Peace for the Troubled Heart devotional

Looking for a good devotional?

Consider Peace for the Troubled Heart. Made up of meditations on scripture texts, it’s different from other devotionals. These meditations breathe a Christian experience that is drawn from scripture, formed and regulated by sound doctrine, and realistic in a world of sin, suffering, and struggle.

Each chapter is divided into sections, so you can read it in parts—morning, noon, and evening. This is a great way to thoroughly meditate on the chapter throughout the day.

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The Antithesis in Paradise

Scripture teaches no dualism, but an antithesis. There are no two primal causes and eternal principles, constantly warring with each other, but God is one. He alone is eternal and the primal cause and there is no other eternal principle or primal cause next to him. Neither is he both good and evil, nor are the principles of good and evil to be traced to his being, for he is a light and there is no darkness in him. But this good and glorious God according to his eternal and sovereign good pleasure wills to reveal his praises, his eternally adorable virtue antithetically, that is, in opposition to darkness. Darkness, evil, sin are not primal principles, eternally coordinate with light, goodness, righteousness, but the former are subservient to the latter, darkness must serve to bring out the glory of the light, the devil serves to enhance the unsearchable riches of God's being and virtues and works.

In the light of this idea of an antithesis we can under­stand the placing of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” in paradise. By means of it, God carries the antithesis into the life and before the consciousness of man, made after his image.

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Jehovah’s Goodness

The Lord is good to all…but all the wicked will he destroy. Ps. 145:9a, 20b

Emphatically, according to the Hebrew original, the poet, who is the inspired author of this psalm, puts it: “Good is Jehovah.”

The Lord is goodness essentially.

Apart from any relation to his creatures, conceived all by himself, in himself, for himself, as the absolutely self-existent, self-sufficient, independent one, the Lord is good. His essence is goodness, his eternally adorable divine being is only good. Could we enter into the amazing profundity and explore the fathomless depths of his infinite being, the deepest depths of the incompre­hensible divine essence would reveal nothing but good­ness.

He is the light and there is no darkness in him. He is truth, righteousness, holiness, purity, love, grace, mercy and eternal life, and there is no lie, unrighteous­ness, defilement, corruption and death in him.

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Christmas Joy

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.—Luke 2:10

Fear not!

Tidings of great joy, indeed, I bring!

Was it Gabriel, the angel that standeth before God, who so suddenly burst forth in the darkness of the night from heaven’s star-studded canopy, and appeared upon the peaceful scene of the shepherds keeping watch over their flock?

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Afraid of the Gospel (10)

Conditional theology is an insult to God!

Thus we wrote in a former article. And we would have you note that we say that conditional theology is an insult to God. We do not say that every use of the conditional form is to be condemned. To use what, in grammar, is called the conditional form does not necessarily mean that you are presenting conditional theology and are making statements that are insults to God.

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Our classic advent devotional

What child of God, saved by grace, does not turn with an ever new interest and spiritual delight to Bethlehem in “the fullness of time,” to contemplate in humble adoration the mystery of salvation, revealed, yet hid, in the child in the manger? ... Millions of sermons have been delivered on this theme…but the theme was never exhausted and always kindles anew the interest of the believer.—Herman Hoeksema
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December 15, 2019 Standard Bearer preview article

Protestant Reformed Missions: The War Years

Mission Work Flounders (1940-1946): 5

There are various legitimate means evangelism committees and mission committees use to spread the gospel. One such means already faithfully used by the PRC Mission Committee was that of the printed page. During the years that war was being waged in Europe and the south Pacific, various churches, especially First PRC in Grand Rapids, published pamphlets addressing diverse doctrinal and practical issues—many of them written by Rev. Herman Hoeksema.

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Devotionals – Black Friday Deal #1

Devotionals – Black Friday Deal #1
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How are you saved?

The believer answers, “By grace!”

Salvation is of grace because salvation is of the Lord. It is a thoroughly divine work!

