Daily Meditations for July

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July 1

QUICKENED UNTO STRONGER HOPE
Psalm 119:49,50

    One of the comforting elements in the book of Psalms is that the Psalms were written by fellow citizens of the kingdom of heaven. Our experiences were theirs, even though theirs occurred in a different nation and period of time.  Somewhere in the Psalms we find a situation similar to the one we are in. They had enemies, and so do we. They had weaknesses, and we have plenty of them. They had moments of grief and disappointment, and this is never far from us.

    One thing we do have in common, however, is that God has spoken to all of us and given us rich promises, through which He gives us hope of a day when all fear, problems, and miseries are over and our enemies are gone forever. Instead, we look forward to a life of spiritual perfection and heavenly blessedness.

    There are times though when it seems as if God has forgotten His promises, and our spiritual life of  hope and faith becomes weak.  There are times when we forget that we are God's servants, and think that He ought to be our servant and do things our way.  Then we need to run to Him and with the psalmist pray, as we find it in Psalm 119:49,50: "Remember the word unto Thy servant, upon which Thou hast caused me to hope.  This is my comfort in affliction:  for Thy word quickened me."  Our versification has it this way:

    Lord, Thy word to me remember.
    Thou hast made me hope in Thee;
    This my comfort in affliction
    That Thy word has quickened me.

    Now surely God never forgets for a split-second, and the psalmist is not accusing Him of doing so. The idea is that he asks God to do as He promised, even though it looks as though He had forgotten.  And his reason for his request is that God's word quickens him, that is, revives his spiritual life, so that he takes a firmer grip upon that word.

    The significance for us plainly is that no matter what our problem is, we must go to God's Word become flesh.  Look at Christ and what He did for us. God will through this quicken us to stronger hope.

Read: Psalm 119:49-64
Psalter versification: 327:1

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

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

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
II Kings 18:13-37
II Kings 19:1-37
Acts 21:1-17
Psalm 149:1-9
Proverbs 18:8

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Quote for Reflection:

John Gill on Psalm 87:4-6: "... many persons in those several countries, [will] be born again of water and of the Spirit, of the corruptible seed of grace, by the ministry of the word; who because they should be regenerated ... in Zion, therefore are said to be born there; and besides, being born again, they are admitted members of Zion, and to all the privileges of Zion, as true-born Israelites; and are brought up there, are nourished with the sincere milk of the word, and nursed with the breasts of Gospel ordinances there administered; and so Zion, or Jerusalem the Gospel church, is truly the mother of them all, Gal. 4:26. "


July 2

COMFORTED BY GOD'S JUDGMENTS
Psalm 119:51,52

    It is very easy and natural for us, as we are by nature, to hide our faith when there is danger of being ridiculed. We do not have to be in danger of being imprisoned or of bodily injury. Being laughed at is enough to tempt us to hide the fact that we are children of God who want to serve Him.  And it is only by the grace of God that we do keep His law and will not go along with the world in its sinful entertainment, Sabbath desecration, and other violations of His law. Surely we ought to say with the psalmist what he says in Psalm 119:51,52 in these words: "The proud have me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from Thy  law. I remember Thy judgments of old, and have comforted my self."

    Take note of the fact that it is because of God's judgments in days gone by that he found comfort during derision. Having those judgments, we also have the same comfort if we keep them in mind. Remember the flood, the destruction of Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, judgment upon Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and many other visitations.

    But by all means remember the judgment of God upon His Son in the three hours of darkness wherein He cried out of being forsaken of God.  Then the judgment was upon Him as our Head Who suffered the judgment against our sins. Remember that when you are ridiculed: and be sure that your proud enemies will also be  forsaken by God and cast into the lake of fire. Then sing our versification which declares:

    Mocked by those who are unrighteous,
    Still to Thy command I cleave:
    Thinking on Thy former judgments,
    Help and comfort I receive.

    A sure sign that God's judgment upon our sins was suffered by Christ we find when we continue to cling to God's law and are not turned away by mockery. For this shows that we have been born again because Christ earned a new life for us. We also have comfort because of the humility that He has given us. For breaking God's law is an act of pride, while walking in that law is humility before Him as our Lord and master.

Read: Psalm 119:153-168
Psalter versification 327:2

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 188/89
Why not sing along??

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
II Kings 20:1-21
II Kings 21:1-26
II Kings 22:1-2
Acts 21:18-36
Psalm 150:1-6
Proverbs 18:9-10

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Quote for Reflection:

“The Spirit of the godly rusts away, unless they are well exercised by tribulations.” Martin Luther

“A sanctified person, like a silver bell, the harder he is smitten, the better he sounds.” Swinnock


July 3

THE SINGING PILGRIM
Psalm 119:53,54

    A coin has two sides but is by no means two-faced. The two sides do not contradict each other but give us the full picture. Both sides say the same thing only in different ways.

