Watching Daily At My Gates

December 1 Read John 4:46-54

As we come into the month in which we celebrate the greatest miracle of all-that of the Incarnation, let us spend a few moments pondering this miracle of healing. Do we have the faith of the nobleman? Do we continue in prayer daily for our needs? Is hearing the Word enough or do we want signs and wonders? Do we not see the signs and wonders which God has placed in creation for us? Let us pray for the faith which allows us to grasp the wonder of grace whom God sent into this world for us. May this be our focus as we celebrate Christmas this year. Sing Psalter 29.

December 2 Read John 5:1-9

Once again we see the results of faith. A man unable to walk listens to a perfect stranger and got up on seemingly powerless legs and walked. Do we have that faith? Do we have the faith to believe that a baby was the Son of God-Immanuel made sin for us? Or are we all caught up with the worldly season around us that we leave the baby in the manger and never go to the cross? Let us go to the cross and see the Lamb of God. Let us see that through that Lamb is the only way into the eternal Sabbath in heaven. Sing Psalter 221.

December 3 Read John 5:10-16

The man of yesterday’s miracle was visited by Jesus once more. This time he heard the blessed words that his sins were forgiven. Not only had Jesus made his body whole but Jesus had also made his soul whole. Many people will sing Christmas carols this year. Many people will think that they have found joy. But their joy is only in a baby who makes no crying. They wish to deny the complete human nature of Jesus. We must not do that. We must confess that “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” Only in that way will we receive the assurance of our salvation. Let us sin no more. Let us walk the holy walk of sanctification and thank God for sending His Son to this earth for us. Sing Psalter 24.

December 4 Read John 5:17-23

People of God, do you confess that you are quickened by the Son? Do you honor that Son? In this season of the year many appear to honor Jesus. Look beneath the shallow words which they sing. Are they honoring Jesus and His Father, or are they just honoring themselves? What about us? Do we honor Jesus? Are we more interested in the presents and parties and all that has come to mean Christmas? Maybe we need to put away our earthly celebrations and tune ourselves better toward the heavenly reality. Let us make this time a time of real joy and thank Him from whom all blessings flow for the joy of the quickening of the Son of righteousness who came to save us from our sins. Sing Psalter 310:1-4.

December 5 Read John 5:24-31

People of God, are you ready for the judgment day? Some might say that this thought is too dreary for the Christmas season. But if you read closely the words of today’s passage, you will see that Jesus was sent by His Father as a judge. Are you listening for the voice of your Savior? You will not find it in the world’s celebration of Christmas. You will not hear it in Christmas songs which espouse a theology of Christ coming to save all men. You will only hear His voice if you know and believe His Word. By studying the Bible you will learn to hear and love the voice of our Savior. Let us do this and let us ask for the grace to hear the voice of Jesus calling us to come unto Him. Sing Psalter 403.

December 6 Read John 5:32-38

As we prepare to go to church tomorrow are we ready to hear about Christ? If Christ’s servant speaks to us are we ready to receive it? If he says something that we do not like because it takes away our pleasures are we quick to discredit the minister? The Jews of Jesus’ day did not like what John the Baptist had to say to them. Are we much different from them? As we listen to the sermon tomorrow are we ready to confess that we hear Christ speaking to us? Let us pray for the ears of faith to hear what God triune says to us in not only this Sabbath day but also all Sabbaths as we await the eternal Sabbath in heaven. Sing Psalter 328.

December 7 Read John 5:39-47

What a command we have in verse 39! How do you search the Scriptures? Do we just read a few verses at mealtime and call it good enough? God was not pleased with that attitude in the Old Testament Jews and He will not be pleased if this is our attitude. We must look at the words of the Bible, learn what they mean, and use them in our lives. If we are searching for something precious, we will leave no stone unturned in order to find that precious thing. Is not eternal life precious? Let us search the Scriptures and see what our heavenly Father is saying to us. Sing Psalter 333.

December 8 Read John 6:1-7

After spending time in Jerusalem where He was not well received at all, Jesus returned to Galilee. There crowds of people followed Him to be healed from their diseases and to hear Him speak. After a long day of healing and speaking, Jesus, filled with compassion, asks His disciples how they would feed this great crowd of people. Jesus does this for two reasons. First of all, He will teach the people that He has come to give them spiritual bread and not merely earthly bread. The second reason is to try the faith of His disciples in order to prepare them for the work that they would later do. We need to notice Jesus’ compassion for these people. He has the same compassion for us when we “hunger and thirst after righteousness.” He will fill our hungry souls even as He filled the hungry stomachs of this crowd. Let us hunger and thirst after the Word. Let us do that during this season; let us do that by studying the Word daily. Sing Psalter 40.

