Daily Meditations for January

 


January 1

GLORY AT THE END OF THE ROAD

Psalm 73:24
 

What lies in store for us in the year we entered today we know only in broad, general terms. But we know not how long we will continue in this valley where the shadow of death is cast. For some, today will be the last day in this vale of tears. Others may be here for another week or month. Some of us will live through this whole year and beyond. And created as thinking, willing creatures we have faculties whereby we can and do plan, and whereby we judge whether what we desire to see happen this year is threatened by what takes place round about us.

The big question, however, is not whether the wishes of our flesh will be fulfilled. The all-controlling question is not what the year will bring to us, but where the year will bring us. And the Word of God contains such comfort for the child of God, because it not only tells us where we are going, but also assures us that all that which the year brings us will, without one exception, bring us to the glory of the kingdom of God's dear Son. For the psalmist declares in Psalm 73:24, "Thou wilt guide me with Thy counsel and afterward receive me to glory."

Take that truth with you today and every day throughout the years of your life. The all-wise and almighty God has the glory, of those whom He purchased by the blood of His Son, planned to the smallest detail. If you belong to that innumerable host that He gave to His Son, you will find heavenly glory at the end of the road you now travel on this earth.

Sing then that truth of Psalm 73:24 as versified with these words:

    My soul with Thy counsel
    Through life Thou wilt guide,
    And afterward make me in glory abide.

Sing it as soon as you wake up in the morning and face a new day. Sing it no matter what the day may bring you.  For all that happens is bringing you to the glory Christ Himself now has and has purchased for His people.

Read: Psalm 73
Psalter versification 202:1

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism


(Song for Meditation: Psalter number 58)
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Genesis 1 ; Genesis 2:1-25
Matthew 1 ; Matthew 2:1-12
Psalm 1:1-6
Proverbs 1:1-6

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Quote for Reflection:

     Our Hope for the New Year:  “…let the dawn of the first day of the year find us on our knees, humbly seeking the face of Him who revealed Himself in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Not to ask Him for things He will never give.  Not to seek the things that are on the earth.  But to leave all things to Him, if only we may be assured of His everlasting mercy. Then all will be well!  “Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.” (Psalm 33:22). ”  - Herman Hoeksema


January 2

POLISHED IN TENDER MERCY

  Psalm 73:23

What do you have planned for today? It may or may not take place. It all depends on what the all-wise God of all mercy has planned in His eternal, unchangeable counsel. And that counsel is not a dead blueprint but a living plan that He eternally has in mind and that is constantly before His consciousness.

All in that counsel is designed to realize the day when the kingdom of Christ is established upon the new earth and God is all in all. Then the church of Christ is crowned with the glory that He now has at God's right hand. And the exact measure of glory, as well as the exact way it will be realized for each individual believer, and the exact moment of his entrance into it with his soul is all unchangeably decreed in that counsel or living plan.

Asaph did not see that before he wrote Psalm 73. He envied the wicked in their earthly prosperity. His own poverty, afflictions, and difficulties made him question God's love and tender mercy for him. He could not see how the rough road on which he was traveling could lead to heavenly glory. He wanted earthly glory as an evidence of coming heavenly glory. Being chastened every morning and plagued all the day long he could not see that "God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart" Psalm 73:1. Later on he did see this and began his psalm with those words. But for a time he questioned where the days of his years were bringing him. It seemed useless to walk in God's law and to have faith in His covenant faithfulness.

Do not borrow his unbelief today or ever in the future when the going is rough. Instead, take hold of his words after God caused him to see the light. In Psalm 73:23 he writes, 'Nevertheless I am continually with Thee. Thou hast holden me by my right hand." This is versified beautifully in the words:

In doubt and temptation I rest Lord in Thee:
My hand is in Thy hand Thou carest for me.

Yes He does care for us in our afflictions. For with these He is polishing us and getting us ready for that heavenly glory in Christ.

 Read: Romans 8:18-39
Psalter versification: 202:1

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism


(Song for Meditation: Psalter number 411)
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Genesis 3 ; Genesis 2 ; Genesis 3 ; Genesis 4:1-26
Matthew 2:13-25 ;   Genesis 3:1-6
Psalm 2:1-12
Proverbs 1:7-9

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Quote for Reflection:

    Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man would stake his life on it a thousand times . . . O, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith; and so it is impossible for it not to do good works incessantly. — Martin Luther, Romans’ Preface


January 3

A PERFECT GUIDE

Psalm 73:25
 

Do you think that you know what is best for you today'? Would you like to have the universe in your hands to control and use all that is in it for your fleshly advantage?

