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Daily devotional

February 6 - Is it wrong to be rich?

“…When my steps were bathed with cream, and the rock poured out rivers of oil for me!” - Job 29:6 

Scripture reading: Psalm 49:15-20

Maybe you cringed when you heard about Job’s desire to have cream and an abundance of good oil. But you should not! Job was not doing anything wrong by saying this. God often blessed His people with great riches. Read Deuteronomy 28. When they went into Canaan, God gave Israel wells they did not dig, vineyards they did not plant and houses they did not build. God is rich and He often passes those riches to His children when it suits His purpose. Also, God gives His children gifts to make them happy.

It is not a virtue to be poor. You should not be racked with guilt if you are honestly rich. That is God’s kind providence. So ask God for good and pleasurable things. It is not unholy to ask for things that bring you comfort. Many don’t get things because they don’t ask.

But what happens if God doesn’t give you the things for which you ask? What if you were really poor and asking? You must be ready to accept from His fatherly hand what is good for you. Sometimes God wants you to learn to be without so you don’t become boastful, sometimes it is so you can trust Him more, or sometimes God wants you to experience lack so you can empathize with those who don’t have.

And then again, have you considered that the greatest gift of all, your salvation, is already in your grasp and none can take it away?

Suggestions for prayer

Pray you will ask for things that are needful to do God’s work and pray for good things that you desire.

Pastor Mitchell Persaud is a missionary at New Horizon URCNA, in Scarborough, ON, Canada, where he has ministered for over 20 years. Feel free to Google his name for more information about New Horizon. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com

Daily devotional

February 1 - Introduction to the book of Job

This month we are going on excursions into the Book of Job. You will see Job was not simply a man who suffered and endured hardships and came out on top, but you will see Job was a man of great faith, a faith that was grounded in much knowledge of the person and work of Jesus. You will see that he understood doctrines as every good Christian should. Furthermore, you will see that his faith was not academic – only in his head. His faith moved from what he held in his head, to what he held in his heart, to what he practiced with his hands and feet and what he said with his mouth. It guided how he raised his family, how he interacted with society as a whole and how he interacted with his friends. And just as Job’s knowledge of God’s truth and his resulting faith in the Lord Jesus helped him to endure the pressures of his day, I hope these devotions will encourage you to endure the trials marked out for you by our Heavenly Father and you will pursue the work God has called you to do, whatever your station is in life. May God bless you and may His church remain faithful. The reformed man prays for his children “So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them… and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts…”” - Job 1:5  Scripture reading: Job 1:1-5 Job understood the nature of sin. He knew that sin often accompanied prosperity when men would be tempted to take their eyes off the Lord. He knew that, even though he was a godly man. He knew that, even though he had raised his children with the fear of God, they were still open to temptation to sin against the Lord. So Job acted. He would “sanctify” them. He couldn’t cleanse his children of their sins, but he would teach them to examine their hearts and make themselves right with God. Moreover, Job offered burnt offerings. He knew there was no prayer without sacrifice and that sacrifice ultimately pointed to the Lord Jesus on the cross. It is interesting too that he made burnt offerings. Burnt offerings symbolized a total dedication to the Lord. The whole animal was burnt. Nothing was shared with the priest or the offerer. No doubt Job was busy with many businesses. He was a wealthy man. He had places to go and things to do. But in all this, he stopped to consider sin in his life and in the life of his children, so he prayed and sacrificed for them. Do you pray for your children and the young ones in the church that they will keep close to the Saviour? God expects nothing less from you. The good news never ends with you. The good news leads to a godly life. Suggestions for prayer Pray that your children (young or old), grandchildren and other covenant youths in the church will stay close to the Lord and that you will make time to help them do this. Pastor Mitchell Persaud is a missionary at New Horizon URCNA, in Scarborough, ON, Canada, where he has ministered for over 20 years. Feel free to Google his name for more information about New Horizon. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

January 31 - The joy of arriving in Christ’s kingdom

“Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! …For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation.” - Psalm 149:2, 4  Scripture reading: Psalm 149:1-9 At the beginning of this month, we set out on a journey through the Psalms. Psalms 1 to 149 is the storyline of the Bible and of every believer. The first psalm puts a GPS (God Positioning System) in our hands – God’s instruction (1:2). By meditating on His Word, we develop trust in Yahweh’s Son as our King (2:12, 6) Who brings us to our destination (1:5-6). First, our destination is joyfully personal (read 149:1-5). Our voices join to celebrate Yahweh as our Maker and King (2), Who delights in us by saving us (4). Beginning with Abraham, God announced His plan to form a nation – which He did in Egypt. Later, in His promise to David, He revealed His plan to build a kingdom. When Jesus died on the cross, He satisfied God’s wrath against our sin, making us personal citizens of His Kingdom. Second, our destination is joyfully honourable (read 149:6-9). From the beginning, the Psalms warn that God’s Son will judge rebel nations and their kings (2:9-12, 1:4-6). In Psalm 149 Yahweh punishes those nations (7-8). When Jesus comes again, He will share this honour with His saints (149:9, see Matthew 19:28; 1 Corinthians 6:3; Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21; 19:14). Until then, Jesus equips believers with the sword of the Spirit (Hebrews 4:12) to defeat powerful sinners by warning of judgment and announcing forgiveness (2 Corinthians 10:4-6). What joy to arrive in Christ’s Kingdom! Praise Yahweh! Suggestions for prayer Submit to Christ if you haven’t already. Confess dependence by naming specific circumstances (people, places, events) that God used to bring you into His Kingdom. Thank God for delivering you from eternal damnation. Read Psalm 150 in unison as your praise. Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

January 30 - Near to God

“Let them praise the name of the Lord… for His majesty is above earth and heaven. …He has raised up a horn for His people, praise for all His saints … who are near to Him.” - Psalm 148:13, 14  Scripture reading: Psalm 148:1-14 When I was a kid, our family ate breakfast with our state governor. I was surprised that he shared this close setting with so few. I felt honoured to be one of fifty. When you read Psalm 148, I want you to feel the surprise and honour of eating breakfast with God. That’s the punch line in verse 14 – “praise … for the children of Israel who are near to Him.” First, His nearness is surprising because of Yahweh’s majestic reputation in the heavens. He commissions the angels (2), keeps the heavenly bodies in motion (3), and holds the heights of heaven in place (4) (Read verses 1-6). Second, Yahweh’s nearness is surprising because of His majestic reputation on the earth. He designed and still maintains every detail of creation – from weather patterns (8) to landscape (9) to the animals (10) to political powers (11) to the smallest child (12). (Read verses 7-13. Compare verses 5 and 13. Think of the name as Yahweh’s reputation.) All this builds to the surprising honour of verse 14. A horn symbolizes the power of an ox (Psalm 92:10). More specifically, the horn of David refers to the line of David’s kingdom (132:17; 89:20-24). Jesus is the horn. Jesus is the praise for all His saints (14). By forgiving our sins, He makes us near to God legally. At His ascension, Jesus receives the name above all names (Ephesians 1:21; Philippians 1:9). Yet by His Spirit, He draws us nearer than a breakfast guest (Ephesians 2:6). Suggestions for prayer Praise God by naming specific creatures and features of His creation in both heaven and earth. Marvel by observing their function, their artistic beauty, and their wise design. Ask for a greater awareness of His nearness through His Word, Son, and Spirit. Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

January 29 - Yahweh’s new community

“The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel.” - Psalm 147:2  Scripture reading: Psalm 147:1-20 We can see home from Psalm 147! According to the map in Psalm 1:5-6, our destination is to stand with the congregation of the righteous in the presence of Yahweh. Psalm 147 celebrates the warmth and joy of being at home with God and His family. First, Yahweh’s New Community consists of forgiven sinners (Read verses 1-6). The God Who numbered the stars (4-5) also heard the humble cries of the brokenhearted (3,6). That’s why Yahweh forgave the exiles in Babylon. They returned to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple (2). Through forgiveness, we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit and members of Christ’s body. Second, Yahweh’s New Community hopes in His steadfast love (Read verses 7-11). With eyes of faith, we recognize Yahweh in the clouds. Clouds produce rain. Rain grows grass. Grass becomes food for animals—even for baby ravens! (8-9). By giving Yahweh the credit for His works, we express our hope in Him (11) and keep from worshipping the powers of this world (10). Finally, Yahweh’s New Community is a distinct kingdom (Read verses 12-20). He protects this kingdom and fills it with families (13). In His kingdom, peace prevails, and no one goes hungry (14). By His command He controls all the kingdoms of the world through the processes of freezing and melting (15-18). But He governs His own kingdom by distinct laws (19-20) — the greatest of which is love. Praise Yahweh for His New Community and your place in it! That’s home. Suggestions for prayer Praise God’s forgiveness in Christ (verses 1-6). Thank Him for your church. List her specific blessings (12-14). Recognize God’s hand in today’s weather patterns and His government through them (8-9, 15-18). Praise God for the gift of His written Word (19-20).  Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

January 24 - Jesus rules the world

“The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” - Psalm 110:1  Scripture reading: Psalm 110:1-7  Jesus rules the world! That’s the global secret David shares in verse 1. Jesus Himself confirms it in Matthew 22:42-45. It’s as if David says, ‘One of my descendants will be my Master. He will rule the world at God’s right hand.’ David knows this from the personal announcement of The Lord (that is, Yahweh) to David’s Lord (that is, Master). David hears about Jesus’ ascension nearly a 1000 years before it happens! That awareness sparks two gut reactions. First, David pleads with his Master. He says to Jesus, “Rule in the midst of your enemies!” (2). Then David envisions prisoners escaping to Jesus out of the sunrise (3) because Jesus is the Priest Who washes them clean (4). See for yourself by reading Psalm 110:2-4 and think to yourself, ‘Jesus rules his enemies. He defeated Satan to release me from his grip. As priest, Jesus sacrificed Himself in my place.’ Second, David turns to Yahweh and brags about Jesus to Yahweh. At Yahweh’s right hand, Jesus will shatter kings and execute the nations (5-6) – just as Psalm 2 warned. David pictures Jesus walking away from battle holding his head high in victory (7). Treasure this moment by reading Psalm 110:5-7. As you read, substitute the name “Jesus” for each instance of the word “he”. Disobeying God doesn’t seem harmless anymore, does it? Let Jesus’ coming judgment scare you from sin. Trust His victory for safety. Run to Jesus. Your Priest-King rescues and protects you. Jesus rules the world! Suggestions for prayer Praise God for seating Jesus at His right hand. Plead with God to defeat His enemies by converting sinners into the kingdom. Meditate on Christ’s second coming by saying verses 5-7. Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

January 23 - What’s your story?

"Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord." - Psalm 107:43 Scripture reading: Psalm 107:1-9, 42-43 Did God answer? Yesterday, the war victim in Psalm 106 pleaded, “Gather us from among the nations” (47). Yes! God answered! Listen to the preacher in the next Psalm. He urges the congregation to tell their God-story, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has … gathered in from the lands, from the east … west … north … and south” (107:2-3). Then he lists four stories of God’s committed love – first, love for those starving and homeless (4-9); second, love for prisoners in a dungeon scheduled to die (10-16); third, love for fools who wrecked their health with wild living (17-22); and fourth, terrified sailors who nearly sank with their ship in a storm (23-32). Why these four stories? To stir up thankfulness for God’s steadfast love. Psalm 107 kicks off Book 5 (Psalms 107-150) with energy, “Oh give thanks to the Lord,” Why this enthusiasm? It’s the same answer as before “…for the Lord is good” (Psalm 100:5, 106:1). And how do we know His goodness? “…for His steadfast love endures forever” (107:1). That’s what the four stories highlight. In each case, they cried and God heard. He housed and fed the homeless. He released the prisoners. He healed the sick and rescued the sailors. God intends us to read and sing these stories as a spiritual exercise (42-43). He wisely designed this workout to make us grateful (1) and glad (42). For today’s workout, read Psalm 107 aloud with expression. Suggestions for prayer Give thanks to God for your own story. Follow the pattern of the stories in Psalm 107: name your trouble (4-5), cry for help (6), recognize Christ’s provisions, (7), give thanks (8-9). Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

January 22 - Proof of Yahweh’s love and faithfulness 

"For their sake he remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.” - Psalm 106:45 Scripture reading: Psalm 106:1-48 Yesterday, we celebrated the goodness of God. But can we sing of God’s goodness when tragedy strikes? The writer of Psalm 106 thinks so. He writes as a victim of war. Nebuchadnezzar’s army forced his family from their home and marched them 600+ miles on foot to Babylon. That’s why he ends this psalm so urgently, “…gather us from among the nations” (47). He wants to go back home! Are you homesick for better days? Is it realistic to say that God is good? Let’s listen to a war victim: “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good”. And why does he think God is good? “…for his steadfast love endures forever!” (v.1). At the end of Book 3 (Psalms 73-89) Ethan (another war victim) questions the Lord’s steadfast love (89:49). Egypt stripped the temple and controlled David’s throne. By the time we get to the end of Book 4 (Psalms 90-106) the circumstances are worse (106:47), but the mood is better. What has changed? The perspective. The homesick captive uses his memory like a backup camera. He squints far into the past to see steadfast love. That love endures generations of rebellion – at the Red Sea, in the wilderness, even child sacrifices (106:6-43). His backup camera displays God’s goodness. View the last large scene in these words: “Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry. For their sake he remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love” (44-45). Suggestions for prayer Rapidly read Psalm 106:6-43 to feel the bursts of cruelty against God. Slow down and repeat (2x) the lines that tell of God’s deliverance. Let the intervention of Moses (23) and Phineas (30) prompt thanksgiving for Jesus’ steadfast love on the cross. Plead for salvation using verses 4-5,47. Then give thanks with verses 1-3,48. Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

January 21 - Celebrate Yahweh’s love and faithfulness

“For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” - Psalm 100:5 Scripture reading: Psalm 100:1-5 I could hardly wait for Psalm 100! It bursts with excitement about God’s goodness. How is God good (5a)? First, He did not abandon His people, but His steadfast love endures forever (5b). Second, He did not break His promise to David, but his faithfulness endures to all generations (5c). In Psalm 89 it appeared that God ended His love-relationship with Israel. Two questions haunt the Old Testament believer. First, how could God be present if the temple is gone? Second, how could God be faithful if no one reigns from David’s throne? Psalms 90-92 answer the first question. God is present just as He was with Moses before there ever was a temple. Psalms 93-99 answer the second question. God is King! By the time we get to Psalm 100 the writer can hardly contain his enthusiasm for Yahweh’s steadfast love and faithfulness. God still reigns today! “Serve the Lord with gladness” turns our to-do list into partnerships with King Jesus. “We are his people '' secures our place in His kingdom and guarantees God’s presence! “Enter … his courts with praise!” transforms our worship into angelic celebrations at God’s throne. Feel the excitement in the rapid-fire commands of Psalm 100 – Make a joyful noise! Serve! Come! Know! Enter! Give thanks! Bless! – This is not a warning, but a welcome … not have-to-do, but get-to-do. That’s why I couldn’t wait for Psalm 100. Though our sins deserve separation, God opens His arms through King Jesus! God is still good! Suggestions for Prayer Celebrate God’s faithfulness to create and maintain His people (3). Thank God for access through Jesus and for the presence of His Spirit (2,4). Ask for zeal to invite others to this good news. Read Psalm 100 again with this in mind. Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

January 16 - Don't doubt God’s goodness

“Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled…” - Psalm 73:1-2  Scripture reading: Psalm 73:1-28 “It’s worthless to keep a clean conscience and live a pure life!” Asaph thought. In Psalm 73, he confesses his struggles with doubt (read 73:1-3). Misperception nearly kills his faith. Hopefully his story convinces you that “God is good … to those who are pure in heart.” Asaph’s doubts about God come from interpreting life through his experiences. Two observations tempt him to question God’s goodness. First, it seems that the wicked always get ahead in life and have it easy (read 73:4-12). Secondly, his life is the opposite – filled with turmoil even though he keeps a clean conscience and obeys God (read 73:13-14). That’s not what he expects. He figures that godly people prosper, and wicked people perish. His experience does not match his beliefs. Thankfully, Asaph keeps his thoughts to himself because he knows how damaging it would be to talk that way in front of other church members – especially those young in the faith (read 73:15). His turning point comes when he interprets life from God’s perspective (read 73:16-17). By faith, Asaph sees that God will severely judge the wicked (read 73:18-20). He admits that he had been as clueless as a cow (read 73:21-22). Asaph comes to see God differently and so can you. As you read verses 23-26, imagine God holding your hand, whispering advice and then welcoming you into heaven. Use verses 27-28 to keep trusting God’s Son (2:12) instead of believing your own interpretations of the world. Suggestions for prayer Confess your own doubts about God. Admit that your doubts are lies about reality. Thank God for making known what we cannot understand by our own observations. Ask for accurate perceptions to dissolve your doubts and secure your joy. Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

January 15 - Give the King your justice!

“Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son! … May his … fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed!” - Psalm 72:1, 17  Scripture reading: Psalm 72:1-20 Sin isn’t fair. Mr. Greed says, “Finders keepers, losers weepers!” Ms. Gossip wrecks her neighbour’s reputation with the excuse, “Well, it’s true!” Mr. Lust destroys marriage with the mindset, “It can’t be wrong if it feels so right.” Psalm 72 is a prayer for King Jesus to make all things just – to defend the poor, to rescue starving kids, to crush oppressors! (72:4). Book 2 (Psalms 42-72) confronts the mess that sin makes when bullies take advantage of others. Psalms 42-44 sigh under sin’s bitterness. Immediately, Psalm 45 presents Jesus as the valiant Groom Who rescues His bride from her bullies. He leads His army (46) to defeat His enemies (47) and to live peacefully with His bride in the royal city (48). Therefore, don’t fear when the wicked prosper (Psalm 49) because God comes as judge to execute them (50). Instead, we must return to God with the sacrifice of genuine sorrow over sin (51) and continue to trust Him in all our troubles (52-64). Then we will rejoice with others in His world-wide mission to gather broken, miserable sinners (65-67); and we will live confidently in God Who continues to defeat our enemies (68) and to rescue us from sin (69-70) – even to old age (71). By praying Psalm 72, we trust in Jesus and delight in His kingdom. Only He can bring us to our destination – the place of standing before God in the congregation of the righteous (see introduction). King Jesus makes all things right. Suggestions for prayer Pray for the justice of Christ’s kingdom by reading Psalm 72:1-7. Pray for the expanse of His kingdom with verses 8-14. Pray for its continuation with verses 15-17. Praise His glorious kingdom with verses 18-19. Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

January 14 - Safety in Christ’s kingdom

“Prolong the life of the king…! May he be enthroned forever before God; appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!” - Psalm 61:6, 7  Scripture reading: Psalm 61:1-8 The what-ifs of life threaten our security. What if I get cancer? What if I lose my job? What if my parents divorce? In this poem, David discovers safety in the kingdom of Jesus and so can you. David’s big scare is the enemy. Repeatedly, he faces brutal and angry bullies who want him dead. No wonder David thinks of God’s protection in military terms – my refuge, a strong tower (v.3). He pleads with God to lead him to a rock so high that arrows cannot reach him; and its cliffs so steep that no enemy can climb it. That’s the first picture of safety – out of reach of the enemy (Read 61:1-3). But security is more than just an escape from death. Safety involves knowing that someone loves you and cares for you. Therefore, David begs to live with God in His tent. He wants God to care for him with the intensity of a mother hen sheltering chicks under her wing. (Read 61:4-5.) This second picture of safety is all about relationship. By the end of David’s poem, he moves from present troubles to future hope. What makes God as secure as a high rock in battle? What assures David of God’s loving care – as protective as a mother hen? The answer is “Jesus!” By faith David sees King Jesus sitting on David’s future throne. Jesus’ eternal reign gives us the confidence to face the what-ifs of life – even cancer, unemployment, and broken homes (Read 61:6-8). Suggestions for prayer Name the fears and circumstances that threaten your security. Be specific. Thank God for being like a rock, strong tower, and mother hen. Ask for deliverance from fear and for hope in Christ’s coming kingdom. Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

January 13 - The king’s repentance

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” - Psalm 51:10  Scripture reading: Psalm 51:1-16 Are you wondering what to do with a sinful secret? David’s conscience nags him for nine months or more. Exhausting. Agitating. Condemning. Then Nathan exposes his swollen puss pocket of sin to unleash three stages of repentance. Stage 1: Trust God with your dirty secrets (read 51:1-6). First, David appeals to a love more loyal than family and more compassionate than a thousand mothers (1-2). Second, he admits that his sin attacks God Himself and comes from a dirty heart (3-6). Since God so loved the world to send His only natural Son, you can share the slime of your soul with Him. Stage 2: Confession leads to cleansing (read 51:7-12). First, David begs for a clean record (7) to restore him emotionally and physically (8) in his relationship with God (9). Second, David pleads for a clean heart. David remembers Saul’s torment when the Holy Spirit left Saul. That intensifies his need for the Holy Spirit (11) to give him a right (10) and willing spirit (12). Our guilty record is cleansed by Christ’s death. Our dirty heart is purified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, beg for cleansing. Stage 3: Clean records and hearts lead to worship (read 51:13-19). Forgiveness sets David free to teach others the way of freedom (13), to sing its value (14), and to boast of God (15). Wrong worship thinks only of the outward actions (16). When we offer our broken hearts (17), God builds a worshiping community (18) who please God with right worship (19). Suggestions for prayer Confess your own sins and ask forgiveness in Jesus’ blood. Be specific. Ask for internal changes that result in right desires and pure motives. Ask for more worship from the heart in you and your local church members. Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

January 8 - Sharing in Jesus joyful answer

“All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.” - Psalm 22:27–28  Scripture reading: Psalm 22:22-31  Yesterday, we heard Jesus’s prayer echoing from the cross. God felt far away (vv. 1,11,19). Jesus begged, but no one came to His rescue (v.2). Yet, He trusted while carrying the burden of our sins. Then, at the end of verse 21 the silence breaks. Jesus exclaims: “You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!” What’s astonishing is that Jesus’s rescue brings relief not only to Himself, but to all who trust Him. Read Psalm 22:22-24 rejoicing that Jesus treats us as family. Jesus speaks as our older brother. He is not embarrassed to own us as adopted siblings (see Hebrews 2:10-12). Then, as our song leader, He expects us to join Him in worship (v.23). Why? Because God answers prayer (v.24). And when God answered Jesus’s prayer, He rescued us! Read Psalm 22:25-26 rejoicing as members of Jesus’s family. Jesus received His answer when He rose from the dead. That’s why the heavenly choir sings to Jesus: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain…. Let us rejoice and exalt and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come” (Revelation 5:12; 19:7). What a joyful privilege! Read Psalm 22:27-31 rejoicing in Jesus’s expanding family. God promised that all the families of the earth would be blessed through Abraham’s line. When Jesus ascended into heaven, He received the right to gather the nations. (Remember Ps. 2:8!) Today, people around the globe confess Jesus as Saviour. That’s proof of His kingdom! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for raising Jesus from the dead. Praise God for your place in His family. Ask for opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus’s kingly power over death. Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

January 7 - Trust Jesus to hold you close

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?” - Psalm 22:1  Scripture reading: Psalm 22:1-21  Jesus prayed this lament with people like you and me on His heart. To personalize His words, we need to return to the cross. His body convulses with pain. His soul trembles with the lonely shuddering of hell. Yet He prays! That’s trust in the midst of trial! Let us learn from His exercise of faith. First, value His trial for us. In His trial, Jesus groans at the distance between Himself and God. Because of the distance, Jesus cries, but hears no answer (read 22:1-2). Because of the distance, Jesus feels the stinging shame of angry mockers (read 22:6-8,11). Because of the distance, Jesus wearies from physical and emotional trauma (read 22:12-18). He enters that hellish loneliness for us! Jesus takes our place far away from God. (See the word “far” in verses 1,11,19.) Second, Jesus engages His trial with trust. His trust is also for us! Trust is the breath under every agonizing sigh and each haunting groan. Trust is the power of Jesus’s memory to recall the way God answered the prayers of other believers (read 22:3-4) and the way God developed this faith in Jesus as a child (read 22:9-10). Yes, Jesus prays for Himself to endure the cross. But remember, Jesus endures God’s wrath for sin that belongs to people like you and me. If Jesus does not survive the cross, then God must leave us far away. Indeed, Jesus’s trust secures our place near to God. Tomorrow we will hear God’s surprising answer. Suggestions for prayer Reverently read Psalm 22:1-21. Acknowledge that you deserve the distance Jesus experiences. Thank God for Jesus’s strong trust that kept Him praying. Plead with God to preserve you (vv.19-21). Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

January 6 - Praise of Yahweh’s kingdom rescue

“Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.” - Psalm 18:50  Scripture reading: Psalm 18:43-50  David’s victory is our victory. Don’t miss the dramatic and world-changing impact of Psalm 18. David celebrates the greatest turning point in world history up to his day. God engaged David in His war against the seed of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). Through Saul, God’s kingdom falls into the hands of the Devil, but God deploys David to rescue His kingdom. First, let us recognize God’s unfolding plan for His kingdom. David sees that his victories serve a higher purpose. He sees a world-wide kingdom sprouting up according to the promise God made when David first gained control of the united kingdom in Israel. He credits God with making him head of the nations. He credits God with bringing foreigners to him like soldiers waving the white flag in surrender. Read verses 43-45 with a sense of excitement and happy surprise as you try to picture this scene in your mind. Second, when we recognize what God is doing, we must turn that knowledge into praise as David does in verses 46-48. Finally, let us praise Yahweh for expanding His kingdom through Jesus Christ. That’s Who David has in mind. Read verses 49-50 to expect a global kingdom under the reign of our Saviour, King Jesus. Suggestions for prayer Read verse 46 by inserting your name in place of David. Here’s my example: blessed be Ken’s rock … the God of Ken’s salvation. To personalize verses 47-48 insert Jesus instead of David – like this: “the God who gave Jesus vengeance and subdued peoples under Him.” Do the same with verse 48 to accept David’s victory as Jesus’ victory, and His victory as your victory over Satan, sin, and self. Pray verses 49-50 as your own praise. Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

January 5 - The story of Yahweh’s rescue

“For who is God, but the Lord? — the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.” - Psalm 18:31, 32  Scripture reading: Psalm 18:20-42 On Sunday afternoons our family enjoys reading together. Our favourites are life-stories of Christian missionaries. Their zeal for the Lord inspires us. In these next verses of Psalm 18, David tells his own story of rescue. Notice how he gives God the credit at every turn. First, he credits God for keeping him from doing wrong. He could have killed Saul on two occasions, but he didn’t. Why not? Because God’s rules and statutes (22) filled his mind. He didn’t dare to touch the Lord’s anointed. Softly read verses 20-24 as David reflects on his decision not to kill Saul. Second, David credits God with being faithful. From Deuteronomy 28, we learn that God blesses obedience and curses rebellion. David recognizes that God dealt with him in this fashion. What was the outcome? God put a spring in David’s legs to leap over a wall in battle. Thoughtfully read verses 25-30 to see that God is true to His word. Third, God equips David for battle (18:32,39). He gives God the credit by listing specific details of his story. How did David get to be such a successful soldier? God put speed in his legs and skill in his hands. Every success in hand-to-hand combat, he attributes to God. Learn to credit God by reading verses 31-39. Finally, David credits God with his victories. What is the greatest difference between Saul and David? God answered David’s prayer, but gave silence to Saul. Humbly read verses 40-42 as David remembers God’s grace. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for answering the prayers of Jesus whose victory crushes Satan’s head and secures our salvation. Give God the credit for specific ways He has and is keeping you in the faith. Rev. Ken Anema currently serves as an instructor for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary which is a prison discipleship ministry structured as a school. Prior to that, he pastored the Messiah’s Independent Reformed Church in Holland, MI (1993-2014) after graduating from Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

December 31 - Nearing the end

“Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.” - Revelation 14:6 Scripture reading: Revelation 14:6-12  This Christmas, we celebrated not just the birth of Christ, but the fact that He came to defeat the devil and liberate us and this world from sin and all its consequences (See Hebrews 2:14-15). The devil and his cohorts, the two beasts and those who serve them, do their best to drown the gospel with the lie that life is found in man alone as he lives out his dreams and desires. Yet, Christ is in heaven, and there are those who do not buy into the lie of the devil or give into impurity, but follow Christ. John at this point shows us an angel announcing the good news of the gospel of Christ to everyone. Interestingly the content of his message is a call to “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of judgment has come.” This is indeed the awesome news the world needs to hear. The devil’s time is short and Christ is coming soon! In fact, all the signs of His coming are evident around us. We see the false prophet and the beast from the sea, all governments promoting man living apart from God. We see the various partial judgments warning all to repent and believe in Jesus for salvation! It should be evident to all that the destruction of man’s kingdoms is just around the corner! Therefore, we are called to worship the Creator and to patiently endure to the end, remaining faithful to Jesus. Jesus says He is coming soon (Revelation 22:20). Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the comfort of knowing the victorious Christ. Thank Him for the certainty of His imminent return. Quickly come, Lord Jesus! Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com. ...

Daily devotional

December 30 - Assurance of victory

“Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads.” - Revelation 14:1  Scripture reading: Revelation 14:1-5 Nearing the end of 2022, we may be wondering if anyone can escape the rule of the beast and the lies of the false prophet. So, the Spirit gives us this picture of Jesus on the throne and the 144,00 that we saw in chapter 7. Jesus is victorious; He knows His own and He keeps them safe! Psalm 2 shows us all the nations in rebellion, yet God has placed His Son on Zion. Zion is the city of God, where God is enthroned in glory! Despite what we see happening on earth, Christ is enthroned. And in this picture in Revelation 14, we see the people of God, the saved ones. These are the ones who have been sealed by God as His own. Here, we are told that these are the ones who have kept themselves pure. They did not commit adultery, serving the gods of this world, but kept themselves pure for Jesus, following Him. They followed and testified to the truth, not giving in to the lie of the false prophet. In this vision, they are singing before all those in heaven – the living creatures, the elders. Only they could sing this new song. This new song is an old song, for it is the song of Moses and the Lamb (see Chapter 15). It sounds like a roar, for it is a great multitude of people from all nations. The plan and purposes of God are sure. Salvation is ours in Christ. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Father for this vision of Jesus and those whom He has redeemed as first fruits. Pray He will keep us pure, keep us from believing the false prophet, keep our faith strong. Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com. ...

Daily devotional

December 29 - The beast from the earth

“Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth.” - Revelation 13:11  Scripture reading: Revelation 13:11-18 Another beast arises from the earth. This beast looks gentle, but he is a dragon in sheep’s clothing. As the beast from the sea often represents the power of nations against God, the beast from the earth represents human thought, teaching, knowledge, and wisdom apart from God’s revelation. There is ‘wisdom’ that is earthly, unspiritual and of the devil which results in chaos and confusion. This wisdom is focused on this life, this world and our flesh. Very attractive, but very deceitful. Satan is calling forth such lies to deceive, if possible, the followers of Christ to think in Christless, self-centred, earth-centred ways. Such wisdom seems powerful, even miraculous at times, in what it seems to deliver. Yet, it always leads to death. The first beast gives authority to this beast. Just think of how a secular government takes the responsibility of parents away and seeks to indoctrinate children in ‘public’ schools, and by use of mass communication technology. This has been a constant throughout history as godless governments seek to control the thoughts and minds of citizens. No government can last long simply through power! Thus it needs ‘prophets’ and teachers! In many ways the kingdom of the beast from the sea mimics the kingdom of God: it has saviours, even a mark of belonging like baptism. But it is the mark of the beast, of man. We are shown the beast so that we are not taken in by the lie of the false prophet. Man is not supreme. Christ is! Suggestions for prayer In this day when Governments, education, mass media and those enamoured with man and his image seem to dominate, pray that God will keep us from being taken in and help us to see Jesus alone and serve Him, for in Him alone is eternal life. Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com. ...

Daily devotional

December 28 - The beast from the sea

“Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” - Revelation 13:4  Scripture reading: Revelation 13:1-10 Many of us are distressed over the moral decline in our nations and the political corruption and polarization that prevails. Government under God is good. Government that seeks to take the place of God is a beast. This is the beast that comes out of the sea in Revelation 13. In Revelation 17:15 we learn that the waters are “…people’s, multitudes, nations, and languages.” Out of this arises governments that, under the sway of the devil’s lies, seek power apart from and in opposition to God. Early readers may have thought of the Roman Empire as a beast who opposed the Christian church, but Rome was only one aspect of this Beast. It comes repeatedly in various forms, for he is a symbol of all worldly governments and secular power opposing God and His people. In Revelation 11, it destroyed the witness of the church. Here in Revelation 13, we read that it is “…given power to make war against the saints and to conquer the saints.” We often wonder who can stand against governments as they disregard God and murder the unborn, change God’s definition of marriage, confuse people regarding gender and seek to overturn what is right and good and true. The beast seems all powerful! Yet, as we will see, its authority is limited by God’s. We are simply called to patient endurance and faithfulness, for the time of the beast, like that of Satan, is short. Although we may be persecuted (captivity, sword, death), we must remain faithful to Jesus whose kingdom never ends. Suggestions for prayer In these trying times, pray that God will give us strength to oppose evil and the evil one, and to stand for what is true, always remaining faithful to our King and Saviour Jesus. Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com. ...

Daily devotional

December 23 - The woman

“And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” - Revelation 12:1 Scripture reading:  Revelation 12 In Revelation, we receive a new vision which, in a series of pictures, explains all of history to those who read and hear the word of God. We are introduced to a woman, who represents believers from the beginning to the end of time. God has long promised that a seed of the woman would come to destroy the devil and reconcile sinners with God. Here, this woman is pregnant and ready to give birth. Many prophets had used this imagery for the church (see, for example, Isaiah 26:17-18). This woman is the covenant people of God, the church. Here, we see this woman as clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet and the stars crowning her head. She stands at the centre of all creation! There is a sense in which everything in the world revolves around God’s people. The Christ will come from among God’s people, and He will redeem His people and take them as His bride. All creation is longing for the day when Christ comes for His bride, the church, and all will be released from the curse of sin. What a comforting picture the book of Revelation paints for believers. In Revelation 1, we see Christ caring for the church. Later, we see God’s children sealed and protected amid tribulation. Now, we see that she is the very heart of the plan of redemption for all creation. (see Ephesians 1). How crucial it is to believe in Jesus and be in His church. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for your church. Although not yet complete, pray He will gather in the lost sheep and unite His children. Ask Him to prepare us as a bride, spotless for Jesus’s return. Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com. ...

Daily devotional

December 22 - The seventh trumpet

“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven,  saying, “The Kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”” - Revelation 11:15 Scripture reading:  Revelation 11:14-19 In contrast to the opening of the seventh seal, where silence reigned, here we are introduced to the final woe with a scene of exultant celebration! Here we see Christ reigning over the world and judgment day at hand!  We read, “The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time for judging the dead and rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great – and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” We don’t see the final judgment, just the announcement of it and the celebration of it. The magnitude of this judgment is yet to be revealed. In our world we see the nations raging and the people’s plotting against Christ (see Psalm 2). But in the end, Christ will reign and the raging of the nations will end, and they will be destroyed. And yes, this is a reason for celebrating. We celebrate Christmas because it is the birth of the King Who will bring all sin and opposition to God to an end, Who will destroy the wicked and will make all things new! In verse 19 we see the temple opened and we see the ark of the covenant. This is a picture of our restored fellowship with God. But as we are restored to Him, there is judgment coming upon the world! This is great news for believers, but a call to all others, “Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:12). Suggestions for prayer “O God do not keep silent, be not quiet O God, be not still, see how your enemies are astir… May they ever be ashamed and dismayed, may they perish in disgrace - let them know that you, whose name is the Lord, that you alone are the most high over all the earth.” AMEN (Psalm 83:17-18) Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com. ...

Daily devotional

December 21 - The two witnesses

“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days …the beast … will make war on them and conquer them and kill them… But after three and a half days…” - Revelation 11:3,7,11  Scripture reading: Revelation 11:1-13 The first part of the chapter continues to speak of the state of the church in end times. John here is to measure the sanctuary, a picture of him taking measurement of the body of believers, omitting those who do not follow Jesus. Then, we read that the world will have authority to trample the church for 42 months (1,260 days). In the last days the church will be afflicted by the world at the same time as the two witnesses (a reference to the church’s witness), referred to as two lampstands giving light to the nations. During the end times the church is protected as she prophecies and as she is trampled upon (persecuted) by the world. The proclaimed word has prophetic power today. Many do not realize this, but our generation will be judged on how they treat the church, and how they respond to the gospel. Yet, unbelievers will continue to persecute believers and the church, and a time will come when it appears as if the witness of the church is removed, as if the church were dead. In many ways, in our day the church seems little regarded. Yet, this will not last, but God will at the end raise up His own, to the amazement and horror of the world. Then, they shall realize the consequences of what Jesus said, “Whatever you do unto the least of these, his brothers, you do it unto him!” How do you treat Christ? How do you treat His body on earth? Suggestions for prayer Pray that God would enable your church to be a faithful witness in these last days. Even though she appears weak, we know believers are forever safe in His care. Thank Him for this comfort. Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com. ...

Daily devotional

December 20 - The angel and the scroll

“Then I saw another mighty angel … he had a little scroll.” - Revelation 10:1,2  Scripture reading: Revelation 10 That we are in an interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpet is clear because this angel is holding a scroll, not a trumpet. This interlude is intended to comfort us about the security of believers in the last days. It is given because the Spirit does not want us to become discouraged by the dark pictures of judgment. This angel comforts us as it is clothed with a rainbow, a picture of God’s faithfulness to His promises. The similarity between this angel and the Christ in Revelation 1 shows that this angel comes from Christ and represents Him. He plants one foot on the sea and the other on the land. He shows the authority of God over land and sea and declares the Word of God. His speaking sounds like seven thunders, but we are not told about the content of the seven thunders. John is not to write this down. Clearly everything is not revealed to us, so we must be humble to know that there are forces at work by God’s authority, about which we have no concept. The church must rest in God’s sovereign care as she fulfills her mission. The angel swears that there is no more delay. When the seventh trumpet will sound the mystery will be accomplished. What we have prayed for is coming soon! Yet, not yet. John is to devour the scroll and bring the word to many. Christ is coming without delay, but the church must be faithful to her mission! Suggestions for prayer We long for the day of Christ’s return and know He is coming, for we can see the evidence all around us. Yet, as we wait, pray that He will keep us faithful to our tasks of worship and witness in this dark world. Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com. ...

Daily devotional

December 15 - The great multitude

“I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.” - Revelation 7:9   Scripture reading: Revelation 7:9-17 Jesus said (John 12:32), “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself.” Here we see them, standing before the throne. What a thrill to see it. From all over the world they have come. Their unity in Christ transcends all earthly distinctions. God had promised Abraham that in him all the nations of the earth would be blessed. Here we see that fulfilled. The Gospel was preached and disciples from all nations, each with their own characteristics, have gathered before the throne, clothed in white, symbolizing righteousness. They are all those who had been sealed in the first 6 verses. Here they are waving palm branches, joyful in victory, in presence of the throne and the lamb. They are singing, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” All heaven celebrates this salvation. “AMEN! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honour and power and strength be to our God forever and ever! AMEN!” These have come out of the great tribulation, who have washed their clothes in the blood of the Lamb. To them belong eternal blessings of eternal service without burden, for Christ Himself at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd and will wipe every tear from their eyes. To believers belong a future of intense living, intense service without pain or sorrow. Because like springs of living water, life is ever new in the presence of our Lord. What a blessing! Suggestions for prayer Pray the Lord will hasten the day of His return to take us to Himself in glory, where we may live in His presence, serving Him without sin and its effects. Praise and glorify Him for our great salvation! Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com. ...

Daily devotional

December 14 - Sealed for salvation

“Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.” - Revelation 7:3  Scripture reading: Revelation 7:1-8 Chapter 6 ended with the question of who can stand on the day of God’s wrath. If we think that what is happening in our world today is bad, just wait until the final day! Who then shall stand? The answer given here is those whom God protects with a seal of His ownership. Many products are sold with a mark of ownership on them. Here God is shown to put His mark on those who belong to Him. The four winds of creation that can be destructive are restrained until the full number of the elect are marked by God. Then, no judgment can do them any harm. Think of the mark on the doorposts at the time of the Exodus, the blood of the Passover lamb. Who are the ones being sealed? 12,000 X 12 = 144,000, a symbolic number here referring to the children of Abraham (true believers) from all ages. They are bought with the precious blood of the lamb. Ephesians 1 says, “Having believed you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession” (See II Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 4:30). While the troubles in this world affect us, we will be protected from ultimate destruction, and on the final day be able to stand since we are covered in Christ’s blood. Jesus has promised to lose none of those whom the father has given Him (John 6:39). Suggestions for prayer Thank the Father for the assurance that all who believe in Him are saved forever! Thank Him for the comforting assurance of His Spirit and the promise that no child of God will be lost. Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com. ...

Daily devotional

December 13 - The angry lamb

“Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.” - Revelation 6:16  Scripture reading:  Revelation 6:12-17 The sixth seal opens and we are given a glimpse of an outpouring of cosmic upheaval. We have come almost to the end of all things! We are approaching the final judgment and it is a horrifying scene. We are being given a glimpse of the truth that there is a limit to God’s patience and that while the Lord came the first time to bring salvation for all who believe, He comes again to bring judgment on those who rebel and refuse to submit to Him. The day is coming when people who deny Him will see the Lamb angry and will see that He is in fact a Lion Whose roar terrifies and from which all people wish to flee and be hidden. Yes, the day is coming when the earth will be shaken and all firm foundations will be gone. People will wish, yet not be able, to hide from the wrath of God. So many emphasize the love of Jesus, and it is good to know that the love of God is for all who believe that His wrath was poured out on Jesus on the cross. But those who refuse to believe, who deny Him and resist His reign, will never know His love, but only His fierce anger. If you are reading this, the day of wrath is yet to come. We yet live in a time of grace, where God is being patient, wanting no one to perish. All who call on Jesus will be saved! Suggestions for prayer Pray that we long for the day of our Lord’s appearing, yet knowing how fearful it is for anyone to face Him apart from confessing their sin and believing in Him. Pray for God’s word to go forth calling sinners to repentance and faith. Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com. ...

Daily devotional

December 12 - How long?

“They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”” - Revelation 6:10  Scripture reading:  Revelation 6:9-11 The opening of the fifth seal also reveals something that takes place throughout the final ages until Christ returns. But this is a vision of an altar and of souls who had died because of their witness for the faith. God knows their names. They are crying out, “How Long, O Lord, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” This is a cry for justice, for God to make all things right. As we see the horsemen of conquest, civil unrest, economic hardship, and death, we too cry out, “How Long?” The answer is not definite. The saints are given clothes of righteousness as a guarantee of justice to come, but are told to wait a little longer until all who would suffer for the faith would be gathered in. As we wait, the greatest suffering is not that of the pocketbook or disease, but it is because of the rebellion against Jesus and the persecution of His saints. Jesus reigns in glory and yet, sin and the devil seem so dominant. How long will the Lord let such wickedness go unpunished? How long will His glory remain hidden in heaven and His servants struggle? How long before the Lord comes to our rescue (do we have no defender?)? The answer is a little longer! Rest in knowing that Christ is in heaven and working in these things to accomplish His purposes. Isaiah 30:15 says, “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” Suggestions for prayer Express that we long for the day of the appearing of our Lord to judge the wicked and usher in final rest and peace for His people. Ask for patience, trust and faith. Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com. ...

Daily devotional

December 7 - Worthy of praise

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things …” - Revelation 4:11 Scripture reading: Revelation 4: 1-11 We do not exactly see Him Who sits upon the throne. We are only given a vision of perfect beauty and glory, a rainbow, reminding us that His wrath against sin is held back by His promise of mercy to never destroy the world again with a flood. Around the throne are 24 thrones, representing believers in the old and new covenants. And there are four living creatures, angelic beings serving God. Angels in heaven praise God unceasingly, singing “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.” Along with them the church sings of the worthiness of God to receive praise, for He is the creator and sustainer of all things. All is perfect in the throne room because all is in submission to God Who reigns. On earth, we often hear moans of suffering and tears of grief. Even creation is groaning according to scripture, longing for relief from the curse of sin. Yet, believers sing in the midst of tears and sorrow, praising God, for with the eyes of faith we see the throne and everything in perfect submission to it. We sing with tears in our eyes, but have assurance in our hearts for God reigns and is bringing everything into submission. God, the creator, sent Jesus His Son as redeemer, Who is now Lord and is making all things new. We can indeed sing of His great work of redemption in anticipation of the new heavens and earth. Suggestions for prayer Pray for the eyes of faith to see the Lord enthroned in glory and everything in submission to Him. He works in everything for the good of those who love Him, making everything new. Pray that the Lord hastens that day! Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com. ...

Daily devotional

December 6 - Behold, a throne in heaven

“Behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.” - Revelation 4:2  Scripture reading: Revelation 4 Amazingly, in 19 out of 22 chapters of Revelation, God is described as “the one who sits upon the throne.” This echoes what the Psalms speak about, that God is enthroned and rules over all. Psalm 97 says, “The Lord Reigns, Let the earth rejoice!” Psalm 99 says, “The Lord Reigns; let the peoples tremble!” In chapter 4 we get a glimpse into heaven where we see a throne. A throne is a place from which judgment and decrees go forth. Above all the trials and turmoil of life, there is a throne. Above all our tears and fears is a throne. And there is One Who is upon that throne. Much of today’s news seems tragic and distressing, or absurd, or infuriating, interrupted by ads about drugs and diets. Much of life may not seem to make sense, causing many to become cynical and others to shut it all out. But a door has been opened into heaven and there is One seated upon the throne! Behind everything, over everything, the everlasting God reigns. We are given a view of the spiritual centre of the universe, the foundation of true wisdom and knowledge. Here is God the creator and sustainer of all things. This is a reason for us who believe to rejoice, even amid trials. And it is a reason for the nations to tremble, for a throne also implies judgment to come. “God is in His Holy Temple. Let all the earth keep silence before him” (Habakkuk 2:20). Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord, for revealing Himself and governing all things, for this gives us assurance, peace and strength to go on. What joy we have knowing that He, our Lord, reigns! Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com. ...

Daily devotional

December 5 - Behold your King!

“… one like a son of man … the hairs of his head were white like wool...his eyes were like a flame of fire...from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.” - Revelation 1:13ff Scripture reading: Revelation 1:9-20 Jesus first reveals Himself to John, and to us, so that we may know Him Who works in all things for the good of those who love Him. John turns to see Jesus. He sees a sight that sends him to his knees! Jesus, the son of man, is robed in royal apparel. He is God Almighty! His face is an explosion of blinding light and glory. His eyes are like blazing fire, penetrating everywhere, all seeing, and filled with wrath against all that is unholy. From His mouth comes a double-edged sword, one that pierces heart and soul and leaves no sinner standing. His feet, before which we kneel, are burnished bronze, used to cleanse the world of sin and wickedness. His voice demands attention, like the ever-rolling sea demands our respect. Here He stands, victorious and supreme in glory. In His hands are seven stars, which are the messengers to the churches. He is standing among candlesticks, representing the churches of Jesus Christ. What a glorious comfort this is. This King, once humbled before Pilate, His face smeared with blood, strength failing, of Whom the governor said, “Behold the Man!” and Who was then crucified, we here see risen, governing His churches, caring for them and His messengers. While we may be afraid of His appearance, hear His words of comfort, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive forevermore!” Behold your King! Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Lord God, would reveal Himself to us that we might know Him in all His glory, and be comforted by His sovereign power and merciful presence in the church. Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com. ...

Daily devotional

December 4 - Jesus is coming!

“Behold he is coming with the clouds and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even So AMEN.” - Revelation 1:7  Scripture reading: Revelation 1:1-20 Once more we look at the introductory verses, this time to notice what John draws our attention to. Look, he says! And he concludes this verse with the word AMEN: so shall it be. We must take note of what is so certain, that Jesus is coming, not now as the Saviour in the manger, but now as the sovereign Lord, coming on the clouds of heaven to judge the heavens and earth. Clouds in scripture are symbols of majesty, glory and judgment. In Psalm 97:2 we read, “…clouds and thick darkness surround Him; righteousness and justice are the foundations of his throne.” Jesus will return on the clouds, that is with majesty, glory and judgment, and every eye will see Him. His enemies will see Him and tremble in fear. They will mourn because of Him. Mentioned are those who pierced Him, those who put Him to death at the crucifixion. All who are unrepentant and unforgiven will mourn because when Jesus returns, they suddenly will see their folly and the dawning of the day of their destruction (see Revelation 18). In verse 1, we believers were promised grace and peace. This warning is given here to encourage all who hear, to flee to Christ and put their faith in Him. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Believers need not fear our Saviour’s return. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the redeeming work of Jesus and for the promise of His return as judge to make all things new. Ask for forgiveness of our sins, in Jesus’ name. Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

November 29 - The far greater Saviour

“…to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord…” - Jude 25a Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 10:23-33; Jude 24-25 The grace of God isn’t worth turning into lewdness and denying the only God and our Lord Jesus Christ (verse 4). That will bring us no joy. Making idols of our desires and using the gospel to excuse our sins is the life of a miserable slave, not of a joyful servant. What misery are you masking with the gospel so that you can stay in your sins? What idol have you crafted that is keeping you from giving a full-hearted doxology to the Lord? Remember that we have a far greater Saviour than any satisfaction that our sins can provide. Idols cannot even hear or speak, but the only God, our Saviour, speaks His gospel to us through His Word, and hears even our groaning prayers through His Spirit. The guarantee of a life of purpose and eternal joy is nothing less than Jesus Christ our Lord Who gave Himself up on the cross so that we could be spared from the judgment our sins deserve. So do not be discouraged when you are contending for the faith. Yes, we are weak in this struggle, and the church will always prove inadequate to the task, but our God and Saviour will keep us in His mercy! Suggestions for prayer Praise the Lord for revealing Himself to us as our Saviour through Jesus Christ. Thank Him that He has not abandoned us to a fruitless struggle against our sins, but has pledged victory for us by the blood of Christ alone. Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

November 28 - Beautiful Saviour

“…and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy…” - Jude 24b Scripture reading: Revelation 7:9-17; Jude 24-25 When we stand before God’s glorious throne on the Day of Judgment, will we have a disappointed look on our faces? Are we going to regret that the Lord’s mercy has taken us out of our sins? Will we despise that new and eternal life because we can no longer indulge ourselves in the passions of a sinful heart? The only ones who will be uncomfortable to stand before the presence of His glory will be those who have made excuses for their wickedness, instead of repenting at the news of His gospel. Receiving the righteousness of Christ to cover our sins and to make us blameless, is not a gospel for a day we hope will be as far in the future as it can be. Meanwhile, are we trying to enjoy as much of our sins as we can? How can we who belong to such a beautiful Saviour despise the beauty of His righteousness for us? We cannot live hypocritically by loving our sin-filled lives while being grateful that we will be saved from those sins when Jesus returns. Today is the day of salvation! This is a doxology to sing today and the great joy that verse 24 anticipates is ours to enjoy as a foretaste already now. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the righteousness that we have in Christ today, and for the sanctifying work of the Spirit Who will bring us to blamelessness when we stand in glory. Pray that the Spirit would give you the sincere joy to sing God’s praises. Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

November 27 - The first step

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling…” - Jude 24a Scripture reading: Psalm 121:1-8; Jude 24-25 With these final verses of his letter, Jude begins to sing a doxology. But this doxology could not have been sung with conviction by the false teachers he had warned the church about in his letter. They would not have sung about the Lord keeping them from stumbling because what they wanted was to stumble into the mud of their sins and then wallow in it some more. They wanted the gospel to let them stay defiled. But we have been called “to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Verse 3). Jude has reminded us how many have stumbled before us and the danger is just as much in front of our feet today. We are just one step away from stumbling back into our sins; none of us should have the pride to think that we can keep ourselves from stumbling. That pride is often the first step of our fall! Even if we do stumble, if we struggle with doubt, or if our ungodly passions still plague us, the Lord does not wait for us to pick ourselves up, clean ourselves off and prove that we are worthy of His mercy. He gave us the proof of His love in Jesus, so we will never stumble too far that His mercy cannot save. Suggestions for prayer Wherever you are fighting the desires of your flesh, plead with the Lord to keep you from stumbling. Ask that the Word that is preached to you today will encourage your faith to rest in the Lord’s care for His people Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

November 26 - Fireman’s carry

“…save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” - Jude 23 Scripture reading: Acts 2:29-39; Jude 17-23 When a firefighter rushes into a burning house, he doesn’t ask the person lying in the middle of the flames and suffering from smoke inhalation, “Would you like me to show mercy to you?” No, he yanks that person up and over his shoulder and carries him out of the house as quickly as he can. Verse 22 encourages us to have mercy on those who doubt, which requires patience and compassion. Verse 23 commands us again to have mercy, but this time there is no room for patience. Perhaps you’ve had patience with this person in the past, but they’ve become so consumed by their sinful desires that they need to be rescued immediately from a much more dangerous fire – the wrath of God. In this case, tough words need to be said, knowing that they might not be welcomed. Perhaps friendships or possessions need to be left behind because they lead to uncontrolled temptation. But if these tough words are not said and sinners are left to continue in their ways, they risk the judgment of God that Jude described in verses 5-11. May God have mercy and snatch sinners from the fire! Suggestions for prayer Pray for loved ones or church family who are shutting their hearts to God’s call to repentance. Ask the Lord to help you not to be afraid of speaking words of mercy to them. Pray that God would gather the lost and show them His mercy. Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

November 21 - Division must occur

“It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.” - Jude 19 Scripture reading: John 14:25-31; John 17:20-26; Jude 17-23 It is lamentable that the church is not as unified as it ought to be, but what compromises would have to be made to satisfy everyone who claims to be a Christian so that they can belong to a single, global church? Considering the corrupting influence of sin and the persistence of the devil to use false teachers to lead people astray, is it really surprising to see the church splintered into so many denominations? Some say that doctrine divides and that’s why Christians can’t get along. In one sense, that’s true: false doctrine leads the church away from the Bible and true doctrine keeps the church from compromising with the world. False doctrine and true doctrine cannot live peacefully together. Division must occur if the church is to keep its life and witness pure. That’s why, whenever division occurs, we must ask, “What kind of worldliness caused this disunity?” The Holy Spirit does not cause disunity. The Holy Spirit brings peace, just as Jesus promised. Even though contending for the faith might seem to be combative, the fruit of that struggle is a church unified as its rests together in Christ. That is a peace worth all of the watchfulness, discipline and prayer we can muster. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for faithfully giving His Spirit to the church even though there have been many divisions. Pray that the Lord would heal those divisions and encourage a spirit of unity and faithfulness to His Word. Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

November 20 - Did God really say?

“They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.”” - Jude 18 Scripture reading: 2 Peter 3:1-9; Jude 17-23 Wherever the gospel is faithfully preached and the church begins to grow, scoffers quickly follow. Scoffers try to undermine the effectiveness of the gospel by mocking those who strive for holiness: “Can Christians really expect to have success in their struggles against sin? You know how weak you are, and you know the wickedness that’s still in your heart!” The devil sends out his messengers to try to cause doubt so that we are discouraged from even trying to persevere in holiness. But when the Apostle Peter warned us about scoffers, he also reminded us of the perfections of our Lord. Even though our battle against sin in ourselves and in the church might seem to have no end in sight, “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” No matter how long and arduous the struggle is, there is an end to it that has been predetermined by our Father Who loves His people. The best answer to those who scoff is not to join them in their ungodly passions, but to live with our eyes fixed on the long-suffering of the Lord. Yes, we are too weak to stand on our own against ungodliness, but God’s promises are the surety of our salvation and we will see Christ’s victory in us. Suggestions for prayer Open your heart to the Lord when you have doubts about His promises, and ask Him to show you again the power of His love in Jesus Christ. Pray that you will not grow weary of doing good and that you can be an encouragement to struggling brothers and sisters. Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

November 19 - The old, old story

“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.” - Jude 17 Scripture reading: Ephesians 2:19-22; Hebrews 13:7-9; Jude 17-23 Whenever the church goes astray, it’s because she first made the decision to forget. When the old, old story of Jesus and His love becomes boring or outdated, Christians might remember that Jesus died on the cross for sinners, but they don’t think the gospel has much power. So they begin to look for something more appealing like influence or entertainment. The preaching turns Jesus into a therapist, Catechism classes become dry doctrinal lectures and Bible study (if the Bible is opened at all) is about finding advice for our marriages or political issues. A church that no longer remembers the gospel is easy pickings for false teachers to lead them into ungodliness. But the church, beloved by Christ, needs to remember the foundation upon which she stands. The Holy Spirit did not give the apostles empty, powerless words to write down in a book and then preserve those words for thousands of years, just to be forgotten today. Through the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit has put in our hands a Word that can renew the most lifeless church and transform the most distraught sinner. Even when it is difficult to contend for the faith in your own congregation, remember the power of the Word. Suggestions for Prayer Pray that your heart would be established by grace, rather than be tossed around by strange doctrines. Thank the Lord for His unchanging Word that He has preserved so that you can stand firmly in His promises today. Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

 November 18 - The wolf’s name tag

“These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage.” - Jude 16 Scripture reading: Matthew 7:15-19; Galatians 5:16-26; Jude 14-16 False teachers don’t come into the church wearing a name tag: “Wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Instead, they will present themselves as harmless, even humble to a fault. They are the last people you’d think are in danger of the wrath of God because their hypocrisy is designed to deceive. When Jesus says, “By their fruits you will know them,” he is speaking specifically about false teachers. What are these fruits? They grumble about the imperfections in the work of the church’s elders, implying that they could do a better job. They are malcontented about the pace of the church’s growth, proposing their own programs or tactics instead. They are quick to ask for patience and compassion when their teaching doesn’t line up with the Scriptures, but they have little patience for those who rebuke them. They will look to gain a following, force others into choosing sides and play the game of favourites to win you over. These are the fruits of a heart that will not submit itself to God’s Word, a heart that has a zeal to satisfy its own sinful desires instead. So what are we zealous for? Are we quick to grumble or complain? Do we boast about our own ideas and show favouritism? Lord, help us bear the fruit of humble faith! Suggestions for prayer Pray that you would bear the good fruit that comes from being rooted in Christ and ask the Lord to prune away whatever is sinful. Pray for watchful elders who have loving and compassionate hearts for God’s people Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

November 13 - Hidden reefs

“These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves…” - Jude 12a Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 11:17-22; Jude 1:12-13 A hidden reef is one of the greatest dangers for ships because if a ship runs aground, the waves will mercilessly slam into it until the ship breaks apart. But what does that have to do with our “love feasts”? Using the Greek word agape, “love feasts” was a nickname Christians used in the early church to describe the fellowship they had with each other during and surrounding the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Jude is warning about ungodly influences creeping into the church and destroying that fellowship, like hidden reefs can destroy a ship. Thinking that grace means we can live as we want, presuming that God doesn’t really care about our sinful choices, and boasting that we can control temptation on our own – those are all shipwrecks waiting to happen. That’s why “the Christian church is duty-bound to exclude such people by the official use of the keys of the kingdom until they reform their lives” (Lord’s Day 30). Whether or not you are having the Lord’s Supper today, treasure the fellowship you have in Christ’s church. Pray for your elders to be faithful in protecting the church. Because if we are not vigilant, we will run aground and break apart. Suggestions for prayer Give thanks for the fellowship we have together in Christ and for faithful elders and pastors who stand as watchmen over the church. Pray for a selfless heart that will gladly receive the guidance of the under-shepherds Christ has appointed in your congregation. Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

November 12 - Offended by offensiveness

“Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error and perished in Korah's rebellion.” - Jude 11 Scripture reading: Matthew 23:23-36; Jude 5-11 Israel refused to enter the Promised Land and their generation perished in the wilderness. The devil and his followers refused to honour the Lord and they were cast out of heaven. Sodom and Gomorrah assumed they would get away with their immorality and were consumed by fire. Cain murdered his brother and became a wanderer. Following Balaam’s advice, Israel joined themselves to the pagan women of Midian and a plague consumed 24,000 Israelites. Korah and his family were jealous of Moses and the earth swallowed them up. If today’s false teachers are distorting the gospel and threatening the church, should we expect God to deal with them any differently? Or are we so “nice” that we deprive our brothers and sisters of loving admonishments? Are we too hesitant to take a stand for the truth, and thus leave others to be led astray? Are we afraid to risk being offensive even though the Bible tells us that Jesus is a “a stumbling stone and a rock of offence”? (Romans 9:33). Contending for the faith can only happen if we truly believe that Jesus is the only Saviour and that every blessing comes only through Him. If we know the extent of His love for us, let us be eager to encourage others to cling to Jesus alone and not be swayed by a false gospel. Suggestions for prayer Pray to be Christ-like in your patience for sinners and in your steadfastness against false teachers. Ask God for an even greater love for Jesus so that you can love your neighbours with His gospel. Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

November 11 - Risky reasoning

“But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.” - Jude 10 Scripture reading: Hebrews 3:1-19; Jude 5-11 It’s easier to throw stones at the ungodliness and foolishness of others than it is to confess our own need for repentance. Jude is not speaking about these false teachers and their blasphemy in order to puff up our own pride and ego, but to warn us so that we don’t fall into the same wickedness. Contending for the faith also means watching over our own hearts. When we keep our Bibles closed and live by our own assumptions, we risk thinking that we have the right to decide how much the Holy Spirit is allowed to work in us. We risk making God’s law a superficial influence on our conduct. We risk thinking that we are righteous in our actions when our hearts are growing cold. This is blasphemy and it is destructive. We do not have more freedom and more joy by thinking that grace allows us to sin. Instead, we disgrace God’s Name by our actions, set unholy examples for our fellow Christians, break the unity of the church and we destroy our witness to a world enslaved in its sin. Christ saves us to free us from sin, not to give us an excuse to stay in our sin. Suggestions for prayer Confess your struggles with rebellion against God’s will. Pray for the Spirit to give you a zeal for sanctification. Ask the Lord to make holiness become more beautiful to you and sin become less enticing. Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

November 10 - The word of rebuke

“But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”” - Jude 9 Scripture reading: Psalm 16; Jude 5-11 Sometimes difficult passages in the Bible worry us, especially when they raise more questions than answers. The events described in verse 9 are not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible, and knowing that the devil and Michael were disputing about the body of Moses seems unsettling. Do evil spirits and godly spirits really wrestle over our bodies after we die? Passages like Psalm 16 reassure us about the outcome of those disputes, but that’s also not actually the point that Jude is addressing. We’ve been learning about false teachers who use their own ideas, and even their dreams, to lead the church into immorality and to keep us from contending for the faith. Now that we know the danger, what tool do we need to contend for the faith? We need to use God’s Word. Verse 9 shows us how even the powerful and glorious archangel, Michael, did not rely on his own strength, nor on his own word, to refute the lies of the devil when they were disputing over something as precious as the body of Moses. With the Word of God, even the angels have everything they need for their spiritual battles. Don’t be afraid to take up God’s Word and stand firmly on His truth! Suggestions for prayer Ask for God’s blessing upon he who is preparing today to preach God’s Word to you on Sunday. Pray for His protection over your congregation to keep you from following opinions and preferences that will lead you astray Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

November 5 - Creeping in unnoticed

“For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” - Jude 4 Scripture reading: Romans 6:1-14; Acts 20:28-31; Jude 3-4 Many of us have fears of things that creep into our homes unnoticed – spiders, ants, even snakes. But Jude is warning Christians to be just as concerned about certain people who creep in unnoticed into the house of God, the church. Their creeping is not accidental, as if they stumbled into their schemes to undermine the gospel, but they have set their hearts on abusing the grace of God. Though they speak openly about Jesus, Jude says they “long ago were designated for this condemnation.” These are enemies of the church even while appearing to be allies for the gospel. They will happily speak about Jesus dying for our sins and the freedom we have because we’ve been spared from the wrath of God. But be on guard for the fruits of their message! These certain people are turning grace into their excuse for “sensuality.” They teach a false gospel that being free from sin means being free to live however we please, enjoying all kinds of immorality without consequence. This makes our desires our master, and we live to please ourselves rather than live to please our Lord. What a dangerous threat this false gospel is to the church! Never forget that the gospel means that Jesus has spared believers from judgment for our sins, and He gives the Holy Spirit to lead believers to walk with God. Suggestions for prayer Pray that your elders would be alert to the wolves that threaten the flock. Repent of the presumptuous sins that demand more of your attention than the lordship of Christ. Rejoice that Jesus calls us to enjoy the holiness of God. Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

November 4 - Contend for the faith

“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” - Jude 3 Scripture reading: 1 Tim. 6:11-21; 2 Tim. 4:1-8; Jude 3-4 Nothing brings a preacher more joy than to see sinners respond to the gospel by putting their faith in Christ. That’s why Jude’s first desire was to write about “our common salvation.” But like every faithful preacher, Jude knows that the joy of proclaiming Christ must be partnered with warnings and admonishments to protect believers from going astray. We need those warnings because it’s easier to go astray than it is to remain faithful. It’s easier to think that being saved means we don’t have to struggle against sin. We even excuse our careless attitudes by thinking, “God will save us anyway, right?” But that shows how little value we put on our faith. We don’t think that it’s worth the struggle to keep our focus on Jesus. We don’t think it’s worth contending for the faith to keep ourselves holy, so that we can serve the Lord. Contending for the faith is hard work – but it’s worth it. The faith is what the Holy Spirit gives to every generation of the church so that sinners can be reconciled to God. It doesn’t change with the times. It’s not trying to stay relevant or be politically correct but clings to Jesus, as uncomfortable and as unpopular as that may be. When we are tempted to compromise our faith by taking the easier and more worldly path through life, is it really worth it? Suggestions for prayer Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you take the lordship of Jesus for granted. Repent of any spiritual carelessness. Pray that God will give you the zeal to contend for the faith in every part of your life. Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

November 3 - Mercy, peace and love

“May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” - Jude 2:  Scripture reading: Psalm 23; 1 Peter 1:1-9; Jude 1-2 When we hear God greet us at the beginning of every worship service, we expect to hear a blessing that includes some combination of the words: grace, mercy, peace and love. But if one Sunday morning God refused to allow the minister to speak those words to us, how different that worship service would be! In the same way, Jude’s greeting to believers is not at all casual or routine – we need it! Jude is writing to those who are being called to “contend for the faith” (verse 3), a task that would be impossible without God’s blessing. God’s mercy means that He will strengthen the church while overcoming our pride, our foolishness and our mistakes. God’s peace gives us courage to continue to stand for truth and godly living even when the church’s voice appears to be withering. God’s love assures us that He will not abandon the church to our struggle against worldliness. Jude describes these blessings as being “multiplied” to us, so he expects God to continue to pour out His mercy, peace and love. Jude also expects that we are going to continue needing these blessings. When you hear God’s greeting this coming Sunday, remember that he is multiplying those blessings once again for you. Suggestions for prayer Give thanks for how God has faithfully given His mercy, peace, and love to every generation of the church. Ask Him to multiply these blessings in your life, giving you greater courage to live faithfully as a Christian. Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

November 2 - Those who are called 

“To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ…” - Jude 1b Scripture reading: Romans 8:28-30; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Jude 1-2 In the New Testament, the church is described as those who have been “called out” by God. We have been called out from our bondage to sin and misery, we have been called into grace and righteousness through Jesus Christ, and we have been called to a new life of gratitude and holiness. All three parts of that calling matter to God, and they ought to matter to us. Have we neglected any part of that calling? Have we become indulgent, proud, or spiritually lazy? Jude’s purpose in writing this epistle is to urge us to live by that calling. He will warn us about those who are trying to lead the church away from its calling to love and serve God faithfully. He will sound the alarm about false teachers who say that the gospel gives us the freedom to indulge in sexual immorality and other fleshly lusts. Instead, we need to remember that we are “beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.” Our calling is much more fulfilling than the empty promises of false teachers and much more valuable than the reward of momentary pleasures. Are we choosing to give into temptations that take us away from the love of our Father? Are we listening to false teachers that try to keep us away from Jesus? Let’s remember our calling! Suggestions for prayer Ask for forgiveness for how you forget your calling and replace it with your own self-interest. Pray that the love of the Father would bring you greater joy. Ask that Jesus would keep you from walking closer to sin. Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

October 28 - The great blessing of prayer

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:6-7  Scripture reading: Philippians 4:4-9 and Matthew 6:25-34 We live in a world of anxiety and stress! We experience it at work, at home, and even in church. Our many challenges with Covid-19 over the last few years are proof of that. Paul tries to help his friends keep their perspective on life. For if we are to “rejoice” (v.4) and live a life of “gentleness” and grace in these last days, knowing that our Lord will return (v.5), then we need to have “peace” of mind. And that peace only comes from God. That peace is accessed through prayer! Do we pray regularly? Paul says in Colossians 4:2 that we are to “continue earnestly in prayer” and in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that we are to “pray without ceasing.” But sadly, for many, prayer is something they turn to as a last resort. And yet, Paul gives us a wonderful pattern for our prayers and the petitions we offer to God. First, don’t let anxiety consume you, rather, “in everything”, come to God in prayer. We should spend more time looking upward rather than worrying about what’s going on around us. And second, pray with “thanksgiving” in your heart as you make your requests known to God. Prayer should not be something we do grudgingly, but thankfully. For when we come to God in this way, He will send us His “peace”, and that peace will “guard” our hearts and minds, so that regardless of our situation, we may know that everything is in His hands! Suggestions for prayer Pray and don’t give up! Don’t let the worry and trouble of the day hinder your walk with God. Come to the Father in Jesus’ Name with confidence and a heart of gratitude. Be assured that He will send you peace in the storms of life! Rev. Ancel Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

October 27 - Our citizenship is in heaven

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body…” - Philippians 3:20-21  Scripture reading: Philippians 3:17-4:1 and John 14:1-6 Now, as we saw in vv.12-16, striving towards the heavenly goal and the prize of life with Christ is an ongoing process. In this life, there is no such thing as perfection or instant sanctification. The process of God’s working in us by His Word and Spirit is life-long. Therefore, as Christians, our lives are to give evidence to this mighty work. It’s to be seen in godly living, in dying to the ways of the flesh and the sinful pleasures of the world. As Paul makes clear in vv.18-19, there are many so-called Christians who live carnally minded lives. They are governed by their desires and they seek to fulfil their pleasures. But as Paul so clearly states, that cannot be for those who have their “citizenship in heaven”! For though we live, work and worship on earth, heaven is our true home! How often does our heavenly citizenship come to mind? Does the Spirit use it to quell our desire and to fight against temptation? If we belong to Christ, then we should strive to live the Christ-like life. For as Paul says, Christ will return and when He does, we will be transformed, and our earthly bodies will be made glorious like His body! Do you desire this? Does your life reflect it? It should, for you are a citizen of heaven, bought with the blood of Christ, and not like those without hope in the world! Suggestions for prayer Remind yourself of your heavenly citizenship and let it be for your encouragement in how you live your life! For your life is in Christ and one day your Lord will return for you, and so take care of how you live your life! Rev. Ancel Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

October 26 - Pressing on toward the goal

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” - Philippians 3:12  Scripture reading: Philippians 3:12-16 and Hebrews 12:1-2 In vv.7-11 the apostle Paul spoke of the rich blessings that he now has in Jesus Christ. But as vv.12-16 show us, he has not attained the ultimate goal. As he says in v.14, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Thus, Paul’s race, his running of the course of the life of faith, only ends once he is in Glory with his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! As he rightly notes in v.12, we shall never reach “perfection” in this life. In other words, the process of sanctification is lifelong and the goal unattainable in this life. But for the followers of Christ, they press onward, toward that heavenly goal, letting everything else drop to the wayside including any earthly loves, selfish goals, fears or regrets. For Christ has “laid hold of me”, says Paul, and therefore the only direction the Christian can go is to Him! For the course in which Paul runs, is the same one in which we as believers must all run. We have salvation and belong to Christ, but the fullness is yet to come. Like an Olympic runner, we run with all our heart, soul, strength and mind to reach the heavenly prize, the fullness of life in Christ! This is the upward call of God to us, and we cannot take it lightly or ignore it. And so, let us run with perseverance in the race before us! Suggestions for prayer Look to Jesus and fix the eyes of your faith on Him. Do not lose heart or grow weary in this spiritual race, but find your strength in Him and rejoice in the glorious prize that awaits all His redeemed at the end, the fullness of eternal life! Rev. Ancel Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

October 25 - Growing to know the Lord and his power

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection…” - Philippians 3:10a  Scripture reading: Philippians 3:1-11 and Ephesians 1:15-23 One of the key aspects of the Christian life is spiritual growth. And for the Christian, nothing is greater than growing to know Jesus Christ more and more in the life of faith. For Paul, Christ filled the empty place in his heart. As we saw yesterday, all the many things of this life that Paul once counted as important, he now views as nothing for the sake of Christ (vv.4-8). For what can compare to Christ and knowing Him? As Christians, we desire to know more of Christ’s grace, of His love, mercy, faithfulness and power! And what “power” Christ has! The “power” made available to us through His resurrection is beyond what we can imagine! For in Christ, we have our life, and by Him, we grow spiritually. We die to the old nature and come to life in the new nature. Our hearts and minds are set on things above, where Christ is, rather than being rooted in things on the earth and the things that pass away with time. Do you desire to know Christ and the power of His resurrection? Are you willing to suffer for His sake? To know Him means to obey Him, which means taking up your cross and following Him. To truly know Him and His mighty power means you are willing to suffer for His sake, knowing the glorious reward of your own resurrection to come! Suggestions for prayer Pray that you would grow to know Christ more and that you would desire to live for Him in every area of life. Pray for the spiritual blessings that come to you because of His resurrection. Live by that power rather than by your own strength! Rev. Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

October 20 - The majestic glory of Christ

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the Name which is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow…and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” - Philippians 2:9-11  Scripture reading: Philippians 2:5-11 and John 17:1-26 What we have in our text is a striking contrast to what we see in vv.6-8. For Jesus, the humble servant of God, Who gave Himself up to death on a cross is now exalted to the highest heights of glory! For this exaltation is a reward from His Father for His perfect saving work! (John 17:1-5). This is a glory He enjoys now, but it also has a future goal, for, in time, all the created order will be subject to His glorious majesty! (Philippians 2:9-11) And yet, why does Paul speak of the glory of Christ right after his charge to live the humble servant life? We might sum it up this way: (1) It convicts us that this humble servant's life is the only life we can live before God! For this is the way Jesus went. This is the way that is pleasing to God, and this is the only way that ends in glory. (2) It reminds us also of the love of Jesus for His elect, that He suffered and died to “bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18) so that we might be with Him forever. And (3) it assures us that even though we face many trials and adversities, the glorious end of our faith is in eternal glory with our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, we are called to the humble servant life on earth, but we look for our eternal reward to come with Christ from heaven! Suggestions for prayer Give thanks to God for the eternal riches you have in Christ! Ask Him to strengthen you to live that humble, giving, selfless life for the sake of the church and as part of your witness to the world. Rev. Ancel Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

October 19 - The amazing sacrifice of Christ

“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” - Philippians 2:8  Scripture reading: Philippians 2:5-8 and Galatians 3:10-14 The apostle wants to make clear to his audience that Jesus, the eternal Son of God, took upon Himself a real human nature. Some have said that as true God, Jesus couldn’t take on sinful human flesh, therefore He had flesh that only seemed to be human but was of some heavenly substance. But Paul says, “No! Jesus is true God and true Man!” Only in this way could Jesus be our divine Substitute. Thus, as the incarnate Son of God, Paul tells us that Jesus gave Himself to the ninth degree - even death on a cross! Crucifixion was the worst form of punishment in Roman society. For the Jews, to be hung on a tree was a sign of being accursed of God (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). That Jesus endured this shows us the extent of His saving work on our behalf, of His willingness to become a curse for us to remove our curse before God! (Galatians 3:13) For through His perfect obedience and sacrificial work, He has earned our salvation and is now able to impute His righteousness to our account when we confess our sins and trust in Him as our Saviour and Lord (2 Corinthians 5:21). Yes, how amazing is the work of Christ on our behalf! What joy and thankfulness should fill our hearts as a result! We should desire to live in such a way that others see Christ in us, and that the Lord might draw them to Himself! Suggestions for prayer Praise the Lord for His gracious, saving work! Let us not take the suffering of our Saviour for granted, but be ever thankful. May that be seen in our lives, in our worship, and in our witness to the lost of our world! Rev. Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

October 18 - Having the mind of Christ

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” - Philippians 2:5-7  Scripture reading: Philippians 2:5-8 and Mark 10:35-45 As we noted in yesterday’s devotion, this humble, servant attitude Paul is seeking to instill in the hearts of his friends is the very attitude that marked the life of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. For as Jesus says in Mark 10:45, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” And that sacrificial character of His work stands out so clearly in Paul’s words. For Jesus, as the eternal Son of God, is true God, just as the Father and the Holy Spirit are. But in His role as our Mediator and divine Substitute, Jesus has taken on our flesh and blood and come into our world. That He did not consider it “robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation”, reveals this so powerfully! For here we see the absolute willingness of the Son of God to humble Himself, to lay aside His heavenly status and glory to stoop to our weakness and take the form of a “bondservant” in the “likeness of men.” Yes, Jesus had a real humanity. Jesus lived a real life on earth and was subject to the demands of God’s Law. He was like us in every way, except for sin (Hebrews 4:15), so that He might fulfill all righteousness, and do for us what we could never do for ourselves, namely, pay the debt of our sin and set us free! Suggestions for prayer Give thanks to God for the glorious gift of His only Son, Jesus Christ, as our Saviour and Lord! May the selfless example of Christ be the pattern for how we live toward each other in the church, in our homes and as a witness to the world! Rev. Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

October 17 - Live with lowliness of mind

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” - Philippians 2:3  Scripture reading: Philippians 2:1-4 and 1 Peter 2:18-25 Having a humble heart as a Christian is vitally important to the life of the church. It is through humility and selflessness that oneness in the church is encouraged, as Paul shows us in vs.1-2. Often, however, “selfish ambition or conceit” clouds our vision and instead of encouraging unity and peace, it leads to division! For “selfish ambition and conceit” reflects the sinful desire to have what belongs to our neighbour, and with that, a false sense of superiority over them, where we look at others as inferior to ourselves. But Paul says that instead of cultivating that kind of arrogant attitude, we are to be clothed with a “lowliness of mind”, that is, with a humble, realistic view of ourselves. For we are sinners saved by grace and not of our own doing! We have nothing to boast about or gloat over, especially, in looking down on our fellow believers. Instead, we are to see our neighbours through the eyes of faith, putting their needs and interests ahead of our own. For as we will see in vs.5-8 this was the way of our Lord Jesus Christ, that faithful Servant, Who humbled Himself to greatest depths for our salvation! Yes, Jesus has left us with an example that we are to follow. We are to have “lowliness of mind”, a humble spirit and a life that will foster oneness and unity in the church, thereby providing a powerful witness to the world. Suggestions for prayer Pray for this spirit of lowliness in the hearts of Christians. Pray that the Holy Spirit would root out any selfish ambition or conceit from us so that we might live the sincere, heartfelt Christian life that is a blessing to the church. Rev. Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

October 12 - The challenging of standing fast

“That you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” - Philippians 1:27b  Scripture reading: Philippians 1:27-30 and Ephesians 6:10-13 Opposition to the Christian faith is always a challenge and the saints in Philippi knew it well. Therefore, Paul wants to encourage them to be strong and not lose heart. He does so by focusing on two things. First, “that you stand fast in one spirit”, that is, hold your ground by being of like-mind, purpose and disposition. For when Christians rely on God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit, they can endure life’s trials and challenges. But then Paul adds to that, "with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”. This has the idea of standing side-by-side. It's a term used for those who fight in battle or engage in an athletic contest because the closer they stand, the more formidable they are to the opponent. Division often leads to defeat! For this reason, they do this, "with one mind"; that is, as one man. If you are on a team you must work together; you can’t be going your own way. You need to be unified if you’re going to weather the attacks. This is vital, for as Paul says, the "faith of the gospel" is at stake! In other words, this is a battle not only for the faith created by the gospel but for Christianity itself! Are we ready and willing to stand firm? Christ commands us to do so. Suggestions for prayer Pray for the church and her ability to stand. Pray that the church would stand strong against heresy, worldliness, and secularism and that she might even more consistently proclaim the gospel of Christ to a fallen world. Rev. Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

October 11 - Conduct befitting the gospel

“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs.” - Philippians 1:27a  Scripture reading: Philippians 1:27-30 and Colossians 1:9-14 Paul longs to return to his friends in Philippi, for as he says in v.25, he desires to supervise their “progress and joy of faith”. But when will that be? Only the Lord knows. Paul must rest his plans in God’s sovereign hands. And so, he encourages them, "Only, let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ." The word “conduct” literally means, "to conduct oneself worthily as a citizen of the city-state." It was regarding how people were to live as citizens of the state. In Roman times the “city-state” demanded your complete loyalty, and you, as a faithful citizen, would give it willingly. When Paul uses the word “conduct” he’s not telling these Christians to conduct themselves faithfully to the Roman state, rather, he’s thinking of their heavenly citizenship, of how they’re to live faithfully as citizens of heaven in a pagan culture. He is compelling them to live their lives, worthy of the gospel, by being living testimonies for Jesus Christ, by letting their light shine among their neighbours, and by not compromising their beliefs or worship. Paul urges them to stand firm lest they compromise their faith before the world. How is it with you? Does pressure from others affect how you live your life or express your faith? Remember, in Christ you are a child of God and a citizen of heaven. Therefore, your entire life, in thought, word and deed are to reflect that. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to give you the strength you need to live a godly, consistent life. Do not fear the world nor be afraid to live out your faith or to worship God. Yes, you live on earth, but your citizenship is in heaven. Rev. Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

October 10 - Our progress and joy of faith

“I shall remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy of faith…” - Philippians 1:25  Scripture reading: Philippians 1:19-26 and 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 Even though Paul was unsure how specific events were going to unfold for him in regards to Caesar (vs.19-23), his great desire was that he would continue in this earthly life to carry on his ministry, especially, so that he could return to his friends and oversee their growth in the Christian faith. How blessed we are to have those over us - whether at home with our parents, or in the church with the office-bearers - those that “continue” with us, instruct us and help us along the way in our Christian walk! We should be extremely thankful that God cares for us so much that He places over us those who “continue” with us for our “progress and joy of faith…” Today in Canada, a National Day of Thanksgiving is being celebrated. Many will gather with family and friends and will reminisce and relax. Many Christians will gather for worship giving thanks to God for His mighty deeds and the grace lavished to them in Jesus Christ. And rightly so! For look at how the Lord has blessed us, look how He has provided, even though 2022 has had its many trials and struggles. God has been at work for our “progress” in the faith and for our “joy” as believers who cling to our faithful God and Father. Let us give thanks for the rich spiritual blessings bestowed on us in Jesus Christ! Suggestions for prayer Give thanks to God for His many gifts! Ask the Lord to continue His good work in you, that you may grow spiritually as a Christian and that your joy in Christ may abound more and more! Rev. Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

October 9 - Paul’s great comfort in life or in death

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” - Philippians 1:21  Scripture reading: Philippians 1:19-26 and Romans 8:31-39 Our text is one of the most glorious confessions of the apostle, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain!” When we read it in the context of vs.19-20, we see that Paul didn’t know what was going to happen to him. Yes, he believed he would be delivered, as he says in v.19, but how? Whether in life or in death? And yet, notice his willingness to suffer for Christ! There’s no hesitation! This is a man who desires to serve God in any way so that Christ may be “magnified” before the world! Basically, Paul says, “Your will be done, O Lord!” As Christians, those words should be found on our lips, especially, in this present age, where Christianity and the church are under attack like never before. Regardless of what we go through, no matter the hardships or trials, we have Christ and Christ has us. So what do we have to fear? How can we lose our joy, or how can we lose our comfort? We “belong” to Christ, do we not? (Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 1, Q&A 1) And that includes not only in this life, but when we die! For then we enter our reward and look forward to the great resurrection of the dead and the restoration of all things at the return of our Lord! Paul had no fears about this life because he knew God kept his life eternally secure! Suggestions for prayer Let it be our desire to magnify Christ in all of life! Be assured that the Holy Spirit will give you what you need for your service to Christ, in life or in death. Rev. Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

October 4 - God faithfully completes his good work

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” - Philippians 1:6  Scripture reading: Philippians 1:3-6 and 2 Timothy 1:8-12 Paul took great joy in the spiritual children the Lord had given him. He prayed for them often and always thanked God for them (vv.3-4). He especially appreciated their participation in the spread of the gospel(v.5). And he was greatly assured of the fact that the work God began in them He would finish! For if God has given you a new birth by the Holy Spirit, if He has created faith in your heart, if He has been sanctifying you and conforming you to His image, then those things shall NEVER be left undone! Rather, He has declared something different, something marvellous to our ears and for the comfort of our souls, namely, “I will complete that good work in you until the day of Christ.” Notice here the future tense of the verb: I will complete! That’s God’s sure pledge to you, His unwavering promise! In fact, His work will only come to an end on a certain day. That is, “the day of Jesus Christ”, the day of His glorious return! Yes, until that very day we shall be preserved in our salvation! And so, to that glorious Day may you fix your faith and rest your hope. For the fullness of redemption that comes in Jesus will be ours in the resurrection of our bodies and in the blessing of life everlasting. For God WILL bring to completion the good work He has begun! Suggestions for prayer Let us offer a prayer of thanks to God for His gracious working in our lives. For apart from our deserving, He has saved us in Christ, and through His Word and Spirit, He is sanctifying us and will bring to completion that good work! Rev. Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

October 3 - Paul’s greeting to the church

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” - Philippians 1:2  Scripture reading: Ephesians 2:1-10 and Philippians 4:6-7 When Paul says, “Grace to you and peace”, he’s not expressing some wish that God might be gracious to His people and bestow His blessing on them. No! This is a sure declaration by Christ’s authorised servant, sending them grace and peace. This is a gracious bestowal of God upon His covenant people. For if God doesn’t send us His grace, and if that grace doesn’t produce peace in our hearts, how can we then live as faithful servants? How can we live holy lives as His saints? (v.1). But what is this “grace” and “peace”? Well, “grace” is the unmerited favour of God to sinners for salvation in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). But this grace is also experienced in our sanctification, where we die to the old life and grow in the new life. Through grace, we are saved and sanctified! Thus, from God’s saving grace comes our “peace”! Peace is the fruit of grace. This is seen so marvellously in our being reconciled to God. We are no longer His enemies, but now children and heirs! (Romans 8:17). Such gifts Paul says come to us from “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”. Yes, how blessed we are and how encouraged we should be in living for God as we ponder His rich gifts! For as we continue to trust in Him, He will send us “grace” for daily living and fill us with His “peace” which will guard our hearts and minds. Suggestions for prayer Let us pray daily for God’s sustaining grace in our lives, trusting that He will impart to us all that we need. Let us rest in the finished work of Christ that gives true spiritual peace to our restless and needy souls. Rev. Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

October 2 - Paul’s specific audience - saints!

“To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi…” - Philippians 1:1b  Scripture reading: Philippians 1:1-3 and 1 Peter 2:9-10 We might think this opening address is just a formality. But is it? Notice what Paul says, “to all the saints…” Now, “saints”, is a designation for Christians and it was first used that way in Acts 9:13 during Saul’s persecution of the church. To be a “saint” doesn’t mean the Roman Catholic Church has granted you sainthood, rather, it means that you are “set apart” or “consecrated” to God. We see this language used by the Priests, Levites, and by Israel in the Old Testament. God set them apart for His service and glory! And so, it is for the church of today! We too are “set apart” to God and are members of His covenant. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are made “holy” in God’s sight. You see, holiness is not the result of our morality or good works. No, it’s only by the grace and mercy of God! As the apostle Peter says in 1 Peter 2, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people…who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” What grace and mercy God has bestowed on us! For in Christ, we are holy and now able to live as thankful servants! May our worship today reflect the joy and gratitude of our hearts as we meet with our holy God! Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to enable you to live a holy and godly life, so that your walk and talk as a Christian would be consistent. Pray that the Lord would bless your worship as you come to God’s House today and that He would be glorified. Rev. Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

October 1 - Introduction to Paul

Acts 16 relates to us the work of the apostle Paul in the founding of the church in Philippi. It began with the Lord’s direction to the apostle to not preach the word in Asia, but to go to Macedonia. Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!”(v.9). Immediately, Paul went and began the gospel ministry in Europe. In Acts 16, we read of Paul’s first visit to Philippi and the response of Lydia, the seller of purple from Thyatira, and of the conversion of the Philippian jailer. But we also read of the persecution that Paul and Silas endured, including their imprisonment and release. And though this is the extent of what we read of Paul’s ministry in Philippi, there was more to it. Both Timothy and Luke spent much time there carrying on the work after Paul left, and as well, he returned to the church, as alluded to in Acts 20. Paul had a great investment in these saints and they, in turn, showed their love to him by providing for his needs on various occasions, such as when he went to Thessalonica (4:16) and later when he departed Athens for Corinth (2 Corinthians 11:9). Now that he’s imprisoned in Rome, they again show their generosity, and that, in part, is why Paul is writing this letter to the Philippians, to thank them for their support! Truly, this is a letter of love, joy, hope and encouragement for his dear friends! And may it be so for us as we spend time looking at it this month in our devotions. (All Scripture references this month are from the NKJV) The author’s self-designation “Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ.” - Philippians 1:1a  Scripture reading: Philippians 1:1-2 and Romans 1:1-7 This opening line begins with what we would call a common form of address in letters of Paul’s day. That’s why many New Testament letters begin in this fashion. Normally what Paul does is refer to himself as an “apostle” when he begins his letters. But, as you see, he does not do that here. In fact, he refers to himself as a “bondservant”. But why? Well, it has to do with his relationship to the church in Philippi. He is writing to friends and fellow servants in the gospel and doesn’t need to remind them of his authority as an apostle. But even more, it’s to stress the nature of his calling, that he is a “bondservant”, or also translated, a “slave”, that is a slave of Christ! For Paul belongs to his Lord Jesus Christ! Because Christ bought and paid for him by His precious blood, Paul is now a thankful servant who is willing to give himself fully in the service of his Master (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Is that your desire, to live as a faithful “bondservant” of Christ? Ponder the depth of His grace to you in your redemption and then joyfully take up your calling in service to your Lord. To be sure, following Christ is not easy, but how wonderful are the rewards. May the truth of who we are in Christ, spur us on to a life of joy, good works and thankful service regardless of our circumstances! Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to create in you a servant-heart. Pray that you would grow in your devotion to Christ, being willing to serve whenever He calls and to go wherever He may direct you! Rev. Merwin serves as minister of the Immanuel United Reformed Church of Listowel, Ontario, Canada. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

September 27 - The questioning of the Lord (Part 2)

“And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” - Jonah 4:11  Scripture reading: Romans 3:23-26 What makes Jonah so angry is that God is not just showing mercy to any old city, but that He is gracious to Israel’s enemies. It is recorded in history that Assyria treated Israel horribly. No empire was as cruel and evil toward Israel as Assyria was. “God,” Jonah is saying, “You are not just sparing any empire. You are sparing an evil empire bent on destroying your people.” God is a God of justice who hates evil. So how can He let these evil and violent people off the hook just because they repent? Does God then not care about evil? We have the privilege of seeing history from this side of the cross. God’s justice indeed demands that every single sin is paid for. As we read in Romans 3, in his divine forbearance, God passed over former sins, to show his righteousness so that “he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (v.26). All sins do get punished. No sin will be overlooked by God, whether big or small. But either the sins have been paid for by the Lord Jesus on the cross, or they will be paid for by ourselves in hell. God does not violate his justice. But on that day of Judgment, mercy will be given to those who have put their trust in the Lord Jesus. Praise God! Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord that He is both perfectly just and merciful and that He has provided a way of salvation through His Son. Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

September 25 - The gift of the prophet

“When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”” - Jonah 4:8 Scripture reading: Jonah 4:5-9 The Lord is not done with Jonah yet. The Lord is still appointing, providing and directing. Now He appoints a worm to eat the vine so that it dies. He also appoints a scorching east wind. This was most likely a sirocco wind, which is more common in the Middle East, typically coming from the desert and reaching speeds of up to 100 km an hour. The combination of sun and wind causes Jonah to physically overheat. He also overheats with anger. He exclaims that he would rather die than keep on living. Jonah’s emotions run deep. His blood is boiling. Anger has been defined as a person’s negative whole-body reaction that arises when he/she has made a moral judgement against a perceived wrong. This, in Jonah’s eyes, is morally wrong. It’s not right. He is very angry. The Lord is working here. The worm, the shrivelling of the plant, the scorching east wind…The Lord is going to use it all as a real-life illustration for Jonah. As we’ll discuss more later on, the Lord will use this moment to counsel His angry prophet by asking him a series of questions. The Lord often teaches us lessons about himself or the condition of our own hearts. These lessons regularly come in ‘living illustration’ ways that we would not have chosen ourselves. He does this in his wisdom and love, to help us grow and draw near. Suggestions for prayer Is the Lord giving you a “living illustration” in your life to reveal your sin? If so, ask the Lord to give you the eyes of faith to see it. Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

September 24 - The gift of the vine

“Now the LORD God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort.” - Jonah 4:6  Scripture reading: John 4:4-6 In this next section of the book, we read that Jonah goes out, sits down at a place east of the city, makes himself a shelter, sits in its shade and waits to see what will happen to the city. Then the Lord does something very kind for Jonah. He appoints a vine and makes it grow up over Jonah so that it provides shade for him. The word ‘appoints’ is used throughout this book, repeatedly demonstrating how the Lord uses His creation to accomplish His purposes. The Lord God appointing this plant is a miracle. The plant shoots up overnight, likely a big-leafed fleshy-type plant, such as a castor oil plant, a shrub that grows to 12 feet high. Jonah was delighted and very happy with the vine. It was giving him comfort and shade from the hot sun. But did Jonah do anything for the provision of this plant? Did he work for it or earn it? Did the Lord say: “Okay, Jonah, great job and good work out there in Nineveh. Here’s a little prize for all your effort”? No, not at all. Jonah is very flawed. He is arrogant, pouty, and impatient. This vine was a gift. It was grace. It was an unmerited favour. And through this vine, the Lord is preaching grace to an ungracious Jonah. The vine was a demonstration of God’s love, patience and compassion on Jonah, despite his arrogance and sin. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for his kindness to us despite our arrogance and sin. Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

September 23 - A revelation of the heart

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” - Luke 6:45 Scripture reading: Jonah 3:10-4:4 Why is Jonah so angry? Jonah has just been used by the Lord to ignite one of the greatest spiritual awakenings in history. Humanly speaking, he’s been an extremely successful evangelist: an entire city has heeded the Word of the Lord and repented. But he is angry. It is like a salesman who makes the biggest billion-dollar deal, going home to his wife very upset and complaining, “Too bad, they bought it.” Jonah’s reaction reveals his heart. He does not want God’s grace extended to his own enemies. Remember, the Ninevites have caused a lot of hurt and damage to the Israelites. Perhaps even some of Jonah’s own relatives were killed or captured by them. Jonah’s reaction – while understandable – reveals that he must learn more about God’s super-abundant, extraordinary grace. As we will learn in the following days, our patient God is gracious towards His prophet and will teach him a lesson on compassion. For us too, our reactions reflect what is going on in our hearts. When we see someone else’s success, are we happy for them? When we are single or in a difficult marriage and see another couple thrive together, do we get jealous? When someone ‘unlike us’ comes to faith, do we rejoice with them? Let your reactions to other people’s successes and failures be a signal to you about the state of your own heart. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to reveal the areas of your heart and life where you need to grow in grace and holiness. Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

September 18 - The power of God’s word

“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” - Isaiah 55:11  Scripture reading: Isaiah 55:6-11, Jonah 3:4-5  You may sometimes have the feeling that the preaching of God’s Word is not powerful or effective. Sometimes, it seems like there is no response in the hearers, either good or bad. When God sends Jonah to Nineveh, he is giving the Ninevites grace by sending them a warning. It’s not a very long or detailed message. Jonah doesn’t hand out theology textbooks or set up a four-week Bible study. The message is simple and clear – it is a message of judgment. And yet, this Word from the Lord is enough to cause a fire of repentance throughout the city. That’s the thing with God’s Word: something always happens. When God speaks, something always happens. To our human eyes, it may not be obvious immediately. But it is a guarantee: God’s Word always succeeds in its purposes. As it’s been said, the same sun that melts wax also hardens clay. God’s Word will either soften hearts or harden hearts – but it will not be ineffectual. In the case of the Ninevites, the result of hearing God’s Word is immediate -- they repent. They believed God, called for a fast and from the greatest to the least of them put on sackcloth (Jonah 3:5). This is a gift and grace of repentance. The Lord is doing this work. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord that his Word always accomplishes its purposes. Ask Him to help you see the power of his Word in action. Pray that his Word may lead to a response of faith for the hearers. Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

September 17 - A new beginning

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time.” - Jonah 3:1  Scripture reading: Jonah 2:10-3:1-3 After the three days and the three nights in the belly of the fish, the Lord spoke to the fish, and Jonah was burped up on the beach. Jonah is alive! The Lord has been gracious to him: the Lord protected his defiant servant from the storm at sea; He preserved his runaway prophet from drowning; He kept his disobedient messenger safe within the dangerous stomach of the fish. The Lord has preserved Jonah’s life over and over. The Lord saves Jonah for the sake of Jonah’s calling and gives him a new beginning. Notice how Jonah 3:1 is almost an exact repetition of the first words of the book, Jonah 1:1. The story is starting over. How patiently the Lord deals with Jonah, giving him a second chance, an opportunity to begin again. This second re-commissioning is an act of divine mercy and grace by our sovereign God. Jonah 3:1 and these three words – “the second time” – are a picture of the gospel and the story of redemption. With God, it is never a “you-mess-up- so-badly-you-will-never-get-a-second-chance.” The Lord still has work for Jonah to do: He has a mission for Jonah and a plan for Nineveh. Our God is the God of new beginnings and fresh starts, when we come to Him in repentance. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord that He doesn’t give up on us even though we deserve it. Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

September 16 - The Lord’s deliverance

“For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas” - Jonah 2:3  Scripture reading: Jonah 1:17-2:10 Jonah 2:1-9 is the prayer Jonah composed while in the belly of the fish. Suddenly it feels like we are in the book of Psalms. As a prophet from Israel, Jonah knew the Psalms very well. These Psalms he had memorized and sung as a child would come to mind to give comfort and encouragement. Jonah gives a reason for his thankfulness: he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord answered his prayer (v. 2). He then finds comfort in God’s sovereignty: Jonah knows that it is God who has put him in the ocean. He says: "You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me…all your waves and breakers swept over me." Jonah believes in the sovereignty of his God. The billows and breakers that almost took my life and were terrifying to me, were not apart from God’s sovereign control. As painful as it was, this discipline is a gift of love from God to Jonah. Rev. 3:19 states: “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” Jonah then longs for the temple, for the presence of the Lord. Although earlier he had run from the presence of the Lord, now Jonah longs to be in the presence of the Lord (v. 7). He is experiencing the healing power of repentance. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you would be strengthened by believing in God’s sovereignty and control over your life. Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

September 15 - Out of the depths

“The Lord provided a great fish to swallow up Jonah.” - Jonah 1:17  Scripture reading: Jonah 1:17-2:2 The Lord does something remarkable and miraculous. When Jonah has literally hit “rock bottom” lying on the seafloor with seaweed grabbing for his throat, he feels something enclose his body. The Lord executes an extraordinary rescue mission by appointing a fish to pick up Jonah from the murky seaweed at the bottom of the ocean. The appointment of the fish was an act of divine grace. It is a means of deliverance and saves Jonah from drowning. "And Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights." The fish is Jonah's classroom. It is a horrible place to live but a great place to learn. Jonah needs to learn some lessons. The fish is also Jonah’s hospital room: he must heal and recover from the consequences of his sin. What does Jonah do when he feels the discipline of the Lord's hand against him in the belly of the fish? He prays! And he knows that God hears his prayer. For all his sin, for all the Lord's anger against him, Jonah knows that he can still pray. “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me.” And Jonah’s prayer is not even a prayer of petition, a "get-me-out-of-this mess" prayer. No, Jonah prays a prayer of thanksgiving. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you would know the privilege of prayer and that you would know the Lord Jesus better as you commune with Him in prayer. Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

September 10 - The finger of God

“But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea so that the ship threatened to break up.” - Jonah 1:4  Scripture reading: Jonah 1:4-6 The Lord responds to Jonah's defiance. Although Jonah had sought to run away from the omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (all-present) and omnipotent (all-powerful) God, the Lord will conduct all the elements of the cosmos against this prophet. Jonah can run, but he can't hide. The use of the word "hurled" here in verse 4 in the original Hebrew is striking. The image is of God hurling a great wind on the sea like a man hurling a javelin with great force. Like a javelin thrower, the Lord hurls the storm on the sea. The storm is so severe that it threatens to break the ship, or as the Hebrew imagery implies, the boat “herself threatened to break apart.” The ship itself became a “nervous wreck.” These waves are so high, the wind is so mighty, and the storm's scream is so loud that the boat itself becomes a nervous wreck and is about to fall apart. No one - the sea, the ship, the sailors, or the runaway prophet can escape the presence of God. There are times when you flee from the presence of God. Can you look back on your life and recall what “storms” God has “hurled” your way so that you would repent and turn back to Him? Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for how He pursues His people in His covenantal love. Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

September 9 - Jesus, the prophet better than Jonah

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” - Romans 5:10 Scripture reading: Jonah 1:3 Jonah is the prophet living in relative comfort and security in Israel. The Lord commands him to leave his comfortable and secure place and do a difficult thing. He must go to Nineveh, the mortal enemies of his people, and preach a word of warning. Jonah resisted: “No, I won’t go.” Jonah, the prophet, ran away from the message because he did not want his enemies to repent. But this is the gospel: that a better Jonah would come in the fullness of time, the better and perfect prophet – Jesus Christ. And where was Jesus before He came to earth? He was in heaven. This, too, was a very comfortable and secure place. He is with His Father in all the glory of heaven. But the Father sends His Son to leave the comfort and the glory of heaven to come to this earth's pollution, perversion, and pain. On earth, He will be utterly rejected, leading a life that will lead to torture, crucifixion, and death. He will become an atoning sacrifice for people who are facing eternal judgement. To this mission, Jesus said: “Yes, I will go.” Jesus, the perfect prophet, perfectly obeyed the will of God. Jesus willingly absorbed judgement upon himself because He wanted His enemies to repent, be saved, and escape this terrible judgement. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord today that a better prophet than Jonah has come. Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

September 8 - Running from God

“But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” - Jonah 1:3  Scripture reading: Jonah 1:3-6 We might scoff at Jonah for thinking he can run away from the Lord, but we are no better than Jonah. You don’t need to be below deck on a ship, on the sea to be running away from the Lord. Running from God is something we do all the time! God gives us a direct, can’t-be-confused, clear as crystal command, and we run in the diametrically opposite direction! We find all kinds of invisible ways, refined ways, and private ways when we flee from the presence of God. We are all runaway prophets because of our sin. As one pastor has astutely said: “It’s not the parts of Scripture that we find difficult to understand that are the really difficult parts of Scripture. It’s the parts of Scripture that none of us could conceivably misunderstand that are the really difficult parts.” God commands us to not commit adultery and to pursue purity, but we flirt with this sin when we allow ourselves to see images we should not see. God commands us to not bear false testimony against our neighbour, but we gossip about others thinking we have the liberty to do so. God commands us to honour those in authority over us, but we openly grumble about these authorities and find ways to disobey them. What are some other parts of Scripture that are clear to understand from which we run away? Suggestions for prayer Ask that the Lord might work powerfully with His Spirit so that we will be eager and able to obey His clear commandments. Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

September 7 - Why did Jonah run?

“This is why I made haste to flee for Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful…” - Jonah 4:2 Scripture reading: Jonah 4:2 Jonah is called to go where he doesn’t want to go, to do what he doesn’t want to do and to say what he does not want to say. Why did Jonah run away from the Lord? It’s not because he did not get the message straight or that the command was unclear or confusing. The command was clear. Was he afraid? Probably. As we said before, the Assyrians had a terrifying reputation. Was it a novel mission? Sure. It was an unusual thing for an Israelite prophet to be sent to a heathen nation: this is uncharted prophetic territory. Jonah confesses his real and ultimate reason for his running away in Jonah 4:2. He says: “This is why I made haste to flee for Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.” Jonah does not want to go because he does not want Nineveh to be saved! Jonah knows that if he goes to Assyria, preaches his message and they do repent, God will possibly relent and have mercy on them. The real problem is that God might bring these people to repentance! The issue Jonah has is with the character of God himself. Jonah knows the Lord loves to show mercy and grace but he does not want that for his enemy. Jonah does not have a category for extraordinary, super-abundant grace. Rather than celebrating grace, he grumbles at grace. Suggestions for prayer Pray that we might always rejoice when someone repents. Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

September 2 - A book of warning

“And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”” - Jonah 4:4  Scripture reading: Jonah 4:1-4 The book of Jonah is a book of encouragement and comfort, but it is also a book of warning. The story of Jonah was a warning to the whole nation of Israel during the time in which it was written, and it continues to be a warning to us today. In a sense, Jonah the prophet is representative of the nation of Israel, the covenant people of God. Although Jonah is an Israelite, a member of God’s covenant people, and a recipient of God’s compassion and patience, we notice repeatedly how flawed he is as a person. He is a sinner, and he sins badly throughout this story. Jonah is not the hero of this story. As Jonah is a representative of the covenant people of God, we witness the worst tendencies that tend to form inside God’s covenant people. The events of Jonah’s life are representative of what happened and what happens to God’s people. Those sins can be pride, hard-heartedness, judgmentalism, tribalism, small-mindedness, and the inability to change and grow and be amazed by God’s amazing grace. We need to see ourselves in Jonah, and like him, we must learn the wonder of God’s patience toward us and others and the beauty of the grace of repentance. Suggestions for prayer Pray that through the story of Jonah the Lord would reveal to you your own sin. Are you proud, judgemental, small-minded, and lacking amazement of God’s grace? Pray that the Lord would work repentance in your heart. Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

September 1 - Introduction to Jonah

We will be looking at Jonah, the likely author of this book, who is a minor prophet, living in the eighth century B.C. during the reign of Jeroboam II who ruled the northern kingdom from 782 to 753 BC (see II Kings 14:23-28). During this era of Israel’s history, the nation was doing well materially, enjoying peace and prosperity, but was not doing well spiritually. The tragic thing about this epoch in Israel’s history is that although the Lord had been good to Israel and had lavished a super-abundance of blessing upon the nation, their expression of gratitude was missing. They had forgotten the Lord’s grace. 2 Kings 14 states that Jeroboam II did evil in the sight of the Lord. The warning of Deuteronomy 6:10-14 hadn’t been remembered and heeded. When they would reach the promised land, get settled, and eventually become prosperous, they would be prone to forget all the blessings and gifts from the Lord. This forgetfulness would show itself in disobedience to the Lord. The book of Jonah is a word of warning to God’s covenant people about the danger of taking God’s grace and favour for granted and failing to live in obedience and thankfulness to Him. Despite this, the Lord still blessed the nation, demonstrating his mercy in this period of prosperity and peace. He was giving Israel time to repent, to turn from their wickedness and turn back to the Lord. Surprisingly Jonah doesn’t hide his failures in this story but puts his sins on full display for all to see. After living through all these events, Jonah became transformed by God’s grace. Eventually, he understood God's superabundant, extravagant, and indelible grace more fully, personally, experientially, and wonderfully and wanted the world to know and love this Gracious God The runaway prophet “Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.”” - Jonah 1:1-2 “And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”” - Jonah 4:11  Scripture reading: Jonah 1:1-2, 4:11 Who is the story of Jonah about? Who is the leading actor in the book of Jonah? Who sets the stage, dominates the scenes and directs the events? Our first impulse might be to say “Jonah,” for indeed, the title of the book is attributed to his name. The events of this story are focused on the life and times of this prophet from Israel. If you ask a roomful of children about the main character in Jonah, they might exclaim, “the fish!” Undoubtedly, the fish makes the story memorable, and it’s a “whale of a tale”, but the fish is a mere puppet in the hands of the puppeteer. What is the Lord doing in the book of Jonah? What is God saying? The first opening lines direct us to that question, as God has the first word (1-2) and the last word in this book (4:11). God is the one who is in sovereign control, and He is moving and orchestrating all these events. The first phrase in the book of Jonah “the word of the Lord came” is a common phrase used in the Old Testament to indicate that God is saying something important to his people. God has an important message for us in the book of Jonah. It teaches us about the sovereignty of God, His incredible love and the heart of God for lost people. Are we ready to hear and apply what the Lord says to us through Jonah? Suggestions for prayer Pray that you would receive the Word of the Lord in faith and belief. Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

August 31 - Still sacred

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” - 1 John 5:21  Scripture reading: Jude 17-25 What a strange ending to a letter? After the stirring climax of the previous verses, shouldn’t there have been a doxology of praise from John like we appreciate in Handel’s “Messiah,” and with which many of the other New Testament letters end? But, this? Yes, this! For what is happening here is a logical progression from the previous verses, tying it all up. The Son of God will keep His own, but that doesn’t take away from the responsibility we have. There was a very real danger. That’s been clear as we’ve gone through 1st John. But as to what is exactly meant by “idols” we don’t know. It seems the apostle had a particular danger in mind, perhaps it was the pagan idolatries that flooded Ephesus. But it could also be false pictures in their minds planted by false teachers. That’s a stumbling block which would continue to plague the early church. But the Lord speaks. “Little children” John writes, and he hasn’t used this expression for nearly two chapters. However, in ending his letter, he does it with the Lord’s tenderness and affection. Just as a mother tells her child to be careful, the Lord tells His children to watch for danger. He doesn’t want us to be hurt. How much isn’t this message for us also? What are those idols keeping you from truly worshipping and serving? Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for His promise to keep and bless us; ask Him to defeat what blocks us from His blessing. Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

August 30 - Still secure

“…and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” - 1 John 5:20b  Scripture reading: 1 John 2:28-3:3 You might well be nervous and feel inadequate upon meeting what seems to be persuasive and sincere folk at your door. Just like, no doubt, the early Christians were with the Docetists of their time. Those people present themselves in such a nice way. Moreover, they very smoothly show how everything fits into their way. However, don’t forget Who Jesus Christ isn’t to them. What any serious study of Scripture will show is how much they take God’s Word the wrong way. Take, for example, the words of our text. We have that translation in the ESV, as you’ll find it in the NASB, the NIV, the KJV, and the NKJV, after years of careful, detailed and verified work, following the established grammatical rules. But the New World Translation, the Jehovah’s Witness version states: “And we are in union with the true one, by means of his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and life everlasting.” Notice what happened? Certainly no centrality of Christ; instead, He becomes merely a way to the Father, not the Way. Naturally this leads to a salvation that can be earned, it’s what you have to do because Christ hasn’t done it all. What a bottomless pit that can never be filled. What a life without peace, until by faith they meet the Prince of Peace. Suggestions for prayer Pray for those caught up in the cults and our interaction with them; may we be kind and gentle, but clear on Who Jesus is. Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

August 25 - Has the time come?

“…and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” - 1 John 2:18b  Scripture reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 Have you ever been in a town or city centre and heard a street preacher? “The end is nigh!” he calls out, “Repent and believe, before it’s too late!” Dressed conservatively and using King James English, positioned on busy street corners or open park spaces, they can often become the butt of jokes and public derision. In one way, though, he is quite right. Despite their off-putting manner, their theology which can be quite unreformed, their warning is yet relevant. The end is actually very, very nigh! In fact, the end is closer than it has ever been before in human history. How much don’t the signs show this to be so? If it was so in John’s time with the presence of many antichrists, it is even more so now. You see, antichrists teach against Christ. They deny His work of atonement. While we might think this should be easy to notice, it is actually coming in the most subtle shift away from focussing on what God has done in His Son to what you can be in God. Is the “alone” in “Christ alone” dissipating? What the reformers saw in the false teaching of the church in their time hasn’t taken a holiday today. But have you? Do you know what time it is? Suggestions for Prayer: Pray for a spirit of discernment to test the spirits of the age. Thank God that His Word and His Spirit are always true. Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

August 24 - Where did the time go?

“Children, it is the last hour…” - 1 John 2:18a  Scripture reading: 2 Peter 3:10-15 Isn’t it true that one thing we always seem to be running out of is time? There is the last rush to catch the school bus, a homework assignment that should have been handed in yesterday and the job at work which needs overtime to get it done on schedule. Where did the time go? As the saying goes: ‘Time lost won’t be found again!” As we reflect on our text, this is so true. The early church very much lived with the urgency of so little time being left before the Lord’s return. Time was of the essence and they knew there wasn’t much of it left. How many times in the New Testament letters weren’t they exhorted to make their time count? Perhaps we know better now. After all, Christ hasn’t come back for two thousand years. Yet, can we, of all the ages of believers, afford to be lax? Isn’t the time we’re in right now so much closer to Christ’s second coming? Seriously! If it’s already been two thousand years, is there much longer to go? Let’s also see this personally. We might live, Lord willing, for eighty years, or perhaps longer. But that’s not long. The years quickly fly and don’t they get much harder the older you are? Time is running out. How are you getting ready to meet your Maker? Suggestion for prayer Praise God that He’s working out His plan for our future and plead that we claim every moment for Him. Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

August 23 - He seemed so genuine!

“There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that.” - 1 John 5:16b  Scripture reading: Acts 5:1-11 This is a situation that’s hard to write about. To be told that there are those in the church who don’t belong; indeed, they shouldn’t even be prayed for. Plus, when God has nothing to say to a person, they have no hope! Calvin described this as nothing less than apostasy, where men completely cut themselves off from God. These ones were not part of us. Perhaps they were attracted by certain ideals – such as the self-attainment of Docetism. But they came in for the wrong reason; it wasn’t the gift of faith they had. For the early Christians this was difficult to understand. These people had seemed so genuine. They had been so full of vigour – especially in supporting that extra-holiness found in Docetism. Some had even been teachers. Yet they walked right away and so they showed they weren’t part of the fellowship, for in rejecting the Son, they turned their backs on life itself. Ananias and Sapphira showed this vividly. And it wasn’t because only a portion of the land sold went to the Lord, but that they pretended to be something they weren’t. They lived the lie – and so they were of the Father of Lies. Sadly, they were never of us. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the truth is what matters most, and not our friendships. Thank God that despite those leaving He is always with us. Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

August 22 - Our brother’s lifeline

“If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life – to those who commit sins that do not lead to death.” - 1 John 5:16a  Scripture reading: Galatians 5:22-6:5 ‘There are no strangers here – only friends we have yet to meet,’ is a saying that caught my eyes a while ago. I found it a strange quote and not always entirely true. But, now, I use it quite confidently in the Church. As those who share in a common faith commitment, we have no need to fear one another. Together we serve the Triune God – the Father Who in His Son, Jesus Christ, has made us perfectly able to stand before His awesome face and Who, through the Holy Spirit, makes that tremendous knowledge ours. We are in a relationship with God Himself. That’s why the power of prayer is so important. Prayer is the way in which we draw closer to God and to being open to His will. It’s also the way we are open with each other. This is why the believer “shall ask” when he’s sadly and devastatingly hit by the presence of sin in a fellow Christian’s life. It would be easy to be condemning, but that’s not said, only that you should pray and in this way God will give our brother or sister the true spiritual renewal they need. To be open to God is to open up a huge vein of blessing to those around. Suggestions for prayer Pray for someone you know needs revival; pray for God’s humbling; but also pray that you will be the way for He who is The Way. Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

August 17 - May the real force be with you!

“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” - 1 John 3:18  Scripture reading: 1 John 3:11-20 We are never on our own. This may seem an obvious enough statement. Of course, we’re never on our own! Even retreating to an uninhabited island means we have to be connected to someone. The apostle John recognizes this. He, however, doesn’t see relationships as something to put up with; rather he has a positive message for it. He says they are opportunities for love: Real love. Not something we might feel or say is good, but something deeper and meaningful. He ties it in with a foundation – “in truth” he describes it. What could that be but the truth of the Gospel? What Jesus Christ did in His sacrificial death is the only proper motivation. It’s only on that basis that there are “deeds”. Take a minister, for example, preaching a sermon on the eighth commandment. He preaches it with a fiery conviction. Yet, that same afternoon he casually takes an apple from his neighbour’s tree. All those pious words counted for nothing. Unless the motivation which generates our words also works a redeeming grace in our lives, we are spiritually useless. It’s this redeeming grace which makes all the difference in our relationships. It means what we say, is what we are. For our brother or sister, or neighbour, that’s what really counts. Then the Holy Spirit – the Real Force for good – is with us and in us. Suggestions for prayer Seek repentance for your acts of hypocrisy. Pray for genuine love to break through all our relationships. Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

August 16 - No limit!

“He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” - 1 John 2:2  Scripture reading: 1 John 5:1-5 The heresy of Docetism had many of the early Christians misled. Instead of that rich, nutritious feeding upon God’s Word, they had become caught up in seeking fulfilment through their own achievements. The wonderful, liberating news about the Son of God becoming man had been deliberately ignored. John responds by lifting those believers’ eyes above themselves. Instead of looking down to what is so earthly, so self-seeking, he urges them to look up: “He” – Jesus Christ, Son of God – “is the propitiation for our sins…” In the Old Testament, it’s recorded how often the Israelites rebelled against God. Many times they complained, saying to Moses that they’d been brought out of Egypt only to die in the desert. The Lord wasn’t impressed. On one of the occasions, he severely punished them by sending venomous snakes amongst them. They bit the people and many died. The people, in repentance, sought their covenant God’s relief. And the Lord did provide it through a bronze snake placed upon a pole, becoming God’s power for healing for all who looked to it. A true healing is also there for John’s readers who have slipped away, enticed by Satan. It is a healing so immense that not only will it be enough for them, but also for the sins of the whole world. If only they would look up! Suggestions for prayer Plead for God’s Spirit to keep you looking up and plead for others to also be humbled so that they may join with us. Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

August 15 - The cook behind the meal

“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.” - 1 John 3:8a  Scripture reading: 1 John 3:4-10 ‘You are what you eat’ is a quote many of us know. And in certain ways it is definitely true. Those reared on limited food group meals suffer the result of that later in life. This is why governments spend much money on promoting a variety of foods from different groups. Mums are encouraged to be adventurous in their cooking. Moreover, this quote is also true spiritually. We have touched on this. But let’s now go beyond the food itself. Let’s take ourselves a step back before the eating of what is a truly unfulfilling meal. Let’s walk into the kitchen. We want to see who it is that could dare to feed us this way. What’s the name of the chef ignoring the rules for a healthy spiritual diet? No need to guess any further, is there? The devil has surreptitiously taken over the stove. We find him cackling to himself as he busily prepares the ingredients of worthlessness, hate and selfishness. No wonder no one’s getting healthy – it’s junk food at its very worst! What we need right now is another kitchen with another chef, where the food is up-building, positive and strengthening. There our taste buds are finely tuned and our bodies renewed. We need to feed upon God’s Word. We need what’s inside Christ to be inside us. Suggestions for prayer Plead the help of God’s Spirit to keep us reading His Word. Moreover, let that Word stir us to challenge our fellow believers as well. Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

August 14 - The way we eat

“For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world.” - 1 John 2:16  Scripture reading: 1 John 2:15-17 I’m sure our parents at times corrected our eating habits. They would direct us to sit up straight, not to talk with our mouth full, or show us how to use our knives and forks correctly. They didn’t want us to develop the wrong habits. Likewise, it’s something we have to be careful to also do spiritually. Our text shows such an instance of getting caught up in the wrong thing. Alas, before you know it, you’re well and truly caught up in sin’s slide. Back in Paradise, before man’s fall into sin, his will reflected God’s will. They were in harmony together. Unfortunately, something tragic happened – that fall into sin. Now what we want, couldn’t be more the opposite of what there had been before. In our text John describes what our natural will is now – the desires of the flesh and the eyes and of pride. Genesis 3 tells of this through Eve being tempted. She craved for what was wrong. And then she lusted for it. Then she boasted about it. She thought she could be like God. How much don’t we have to turn from this world and turn to the God above it! And, indeed, that is what we do today as we worship the Triune God through the Son Who came to this world and turned our natural diets upside down! Suggestions for prayer Ask God that today we eat the right food spiritually in hearing His Word and that in this way we may this way be strengthened to keep away from the wrong food. Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

August 9 - The first word

“…that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” -  1 John 1:3  Scripture reading: Romans 8:9-17 A child’s first word is a thrill to his parents. Quite unexpectedly, out pops a comprehensible sound! But then again it shouldn’t be such a surprise. In all kinds of ways he has been growing and developing and this is just another sign of this growth. The positive influence of a loving family and wider environment nurtures this. This also shows us what Christian fellowship is all about. In the original Greek the word for this is ‘koinonia’. It means possessing something in common. In this way, a young Christian is nurtured within the appropriate environment. That’s why there is a bonding with other brothers and sisters in the Lord. Flowing on from Christ’s life to His Body runs His equipping power to all the parts. We are bonded with the Heavenly Father Who set out and uniquely commissioned His Son to fulfil His pre-planned action of love. We’re joined to Jesus Christ Himself Whose doing and dying has brought this wonderful unity to reality. Looking up, we naturally look around. In that fellowship the Spirit of the Father and the Son brings us to cry out where we are, for isn’t a child’s first word usually, “Mama/Dada”? Suggestions for Prayer: Praise God for the Body of His Son, the Church. Commit yourself to always honouring her and nurturing those within her. Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

August 8 - Living under the light

“…whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” - 1 John 4:7b  Scripture reading: John 3:1-18 I’m sure that at some point you have been affected by power strikes. Without any warning and at any time, your electricity is cut off. And what a shock it is when it strikes at night. Darkness hits, and then we haste to grab torches and candles and whatever else might give a little light. Soon you have alternative lighting. Yet that substitute is a far cry from having the power on; the light from torches and candles is barely enough. But how is the light shining on our spiritual path? It’s here that John wants us to be really ‘lit up’ by Jesus. He desires we have Christ’s Spirit brightly highlighting where we’re going and what we’re doing. But through what, we wonder? What are the batteries for our spiritual torch? David answers this by describing his sole source of spiritual light: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” To know God is to know this lamp to our feet. If we want to know about a particular author, we read his books. How much more isn’t this true of the Divine Author? And doesn’t that place the need on our hearts of not just reading, but of reading with the awareness of who’s speaking? Then those born of God will know God. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord for His Spirit to stir us to read His Word and so know Him and His will clearer and dearer. Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

August 7 - Beyond myself

“I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for His name’s sake.” - 1 John 2:12  Scripture reading: Acts 2:29-41 Our meditation text describes our position as being “forgiven for His name’s sake.” This name is none other than that of Jesus. This is the name which means ‘Saviour’. As Joseph was told by the angel: “…you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). We cannot separate the Person of Christ from His Work. Therefore, forgiveness through Jesus means forgiveness on the basis of Who He is, and what He does. How much doesn’t this day – the Lord’s Day – speak to this? This is the day Christ arose victorious over sin and death and the devil. This is the day that makes the difference to every other day. But, dear friend, will you be in prayer for that? Will you seek to give this whole day over to Him, because He has completely given Himself over for you in His doing and dying and rising? Following on from seeing God’s love personified and our acknowledgement of total inadequacy, are you ready to worship and serve Him? By the Spirit’s help are you able to point this world to the Answer beyond itself? Suggestions for prayer Thank God that Jesus lived up to His Name. Pray to God for His Spirit’s help to live up to what we are now in Him. Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

August 6 - An honest beginning

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” - 1 John 1:8  Scripture reading: Psalm 51:1-12 Isn’t it true that the hardest part of a task is in its beginning? To start a project requires determination, creativity and a sense of vision. We very much need to know within ourselves that what we’re doing has value. Think of children trying to build a sand castle. How many won’t give up having failed to learn about compacting sand? The foundation proves to be the most difficult part. This especially applies to our position before God. To truly grow in this most blessed of all relationships requires a constant confession of those things that disrupt this communion. Again and again, we need to deal with those obstacles. And here we need to be so prayerfully careful. Ever since the fall into sin there has been that force at work in our own nature which fights against God. Like David, we need to prostrate ourselves time and again before the all-glorious and all-holy God. We have to be taught never to take anything for granted. We must constantly examine ourselves under the light of God’s Word. And we do that looking to him in prayer, laying every day before him. That makes the difference to every day! Suggestions for prayer Plead for God’s forgiveness for not looking to him and thus giving way to our own nature. Ask him for the ability to forgive others, also. Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional

August 1 - Introduction to John

John the Apostle was reputedly the only disciple not to be martyred for the faith, aside, naturally, from Judas Iscariot. However, while he did not pass from this life by being killed for the faith, he certainly suffered extensively for the faith while alive. Many of us will be familiar with his exile on the Isle of Patmos, but there were other times also when he was publicly reviled for the faith. There is a legend associated with John towards the end of his earthly life, probably when he was in Ephesus. Jerome, in his commentary, says: His disciples could barely carry him to church and he could not muster the voice to speak many words. During individual gatherings, he usually said nothing but, "Little children, love one another." The disciples and brothers in attendance, annoyed because they always heard the same words, finally said, "Teacher, why do you always say this?" He replied: "Because it is the Lord's commandment and if it alone is kept, it is sufficient." As we go through John’s first letter, we will see how much the Lord’s beloved disciple sees those in the family of faith as also the Lord’s beloved. How many times does he address us tenderly? He is truly a father in the faith intimately involved in guiding, encouraging and gently rebuking in the faith. What a wonderful testimony to his faith this letter is. Let’s see this month how much those words quoted from him by Jerome flow through in his first letter.   A letter to you “My little children, I am writing these to you so that you may not sin.” - 1 John 2:1a  Scripture reading: Philippians 1:3-11 Letter writing isn’t one of my great strengths. It’s a real struggle to prepare myself and try to start. There I am, the blank screen or paper before me, trying to think of something to write. And then, when I have a subject to write about, I spend so much time trying to express myself correctly. The apostle John certainly had a subject to write about to the churches - a subject that had been causing much difficulty amongst the brethren. And doesn’t that kind of controversial subject make us even more wary of what we write? In fact, wouldn’t we then rather not write at all? That John does write, shows us the extent of his concern. He put the pen to paper. And he does so in a way which becomes a positive testimony to the faith we have. He doesn’t skip the problem either. His letter is a wonderfully Spirit-inspired balance. That’s what’s so special about Scripture. Another apostle, Paul, in 1st Corinthians 2:3-5, speaks of this as a demonstration of the Spirit and of power so that we don’t rest on the wisdom of men, but in God’s power. Hearing this, wasn’t it a real blessing that the churches were being written to by John? Even today, and in this month ahead, we too are having it personally posted to us. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for His Spirit bringing His Word to us and pray it will truly expose and convict us. Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 31 - Time and purpose

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the heaven.” - Ecclesiastes 3:1  Scripture reading: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 We live in a world of constant motion. We are surrounded by perpetual change. We can’t begin to keep up with it all. It is beyond our comprehension. Against this background, our verse for today declares that there is a time and purpose for everything. Everything happens on time according to a predetermined plan. God is working “all things according to the counsel of His will.” God is going to accomplish all His gracious purposes. The details of God’s plan are totally hidden from us. We cannot begin to understand it all. To us it is unknown. So hidden is God’s plan that the natural man and not a few professing Christians refuse to believe that it exists. But what is hidden from us is known to God. Acts 15:18 affirms, “Known to God from eternity are all His works.” God knows what He is doing and His word declares that it is all good for His people. Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” No matter what you are going through in life right now, it is part of God’s plan and purpose to do you good. Believe it and move forward encouraged. Our times are in His hand (Psalm 31:15). This is all being done to the praise of God’s name. Since this is the Lord’s Day, let us all be sure to join with God’s people to worship and praise Him together. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to open minds and hearts to the truth that He works all things for our good. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 30 - Food

“He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.” - Proverbs 28:19  Scripture reading: Proverbs 28:18-25 We all like to eat. We enjoy our meals and they are the source of our daily energy. Food is necessary to sustain our lives and our Proverb today shows us the way to have plenty of it. The land needs to be tilled. If the land is not tilled it produces thorns and thistles instead of food. So the farmer tills his soil in order to produce food. The principle at work here is that food requires labour. The apostle Paul put it this way in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” So if you want to eat, find yourself a job and the Proverb assures you of plenty. The alternative to work is to slack off, following the vain soul who does no work. This was the path taken by the prodigal son until he would gladly have filled his stomach with pig food and was denied even that. That was enough poverty for him. That was also when he remembered that his father’s workers had enough to eat and some to spare. He would return home and seek to become one of his father’s workers. Your father may not hire workers and you may believe that jobs are hard to find. