Watching Daily At My Gates

Having trouble maintaining the devotion schedule you had planned for the new year? Try out the devotional section in Beacon Lights. We started with fresh devotionals for January, and now we are planning to spend a few months using the Heidelberg Catechism. Sound spiritual food is essential for the child of God, and we pray that God may use these to build you up in faith. Feel free to pull out the devotional page if you find that more convenient.

February 1 Read Corinthians 3:16-23 LD 1 Q & A 1

Comfort! What a needed commodity in this world! From where can we obtain comfort? Is it from a bottle of alcohol? Is it from a drug? Is it found in financial security in this life? Is it found in the “inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?” The answer to all of these questions is no… a thousand times no! True comfort can only be found in our Savior Jesus Christ who cares for us in all of our needs. As we begin a series of devotionals based on the Heidelberg Catechism, let us remember that in this explanation of the true Christian doctrine is found comfort. It is found for all of God’s people in whatever station of life. Let us go to the Father who sends to us the Comforter at the request of Jesus Christ. In Him we will find true comfort. Sing Psalter 281.

February 2 Read Romans 3:16-23 LD 1 Q & A 2

In order to enjoy the comfort afforded to us by God, we must have knowledge of three things. First of all we need to know how great is our sin. If we are honest, this is not difficult. We see our sin daily in all that we do. This is a fact that all of God’s saints have realized. Secondly we must know the way of deliverance. What a great comfort it is to us to know that God has given to us a deliverer to do what we can never do! Jesus Christ has delivered us from our sins by His death on the cross. We need nothing else. In fact, there is nothing else. Finally we must be thankful to Him who has delivered us. Even as we are thankful to those who help us in this earthly life, we must be thankful to God for providing us a way of deliverance from our sins. This is the life of sanctification that each of us must walk. Sing Psalter 378

February 3 Read Romans 3:20-31 LD 2 Q & A 3

As we seek to examine our knowledge of our misery, we must find a way of knowing that misery. God provides a mirror for us to examine ourselves in order to see how miserable we truly are. That mirror is His law. In that law we find out how wretched we are by nature. We also find out that we by ourselves become more and more miserable each day. This mirror is perfect. It has no flaws or aberrations to obscure our lives. Looking into that mirror will give to us a clear picture of ourselves. This is a comfort because we find that nothing that we can do can provide deliverance. We will know that deliverance must come from elsewhere. Sing Psalter 42.

February 4 Read Deut. 10:12-21 LD 2 Q & A 4

In this question and answer we find the summary of all the law of God. If we would implement these two summaries in our homes, in our work, at school, and in all places, we would need no other rules or regulations. By serving God in all that we do with all of our being, we will show our love to Him and keep all of His sayings which He has commanded us. By showing love to our neighbor we will not be tempted to harm him in physical and other ways. We will help the neighbor. By loving God and the neighbor, we will find great comfort in our lives. Sing Psalter 321

February 5 Read Titus 3:1-6 LD 2 Q & A 5

When we look into the mirror of God’s law do we see a person ready to win any beauty contests? Do we see a person ready for man of the year awards in any or every category? The answer is sadly no. What we see is a rotten, putrefying, stinking, cesspool of filth and sin. We find a person who hates God and will try to do anything to get around His laws. We find a person who will do all to gain advantage over the neighbor whether that be a husband, wife, child, sibling, fellow believer, fellow worker, fellow student, or one with whom we come into contact. We must hide our faces in shame at our reflections in that mirror. We may ask, “How is this a comfort?” Of ourselves it is not, but if it drives us to Christ which the law will do, then we will find utmost comfort every day of our lives. Let us look into the mirror of God’s law and find Christ. Sing Psalter 103.

February 6 Read Genesis 1:26-31, LD 3 Q & A 6

In the last Lord’s Day we saw how wicked we are. In this Lord’s Day the writers first of all ask how we were created. We read that on the sixth day God created man male and female, looked at His creation, and pronounced it good. God made us in His own image in true righteousness, holiness, and with the ability to know God. From this creation man was able to love God and live with him perfectly. This is hard for us to comprehend in our sinful state, but it gives us great comfort to know that because of Christ’s work on our behalf we will once again reach this state of goodness in heaven. Sing Psalter 14:1, 4-7.

February 7 Read Genesis 3:1-8 LD 3 Q & A 7

Man did not stay in that perfect condition in which he was created but rather he fell into utter desolation. The original sin of Adam and Eve has been transferred to every human since then. This is the source of our hopelessness which we find within us. Is there no hope, however? Yes, there is. As we continue on through the catechism we will find that God has provided a way of deliverance for His people. From the deadness of our natures, we are revived by the Spirit and will once again dwell with God in perfection. Let us eagerly await that day which we will not find in this vale of tears but rather find in heaven. Sing Psalter 140.