Let me urge you to forget it. The universe could not be in bettor hands than it is and has always been. Not only has the God of our salvation complete control of every molecule and atom of creation, so that He can move and remove them as it pleases Him, but He knows and reads the hearts and minds of every rational, moral creature. Yes, He knows what the devil is thinking at any given moment. He knows his plans and where he and his helpers are, and what they are trying to do. All this He does not learn but knows because eternally He planned it all. All that every creature in heaven and on earth rational and irrational, animate and inanimate does, He eternally decreed. What is going to happen today — in every split-second thereof —He determined and will execute on time, in the right place and in the exact way that Ho decreed.

Could you then want a better guide through this valley wherein the shadow of death is cast? Should we not say with Asaph:

    Whom have I, Lord, in heav'n but Thee,
    To Whom my thoughts aspire?
    And having Thee on earth is naught
    That I can yet desire.

In the Scriptures it reads like this: ''Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I can desire beside Thee" Psalm 73:25.

Indeed, the cross was no mistake, even though it looked that way when it took place. And what happens today may look as though "clean hands are worthless and pure hearts are vain,'' but they are not. He Who designed that cross did so in love for all His people, as we can now see. But look at all that happens in your life, it is designed by that same in fallible Guide. He will guide your steps so that you do arrive in His glory. On earth we cannot find a more loving and perfect Guide.
 

Read: Psalm 48
Psalter versification: 203:3

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

(Song for Meditation: Psalter number 14)
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Genesis 5 ; Genesis 6 ; Genesis 7
Matthew 3:7-17 ; Matthew 4:1-11
Psalm 3:1-8
Proverbs 1:10-19

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Quote for Reflection:

    Christ did not die for any upon condition, if they do believe; but he died for all God's elect, that they should believe, and believing have eternal life. Faith itself is among the principal effects and fruits of the death of Christ; as shall be declared. It is nowhere said in Scripture, nor can it reasonably be affirmed, that if we believe, Christ died for us, as though our believing should make that to be which otherwise was not, - the act create the object; but Christ died for us that we might believe.John Owen


January 4

LIVING CLOSE TO GOD
Psalm 73:1

 One truth we must hold on to with both hands and never let go. With Asaph we must say, "Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart" Psalm 73:1 . That truth we must take with us wherever we go and no matter what happens to us. Come what may, God is good to His people. And a clean heart is not vain; nor are hands washed in the blood of Christ worthless.

Cleansing our hearts and fighting against sin, washing our hands and believing that our sins have been blotted out by the blood of Christ reveals the goodness of God. In His goodness He causes us to believe. It is in His goodness that we receive His Spirit Who enables us to fight against the sin that still resides in our flesh.

Let not the prosperity of the wicked deceive you. Think not that God is good to those whose hearts beat only with the love of sin, and who have no interest in the forgiveness of sins, just because you see their eyes stand out with fat ness, and they have more of this earth's goods than the believers. Let not their pleasure-filled lives and prosperity make you judge God to be unfaithful to His promises to His church. Be sure, as we approach the end of time, with its greater persecution and deprivations, that God has not forgotten us and is not blessing our enemies.

Be sure that you see things correctly. Therefore, do as Asaph did, go to God's house. Draw nigh to Him where He reveals to us that the ''victory'' of His Son's enemies, when they crucified Him, actually was the victory for the church over sin and death; and that He is always working all things together for good to those that love Him.

Our trust in God grows stronger or weaker in the measure that we do or do not draw nigh to Him. Our faith must be fed to grow, and its food is the Word of God. Therein you will see of the wicked that surely He "set them in slippery places'' Psalm 73:18 . Then you can sing:

    To live apart from God is death.
    'Tis good His face to seek;
    My refuge is the living God,
    His praise I long to speak.