From election to regeneration, and from good works to assurance, Wonder of Grace is a clear, beautiful explanation of each of the facets of grace in the lives of God’s people.

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Moonlight Reveries

“And God made two great lights…the lesser light to rule the night.”—Genesis 1:16 

“And God said,…and let them be for signs.”—Genesis 1:14

How marvelous in its beauty is the night!

How full of speech and utterance of knowledge to him who in God’s light sees the light.

How comforting and instructing for the pilgrim child of God, passing through a night of sin, suffering, and death to the eternal morning in God’s everlasting tabernacle.

I do not mean the dark, wild, and dreadful night, when the furious tempest rages and the wild wind howls and the storm-swept waves roar and the fiercely driven clouds, like panic-stricken demons, chase one another through the dark sky; when the floods rush and the sea groans mournfully and the woods moan and all creation wails.

In such a night I fear. It is the night of terror.

It fills the heart with dreadful apprehension of approaching judgment; it speaks of creation’s bondage in corruption, of evil and pain, of suffering and grief, of the creature as it tore itself loose from the heart of its creator and is now restlessly driven about, seeking peace and finding none, terror-stricken and chased as by an overpowering fear; of wrath revealed from heaven and impending destruction.

I mean the still and deep night.

The night of profound peace, when all creation slumbers… When just a mere breath of a breeze floats through the still woods…When only a slightly dimpling ripple runs playfully over the surface of the lake…When high in the deep heavens glides the moon, flooding the landscape with its kindly pale light, daubing the woods with a thousand splotches of twinkling silver, and splashing a sparkling path across the rippled lake…When all is at rest, and the creature just waits for the morning.

How beautiful then is the night!

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The queen of the night mingles silent speech with the silvery beams she pours forth into the darkness.

For God said, “Let them be for signs.”

Not only to rule the day is the sun set in the heavens, and not only as queen of the night rides the moon along her path in the firmament, and not simply to serve as lights in the darkness do the stars sparkle like angels’ jewelry in the darkened sky.

But God said that they should also be for signs.

As signs they speak. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard” (Ps. 19:1–3).

They testify in their own realm of earthly and temporal things and of heavenly and eternal things. For the Lord God, whose counsel will stand and who accomplishes all his good pleasure, who knows and declares all things from the beginning, wrote as with his finger in all this symbol-language of creation not only of the glory of his name, the power of his might, and the unsearchable riches of his wisdom, but also of the wonder of his counsel, the glory of his kingdom, and the beauty of his covenant.

Because of this the earthly is the image of the heavenly; in the temporal there is a picture of the eternal; the natural is a symbol of the spiritual.

True, a silent speech they utter. Their language will never be truly understood by the natural man, whose sphere is the earthly not the heavenly, who loves darkness rather than light, who despises God’s word and never understands that also this light, shining from all the works of God’s hands, is to be seen only in God’s light.

But speech of God it is nevertheless, wonderful to him who has eyes to see and ears to hear.

For signs they are. The greater light by day and the lesser light by night. And every night the queen of the heavens pours her silvery speech into the silent darkness.

Showing knowledge!

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A sign in the darkness is the moon in the heavens.

Smiling kindly, she whispers, “Fear not, for the darkness of the night is only a passing shadow!”

For is not her mellow light a reflection of the glory of the sun? What does the moon do except catch some of the sun’s golden glory, change it into her own silver beauty, and pour it into the night? Does she not witness that even though the sun sank into oblivion below the western horizon, and although its glad rays do not for the moment brighten my path, yet its glory still exists and its brightness is not diminished?

When the sun does not shine on my earthly habitation and the darkness of night is spread over my dwelling, from the high heavens the queen of the night pours forth the testimony, “The golden ruler of the day still is and shines where I am!”

She thus witnesses that the night is only a shadow.

The night is not like that first horrible darkness, when the earth was still waste and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. For then there was no light in all the awful void of chaos.