February 8 Read Ephesians 2:1-9, LD 3 Q & A 8

Yesterday we alluded to the hope that we have within us. Notice that in today’s question and answer we find that hope. That hope is found in the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit within us. Notice that the framers of the catechism do not leave anything for us to do. If that were the case, we would fail seeing the corruptness of our natures. If there was one thing that we had to do, our corrupt nature would prevent our salvation. But we have the hope of the Spirit with in us. By that quickening Spirit we live and have within us the hope of eternal life. Sing Psalter 287.

February 9 Read Ecclesiastes 7:23-29 LD 4 Q & A 9

Now we come to the section of the catechism where various objections are raised to the will of God for mankind. God is called unjust or unfair in all the way He has purposed to lead mankind. Here we have the denial of the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. If you deny this doctrine, you deny all of what God has done. God is good; God has created man good; man, by his own willful disobedience, plunged himself into sin and all of its accompanying evils. On this Sabbath Day we should ponder God’s goodness, and not be quick to label Him unfair. By doing this we can receive the comfort that is afforded to us by God’s good way for us. We must be thankful that God is sovereign. If we are not, we will never find comfort in this life or the life to come. Sing Psalter 61.

February 10 Read Deut. 28:13-19 LD 4 Q & A 10

We like to ignore the truth of this question and answer. We like to think and hope that God will not chastise us for our sin. We like to think that Adam’s original sin has escaped God’s all-seeing eye. We cannot cheat in school and expect to escape God. Oh, we might “get away with it” in man’s eyes, but God sees and knows all. He will bring His just wrath upon us for our sins. Worldly men like to think that there are no consequences for their deeds. Do you know what, people of God? We are no better than they, are we? But we are not without hope and comfort. The writers are leading us to the comfort that God has provided for us. Let us strive to avoid sin, and in that way we will be pleasing to God. Sing Psalter 9.

February 11 Read Romans 6:17-23, LD 4 Q & A 11

Just when we think all hope is lost, we read the words that God is also merciful. No, He does not ignore our sins. They must be paid for. We cannot sin with importunity and expect to escape His justice. Scripture is very clear about this. But God is merciful! What a glorious comfort that is! But before we get carried away with relief, the catechism still reminds us that God’s justice must be satisfied. We must see that from Adam’s original sin to our daily sins, God has been watching. Because He is a just God, He will require justice. While all seems to leave us in bitter despair, we must remember the answer of Lord’s Day 1 which outlined for us the comfort that God has given to us. Sing Psalter 362.

February 12 Read II Cor. 5:10-15, LD 5 Q & A 12

Now that we know the depths of our misery, we are ready to find out about the way of deliverance God has given to us. Once again the catechism reminds us that God’s justice must be satisfied in the matter of sin. This truth can never be ignored. Many in the world, and sadly it is true of us, would like to forget this fact. But it is true. There is abundant evidence of this in Scripture. This section of the catechism opens with the necessity of satisfaction either by ourselves or another. Sing Psalter 214:1, 4, 6 and 7.

February 13 Read Isaiah 64:1-8, LD 5 Q & A 13

Now the question is asked, “Can we satisfy God’s justice ourselves?” If we think we can, than we delude ourselves. For us to satisfy for ourselves is like trying to pay off the national debt by ourselves. We daily sin even as the leaders in our country continue to spend money. Even if we try to do good, our goodness is no better than filthy rags. Can you clean a floor with a muddy, stinking, sloppy rag rescued from a pig pen? It would be ludicrous to even try. Yet by nature we think that we can pay for our own sins. This is the error of works righteousness. Let us continue to see where the catechism leads us in this matter of satisfying for our sins before the judgment seat of God. Sing Psalter 83.

February 14 Read Ezekiel 18:19-24, LD 5 Q & A 14

Now we must ask the question if there might be another of one of God’s creatures which can atone for our sins. First of all we are brought to the realization that because man sinned, man must pay for that sin. When we run up a debt with a business, normally we are responsible to pay that debt. Secondly we find that no mere creature is able to bear the burden of God’s wrath for sin. This is so because first of all because of how great that burden is. Daily we increase that burden in our lives. Whether we are at home, at school, or at work, the fact remains that we sin. Secondly God’s wrath is great because He is God and we are but creatures. No one has the ability, even though some have tried, to stand up to God. Our deliverance thankfully must come from someone with more ability than we. I say thankfully because of ourselves we would fail. Sing Psalter 365.