Read: Psalm 84
Psalter versification: 203:5

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism


(Song for Meditation: Psalter number 202)
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year

Read today:

Genesis 8 ; Genesis 9 ; Genesis 10
Matthew 4:12-25
Psalm 4:1-8
Proverbs 1:20-23

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Quote for Reflection:

    There is, however, one thing more which we ought to note well in St. Paul's saying that Christ must dwell in our hearts. For many men have him in their mouth, and even also in their brain, as they hear him, and they think they acquit themselves well when they can prattle about him, but in the meanwhile there is no living root in them. It is not enough then to have some vague knowledge of Christ, or to engage in airy speculations, as they say, and to be able to talk a lot about him, but he must have his seat in our hearts within, so that we are unfeignedly joined to him, and with true affection. —John Calvin, Sermons on Ephesians, ( Ephesians 3:14-19 ), p. 291


January 5

THANKFUL PRAISE

Psalm 73:1
 

To ask for something is seldom difficult, especially when the need is great and the desire is strong. But to give thanks so often is hard to do and easily forgotten, because the thrill of enjoying what we have gotten overwhelms us. We will not easily forget to ask; but to give thanks is quite a different matter.

It is no wonder then that we are so lacking in praise and thanksgiving to God. When rain becomes a desperate need, churches will set aside a day to pray for it. But do they set aside days during the week to praise and thank God for all He bestows upon us? The nation sets aside a day of thanksgiving for crops and prosperity. Do the churches set aside days to thank God for His mercy, love, and grace, for salvation and all its benefits? Do we take time in the day, and do our prayers express praise and thanksgiving? Or are our prayers mere requests?

Follow in the footsteps of Asaph after he had gone to God's house and understood the goodness of God. He had found it so easy to complain and to accuse God at least in his thoughts — of unfaithfulness. But when he understood God's works, after going to His sanctuary, he praised God with those words, "truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart'' Psalm 73:1 . And well may we sing that versification of this Psalm that contains this beautiful chorus:

    My God, I will extol Thee
    And ever bless Thy name;                                           
    Each day will I give thanks to Thee
    And all Thy praise proclaim.

Do that today. Pray for blessings, for they are promised by God in His goodness.  But thank Him for sending His Son so that showers of blessings may fall upon us. Live in the shadow of the cross, and because of it cry out of the goodness of God to His people. Too often our prayers are complaints. Not often enough are they praise. Yet because of all His goodness, we have even reason to praise Him by thanking Him as the God of our salvation.

Read: Psalm 113
Psalter versification: Chorus of 202

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism


(Song for Meditation: Psalter number 179)
Why not sing along??

Through the Bible in One Year

Read today:

Genesis 11 ; Genesis 12 ; Genesis 13:1-4
Matthew 5:1-26
Psalm 5:1-12
Proverbs 1:24-28

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Quote for Reflection:

   it is with regard to men that God is said to reign, when he exalts himself by the magnificent displays which he gives of his power; because, while the aid which he gives to them remains invisible, unbelievers act a more presumptuous part, just as if there were no God.    John Calvin


January 6

A BLESSED COVERING

Psalm 32:1, 2

    How blest is he whose trespass has freely been forgiv'n,
    Whose sin is wholly covered before the sight of heav'n.
    Blest he to whom Jehovah imputeth not his sin
    Who hath a guileless spirit, whose heart is true within.

Thus we sing from our Psalter versification of Psalm 32:1, 2 . What David wrote and our KJV of the Bible hands down to us is "Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity" The word "blessed" can be translated "happy." And knowing David's grievous sins, we can understand why he called it blessed to have these sins forgiven. But what about our sins?

Usually we do not consider our sins to be as great as David's. And so often we find that, if we were called to write a psalm, we would not begin by bursting forth with happiness that our sins are covered, so that we would not list this first as blessedness. There is instead a host of earthly treasures and pleasures which, if we obtain them, we would classify as rich blessedness.

Yet here is the blessing that opens the door to all of heaven's blessings. And though the statement is negative in that something is taken away from us, there is a positive truth. Our sins are covered by the righteousness of Christ through His cross. No, they are not covered in the sense that His blood hides them from God's eyes. That is impossible. But we are given robes of righteousness to cover us, because all our sins were paid for in full. The cross covers us more fully than any insurance policy can. And Christ's righteousness becomes ours.

When we are clothed with those robes of righteousness we become beautiful in God's eyes. He sees us as the beautiful Bride of Christ. For the beauty of him, of whom it is said that God is well-pleased, shines forth from us. We reflect His beauty, belonging as we do, to Him.

Is that not great blessedness? Does that make you happy? Do you know that blessedness? Think about it today and every day.

