Watching Daily at My Gates

November 8 Read James 1

The writer of this book, who may have been a brother of Christ, writes to the Christian Jews much like the last book. However, the theme of the book is different. The theme can be found in the last verse of this chapter. What is true religion? True religion is living out of the salvation afforded to us by Christ’s death in a life of sanctification. True religion is helping those who are less well off than we might be. True religion is to stay away from all manner of evil. Young people, do you seek to walk in this way? This is our calling in this life no matter what our age may be. Sing Psalter 13.


November 9 Read James 2

Is your faith like that of the Old Testament figures mentioned in this chapter? Or is it a faith of convenience? Do we regard all kinds of men as brothers, or do we pick and choose those whom we will count worth of honor? James points out a fallacy often found in the church of God. We are quick to esteem some people higher than others due to their social or monetary position on this earth. This is not working out our salvation with fear and trembling. This is accounting our desires more important than God’s commands for us. We cannot sing versifications from Psalm 133 with our whole hearts while esteeming some more important than others. Sing Psalter 369.


November 10 Read James 3

As we read through this epistle, we are struck by words that seem to fit in the book of Proverbs. That is because true wisdom is from God and not from man. In this chapter we find words of wisdom concerning our tongues. Think about all the good and evil our tongues can do. What kinds of songs do those tongues sing? Are they songs that extol God or man? What kinds of words come from our tongues about our neighbor? Are they words of love or hatred? What kinds of words come from our tongues as we go about our daily work? Do we swear or do we speak well of our God and neighbor? Guard your tongues, people of God, and in that way please him. Sing Psalter 386.


November 11 Read James 4

Let us ponder the phrase submitting to God. By nature we do not like to submit to anyone. We want our own desires to be first in our lives. Submitting means we need to be humble, and that is not our nature. What does it mean to submit to God? It means that in all aspects of our lives we need to bow to his will even as we pray, “Thy will be done.” In submitting to his almighty will we will use the Latin phrase Deo Volentie daily. We will make no plans with out saying, “If God wills.” By submitting to God we will find that peace that passes all human understanding. Sing Psalter 64.


November 12 Read James 5

Along with submitting to God we need the virtue of patience in the way that he leads us. Patience is not often a characteristic of the modern person. We are not prone to wait for someone else to do something for us; we plunge ahead and do it ourselves. The epistle’s writer counsels us to be patient in God’s way. We can do that if we give ourselves to prayer. Reread the examples given in this chapter. Elijah surely needed patience with the people of the northern kingdom. But he also needed patience in the way that God was leading them and him. Be patient, people of God, and be given to much prayer every day. Sing Psalter 235.


November 13 Read 1 Peter 1

Peter, the leader of the disciples, was mandated to preach to the Jewish converts after Christ’s ascension. In his two epistles he address those Jews who had left Judea, as well as Gentiles who had been brought into salvation by the blood of Christ. Peter reminds his audience of that salvation, from whence it came, and the calling to live in brotherly love because of it. Already in this first chapter we see Peter using his experiences as a disciple as he sets forth various doctrines. He also points the Christians ahead to the second coming of Christ. May we live in and out of our salvation merited for us by Christ alone. Sing Psalter 363.


November 14 Read 1 Peter 2

In the first chapter Peter enjoins the church to live in holiness even as God is holy. This Old Testament references and many others in these epistles show to us that Peter learned his lessons well while sitting at the feet of Christ. This is our calling as well. Whether it is the word preached on the Sabbath, the lessons in the catechism room, or what we glean from personal study of the scriptures, we must learn our lessons well so that we can apply them in our lives and live the life of holiness that is becoming to the child of God. This way of life must be found in all that we do. There is no sphere of life that can be devoid of a Christ-like walk. Sing Psalter 1.


November 15 Read 1 Peter 3

In the previous chapter Peter gives instructions to servants and masters how they are to carry out the command to love our neighbor as ourselves. He continues in the first part of this chapter with similar instructions to wives and husbands. This is valuable instruction for women and men who are sisters and brothers in Christ. While it may be hard sometimes to bear one another’s burdens, we must do so in love, even as Christ loved us. Our marriages are to be pictures of the marriage of Christ and his bride, the church. When we can live with our spouse in this way, there will be peace, joy, and happiness in our marriages. We cannot put ourselves first if this is to be true. Sing Psalter 360.


