therefore to see the temple desecrated as it had been pained him. We live in the age in which we must worship in spirit and truth. Therefore it is not the physical but the spiritual over which we must be zealous. Do we prepare for church as we should? Do we seek to be there week in and week out? Does it pain us when we are unable to attend church, or when things are not done decently and in good order? The day will come in which we may not be able to worship as we do now. Let us take advantage of the freedom which we have, and worship our heavenly Father properly. Sing Psalter 311.

April 3 Read John 2:18-25

Notice verses 24-25. Jesus knows all men. Stop and think about that for a moment. In Jesus’s day and in ours, there are many who clamor after religion. They do so for many reasons. Do they do so for the right reasons? Some like to follow a crowd. Some think it is the “in” thing to do. Our following and believing must be of those who wish to be redeemed in the blood of the Lamb. Not many in that day or today want to believe in a bloody sacrifice. What about us? Whom do we confess as Savior? Do we believe in the miracle of the resurrection? May we cling to that miracle, and may we seek the Lamb of God who was slain for our sins. Sing Psalter 83.

April 4 Read John 3:1-8

Here we have a very well known but misunderstood chapter of Scripture. Do we like Nicodemus lack the faith to come to Jesus openly? Do we shy away from letting our lights shine before others? Jesus exposed Nicodemus immediately. Instead of basking in Nicodemus’ platitudes, he asks of Nicodemus’ faith. And in doing so, he taught him the wonderful doctrine of regeneration. He taught him that regeneration like all of salvation is not man’s work. None of Nicodemus’ Phariseeistic works, none of our “good” works will profit us anything. As a hymn puts it, “Not what my hands have done…” Let us rejoice in God’s work in us, and let us let our lights shine before men that our Father in heaven be glorified. Sing Psalter 278.

April 5 Read John 3:9-17

Can you believe the love shown in verse 16? Often the beauty of this verse is obscured by the wrong interpretations concerning it. We may think we love someone. We may think we have love toward a parent, a spouse, a child, or someone else that is very precious to us. That love is only a faint, dim reflection of the love God has for us and his creation. He loved what he had made, and he sent his Son to appease his wrath because of our sin. Israel of the Old Testament only had types and shadows of what this love was. We, by faith, know this love intimately. Let us daily give thanks for the love God shows to us by our sanctified walk made possible by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Sing Psalter 109.

April 6 Read John 3:18-24

The requirement for salvation is to believe in the name of Christ. The only way to accomplish this requirement is through the regeneration accomplished by the Holy Spirit. Nicodemus had to learn this fact; we, too, must know that there is only one way to salvation. It is not what we do; it is what God had done because he loved the world. We must love the light, we must walk in the light; we must do the deeds of the light. There is no other way. Sing Psalter 88.

April 7 Read John 3:25-36

Notice verse 35. Here we see evidence of the blessed covenant of friendship that God has within himself but has also graciously extended to us. The Father loves the Son! He loves us as well. All things have been given to Christ concerning the salvation of his people. All things! No matter what happens to us in the life, it is in Christ’s hand, and by implication it is in God’s hand as well. All things work together for good to them the love God! This is a great comfort. This is a great benefit for us in our salvation. Our hearts need not be troubled in affliction, because that affliction is in the hand of Christ who showed no greater love in that he died for his friends. Many times in our lives we may worry that Christ is not controlling something. We may worry that something bad may take our salvation from us. We need not worry; all things are in Christ’s hands and because all things are in his hands our salvation and everlasting life is sure. Thanks be to God. Sing Psalter 62.

April 8 Read John 4:1-6

There are two ideas of importance in this short passage of Scripture. First of all verse 4. Jesus had to go through Samaria. What a wonderful thought that was for the woman! What a wonderful thought that is for us! He had needs to come to this earth. We were those needs. We, whom the Father had given Jesus, needed salvation. He was the only way in which that salvation could be accomplished. Secondly look at verse 6. Only a Jesus who could tire could accomplish that salvation for us. Man had sinned. Only man could pay for those sins. Israel had killed thousands of animals. Their blood was only a picture of the blood of the Lamb who was sacrificed for his people. Jesus would die for us. What a comfort to know that we have a Lamb! Sing Psalter 262.

April 9 Read John 4:7-15

Can you imagine the surprise of this woman when Jesus said that she should ask him for water? Jesus got her attention, however. Does he have our attention? Do we ask for living water? We, too, need this living water. Nothing on this earth can have the effect of a drink from the water of life. This is John’s message over the past few chapters. Salvation is from Christ alone. We must seek the “Word who dwelt among us.” Even this seeking is only by faith as Jesus draws us to him. Because we have that Word so close to us, let us seek him daily by reading the Bible, meditating upon it, and through prayer. Then we will be truly refreshed ready to face the day. Sing Psalter 333.

April 10 Read John 4:16-24

Man wishes to worship. That is his nature as is testified in Romans 1. But not all men worship correctly. They worship idols, people, and often themselves. We must worship God. Christ has brought a new manner of worship to his people. No more would they worship at Jerusalem with the worship of types and shadows. Now the church must worship in spirit and truth. That must be our worship. We must worship the living God in Spirit. Our worship must be the true worship that he has ordained in Scripture. Each week as we attend the house of God as he permits us, we must make sure that the hallmarks of worship as given by Christ are present. There is no other way. Sing Psalter 349.

April 11 Read John 4:25-29

“Come see a man…” Do we do this? After listening to or reading the Word of God, do we go find our friends and tell them about it? Are we willing to confess Christ to others? This is what we must do. We must not hide our light under a bushel; we must let the light that God has lit within us shine. For this woman to tell the townspeople to come listen to a Jew was not an easy thing. But she knew that here was the truth, and it did not matter what nationality he was, her friends needed the truth. This must be our reaction to hearing the truth. Each of us must do this in the office of believer as prophets. May God give us the grace to say, “Come see a man.” Sing Psalter 36.

April 12 Read John 4:30-38

Fields white unto harvest. What a picture our Lord gives to us! We who live in an area in which we see this every fall can understand what he is saying. Do we understand the picture? Do we know that God’s people are out there waiting to hear the word? Each of us in the office of believer may have opportunity to bring that word to men and women just like the Samaritan woman. Some of the boys and men may have the special calling of minister. We need them to fulfill the calling that God has given to us. As we read his word, hear his word from the mouths of faithful preachers, and meditate on that word, each of us must then take that word and use it. Each of us in some way can help with the harvest. Sing Psalter 195.

April 13 Read John 4:39-45

Notice the difference between the two groups of people mentioned here. The Samaritans believed because of the Word that Jesus preached unto them. The Galilaeans received him, because they saw the miracles. They were not interested in the Word of God. They wanted miracles. What about us? Do we believe because we hear the word of God that is Christ, or do we only receive him because we thought the church service suited us? There is a big difference, you know. We must listen to the word preached, and we must believe because of that word alone. That is the true gospel and the one that we must cling to by faith. Let our worship be one of Spirit and truth for that is the true worship of Jehovah God of our salvation. Sing Psalter 40.

April 14 Read John 4:46-54

Again we see the contrast between those from Jesus’s hometown and a true believer. In verse 48 Jesus is speaking in the plural to a group of people. That group of people is those from Galilee who want more signs and wonders. In verse 50 Jesus is speaking in the singular to the nobleman. That nobleman believed. That is this portion of Scripture put very succinctly. Do we believe? We might want to see a miracle, but we have the word. Yes, we may have sick ones to whom we would like to see health given. If it is the Father’s will, than health will be given. If that is not his will, we have the assurance that Father’s will is best. Let us pray with another father, “Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief.” Sing Psalter 187.