Read: Psalm 32
Psalter versification: 83:1

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism


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

Through the Bible in One Year

Read today:

Genesis 13:5-18 ; Genesis 14; Genesis 15
Matthew 5:1-26
Psalm 6:1-10
Proverbs 1:29-33

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Quote for Reflection:

  He would have the faithful not only to beware of contact with vices, but that no contagion might reach them, he reminds them that everything that borders on vices and is near to them ought to be avoided: as, when we speak of lasciviousness, we say that all excitements to lusts ought to be removed. The passage will also become clearer, when the whole sentence is filled up, that is, that we should hate not only the flesh, but also the garment, which, by a contact with it, is infected.  John Calvin


January 7

ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS

Psalm 32:2

Yesterday we took note of the fact that,

    Blest is he to whom Jehovah imputeth not his sin,
    Who hath a guileless spirit, whose heart is true within.

This is the versification which we sing of Psalm 32:2 : "Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile."

But our attention today must be called to that last part, for it contains a rich truth for us. They in whose spirit there is no guile have this great blessedness of not having their sins imputed to them. This may sound strange at first. If their spirit has no guile, they have no iniquity. Why then does David speak of their sins being forgiven them? Is he perhaps referring to past sins, which they committed before their spirit was cleansed of all guile?

That could never be the case. For then no one would ever obtain pardon for sin. We keep our evil nature till we die. Even that great man of faith, namely, Paul, states in Romans 7:18 that in his flesh still dwelleth no good thing. No, our Psalter versification explains what a spirit without guile is. It is a heart that is true within. It is a heart that sincerely desires salvation from sin. The words "without guile'' mean without deceit, a spirit that is sincere. He who sincerely wants a pardon, from the bottom of his heart wants to be robed with the righteousness of Christ and enjoy fully that which the blood of Christ realized on the cross, has this blessedness of forgiveness.

Why do these have such a blessing? Not because their desire earns it for them. David makes it very emphatic that God forgives, He covers us and imputes to us Christ's righteousness. Sincerely desiring is no prerequisite to forgiveness. We do not earn it by our sincere desire.

The idea is that this sincere desire is the evidence that our sins have been — not will be — blotted out. On the basis of that blotting out we are born again and are given hearts that are true within.
 

Read: Psalm 51
Psalter versification: 83:1b

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism


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

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Genesis 16 ; Genesis 17 ; Genesis 18:1-15
Matthew 6:1-24
Psalm 7:1-17
Proverbs 2:1-5

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Quote for Reflection:

  after having exhorted the faithful to save what was perishing, that they might understand that all their efforts would be vain except God worked with them, he testifies that they could not be otherwise saved than through the power of God.    John Calvin


January 8
 

BREAKING A SINFUL SILENCE
Psalm 32:3,5

There are times when we keep from sin by keeping silent. But there are also times when to keep silent is to sin. David speaks of one of those instances when he declares in Psalm 32:3 , "When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long." Then in verse 5 he speaks of breaking his silence. He writes, "I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin" We must confess our sins and not keep silent about them before God. To keep silent about them is to add to our sins.

What is more, while we defend our sins we cannot be sure that we have forgiveness. For we do not manifest a spirit that is without guile. If we are God's elect children, our sins have been blotted out by the blood of His Son; but we can have no legal basis for believing that they are not imputed to us. And we will have to say with David:

    While I kept guilty silence,
    My strength was spent with grief,
    Thy hand was heavy on me,
    My soul found no relief;
    But when I owned my trespass,
    My sin hid not from Thee,
    When I confessed transgression,
    Then Thou forgavest me.

The idea is that David became sure that God forgave him his sins. He had a God-given sign, the undeniable evidence of God's love for him. For it is God's eternal love for His people that brings them to confession.

Never need we be afraid of confessing our sins unto God. We had better be afraid of keeping silent and refusing to confess them. Confessing them means that we hate them and love God. And our love for God reveals that He eternally loved us and gave us that love for Himself.

Before you go to bed tonight confess all the sins of the day. But confess them also during the day as soon as they have been committed and you realize that you sinned against God. Confession will bring you peace of mind and assurance of Gods love.

Read: Luke 18:9-14
Psalter versification: 83:2

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism


(Song for Meditation: Psalter number 252)

Why not sing along??
 

