Daily Devotions

by Pastor Jacob Boer

Check out my blog: Jacob's Musings

2 Cor. 1:20 Amen!

posted Jul 3, 2020, 10:54 AM by Jacob Boer

For in him every one of God’s promises is a “Yes.” For this reason it is through him that we say the “Amen,” to the glory of God.”

Most of us end our prayers by saying “Amen,” a sign that our prayer is done and our conversation with God is over. But is that all the word amen means? I love how the catechism talks about how we end our prayers, it’s about confidence and hope, that we  carry on with our day knowing that God is listening to our prayers and knows even better than we do what we need, and that we trust he will provide for us whatever we need. Prayer not only connects us to God, it also increases our confidence and trust in God, allowing us to say with gusto, “Amen,” so let it be!

 

Q. What does that little word “Amen” express?

A. “Amen” means: This shall truly and surely be! It is even more sure that God listens to my prayer than that I really desire what I pray for.

 

Psalm 115 It's All About the Father

posted Jul 2, 2020, 12:33 PM by Jacob Boer

"Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness."

The ending of the Lord’s Prayer was added by the Church early on as a confession that we are members of the kingdom of heaven, not the rulers of our own kingdom. It is a confession of trust and faith, a wonderful way to end any prayer that we offer to our Father. We are reminded of Jesus’ assurance that God is our Good Father who desires to give good gifts to His children, especially the gift of the Holy Spirit who keeps pointing us back to Jesus and gives us the strength to build His kingdom here for God’s honour and glory.

 

Q. What does your conclusion to this prayer mean?

A. “For the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours forever” means: We have made all these petitions of you because, as our all-powerful king, you are both willing and able to give us all that is good; and because your holy name, and not we ourselves, should receive all the praise, forever.

 

John 15:1-5 With Jesus’ Strength

posted Jun 30, 2020, 8:53 AM by Jacob Boer

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”

One of the most common mistakes many people make when it comes to fighting sin in their lives is that they think they are a lot stronger than they really are in being able to stand up against sin and temptation. People will often tell me that “God doesn’t give them more than they can handle,” whether it’s suffering or temptation, but this saying isn’t in the Bible, it’s not even correct. God often gives us more than we can handle to teach us that we need to depend on Him, on Jesus instead of ourselves. Pride knocks so many people down, but humility and turning to Jesus gives us the strength we need to get back up. Staying connected to the vine is key to fighting temptation. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit, the Bible, the church, and faithful friends to help us stay connected, so connect to Jesus today.

Q. What does the sixth petition mean?

A. “And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one” means:

By ourselves we are too weak to hold our own even for a moment. And our sworn enemies—the devil, the world, and our own flesh—never stop attacking us. And so, Lord, uphold us and make us strong with the strength of your Holy Spirit, so that we may not go down to defeat in this spiritual struggle, but may firmly resist our enemies until we finally win the complete victory

Matt. 18:21-35 Forgiveness

posted Jun 29, 2020, 9:17 AM by Jacob Boer

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Forgiveness is hard and yet without forgiveness the world would be a dark place filled with even more anger and bitterness than there is now. Forgiveness allows us to live with others, to grow as individuals and even as nations, as we see in South Africa, and it allows for love to conquer hatred. Forgiveness always begins as a choice, a decision to forgive, to let go of what the other person has done to you. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting, but it does mean that you don’t allow it to poison your mind or your heart. Forgiving is always a gift. God offers us forgiveness free of charge through the blood of Jesus; it is offered free to us, but it comes at a huge cost to God, just as when we offer forgiveness to others, the cost of it is carried by us. This is what makes forgiveness so powerful, why it is so hard at times. Yet as we experience God’s forgiveness, this strengthens our own ability to forgive. May the Lord fill you with his presence, love and grace so that you may find the strength and grace to be a forgiver.

Q. What does the fifth petition mean?

A. “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” means: Because of Christ’s blood, do not hold against us, poor sinners that we are, any of the sins we do
or the evil that constantly clings to us. Forgive us just as we are fully determined, as evidence of your grace in us, to forgive our neighbors.

 

Psalm 104: 27-30 Ask

posted Jun 26, 2020, 12:55 PM by Jacob Boer

These all look to you to give them their food in due season; when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.”

Jesus encourages us to ask God for the things we need for our day to day lives. By asking God to give us what we need, we are reminded of God’s generosity, we are reminded that all things belong to God and it encourages us to be humble in the asking. We are so used to thinking that we have to take care of ourselves and our loved ones, that we forget that we are God’s family and loved ones and he desires to provide for us, to give us the good things that we need. So as you talk to God today, do not hesitate to ask him for the things you need, be willing to admit to God that you depend on him, and trust that he will give you what you need.

Q. What does the fourth petition mean?

A. “Give us this day our daily bread” means: Do take care of all our physical needs so that we come to know that you are the only source of everything good, and that neither our work and worry nor your gifts can do us any good without your blessing. And so help us to give up our trust in creatures and trust in you alone.

Matt. 16:24-26 Kingdom Life

posted Jun 25, 2020, 9:16 AM by Jacob Boer

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?”