    So the child of God is not two-faced when with the psalmist he says, "Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake Thy law. Thy statutes hove been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage" Psalm 119:53-54.   Here we have the reaction of the child of God to two contrasting realities. He is horrified when he sees the wicked break God's law. His heart breaks, and he is filled with sadness and indignation. But at the same time he is singing, and his heart is full of joy, because of God's commandments.

    What a mirror before which to stand! If sin gives us pleasure, we will not sing God's praises. We will sing about sin and let the radios and tape recorders blare out the sins of the world. Then God's law will fill us with horror and make us sad.

    How about it? Stand before that mirror. Do you see yourself as a child of God on his pilgrimage to God's house? Or do you see a person established firmly in this world and its horrible sins? Can you sing this:

    Wicked men Thy law forsaking
    Stirred my indignation strong,
    For in all my pilgrim journey
    Thy commandments are my song.

    What. songs did you sing today? And did you enjoy the world enacting sin in the theater or on the TV screen?  In church is your soul in it when you sing the songs of Zion that extol God and His law?

    The answer to these questions will reveal whether we really are pilgrims here below, who are looking for the new Jerusalem when Christ returns, and where no sin can ever be found. When men see you horrified by sin and joyfully singing God's praises and the beauty of His law, you are like a coin revealing one truth with a positive and negative side. You hate sin but you love God. You cry because of sin, but sing with joy when the love toward God is manifested before you.

Read: Psalm 119:129-136
Psalter versification: 327:3

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 237
Why not sing along??

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
II Kings 22:3-20
II Kings 23:1-30
Acts 21:1-37
Acts 22:1-16
Psalm 1:1-6
Proverbs 18:11-12

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Quote for Reflection:

We could say, then, that the mother’s task is to oversee the forging of Christian character and faith in her sons and daughters.  The Christian mother is the one who sets the tone in the home for the entire life of the family and children.         Rev. Carl Haak


July 4

REMEMBERING GOD'S NAME
Psalm 119:55,56

    A thing gets its name because of  what it is made of. the purpose it serves, and to distinguish it from other objects. A day gets its name from what happened or will happen: thus birthday and Thanksgiving Day. A person gets his name by what he did or is doing. Thus he is called a carpenter, or, in tragic circumstances, a murderer.

    God's name tells us not only what He does but Who He eternally and unchangeably is. A man first becomes a babe, and later a father. God eternally is unchangeably God. That is why the psalmist in Psalm 119:55, 56 writes, "I have remembered Thy name, O Jehovah, in the night, and have kept Thy law. This I had because I kept Thy precepts."  Thus the Hebrew has it; and Jehovah means, ''I AM."

    In the night of sin and death the psalmist keeps that truth before him. When the enemy comes, he remembers God's complete control over every creature; and he has no fear. In temptations he remembers Who it is that he must love and serve. For us it is also to remember our sins, and that His Son saved us by His blood. Then we remember to give God thanks.

    We do well, however, to bear in mind that we remember God's name only in the way of keeping His law. Break God's law, and you say that He is not God. By sin we say that He has no right to demand this or that of us. Sin is not merely foolishness but is an act of hatred towards God.  It is saying that His laws are not good, and therefore that He is not the ALL-wise God; and that we should give Him another name than Lord and Holy Law-Giver.

    Flee from sin and sing with our versification:

    Thou hast been my meditation
    And Thy law has been my guide;
    I have kept Thy righteous precepts,
    And Thy law has been my guide.

    If you remember God's name, you will agree that His law is true, and you will sing of the trustworthiness of His commandments. Upon them you can depend as the way of life, and as pointing out the way of  love to Him Who is the one and only God, the God of our salvation.

Read: Psalm 63
Psalter versification : 327:4

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 381
Why not sing along??

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
II Kings 23:1-31
II Kings 24:1-20
II Kings 25:1-30
Acts 22:1-17
Acts 23:1-10
Psalm 2:1-12
Proverbs 18:13

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Quote for Reflection:

Brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13)   “Liberty, then, is always in order to goodness.  It is never merely freedom from something; it is always freedom to something, the freedom to meet one’s obligations.  It always implies direction, which means commitment to some value or ideal.   This means that freedom binds.  It presupposes God…There can be no liberty that does not take God into account…”  (Henry Stob)


July 5

THE CHURCH'S PERFECT SAFETY
Psalm 125:1,2

    Today man has some powerful explosives and earth-moving equipment, and one might be inclined then to question the words of the psalmist when in Psalm 125:1,2 he writes, "They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever. As the mountains are about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people from henceforth even for ever more."