December 9 Read John 6:8-14

Young people, do you remember to give thanks for the food God has given you? I do not mean just once in a while. I do not mean if a teacher or parent leads you in giving thanks. I mean all of the time. Do you do that in a restaurant when you are with your friends? Do you do it at work when your coworkers are looking on? If Jesus felt the need to thank His heavenly Father for the food provided in this miracle, how much more must we give thanks for the food that God provides for us. We have so much food. We must be very thankful. Sing Psalter 169.

December 10 Read John 6:15-21

When we sing the familiar “King of kings and Lord of Lords” this Christmas, what kind of a king are we singing about? Is it the king that this world celebrates at Christmas? This is the king that those fed by the earthly bread wanted. We need to be looking for the king who calms our spiritual fears with the blessed words, “It is I; be not afraid.” What more do we need than this king? Why should we place our trust in any other than the king who will still all storms of doubt within us? Let us fall on our knees to worship the king whose simple words will lead us into the safe haven of heavenly glory. Sing Psalter 266.

December 11 Read John 6:22-27

For what type of bread do we labor? Is it the earthly bread of riches, earthly fulfillment, and ease? Or is it the bread that is found in heaven that perisheth not? Jesus is that bread. Living out of the calling to follow Him must be our goal in this life. We will not find this bread if our goal in school is to learn all we can in order to get the best possible job. We will not find this bread if our goal in life is to be number one in the world’s eyes. There is only one way to get this bread. That is to serve God and keep His commandments. People of God, is this your goal in this life? Are we laboring for the meat that endureth forever? Sing Psalter 325.

December 12 Read John 6:28-35

Jesus continues to speak about the bread that never perishes. As we read these verses we see that He was speaking to both believers and nonbelievers. The unbelievers were looking for a sign. This is from people who had just witnessed a feeding of five thousand from a little bit of food. Finally Jesus says to them very plainly that He is the bread of life. Do we sometimes fall into this sin? Do we ignore the words of Scripture and want a sign? Do we wish salvation in another way? Let us partake of the bread of life today and every day. Let us pray for the grace to be satisfied with Jesus the bread of life. Sing Psalter 334.

December 13 Read John 6:36-40

People of God, here we see proof for the doctrine of perseverance or preservation of the saints. Take some time to read the last head of the Canons of Dordt. What precious and comforting words are found there. This doctrine gives to us a comfort that cannot be found anywhere else in this world. Here we are told that we will never be cast out of the Father’s hand, we will have everlasting life, and we will be raised up at the last day. What a blessing this is! Let this be our focus as we go through this Christmas season. Sing Psalter 234.

December 14 Read John 6:41-51

The discussion continues as the more unbelieving crowd exposes their unbelief. Now they doubt the divinity of Christ as they call him “only” the son of Joseph. Jesus exposes their unbelief and teaches us that He was prophesied of from old and that there are many signs of His coming. Do we believe? Do we believe in the Christ of Scripture or the Christ whose birth is celebrated by a majority of the so called “Christian” world of today? Who did we worship today? Were we satisfied with the bread of the Word of God or do we want the leeks and garlic of Egypt? Let us examine ourselves daily and see whom we believe Christ to be. Sing Psalter 251.

December 15 Read John 6:52-59

As Jesus completed His teachings in the synagogue, He introduced the whole idea of the meaning of the body and bread of Christ. This was too much for most of his audience that day as we shall find out. They were not ready for this much of the meat of the word. What about us? As we left church yesterday were we “chewing” the meat of the word or chewing out the preacher because we did not like the word which he brought. We of the church of the poured out Spirit have much responsibility to digest the meat of God’s Word. Do we like meat? We had better because this is the way to eternal life. Sing Psalter 311.

December 16 Read John 6:60-65

People of God, read verse 65 again. Have you ever had a discussion with someone who espouses the view of the freewill of man? Were you prepared with this verse? We need to know our Bibles well. We need to read them over and over again to find the clear teachings of Christ concerning our salvation. Yes, this is a hard saying. Yes, this may cause division in our families. By the quickening Spirit, however, we must know God’s Word, we must believe God’s Word, and we must be ready to use God’s Word. Let us be zealous in using God’s Word daily in our lives. Sing Psalter 368.