But the night is a mere shadow of turning, a shadow in the midst of a flood of light poured into the wide expanse of the universe.

A beautiful picture this is of the path of God’s children in the world. For pilgrims through the night are the children of God, the sojourners to Zion, the seekers of the city of God.

How dark seems the night through which they pass on their way to the light eternal! How dark often is the night of sin, when floods of guilt and iniquity roll over their souls and it seems as if they cannot be delivered from so great a death. What awful night of corruption there still is in the dark recesses of their hearts, whenever new and hitherto unknown darknesses and shadows of death and pollution arise from that hidden source. What night of pain, suffering, and agony of body and soul is the lot of God’s pilgrim children when it is with them as with Asaph of old, and their chastisements are there every morning. What darkness of sorrow and grief often overwhelms their souls! What night of reproach and shame, of cruel mockery and enmity they pass through when the enemy raves and furiously attacks for Christ’s sake, and persecution is their lot in the world.

And presently…

The night of death yawns threateningly from the dark and dreary prison of the grave.

How dreadful would seem that night. Did the sun of light and life and joy disappear forever when it sank from view in paradise the first? Was its glory extinguished, never to appear again?

God forbid!

The moon in the heavens whispers into the silent night of nature that the sun is still there, though for the moment you see it not.

The earthly is image of the heavenly. The sun of life is still there, even though with sadness of heart you remember its setting in Eden’s garden.

Pilgrim, your night of sin and guilt and sorrow and grief, of reproach and shame and tribulation is only for a while.

A passing shadow!

Fear not, O pilgrim of the night, for your light shines. There is a silvery path across your night, reflected from the Sun of Righteousness. It shines still, although you see it not.

Be not afraid!

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How beautiful is the moonlit night.

For a sign is the moon, harbinger of the coming morning.

Does not she witness that the sun, though disappeared and hidden from view in the present night, will rise again with new glory and brighter gold and presently break the morning of a new day through the darkness of the eastern sky?

Does not her presence reconcile me with and comfort me in the night, when she assures me of the coming dawn?

Speech from the night for you, pilgrim to Zion!

Oh, surely the night in nature is also the symbol of another night, where the light will shine nevermore and the sun will never rise, the night of everlasting sorrow and pain, darkness, and moaning, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. The fierce night, full of tempest and disturbance, full of moaning and groaning, the night when the sun is darkened and the moon appears as blood and the stars drop out of the seam of heaven—that night is a sign and a symbol of the everlasting night prepared for those who love the darkness rather than the light because their works are evil.

Fierce and full of terror can be the night of nature. Fiercer and more terrible will be that everlasting night of the wrath of God!

But such is not the night of Zion’s pilgrim.

His is the moonlit night. That night speaks of the coming morning, for the queen of the night witnesses of the approach of the bridegroom of the morning.

The sun of life, joy, and righteousness set in the garden of Eden. And darkness spread, darkness of sin and guilt, sorrow and grief, and pain and affliction.

For a time we wander through the darkness, longing for the light of day.

But the morning is approaching.

For the Sun of Righteousness is there. He once appeared. He was humiliated. He suffered. He died. He disappeared from view in the awful darkness of his cross. But he appeared again, glorious, full of life and grace; and again he left and disappeared from view. For a while we see him not. But he left us his sure word and promise, his light in the night. It assures us in the midst of night that presently the Sun of Righteousness will rise once more, in unknown glory and beauty, never to set again, to dissipate all the clouds and shadows of suffering and grief, of sin and corruption and death, and to lighten our day with the light of God in his eternal tabernacle.

Fear not, O pilgrim!

Yours is the beauty of the moonlit night.

The night of your affliction is only for a moment, a passing shadow. The morning comes, the day eternal, full of life, light, joy, and covenantal friendship.

For there shall be no night there.

Be of good cheer.

March on!  

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This blog post was taken from chapter 6 in the book All Glory to the Only Good God

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