Daily Meditations for August

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August 1

A PRAYER FOR COMFORT
Psalm 119:75, 76

    The tenth section of Psalm 119 is full of prayers. In verse 73 the psalmist had prayed that God would give him understanding. Then follows in this section of the Psalm five petitions that God will let this and that happen. In verses 75, 76 he prays, "I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right, and that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. Let, I pray Thee, Thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to Thy word unto thy servant."

    Here he prays for comfort in the midst of his afflictions. And because God has given him understanding, he judged God's judgment to be right. He had sinned and deserved those afflictions. Now he wants the comfort of assurance that in God's merciful kindness he is forgiven.

    Never can we get comfort apart from that merciful kindness. Never can we by anything we do get our guilt removed and can we be freed from the power of sin that holds us. We cannot open our hearts to let Christ come in. We cannot push aside our sinful natures by asking for it. We earn nothing by our prayers and never change God by them. If we think that we can open our hearts and can influence God by what we do, we had better pray for understanding as the psalmist did in verse 73.

    No, God must remove our guilt and put spiritual life in us before we can do anything pleasing in His sight. He must do that before we can even want and then pray for salvation from sin and its punishment. His merciful kindness does this for us and in us.

    God is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. He opens our hearts before we can even want them to be opened. Every bit of our salvation is because of His merciful kindness. For it was in that kindness that He sent His own Son into our flesh to suffer our punishment, so that He could earn for us the right to be delivered from the power of sin in which Satan holds us.

    In that truth we can find comfort. God makes the first move always. A child is not born because it wanted it. And we are not born again because we wanted it. God's merciful kindness saves us.

    So also we sing:
   
    Thou, Lord, art just in all Thy ways,
    And faithful Thou chastenest me;
    I pray Thee, let Thy promised grace
    Thy servant's help and comfort be.

Read: Revelation 22
Psalter versification: 330:2

Daily  Meditations
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 270
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
|
2 Chronicles 30 ; 2 Chronicles 31:1-21
Romans 15:1-22
Psalm 25:1-15
Proverbs 20:13-15

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Quote for Reflection:

 Be not wiser than God; - train your children as He trains His. — J. C. Ryle


August 2

LIVING IN LOVE TOWARD GOD
Psalm 119:77,78

    There are sicknesses and diseases which come upon us that are not man's attack upon us. But there are also afflictions which enemies bring upon us. Of such troubles the psalmist spoke in Psalm 119:77, 78, where he wrote: "Let Thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for Thy law is my delight.  Let the proud be ashamed: for they dealt perversely with me without a causes but I will meditate in Thy precepts."

    What we find here and must learn is that because God made and fashioned us in His own image to walk in love toward Him, we sinners do not deserve to live on this earth, even as God told Adam: "In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." And as Paul states in Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin is death."

    The psalmist had confessed that he deserved the affliction which men had brought upon him; but now he prays that in the mercy of God he may be given life wherein he will walk in God's commandments. The unbelievers will be punished with the shame of being cast into the lake of fire. The psalmist, however, wants to live, not to enjoy feasting, worldly pleasures, and amusements, but to serve God as man was made and fashioned to do.

    What an example we have here to follow. Let us examine our soul as to why we want to live here on this earth. The psalmist does not pray for God's mercy because he keeps God's law. That earns us absolutely nothing. But he wants to live so that he may serve God as is his calling on God's earth with God's creatures. We sing these words, but let us also make them our prayer:

    Show mercy, Lord, that I may live.
    For in Thy law is all my joy;
    While those who wrong me are rebuked,
    Thy precepts shall my thought employ.

    In His mercy God makes us want to live a life of love toward Him. In that mercy Christ died that we might live. In that mercy Christ was taken to heaven that we might be lifted up to live with Him in perfect sinlessness. The wages of sin is death, but God's mercy gives us life.

Read: Romans 6
Psalter versification: 330:3

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 331
Why not sing along??

Daily  Meditations
on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

2 Chronicles 32 ; 2 Chronicles 33:1-13
Romans 15:23-33 ; Romans 16:1-9
Psalm 25:16-22
Proverbs 20:16-18

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Quote for Reflection:

placing ourselves, our persons, our inmost heart and mind before the face of the living God, we may address an idol, a god of our own imagination, that is neither God nor Lord nor righteous, that is wholly like unto ourselves; to whom we speak but who does not speak to us; whose voice cannot possibly be heard in our inmost heart. And thus praying with ourselves and to ourselves, it is wholly conceivable that we approach this idol of our imagination with our abominable tithes, fasts, works, reforms, charities, philanthropies, devils cast out and wonders performed, and say: I thank thee, God, that I am so good, while all others are evil! . . .
   And the reason is, that we did not pray to God, but with ourselves!
   We were never in the presence of God!
    His holiness did not flash into our inmost soul; His sovereign majesty never overawed our deceitful heart; His voice never thundered into our conscience: Thou shalt love Me!
   But what if we pray to God who is God? . . . .  Herman Hoeksema  [Standard Bearer, Vol. 8, pg. 218]