This is kingdom language, heaven is not a democracy, by becoming part of the kingdom of heaven, we are giving our entire lives over to Jesus, our complete loyalty, meaning that what Jesus wants, we want, what he tells us to do, we do, because we completely trust him and show it in complete obedience. This is a life giving prayer as well: from Jesus we gain our identity as members of the kingdom of heaven, we gain a set of values for our lives that come from our king, we gain a purpose for our lives to grow the kingdom of heaven for the sake and glory of our king. It doesn’t mean life will be easy, crosses were not a promise of easy, but we are part of something way bigger than anything we could create, we are part of a kingdom that encompasses both heaven and earth, we are sons and daughters of the king, what more could you ever want in life?

Q. What does the third petition mean?

A. “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” means: Help us and all people to reject our own wills and to obey your will without any back talk. Your will alone is good. Help us one and all to carry out the work we are called to, as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven.

Acts 2:42-47 Your Kingdom Come!

posted Jun 24, 2020, 9:42 AM by Jacob Boer

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”

We pray “Your kingdom come” pretty easily, but when I stop and think about this, I realise that I might not be as sincere as I should be about praying for Jesus’ kingdom to come because this would mean that my every thought, word and action would be completely focused on Jesus’ will and desires and putting aside my wants completely. I see how praying for Jesus’ kingdom to come leads us in a few days to praying for forgiveness for our sin because so many of my thoughts, words and actions are focused on me and my kingdom, which don’t always align with Jesus’ kingdom values. Yet praying for Jesus’ kingdom to come guides my thoughts, desires and actions to become more who God has created us to be, making Jesus more central in my heart and life as we look forward to his return.

Q. What does the second petition mean?

A. “Your kingdom come” means: Rule us by your Word and Spirit in such a way that more and more we submit to you. Preserve your church and make it grow. Destroy the devil’s work; destroy every force which revolts against you and every conspiracy against your holy Word. Do this until your kingdom fully comes, when you will be all in all.

 

Luke 1:46-55, 68-75 Hallow God’s Name

posted Jun 23, 2020, 2:53 PM by Jacob Boer

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 54He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” 

68“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. 69He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, 70as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. 72Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, 73the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us 74that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”

Jesus focuses on our relationship with God as our father in his prayer and this really comes through in the phrase, “hallowed be your name,” because we are his children and so carry the family name in us. My father took me aside one day before I left home and he told me, “Son, I don’t have anything to give you except a good name. I have worked hard all my life to give you a good name and the only thing I ask of you is to keep the name good.” This is kind of the spirit behand this call to “hallow God’s name.” When we live in such a way that we honour, glorify and praise God in our lives, it shows that we know God and that his Spirit lives in us. So, may you “hallow” God’s name today.

Q. What does the first petition mean?

A. “Hallowed be your name” means: Help us to truly know you, to honor, glorify, and praise you for all your works and for all that shines forth from them: your almighty power, wisdom, kindness, justice, mercy, and truth.

And it means, Help us to direct all our living—what we think, say, and do—so that your name will never be blasphemed because of us but always honored and praised.

 

Acts 17:24-25 Heaven

posted Jun 22, 2020, 8:40 AM by Jacob Boer

"The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things."

Why did Jesus mention in his prayer that God the Father is in heaven? That’s a good question because it shapes how we think about God. Many people think of God in heaven as God being far away since Jesus went up into the clouds when he went back to heaven. We’re actually not sure exactly where heaven really is, only that that is where God is and from heaven God is able to see everything and provide for all our needs. One Christian scientist said that he believes God is much closer than we think, he believes that heaven is in another dimension of being, separated from us by a thin veil that God often reaches through to come close to us and bless us. He believes this is how the Holy Spirit is able to move freely as he moves from his home in our hearts to heaven as he brings our Father our prayers. I find his explanation comforting and hopeful and one day we will know where heaven is as Jesus returns bringing heaven with him and heaven and earth will be one.

 

Q. Why the words “in heaven”?

A. These words teach us not to think of God’s heavenly majesty as something earthly, and to expect everything needed for body and soul from God’s almighty power.

Matt. 7:9-11 Our Father

posted Jun 18, 2020, 8:21 AM by Jacob Boer

“Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

Jesus reminds us in the prayer he taught us, that God desires a relationship with us like that between a father and child, a relationship filled with love, trust, joy, and a desire to be just like “dad.” But if God is our father, that means he also has a responsibility to teach us how to become mature adults, to help us grow into the potential that he as placed in us, and when we rebel or disobey or ignore him, God, as our father also needs to discipline us so that we learn and are shaped by our discipline. Parents who love deeply know that rebellion and disobedience will shape our character in harmful ways and so out of love they ensure that we experience the consequences of our actions, but they also surround us with love and encouragement to grow up well. I am thankful my heavenly father loves me that much!

 

Q. Why did Christ command us to call God “our Father”?

A. To awaken in us at the very beginning of our prayer what should be basic to our prayer—a childlike reverence and trust that through Christ God has become our Father, and that just as our parents do not refuse us the things of this life, even less will God our Father refuse to give us what we ask in faith.

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