February 15 Read I Cor. 15:12-21, LD 5 Q & A 15

Now we find the answer to the problem of our deliverer. We need a mediator; that is, someone to go between God and us, who is acceptable to God. Nowhere in the created world can such a one be found. This mediator by definition must be very God and very man. This man must be sinless, and he also must be divinely powerful. Again it looks hopeless. Where can someone with these qualifications be found? Once again we must recall the comfort outlined for us in Lord’s Day 1. We have such a mediator. We will find out about him in subsequent Lord’s Days. Sing Psalter 358.

February 16 Read Romans 5:12-16, LD 6 Q & A 16

As we come to a complete realization of who our mediator is, we have also reached the Sabbath. Today of all days we come face to face with our God. In order to do so we must be right with Him. Because we are sinful human beings we need a mediator. This mediator must have the qualifications necessary for the positions. He must be man because man has sinned. He must be perfectly righteous in order to bear the wrath of God for the sins of all the elect. In this world we sometimes have a “do-it-ourselves” attitude. As we come face to face with our God today, we must realize that we cannot do it ourselves. We need Christ. As we worship let us think of the awesomeness of the relationship between God, Christ and us. Let us bow in humility before our God. Sing Psalter 292: 1, 2 and 5.

February 17 Read Isaiah 53, LD 6 Q & A 17

After establishing that our mediator must be very man, the Catechism now goes on to instruct us in the fact that our mediator must be very God. What a comfort that He who redeemed us from our sin is not a mere man. We know that if left up to us we would be left in our misery. We also know that no mere man could atone for the sin of the elect. Therefore we must always be grateful for the sacrifice that Christ made when He came to this earth and suffered during the thirty-three years that He lived among us. Isaiah 53 is good for us to read often so that we can be comforted by the sacrifice Christ made for us. The fruits of righteousness and life are ours only by this sacrifice. Sing Psalter 253:1, 8 and 9.

February 18 Read Matthew 1:18-25. LD 6 Q & A 18

We read the Christmas story quite often during the month of December, and then if we are not studying it in school or society or reading it for devotions, it does not get read again for a whole year. It is important for us to see that our salvation begins with the incarnation of Christ. It would probably be good for us to study the Christmas story some other time than in December. We would then get more out of the meaning of Christ’s birth. We would then understand more who our mediator is. Christ was more than a baby; He was as we read wisdom, righteousness sanctification, and redemption. As we look to escape the misery of our sin, let us find the comfort that is given to us in the Christmas story. Let us do this without the influence of tinsel and all of the other trappings of December 25. If we do, we will find a great comfort for now and in the life to come. Sing Psalter 47:1, 2, 5 and 6.

February 19 Read Hebrews 1:1-8, LD 6 Q & A 19

As we finish this Lord’s Day which introduces to our mediator, we are asked a common question. “How do you know this?” We must respond that we know this by faith. We know this is true because God has told it to us in the Word. This Word was revealed from Paradise until the incarnation in the various forms enumerated in question 19. Today we too must look to that Word “which was made flesh and dwelt among us.” We must “behold His glory.” This means a study of God’s Word daily. In order to have the comfort afforded by the Spirit we must see what the Spirit says to us. Fathers, we need to do this with and for our families. Adults, we must darken the society room door often. Young people and children, you must pay attention wherever that Word is taught to you. This may be at home, at catechism, at school or at society. By doing this we will partake of the comfort wrought by Christ. Sing Psalter 337.

February 20 Read John 1:6-13, LD 7 Q & A 20

Now that we see who our mediator-redeemer is, we must see for whom He came. This Lord’s Day makes it plain that Jesus is the redeemer only for a select group of people. These people are the ones the Father gave to Him. To be an elect child of God means much. First of all, according to this answer, we are engrafted into Him which means that He gives to us life. Secondly, we receive all His benefits. These are too many to enumerate here, but they are considerable. How do we obtain all this? Not by our own means, it is sure. We obtain these benefits only in a true faith. What a comfort it is for us to know that being counted with the elect has many benefits! We must remember this as we pray. We must thank our heavenly Father for that which He has given to us in Christ. Sing Psalter 239.

February 21 Read Hebrews 11:1-6, LD 7 Q & A 21

Young people, have you publicly confessed your faith before God and His church? If not, are you working toward that end? If so, are you living out of that confession? As we saw in the last question and answer, true faith is the means by which we receive the benefits of salvation. According to today’s reading, one of the responsibilities of having that faith is to confess it. We must be waiting for the day when we take our place in God’s church on this earth. Confession of faith is an important step in our lives. It is one which will give to us a comfort found nowhere else in this life. Parents, we too must make sure this is important to our young people. We do it by example as well as by helping them obtain that knowledge and confidence that makes up the true and living faith. This is not done by our merits but only by the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Sing Psalter 73:1, 5 and 6.