August 3

PRAYING FOR A SOUND HEART
Psalm 119:80

    All the members of our bodies are important. God, Who made and fashioned them, knew what He was doing when He made us as we are. And although some of the members of our bodies can be removed surgically without threat to our lives, and sometimes have to be removed because of cancer or some other disease, we cannot get along without a heart. And the healthier the heart is, the more active one can be; while an impaired heart will limit one's activity.

    It is no wonder then that the psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:80, "Let my heart be sound in Thy statutes; that I be not ashamed."

    If we are going to live as we were made and fashioned to be, namely, to be image bearers, that is, reflectors of God's glory, we must have a spiritual heart that is sound. The healthier that heart is, the more perfectly we will walk in love toward God, and therefore love His statutes. The more we hate sin and love God, the sounder our hearts are. The psalmist makes a very important petition here.

    But there is another request of his that goes hand in hand with that request for a sound heart. He prays that others with sound hearts may turn to him. Because he   had fallen into great sin, those with sound hearts had separated from him, finding no pleasure in having fellowship with one who walks in sin. And now he desires greatly that they see the change in his life and again become his friends. In verse 78 he wrote, "Let those that fear Thee turn unto me, and those that know Thy testimonies. These are those whose hearts are sound. And our versification has it thus:

    Let those that fear Thee turn to me,
    Thy truth to them I will proclaim;
    Instruct my heart to keep Thy law,
    That I may not be put to shame.

    Who are your friends? With whom do you feel at home? It reveals how sound your heart is, and how earnestly we should pray for a sound heart. For a sound heart is a perfect heart; and only with a perfect heart will our walk of life be perfect, as our Savior's was perfect and fulfilled God's law for us.

Read: I John 2: l-17
Psalter versification: 330:4

Daily  Meditations
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 357
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

2 Chronicles 33:14-25 ; 2 Chronicles 34:1-33
Romans 16:10-27
Psalm 26:1-12
Proverbs 20:19

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Quote for Reflection:

      The primary rudiments by which we are wont to train to piety those whom we wish to gain as disciples to Christ are these; viz., not to frame any new worship of God for themselves at random, and after their own pleasure, but to know that the only legitimate worship is that which He Himself approved from the beginning. For we maintain what the sacred oracle declared, that obedience is more excellent than any sacrifice ( I Samuel 15:22 ). In short, we train them by every means to be contented with one rule of worship which they have received from His mouth, and bid adieu to all fictitious worship.    – John Calvin to Sadoleto


August 4

A VERY INSTRUCTIVE QUESTION
Psalm 27:1

    Children learn by asking questions. At a very early age they ask what this and that is, why this happened and that happened, why we must do this and why we must do that. And parents give them answers to teach them. But parents also have questions and want answers so that light is brought on a particular subject. And they also ask questions in order to teach.

    David did that so beautifully in Psalm 27:1 where he asks, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" Actually, of course, it is God who is asking us that question through David, so that we may be freed from fear.  And a stronger reason for not being afraid there is not.

    We will get a more literal translation of David's words in our versification that calls us to sing:

    Jehovah is my light,
    And my salvation near:
    Who shall my soul affright
    Or cause my heart to fear?
    While God my strength, my life sustains,
    Secure from fear my soul remains.

    For in that name Jehovah is all the light and confidence that we need. That name, which literally means "I AM," presents God to us as a defender and protector Who depends on no one, and upon Whom every creature depends.

    We can have doubts about men who set out to protect and save us. They do not make their own hearts beat. How can we be sure they will succeed'?

    But Jehovah is our light because He is our strength. No matter how dark the situation may be, and how powerful the enemy looks to be, Jehovah, Who is the I AM and never says, "I will be if...," is our salvation in Christ. Our enemies can do only what He gives them the strength to do. We have absolutely no reason to fear what men will do to us. If it will not serve to bring us to the glory God promised us, He will not give them the strength to do so. If it will serve that goal, He will raise them up and give them the life and strength. The cross was no accident. God brought Judas, Caiaphas, Pilate, and the Roman soldiers into being and gave them life, because in Christ He is our salvation.