    It might seem as though man today can level that city of Jerusalem. But be sure that he cannot, for even though he has such powerful equipment, God is there and need but stop the beating of man's heart, if He wants his sinful deeds stopped.

    God is where His church is, and we today may freely sing:

    All who with heart confiding
    Depend on God alone,
    Like Zion's mount abiding,
    Shall ne'er be overthrown.
    Like Zion's city bounded
    By guarding mountains broad,
    His people are surrounded
    Forever by their God.

    The question then for us to ask ourselves today is whether we are looking at man and his explosives and earth-moving equipment, or at the almighty God Who loves His church. Is our eye of faith upon God or on our enemies?

    We do well to go to another elevated place or hill called Golgotha. Yes, there the enemy killed God's Son and seemed to have the victory. The cause of the church seemed lost. But those very enemies who killed the King of the church were God's tools to bring us salvation, and His Son to His right hand with power over all things in heaven and on earth, to bring forth the new Jerusalem and all its glory. They did not hurt the church but served it. And that is always the case. God is round about His church. It will reach the perfection and beauty that He has promised it.

    Put your trust then in Him, and you will never be put to shame. You just cannot find a better or more complete protection. The crafty devil, the coming antichrist, the whole innumerable host of unbelievers cannot keep the believers from reaching the blessed life of the new Jerusalem.

Read: Psalm 125
Psalter versification: 356:1

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 187
Why not sing along??

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
I Chronicles 1
I Chronicles 2:1-17
Acts 23:11-35
Psalm 3:1-8
Proverbs 18:14-15

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Quote for Reflections

"...........preaching is heavenly. And because it nevertheless takes place in the world, preaching is an intrusion into this world, an invasion of this world by forces and powers that belong only to heaven. .......this is why some will die to hear it, and others will murder to stop it." Herman Hanko, The Standard Bearer


July 6

THE SAFETY OF UPRIGHT HEARTS
Psalm 125:3,4

    Are you concerned about the well-being of your church? What is it that concerns you? Would the leveling of your church building by a fire disturb you more than the introduction of a false doctrine in the preaching? Would the loss of a goodly number of members bother you more than the loss of a cardinal truth of Scripture? Would the introduction of a worldly practice irk you less than the wearing out of the carpeting or the peeling of the paint upon the walls?

    We do well to look at the psalmist's words, written after he had said that the church was safe because God was round about her. He continues in Psalm 125:3-4 with these words, "For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands to iniquity.  Do good, O Lord, to those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.''

    Did you notice that he is not merely speaking of enemies but of the wicked? And he speaks of those that are good in the sense that their hearts are upright. We have no promise of God that no material danger will come to our church buildings, and no loss of church membership. There were only eight souls saved from the flood, and far less than ten saved from the destruction of Sodom before the fire came down.

    Spiritually, and as the body of Christ, the church is absolutely safe. In the coming days of the antichrist, church services will be denied to those who hold to the truth. The number of believers alive will dwindle to only a few, because of the famine of not being allowed to buy or sell, and by death through persecution. Yet confidently the church may sing:

    No scepter of oppression
    Shall hold unbroken sway,
    Lest unto base transgression
    The righteous turn away.
    Thy favor be imparted
    To godly men O Lord;
    Bless all that are pure hearted,
    The good with good reward.

    Yes, God will bless His church with unchanging upright hearts. The faith of His church shall not be taken away, As Mount Zion abideth till Christ returns, the church shall hold on to the truth and fight iniquity.

Read: Psalm 46
Psalter versification: 356:2

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 49
Why not sing along??

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
I Chronicles 2
I Chronicles 3
I Chronicles 4:1-4
Acts 24:1-27
Psalm 4:1-8
Proverbs 18:16-18

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Quote for Reflection:

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:36).   “It is a spiritual and heavenly freedom of which our text speaks, a freedom purchased by Christ, revealed in the gospel, and conveyed to the saints of God as the great dowry of Christ to His Church and Spouse.  Two great things Christ has entrusted into the hands of His Church-Christian faith and Christian liberty.  Just as we are to contend earnestly for the maintenance of the faith ( Jude 3), so also for the maintenance of Christian liberty, and that against all who would oppose and undermine it”  (Samuel Bolton)


July 7

PEACE UPON ISRAEL
Psalm 125:5

    "They are not all Israel that are of Israel'' is what Paul wrote in Romans 9:6. And it is likewise true that all who call themselves Christians are not Christians. Therefore, in Psalm 125:5 we read "As for such as turn aside a unto their crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity: but peace shall be upon Israel." They who "turn aside" are the wicked of verse 3. This will never happen to the true Christian. But there are in the church here below those who will leave when the world to which they belong tempts them, or comes with violent persecution.

    The psalmist expresses a truth that we must not overlook. God will lead them aside into their crooked way. Notice that it  is in their crooked way.  God does not drive them into sin, but He drives them out of His church and into the sinful world of their liking.  They had been hiding this love from the true Christians. And God does this to preserve His church.. For He is around her like the mountains around Jerusalem, protecting her and keeping her safe.  But He also does this so the church may have peace.

    No that does not mean that she will not be assaulted by the world. Were that the case the psalmist would not reassure the church that God keeps her unmoved like mount Zion.  The closer we get. to the end of time, the more enemies we will have, and the harder our life will be. But we will have peace in a twofold sense. As we sing so is it:

    The men who falsehood cherish.
    Forsaking truth and right,
    With wicked men shall perish,
    God will their sin requite.
    From sin Thy saints defending,
    Their joy, O Lord, increase
    With mercy never ending
    And everlasting peace.

    The point is that we will have peace with God.  His love, mercy, and grace will surround us. His thoughts of peace we shall enjoy. And that, come what may, will give us peace of mind. We will be sure His church shall not be moved but stand and soon inherit the new earth, and live with God in peace that passeth understanding.

Read John 14
Psalter. versification: 356:3

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 171
Why not sing along??

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
I Chronicles 4:1-5
I Chronicles 5:1-17
Acts 25:1-27
Psalm 5:1-12
Proverbs 18:19

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Quote for Reflection:

Herman Witsius: "... it is necessary for every one who acknowledges Christ as his Lord, to renounce Satan, the world, sin, and even himself, that he may belong to none but Christ. It is absolutely impossible to serve at the same time two masters that are so contrary to one another, and the one of whom, at least, justly demands the submission of the whole man. Whoever belongs to Christ, doth not belong to Satan; he is rescued from his tyranny. ‘In time past,’ but only in time past, he ‘walked according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.’ He doth not belong to the world; he is ‘delivered from this present evil world,’ and he has learned that ‘the friendship of the world is enmity with God’ (The Apostles’ Creed, vol. 1, pp. 359-360).


July 8

A BLESSED UNITY
Psalm 133:1,2

    There are things that cannot go together and must be kept separate. By all means keep a flame of fire from the open can of gasoline that you are carrying!  Light and darkness cannot be mixed. In the measure that the one comes, the other goes. But there are things that go well together.

    There is a situation, to which the psalmist calls attention in Psalm 133:1,2, where a most blessed union is to be seen. There David writes, "Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!  It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of the garments."  And we are called to look closely at that blessed unity.

    The truth of these verses will be seen in the new Jerusalem, when the redeemed out of even nation, tongue, and tribe will be united as one holy nation, one glorious body of Christ with one life, one love, and one work to which they are consecrated.

    But there is and must be a manifestation and exercise of this unity also in our lives today. We must live as well as sing David's words thus:

    How good and pleasant is the sight
    When brethren make it their delight
    To dwell in sweet accord:
    Such love is like anointing oil
    That consecrates to holy toil
    The servants of the Lord.

    Indeed, what a sight that is! And that unity is possible only between brethren, that is, those born again of the same Father, Whose Son is the Head of the church, who have the unction of His Spirit poured on them. They think alike, have the same love, and work together to glorify God.  And from the head to their feet we see a beautiful picture of what brings goodness and pleasure.

    But is this true in your life? Can you put aside fleshly cravings, forgive your brother or sister, and jointly seek the perfect harmony of serving and glorifying God? Does He come first in your life?

    Look for that in your life and strive to walk with your brother in Christ, so that you see in your life what is good and truly pleasant.

Read: Psalm 133 and Romans 12
Psalter versification : 370 :1

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 23
Why not sing along??

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
****
I Chronicles 5
I Chronicles 6
Acts 26:1-32
Psalm 6:1-10
Proverbs 18:20-21


Quote for Reflection:


 This is the spirit of discernment, by which the elect discriminate between the truth of God and the false inventions of men. So then, in the sheep of Christ a knowledge of the truth goes before, and next follows an earnest desire to obey, so that they not only understand what is true, but receive it with warm affection.  – John Calvin


July 9

UNITED IN A BLESSED LIFE
Psalm 133:3

    It is during the darkness of the night that dew forms and refreshes the earth. And so it is that in the darkness of the night of sin, which fell upon the earth when man rebelled against God and broke the bond of unity wherein he was created, that the dew of the Spirit of Christ fell upon the church, and God's people were refreshed to a good and pleasant work by that anointing.