December 17 Read John 6:66-71

As we finish this long chapter we should make it our goal to reread it sometime soon. There is much for us to learn in it. There are many doctrinal truths which our Savior gave us. We need to embrace it as the words which give to us eternal life. Let us make Peter’s confession our confession. Let us be ready to defend that word against those who wish a different Christ than the Christ of the Scriptures. Oh, this may bring hard times to us and our families. But we have the blessed assurance that Jesus and our heavenly Father will give to us the Spirit and will sustain us in all of these hard times. Let us remember this each and every day. Sing Psalter 362.

December 18 Read John 7:1-9

Is it time yet? This is a common refrain in many households. Jesus had to wait for the proper time in His life. His Father had ordained a certain way of salvation. This way of salvation was the way of the cross. Jesus was not to be pushed over a cliff, not to be drowned in a lake, nor was He to be killed in secret. No, the Old Testament was to be fulfilled. Why was this so? It was this way for us. It was only through the way of the cross that our salvation would be accomplished. Jesus had to fulfill all things for us. Thanks be to God for this unspeakable gift. Sing Psalter 47:1-4.

December 19 Read John 7:10-19

Many words were spoken about Jesus while He was on this earth. Some were very strong. “He deceiveth the people.” Others said that He had a devil in Him. Others said that He was a “good man.” Now, we would probably never be guilty of openly saying the first two (though we might by actions), but what about the last one? Was Jesus merely a “good man?” If that is all that we can say about Jesus, we would be better not to say anything at all. A “good man” does nothing to capture the extent of all Jesus was and is! He is God; He is our Savior. Even in this time of the year many would say that the baby Jesus turned into the “good man” Jesus. What about us? What do we say? Sing Psalter 58.

December 20 Read John 7:20-31

As Jesus come to the end of His discourse in the temple, we once more see the twofold effect of the Word. Many believe; others are ready to kill Him. It is a great comfort for us to know that God’s Word never returns unto Him void. The Word preached always has some effect. This effect is ordained by God for His sovereign purpose. We must preach the Word wherever God gives to us opportunity. The results of the preaching are not dependent upon us but rather on God. This is both a reason to continue preaching and a comfort in preaching. As we prepare to enter God’s house tomorrow let us remember this as we attend unto the preaching of the Word whether we are the preacher, the elders, or those in the office of believer. Sing Psalter 349.

December 21 Read John 7:32-39

Notice the progression in the words of these chapters. In the beginning He spoke about their unbelief. Then as the Word was more clearly seen He made Himself known to His people. Now in today’s reading we see that He begins to speak about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. This was a doctrine that was little treated in the Old Dispensation. This is a doctrine which was prepared for the church of the New Dispensation. Today a church shows itself by how it has received the work of the Holy Spirit. Some churches have gone dead because they refused the Holy Spirit. It is the poured out Spirit who gives life to the church. Let us not forget Him even as we prepared to celebrate the birth of the Son. Sing Psalter 286.

December 22 Read John 7:40-44

Some in Jesus day knew their Scriptures well. This is evident as we read verse 42. They knew the Scriptures and as they saw the evidence God gave to them they confessed that Jesus was the Son of God. As we celebrate His first coming are we searching the Scriptures to find about the signs of His second coming? Are the signs in the world around us preparing us for Him? There were faithful in Israel such as Simeon and Anna who eagerly awaited Christ’s coming. Are there Simeons and Annas among us today? When Christ shall return, will He find faith among us? Sing Psalter 336.

December 23 Read John 7:45-53

In these verses we find the effect of the preaching upon those who do not believe. We might be wondering why they did not? They were the ones who studied the Scriptures. Should not they have known that this was the Christ the Son of God? Here we see the truth of the words, “He came unto His own and His own received Him not.” As we celebrate Christmas, I again ask us to examine ourselves and see whose Christmas we are celebrating. Is it to give God the glory or man? Is it the Christmas of sovereign salvation or that of works righteousness? Let us ponder these things even in the few days before Christmas. Sing Psalter 291:1-4.