Read: Psalm 27
Psalter versification: 71:1

Daily  Meditations
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 252
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

2 Chronicles 35 ; 2 Chronicles 36:1-23
1 Corinthians 1:1-17
Psalm 27:1-6
Proverbs 20:20-21

****
Quote for Reflection:

 "None will be found   so pure as not to need the mercy of God, and if we wish to partake of it, we must feel our wretchedness. ...For, when he comands all his disciples to betake themselves to him daily for the forgiveness of sins, every one who thinks that he has no need of such a remedy, is struck out of the number of the disciples." JohnCalvin on the 5th petition of the Lord’s Prayer


August 5

WELL-FOUNDED CONFIDENCE
Psalm 27:2

    Having enemies is one thing. Being afraid of them is another. We have enemies; but we should not be afraid of them. In fact if we have no enemies, we should be afraid. If Satan and the ungodly world are our friends, God is our enemy, and we have reason for terrible fear. But if He is our light and our salvation, we have no reason to be afraid, no matter how big a host of enemies is against us.

    The first promise God gave His church, the mother promise of Genesis 3:15, assures us that our enemies heads will be crushed! David speaks of this in Psalm 27:2 in these words: "When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell."  Doing so he does not mean that God's people are going to escape all bodily harm. We may be injured severely, or even be killed. The Scriptures give us many examples of this from Abel onward. But there are two facts that we should keep in mind.

    All of the church's enemies are going to be cast into the lake of fire. Satan and his innumerable host will enter into everlasting punishment. And every child of God shall enter into the glories of heaven because Jehovah is his light and salvation.

    The only thing the unbeliever can be sure of is that God will visit him with endless punishment. They may for a time seem to succeed; but they will stumble and fall into the torments of hell! For Jehovah, Who has all things under His perfect control, will keep His promise to us. And that He is the I AM means that He can truthfully say, "I AM in charge! And I AM faithful!"

    No matter then what happens, sing these words of our versification:

    When evil doers came
    To make my life their prey,
    They stumbled in their shame
    And fell in sore dismay;
    Though hosts make war on every side,
    Still fearless I in God confide.

Read: Revelation 20
Psalter versification: 71:2

Daily  Meditations
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 162
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Ezra 1-2
I Corinthians 1:1-18 ; I Corinthians 2:1-5
Psalm 27:7-14
Proverbs 20:22-23

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Quote for Reflection:

as bread nourishes, sustains, and keeps the life of our body, so Christ’s body is the only food to invigorate and enliven our soul. When we see wine set forth as a symbol of blood, we must reflect on the benefits which wine imparts to the body, and so realize that the same are spiritually imparted to us by Christ’s blood. These benefits are to nourish, refresh, strengthen, and gladden.                             John Calvin’s Institute – Vol. 4, Chap. 17


August 6

A VERY REVEALING DESIRE
Psalm 27:4

    It cannot be denied that we all face death, and in I Corinthians 15:26 Paul calls death the last enemy to be destroyed. That makes us wonder how David could say in Psalm 27:1 that he has nothing to fear and that he's afraid of nothing and no one. For although we understand that his reason for this is that God is his light and his salvation, the question arises for us as to how we can be sure that God is our light and salvation.

    We cannot find that out by looking into a mirror. Looking at our family tree and tracing our genealogical background will not give us the assurance that our names are in the Lamb's book of life, and that therefore we can be sure that God is our light and our salvation. Rut we can be sure, if we can find in our souls, and with David sincerely say what be wrote in Psalm 27:4, namely, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that wilt I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in His temple."

    The reason why this confession reveals that we have nothing to fear is the fact that this makes it plain that God is our light and our salvation and has already begun to lift us out of the clutches of Satan, our worst enemy. He has already caused us to desire the full salvation from sin and death and made us want to taste and enjoy the beauty of His love, mercy, and grace.

    Adam turned away from God and died spiritually; and we did with him. The desire to dwell in God's house means that we want to be brought back to Him and to serve Him in love again. This reveals that God has already begun to give us the victory over Satan, our worst enemy, and that He will most assuredly give us the full victory in the day of Christ. Victory over spiritual death is sure! And enjoying the full salvation prepared in Christ is undeniably ahead of us.

    Sing it then with David:

    My one request has been,
    And still this prayer I raise,
    That I may dwell within
    God's house through all my days,
    Jehovah's beauty to admire,
    And in His temple to enquire.