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Genesis 18:16-33 ; Genesis 19
Matthew 6:25-34 ; Matthew 7:1-14
Psalm 8:1-9
Proverbs 2:6-15

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Quote for Reflection:

“Thy will be done.  Grant, O Father in heaven, that I may always and everywhere live as before Thy face, in Thy presence, and in the consciousness of my calling to be Thy servant ….   Give unto me, give unto all Thy people, Thy Spirit and grace to know and to do Thy will.  And hasten the day when the workers of iniquity shall be no more, and all shall be in perfect harmony with Thy will, which is only good.  Thy will be done.  Amen.”  Herman Hoeksema


January 9

THE ONLY WAY
Psalm 32:6

There is a time when we can find God. There is also a time when we cannot find Him and His pardoning mercy. This is not due to the fact that God is not everywhere present. Nor is it due to the fact that He changes and makes impossible what once was possible. When David wrote in Psalm 32:6 , "For this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found; surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh thee," he was teaching us that there are times when we are not walking properly, and therefore cannot find Him. When you enjoy the warmth of the sun, it is not while you walk in a cave or deep coal mine. Then the sun has not ceased to give off its warmth, but you have gone where you cannot enjoy it and find its comfort. So, if we do not confess our sins but continue in them, we are walking in a dark, damp spiritual coal mine where God's forgiving mercy cannot be found. God is still forgiving, but we are not looking for it, and the time for us to receive it is not present. When we have turned from our sins and then pray for forgiveness, we will find it.

Then no rushing floods of guilt will sweep over our souls and give us terrifying fear. The time for us to know His mercy is there, when we sincerely confess our sins. Our prayer is heard and we can sing:

    So let the godly seek Thee
    In times when Thou art near
    No whelming floods shall reach thee
    Nor cause thy heart to fear.

Then only will these floods of what we deserve not hurt us, but the warmth of that mercy of God will flow over us. Then we will not be swept back into sin. Satan will try — for he hates us and wants to get us back into sin — but confessing our sins and praying for God's mercy, seeking God's favor with a spirit in which there is no guile, we are where we shall find these blessings from God.

Fill your day then with prayer while confessing your sins. The time is there for you to find forgiveness and heavenly blessedness.

Read: Luke 15:11-32
Psalter versification: 83:3

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism


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

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Genesis 20 ; Genesis 21 ; Genesis 22
Matthew 7:15-29
Psalm 9:1-12
Proverbs 2:16-22

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Quote for Reflection:

   It is absolutely necessary that we realize that the Kingdom of God is principally established not by a man-made change in human relationships, but by a divinely wrought redemption and regeneration of the believer.     – Herman Hoeksema


January 10

OUR PERFECT HIDING PLACE
Psalm 32:7

We must come out of our spiritual cave where we cannot enjoy God's pardoning grace. But we do need a hiding place to be safe in the midst of countless troubles, Does not David confess, in Psalm 32:7 : Thou art my hiding place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble; Thou shalt compass me with songs of deliverance'?

If we are sincerely sorry for our sins — and not merely relieved that we need not suffer their punishment — we will want to have a hiding place so that we are kept from sinful thoughts, desires, and actions. That is what a spirit that is without guile yearns for. Enjoying the sunshine of God's mercy we do not want to be enticed and drawn away from the place where we can enjoy it. We want a hiding place from Satan's fiery attacks. We want to keep clean spiritually. Clad with the robes of Christ's righteousness we do not want to lose the smallest part of them. Enjoying God's protecting care, we will sing of deliverance and safety. We will have echoing in our souls the versification of Psalm 32 that declares:

    In Thee, O Lord, I hide me.
    Thou savest me from ill,
    And songs of Thy salvation
    My heart with rapture thrill.

Note that God receives the honor and praise. Songs of His salvation fill the hearts of those who confess their sins. Some years later Paul wrote that of Him, through Him, and to Him are all things. That is true also of our salvation. From Him comes all of it. Through Him it all is realized. It is all unto His glory. Songs of deliverance will fill our souls. But take note of the fact that God is the one Who compasses us about with songs of deliverance. Our praise then is of the Deliverer.

How important that every day we search our souls to see how much of a song of praise there is therein for the cross of Christ. He is our hiding place but also the one Who puts a song in our hearts. How wonderful when in the new Jerusalem we shout for joy and praise Him for all He did for us. But there must be a beginning of this singing in our souls today.

Read: Psalm 91
Psalter versification: 83:3b

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

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

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Genesis 23 ; Genesi 24:1-51
Matthew 8:1-17
Psalm 9:13-20
Proverbs 3:1-6

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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)

Go to: January 11


Last modified, 28-dec-2006