November 16 Read 1 Peter 4

In the last days there will be many trials. Peter understood this from a practical viewpoint as he lived in the Roman Empire, which was prepared to crush all who tried to rebel. He also saw farther ahead to the days when antichrist would reign. The lessons learned on the Mount of Olives were well learned. Even in troublous days, we must love our neighbor as ourselves. We need to practice hospitality when it is easy so we know how to be hospitable when it is not so easy. We must pray for our neighbors, and we must show to them the love we have for them as brothers and sisters in Christ. This is how we watch for the last days. Sing Psalter 370.


November 17 Read 1 Peter 5

We all have cares in this life. We all have burdens to bear. Do we cast those cares upon Jehovah? We can, you know, because he cares for us. We do this by humbling ourselves before him in prayer as we go to the throne of grace. We can have the confidence that our prayers will be heard because we can have the assurance that he cares for us. This is the testimony of scripture in many places. When your burdens become seemingly too great to bear, read Psalm 55, John 14, and this chapter. Go unto God if you are burdened and heavy laden, and he will give you rest. Sing Psalter 150.


November 18 Read 2 Peter 1

There is much to learn in this first chapter of Peter’s second epistle. First, we find his list of the fruits of the spirit in verses 4–7. After reading that list, we can see what it takes to walk in a sanctified way in this life. It is not of ourselves that these good works are done, but it is God who works in us. But in walking in this way, we can make our salvation sure within our souls. Peter goes on to show to us that this sanctified walk is from the Holy Spirit, as he talks about inspiration. We do well to commit the verses at the end of the chapter to memory as our guide to the blessedness of scripture in our lives. Sing Psalter 203.


November 19 Read 2 Peter 2

As we walk in the way of sanctification described in the previous chapter, we will come upon false teachers. This will be even more true as the end of time approaches. Peter shows the church of all ages how to identify those evil teachers, using examples from the Old Testament. Knowing our Bible, the inspired word of God, can and will help us in this matter. We need to know our enemy so that we can defend ourselves and our families against him. The Bible is our sword; let us keep it sharp, and let us continue in practice with it. Sing Psalter 333.


November 20 Read 2 Peter 3

Peter had to remind the church of his day of those who scoffed at the idea of a second coming of Christ. He reminded the church of those who scoffed at Noah as he built the ark. It is no different for the church today. There are those, even those who call themselves church, who scoff at the idea that Christ will come, will judge the living and the dead, and will bring about the destruction of this present creation for the re-creation of a new heavens and new earth. Like Noah, are you ready to answer to those scoffers? Are you ready for Christ to appear on the clouds of heaven? Do you want him to come? Let us watch and pray for the coming of our savior even as he commanded the church before he died. He is coming. Sing Psalter 362.


November 21 Read 1 John 1

After reading the epistles of Peter, we turn to the epistles of the beloved disciple, John. John too draws from his three years of being with Jesus, and he shows us what we must know as only one who had been with our Lord could tell us. He tells us that God is light. Stop and think for what we use light. Think about its opposite, darkness. The earthly ideas of light and darkness are only small pictures of the spiritual. We must walk in the light because we are children of the light. Only the children of darkness can feel comfortable in the dark. Let us seek the light and let us walk in it. Sing Psalter 71.


November 22 Read 1 John 2

Because we are children of the light, we must walk in the light with our brothers in Christ. This is not just an abstract idea; this is truth. John recorded Jesus’ words about this thought in his gospel. Now he tells the church of his time and of all ages the necessity of walking in love with our brothers and sisters in the faith. This love starts within our homes, but then it must extend to all those around us. We must keep the second “great” commandment, that is, to love our neighbor as ourselves. When we do this, we follow the truths spoken by Christ and reiterated by John in this chapter. Walk in the light, people of God, and walk in love with each other. Sing Psalter 24.


November 23 Read 1 John 3

Verse 18 shows us how we must love one another. The words, “I love you” are not enough. We must show that we love our brother by our deeds. Those deeds will make “I love you” true. This is explained elsewhere in scripture. Paul tells us “to speak the truth in love.” It is possible to tell a true thing about someone, but not show love in doing so. James tells us to show our faith by our works. The same is true of our love. If our love is out of a true faith, it will be genuine love. As we live one with another, let us love one another in word and deed. Sing Psalter 369.


November 24 Read 1 John 4

The first verse of this chapter exhorts and admonishes us to try the spirits. What does this mean? It refers to the activity that we must do as we live a life of sanctification. As we hear doctrine, we must be like the Bereans and search the scriptures to see if it is true.  As we listen to songs that are so-called Christian songs, we must try the spirits and see if those songs portray the truth of scripture in their entirety. As we fellowship with various people, we must try the spirits and see if they are of God. Our whole lives must be one of trying the spirits. In this way we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Sing Psalter 256.


November 25 Read 1 John 5

John continues with his theme of love. Once again he reminds his readers that the child of God must love God, and that he must also love his neighbor. This love is based on the love that God has for us in that he sent his Son to die on the cross. Notice that John goes back to the theme of his gospel that Jesus was truly the Son of God. If this truth is not foremost in a person’s life, there will be no other love emanating from that person. In this chapter we see that doctrine is first, and then practical living flows out of doctrine. Search the scriptures, people of God, and know how to live the life prescribed by our God. Sing Psalter 198.


November 26 Read 2 John

Some think John is writing this letter to a specific person, a lady, while others think the lady is the church. Did you notice how many times the word truth is used in the chapter? Truth is important for the Christian. That is because God is truth and Satan is the lie. We live out of either one or the other; there is no middle road. John is happy to hear that the lady’s children walk in the truth. What grandparent is not thrilled when their grandchildren exhibit in their lives the truths of scripture? What elders are not joyful when the young people of the church live what they have been taught in catechism? Young people, walk in the truth, for this is the will of God for you. Sing Psalter 334.


November 26 Read 3 John

The writer in Hebrews admonishes us with these words: “Let brotherly love continue.” This is the thought in this short book consisting of one chapter. Who Gaius is does not matter; the message of the book does. Gaius had followed John’s command to show brotherly love to all and especially to strangers. This is in contrast to Diotrephes, who had not. What is our reaction to strangers in church? Do we ignore them? Do we think others will welcome them? Or do we seek them out, try to make them feel welcome, and even invite them into our houses so that they can have a sabbath day’s rest? This is our calling, and this is part of walking a walk of sanctification. Sing Psalter 371.



November 27 Read Jude

Early in this epistle we are called to contend for faith. Then we are given two main ways to do this. First, we have to avoid those who are and do evil. The writer gives many examples of why this must be done. As scripture instructs us elsewhere, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,” so does one evildoer adversely affect the church. The second way to contend for the faith is to build ourselves up in the faith. We do this by learning and using the true doctrines and by showing compassion to those in need. Sometimes this compassion means we have to admonish them, sometimes quite strongly, for a way not pleasing to God. Finally, the epistle ends with a beautiful doxology. Reread it, maybe memorize it, and include it often in your prayers. Sing Psalter 53.


November 28 Read Revelation 1

The final book of the Bible is the Revelation of Jesus Christ to the apostle John while he was exiled on the island of Patmos. This revelation is important to us because it shows us where we are going. Similar in places to other parts of scripture, it is a clear road map to us of what will come before the church is united with each other and with her Lord. In this first chapter we see a glorious picture of Christ. That it is a divine Christ is evident to see. This is important and should show to us the way to understand what will be ours in the years to come. Sing Psalter 29.


November 29 Read Revelation 2

After seeing Christ, John is instructed to write to seven churches with which he is familiar. These churches are in various states of development, and they show us the development of the church of all ages. We must see in them our congregations, and more importantly, in our own personal spiritual life. Have we lost our first love like the church at Ephesus? Do we face persecution like the church at Smyrna?  Do we allow certain sins into our lives such as the churches at Pergamos or Thyatira? If the characteristics of one of these churches characterize us, let us have ears to hear and let us be encouraged or admonished as only Christ can encourage or admonish. Sing Psalter 140.




November 30 Read Revelation 3

The final three churches of Asia Minor are addressed here. Are we like Sardis, so that though we are called Christians, our lives show that we are anything but Christians? Let us watch and live as we should. Do we evangelize like the members of the church of Philadelphia, the church of brotherly love? That was Christ’s command to us in Matthew 28 just before he ascended into heaven. Surely we are not like the church members at Laodicea. But because of our old nature we are at times. When we are fit only to be spewed out of Christ’s mouth, let us pray for forgiveness and walk in a way that uses the spiritual ears we have been given by grace to hear what Christ through the Holy Spirit says to us. Sing Psalter 83.


December 1 Read Revelation 4

In this chapter we are shown a picture of the majesty of almighty God. He is also shown to us as the thrice-holy God, as is shown in other places in scripture. It may be hard for us to understand what that throne looks like, as we are only given a small picture of God’s majesty here on earth. We must be sure not to miss the pictures given to us in nature of this beauty. The heavenly creatures testify God is holy. We are enjoined elsewhere in scripture to be holy as he is holy. Is this our goal throughout the day and throughout our lives? Sing Psalter 266.


December 2 Read Revelation 5

In this chapter we are shown the truth that the glorification of God through the redeeming work of Christ is the purpose for the creation and all actions on earth. We study history to see how it has unrolled throughout time. We also study it to see what is going to come to pass in the future as it is shown to us in the rest of this book, as well as in other places in scripture. History shows us that the world did not evolve into it present form. History shows us that the history of the world has been purposefully unrolled so that our sovereign, supreme God will be glorified. Is this the God whom you worship? Sing Psalter 213.


December 3 Read Revelation 6

As the first four seals are opened, horses ride forth, bringing with them their work on this earth. We can find many evidences that these horses have been traveling throughout history by studying the history of the world and of the church. We can see that those horses are running even now by considering what is happening in the world around us. Today we can see evidences that the horses are more active and are working at the same time. Are you considering? Do you hear the horses coming, bringing with them the return of our Savior? Sing Psalter 214.


December 4 Read Revelation 7

In the previous chapter the opening of the fifth seal described those who had died for the faith. At the end of this chapter they are further recognized as wearing white robes and worshipping God. In our country few are openly persecuted for worshipping the one true God. This has not been so in other time periods and even in other places today. Are we ready for the great tribulation that will come before Christ returns?  Are we ready to be denied even daily necessities because we will refuse to give up our faith? This is the reality that scripture declares will be ours. Let us watch and pray for grace to stay faithful in spite of any difficulty. Sing Psalter 246.


December 5 Read Revelation 8

We find two characteristics in the book of Revelation. First, we find repetition. As we move from the seals to the horses and finally to the vials, there are some elements that are very similar. Repetition is used to show us the certainty of what will happen before Christ returns. Repetition also ingrains in our minds the events that will happen. Just as you repeat various memory passages to learn them, so Christ uses repetition to teach us the signs of his return. Second, we find progression. As we move from seals to horses to vials, there is progression in the elements. Activities happen faster and with more force as the return of Christ approaches. It is like riding a sled down a steep, snowy hill. You move the fastest the closer you approach the bottom of that hill. Our calling is like that of the saints who have gone before us. We must pray fervently, “Thy kingdom come.” Sing Psalter 434.


December 6 Read Revelation 9

A new character arrives on the scene of the revelation of the last time. This character has been in evidence since just after creation. This character is none other than Satan himself. Satan wants the kingdom that lasts forever, and he will do all in his power to gain it. We need not fear, however. The victory is sure. We do not have a dualism of forces fighting it out for the prize. Rather we have forces fighting where the end is certain. God will be glorified, and his entire church will be gathered from all nations. Throughout scripture there is a comforting theme for the people of God. That theme is, “Fear not.” Sing Psalter 73.