Read: Psalm 91
Psalter versification: 71:3

Daily  Meditations
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 329
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Ezra 3 ; Ezra 4:1-23
I Corinthians 2:6-16 ; I Corinthians 3:1-4
Psalm 28:1-9
Proverbs 20:24-25

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Quote for Reflection: 

“Women sigh for fame.  They would be sculptors….or they would be poets….But is any work in marble so great as hers who has an immortal life laid in her hands to shape for its destiny?  Is the writing of any poem in musical lines so noble a work as the training of the powers of a human soul into harmony?  O that God would give every mother a vision of the glory and splendor of the work that is given to her when a babe is placed in her bosom to be nursed and trained!”  (J.R. Miller)

                  “Who can find a virtuous woman?  Her price is far above rubies…Her children arise up, and call her blessed: her husband also, and he praiseth her.  Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”  ( Proverbs 31: 10, 28, 29 )

August 7

OUR CERTAIN SAFETY
Psalm 27:5

    A man with a so-called life insurance policy gets nothing out of it himself. The policy does not assure him that he will not die, and promises nothing that will restore life to him. But the child of God has a life assurance policy that is based on the word of the almighty, unchangeable, ever faithful God of our salvation. That policy not only assures us that we will never lose the new life we got when born again; but it also promises us that we will get our bodies back, and this time in a far more glorious, heavenly form.

    Of this David wrote after stating that he had no reason to be afraid of anyone and of anything. In Psalm 27:5 he wrote, "For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock."  This he states as the reason why his one desire is to dwell in the house of God all the days of his life. In that house he is safe. And believing this, with David we can sing:

    When troubles round me swell
    When fears and dangers throng,
    Securely I will dwell    
    In His pavilion strong;
    Within the covert of His tent
    He hides me till the storm is spent.

    If David could say that, surely we can today. David had in mind the blood sprinkled upon the mercy seat of the ark behind the veil. We see not only the blood of the cross, but also the risen, glorified Christ at God's right hand. There He has power over all things in heaven and on earth.

    And though we do have troubles, they cannot hurt us and keep us from dwelling in God's house of heavenly glory. We are set up upon Christ, the Solid Rock, and cannot be injured by the fiercest storms.

    Our safety is absolutely sure. That Christ is there as our Head reveals that we can and will reach that glory. The waters of these storms, the troubles in this life, are all in the hand of Christ to use to prepare us for that glory. He Who loved us so fully that He gave His life, and suffered hellish agonies for us, will keep us safe. We are safe, for we are upon Him, the Rock of our salvation.

Read: II Corinthians 4
Psalter versification: 71:4

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 234
Why not sing along??

Daily  Meditations
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Ezra 4:24 ; Ezra 5-6
1 Corinthians 3:5-23
Psalm 29:1-11
Proverbs 20:26-27

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Quote for Reflection:

  as God’s eyes are such that they penetrate into the hidden recesses of the heart, we ought to walk with him carefully and not negligently. He calls the present life a sojourning, not in the sense in which he called the Jews to whom he was writing sojourners, at the beginning of the Epistle, but because all the godly are in this world pilgrims. John Calvin’s Commentary


August 8

LIFTED TO EVERLASTING PRAISE
Psalm 27:6

    In a fierce storm the wind whips up huge waves that dash against the rocks, But always the rock splits the waves and scatters the water left and right. Every time this happens, we have a picture of how safe the child of God is in the storms of life.

    In Psalm 27:5 David had written that God had set him up upon a rock, which is Christ. Below are his enemies as powerful waves driven by Satan in an attempt to destroy the church. But the waves are dashed into pieces, while the Rock is unharmed; and those set upon Him are not touched. No wonder then that David and we can sing:

    Uplifted on a rock
    Above my foes around,
    Amid the battle shock
    My song shall still resound;
    Then joyful offerings I will bring,
    Jehovah's praise my heart shall sing.

    David stated it in these words in Psalm 27:6, "And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in His tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord."

    Here we find David stating in other words what he had stated in verse 1, namely, that God is his light and his salvation. As his salvation God lifted him up to safety above all his enemies and as his light God had made him see that he had nothing to fear, no matter how dark his way seemed.

    Therefore, being safe in God's house with its protection, he will offer to God sacrifices of joy and sing His praises.  And we do well to consider that singing such praises is evidence that we have been lifted up upon Christ, the Solid Rock. In Him and His cross God is our salvation; and by His Spirit Who opens our spiritual eyes He is our light.

    Lifted up upon Christ the Rock means that we in God's counsel are lifted up to heaven where God's house of many mansions is. There the everlasting day will be full of songs of praise to God as our light and our salvation.

    How often do you praise God as your light and salvation?

Read: Psalm 61
Psalter versification: 71:5

Daily  Meditations
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 219
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Ezra 7 ; Ezra 8:1-20
1 Corinthians 4:1-21
Psalm 30:1-12
Proverbs 20:28-30

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Quote for Reflection:

John Calvin on God's promises:

     “Whatever God promises, belongs to his elect, not to all.