    David spoke of this when in Psalm 133:3 he wrote, "As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life forevermore.''

    Do you really call it a blessing to receive Christ's Spirit, so that you can work with all the fellow saints in your church and locality? Do you call it good and pleasant? Or must you go your own separate way to find pleasure and do what you think is good?

    The answer to that question will reveal whether you want to go to heaven. No one wants to go to hell; but not every one wants to go to heaven. Not every one calls a united front of serving God and of glorifying Him a good and pleasant experience. Not all can honestly sing:

    Such love in peace and joy distills,
    As o'er the slopes of Hermon's hills
    Refreshing dew descends:
    The Lord commands His blessing there,
    And they that walk in love shall share
    In life that never ends.

    So often we like to bring a united service of God to an end and go our own way and do our own thing. We will separate from those who call our attention to our sin, have anger and resentment against those who show us that we broke that unity of the body of Christ in God's service.

    But get it straight! Everlasting life, the gift God prepared for us in Christ, is that we as members of one body, in the communion of the saints, work together for God's glory. Do you want that?

    The "precious ointment" of the Spirit flows down from Christ, the Head, to all members below, so that the whole body together glorifies God. That is life everlasting. Behold how good and pleasant it is!

Read: I Corinthians 12
Psalter versification: 370:2

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 207
Why not sing along??

****

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
1 Chronicles 7
I Chronicles 8:1-40
Acts 27:1-20
Psalm 7:1-17
Proverbs 18:22

****
Quote for Reflection:

It is true that human nature is lamentably fickle, and that kindness is often rewarded with the basest of ingratitude; yet all are not unthankful and treacherous. We must not allow the wickedness of some to prejudice us against all. We should deal impartially and judge righteously of everyone alike: yet only divine grace— humbly and earnestly sought—will enable us to remain just and merciful after we have been deceived and wronged a few times.  – Arthur W. Pink


July 10

A CRY FOR GOD'S GRACE
Psalm 119:57,58

    You cannot give God anything that is not already His; and you cannot buy anything from Him. No matter how faithful you have been, even if you can say with the psalmist, who in Psalm 119:57 wrote, "Thou art my portion, O Lord; I have said that I would keep Thy words,'' you have not earned anything.  The strength and desire to serve God comes from God. He kept your heart beating and worked that desire in your heart.  You owe Him thanks, and He owes you nothing. In fact you owe Him for the opportunity to walk on His earth, to breathe His air, drink His water, and eat His food. Do then what the psalmist says in verse 58, "I have entreated Thy favor with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to Thy word."

    Our versification has it thus:

    Thou art my portion Lord;
    Thy words I ever heed;
    With all my heart Thy grace I seek,
    Thy promises I plead.

    Notice that though the KJV of our Bible has ''be merciful,'' the versification has "Thy grace I seek.'' There is no conflict here. In God's grace we receive His mercy. His mercy displays His grace. Yet the word grace is closer to the meaning of the Hebrew word. In fact, in the text we read, "I entreated Thy favor," and grace is favor.

    You can keep God's word perfectly, but you will need to pray for a blessing that Christ earned for you. Notice that the psalmist pleads for mercy that is according to God's word.  That means according to Christ, God's Word become flesh. We must ask for blessings that are a pure, unmerited gift which Christ bought for us by His blood.

    Our portion of the blessings that are in Christ are free gifts of God. And with our whole heart we must say that not simply with our lips for to ask for anything on any other basis is to add to our sins, and would be a reason for us not to get the gift. A sure sign that we keep God's word is that we seek salvation as a pure, free, unmerited gift, confessing that in ourselves we do not deserve it, but deserve the opposite. Even our desire for salvation is a gift of God's grace. Praise Him for it.

Read: Psalm 119:57-72
Psalter versification : 328:1

Daily  Meditations
 
 on the
Heidelberg Catechism

Song for Meditation: Psalter number 310
Why not sing along??

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Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:
I Chronicles 9
I Chronicles 10:1-14
Acts 27:21-44
Psalm 8:1-9
Proverbs 18:23-24

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Quote for Reflection:

“Faith in election and faith in creation hang inexorably together, and by nothing so much as by letting go one’s hold on the Creation is the faith in God’s election undermined.”       -- Abraham Kuyper


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Last modified, 11-May-2007