December 24 Read John 8:1-11

What blessed words we read here! Some would say, “How are these blessed words?” But the child of God grasps hold on the words “Go and sin no more.” He grasps those words because they bring utmost comfort to him. This comfort is not in the person himself. The woman could not turn from her evil way on her own. It takes He who speaks these words to give them the desired effect. We must hear Christ say these words. Here in these few verses we have the whole salvation story summarized. Let us listen to this story and listen for the Son of God to say, “Go and sin no more.” Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to cause these words to enable us to live the life of sanctification in thanksgiving for such a wonderful gift. Sing Psalter 140.

December 25 Read John 8:12-20

Here on this blessed Christmas day we have the beautiful words, “I am the light of the world.” There are many who have spent much on lights this season and little on the Light. What about us? Do we seek the Light of the world? Do we seek Him who gives to us light and salvation? Do we long for the light which chases away the fears and evil that rises up against? Christ is the light. Let us embrace Him and not seek after the darkness. Let us come to the Light of life today and every day. Then let us like the shepherds glorify and praise God as we tell others about the Light which gives eternal light. Sing Psalter 71.

December 26 Read John 8:21-32

Notice in these discourses that Jesus is leading the people of that day and us to see that He is the Christ who will die and did die on the cross for the sins of the people. This is what the prophets had published in the Old Testament. This is the truth. Do we know that truth? Do we seek to find the truth? No, not the world’s truth. They say they have plenty of truth. But when that truth is held up before the fire of God’s truth it is burned as impurities are burned from precious metals. We must seek the truth as it is revealed in the Scriptures. This is the truth that will make us free from sin and the harmful effects of sin. This is the truth which leads into everlasting glory. Let us see the truth and truly be free. Sing Psalter 339.

December 27 Read John 8:33-42

Are we as blind as those of Jesus’ day? Do we say we are elect because of our family or national background? This is not the truth of the covenant. God saves in the line of covenant generations. What does this mean? Do we see that being in the covenant is to be one who is chosen by God to be a friend with God? We must never interpret the covenant as these wicked people did. We must listen to He who speaks the truth even as He lives in covenant fellowship with the Father. Christ was sent into the world to find His people. Christ will come once more into the world and gather His people unto Himself. Are we ready? Sing Psalter 187.

December 28 Read John 8:43-51

Notice those words “verily, verily” in verse 51. Jesus uses them quite often as He speaks to the people. They mean truly or it shall be so. Do we believe the words that follow them? If our ministers use those words today, how will we receive them? What do we think of the voice of Christ even as we hear it today? Do we ignore it even as we sit in the pew? Do we forget it as we walk out of church? Do we forget the truths heard because they are not convenient in our daily life? When Jesus says, “Verily, verily,” let us hear the voice of the one Shepherd who knows His sheep and will lead them into the fold of everlasting life. Sing Psalter 53.

December 29 Read John 8:52-59

How many stones have we taken up to throw at Christ today? Have we been honest in all of our business dealings? Have we shown love within our families, the family of God, and others who are around us? What about in the past year? Have we denied Christ at home, at work, at school, or at play? If we are guilty of any of these, we have taken up stones against Christ. Those of Jesus’ day did not want His brand of salvation. What about us? Is it justification by faith or by works? Do we love God and our neighbor? Only in doing those things will we put down the stones and bow before Christ the Son of God. Sing Psalter 64.

December 30 Read John 9:1-7

Are we guilty of the disciples’ sin? Do we seek to find fault with others and in doing so ignore the glory of God? Everything in this world has a purpose, and that ultimate purpose is God’s glory. Yes, God does ordain events and circumstances to convict us of our sins; this is true. But even in those things He brings glory upon His name. Jesus would use this incident to teach those around Him more of God’s truths. We, whose eyes have been open, must not be spiritually blind. Let us by the Holy Spirit see Jesus, and in seeing Jesus, let us glorify our heavenly Father. Sing Psalter 402:1, 4-6.

December 31 Read John 9:13-22

As we come to the end of another year we must ask ourselves if we dodge hard questions in order to be men pleasers. We have had many opportunities in the past year to confess Christ. Have we done it? Do those around us know what Christ we confess? We must confess Christ as He has shown Himself in His Word. We must do this as we await Him to confess us before His Father. This confession of Christ must be done in both word and deed. Let us ponder these things as we come to the end of another year. Let us rejoice that we are one year closer to the return of our Savior. The truth of Christ is precious; let us never hide it. Sing Psalter 51.