     Promises are related to the covenant as their only source.

     The efficacy of God's promises depends on Christ alone.

     We ought not to judge of the promises of God from our condition, but from His truth.

     Faith cannot stand, unless it be founded on the promises of God.

     The only cure for covetousness is to embrace the promises of God.

     We cannot rely on his promises without obeying His commandments.

     The main thing in the worship of God is to embrace His promises with obedience.”


August 9

KEPT IN CHRIST
Psalm 27:7, 8

    There are times when a child of God is upon the mountain top of faith. There are also times when weakness of faith manifests itself. These two are in our lives because we still have the old man of sin until the day of our death. The new man in Christ will reveal himself; but the old man of sin will also at times be in control of our thinking, willing, and doing.

    When David cried out in Psalm 27, "Whom shall I fear? Of whom shall I be afraid?" he was on the mountain top of faith. But weakness of faith revealed itself when he stated in verses 7, 8, "Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy upon me, and answer me. When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face, my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek."  Our versification has it thus:

    Lord, hear me when I pray,
    And answer me in grace;
    Oft as I hear Thee say,
    Come ye and seek My face,
    My lips and heart their answer speak,
    Thy face, Jehovah, will I seek.

    Here David still reveals faith in God. But he is not revealing the confidence he expressed in verse 1 of this psalm. Now he is crying for help and voicing a measure of fear.

    Nevertheless there is an important truth here, namely, what David had stated in verse 5 in these words: "In time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me."  No, he was not now on the mountain top of faith; but he does still reveal faith in God. For he prays to God, seeks His mercy, and expresses a desire to seek God's face. When Satan sent powerful waves in an attempt to wash him away into unbelief, he did not succeed. God was David's and is our light and salvation. In His unfailing grace and mercy God will keep us from losing our faith.

    Once engrafted into Christ by faith, we will never be plucked out and be cast into unbelief. As for our salvation which is in Christ, God will keep us safe from falling away into unbelief and everlasting punishment. We do not need to be afraid that God will change and cast us into darkness.

Read: Psalm 37:1-24
Psalter versification: 72:1

Daily  Meditations
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 42
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Ezra 8:21-36 ; Ezra 9
1 Corinthians 5:1-13
Psalm 31:1-8
Proverbs 21:1-2

****
Quote for Reflection:

  we by no means discharge our duty towards God, when we obey him only in appearance; for he is not a mortal man, whom the outward appearance pleases, but he reads what we are inwardly in our hearts. He not only prescribes laws for our feet and hands, but he also requires what is just and right as to the mind and spirit.    John Calvin’s Commentary


August 10

WONDROUS LOVE
Psalm 27:9,10

    Although there are fathers and mothers who have forsaken their children and committed child abuse, the natural attitude to their own flesh and blood is that of tender, loving care. But there is one Who loves His children more deeply than human words can express it. He is God.

    God's love is perfect, unwavering, and so great that He gave His only begotten Son for our everlasting good. He knows our needs and sees us wherever we are. As the infinite, everywhere present God, He is not only next to us every minute but in us with His power, love, and mercy.

    It might seem strange then that David wrote in Psalm 27:9,10, "Hide not Thy face far from me; put not Thy servant away in anger: Thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up."

    This may seem to be a great weakness of faith. Yet here is something very wonderful that ought to be also in us. It is something that we can experience only because God is our light and our salvation. David reveals very clearly here that he knows his unworthiness, knows that by nature he is a child of darkness and needs salvation and sees no reason in himself why God should be his salvation, why he should not be forsaken and have God's face hidden from him.

    Pretty soon we, having been exposed before the judgment seat of God (II Cor. 5:10), and now fully saved and dwelling in God's house, are going to wonder more than now that God is our salvation with His face upon us, in Christ bestowing closer covenant fellowship than now. We will then know how unworthy we are in ourselves and understand fully what it means that He is our light and our salvation.

    We too may and should with David sing:

    Hide not Thy face from me,
    In wrath turn not away,
    My help and Savior be,
    Forsake me not I pray;
    Should father, mother both forsake
    The Lord on me will pity take.

    What wondrous love! There surely will be abundant reason in the new Jerusalem to sing God's praises.

Read: Psalm 103
Psalter versification: 72:2

Daily  Meditations
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 353
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Ezra 10:1-44
I Corinthians 6:1-20
Psalm 31:9-18
Proverbs 21:3

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Quote for Reflection:

Matthew Henry on Nehemiah 4: "The hindering of good work is that which bad men aim at and promise themselves; but good work is God’s work, and it shall prosper." 


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Last modified, 29-Jun-2007