February 22 Read John 20:24-31, LD 7 Q & A 22

Can we obtain true faith by believing only part of the Bible? Absolutely not is the answer of this part of Lord’s Day 7. We must believe all of the Bible, from creation, to the fall, to the flood, to the incarnation, and to the hope of eternal life. We may not pick and choose what we believe and what we wish to omit. All of the Scriptures outline the plan for salvation which God has ordained for His people. To snip out one little word is to destroy His masterpiece. This is important to know as we live our lives. Many would leave out part of the Bible. We must stay away from that kind of teaching and hold all of the Scripture precious as the way to our salvation. To do anything else will leave us without comfort. Sing Psalter 20.

February 23 Read Romans 10:8-10, LD 7 Q & A 23

The writers of the Heidelberg Catechism now incorporate the words of the Apostle’s Creed to show us what we must believe. Some would say that this is not Scripture and therefore should not be given such a place of importance. To that we answer that the Holy Spirit uses the writings of faithful men to guide the church in the knowledge of Scripture. This creed and others help us see what God will have us to know about His work of salvation for us. As we consider the articles of this creed, let us thank God for such men who fought the battle of faith so that we might know from whence is our salvation. Much can be found within these few lines. Many battles have been fought over their truths. Thanks be to God for this means of instruction. Sing Psalter 27.

February 24 Read I Peter 1:18-25, LD 8 Q & A 24

The authors of the Apostles Creed, whoever they may be, make a very logical division in the creed. The authors of our Catechism take this division for their creed. In doing this we may see that not only God is a God of order, but we may learn about Him in a very orderly way. In using the work of the persons of the Trinity, we are enabled to see how they relate to us. We see the covenant in this work as well. Our creation, redemption, and sanctification are covenantal in nature. Let us cleave to this fact for our comfort. Sing Psalter 391.

February 25 Read John 14:15-21, LD 8 Q & A 25

The doctrine of the Trinity is often seen as one of the most difficult to understand. More than one catechism instructor has stated this fact. How can one God be three persons? Some have tried to solve the dilemma by denying the truth of the Trinity. This is no solution, as Scripture clearly states from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 that this doctrine is fact. The only way we can clearly understand it is by faith. Faith gives to us to acknowledge the truth of this doctrine. Faith gives to us to see in Scripture and in our lives the work of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In believing the doctrine of the Trinity, we bare witness to the sufficiency of the work of God in our salvation. Sing Psalter 242.

February 26 Read Psalm 104:1-6, LD 9 Q & A 26

What a wealth of knowledge and comfort is found in this Lord’s Day! Do you love your earthly father for what he does for you? How much more should we love our heavenly Father who is our creator and the sustainer of our lives. Our earthly fathers are weak pictures of our heavenly Father. He is our creator. Do we fully comprehend what that means? Many in the church world ignore this reality. If you think that is possible, take a Bible and cut all references to God‘s work of creation from it. Don’t miss any. If you took my ludicrous suggestion, you would have a tattered and torn Bible which would be rendered all but useless. But yet that is what many wish to do by denying the doctrine of creation. Without creation there is no salvation. What comfort is there in that? Consider this Lord’s Day all day today. I think we will be brought to our knees to confess “O God, how great Thou art!” Sing Psalter 285.

February 27 Read Acts 17:25-28, LD 10 Q & A 27

This Lord’s Day is one we wish to ignore often. We want to account for incidents in our lives to be products of chance or of our own doing. That is foolish. When we fall into that error, we have fallen into the error that all heathen societies have. Maybe we ascribe to God good things that happen to us, but certainly not bad. Those are accidents or bad luck. To do this is to deny the sovereignty of God and then to deny Him as He has revealed Himself in His Word. The doctrine of providence is one which we must hold dear. We must see that He, in a fatherly way, cares for us by His providence. If we do this, then we will feel the comfort of His hand in our lives. This is the comfort for which we must seek. It can only be found in the God of providence and not the god of luck. Sing Psalter 86.

February 28 Read Deut. 8:6-10, LD 10 Q & A 28

Is it said of us that we are patient in adversity? Do we see the hand of God in the car crash that sends loved ones to the hospital or even the grave? Do we see being out of work coming at the hand of God? Are we thankful to God in our prosperity, or do we try to take credit for what we have ourselves? These are the basic questions found in this Lord’s Day. To summarize them is this: Do we believe in the sovereignty of God? That is a sobering thought. To say yes means that we confess that God oversees every action in our lives. To say “no” means that our salvation is in doubt. Providence is a comfort to every child of God. Let us lay hold on that comfort and live every day in it. Sing Psalter 169.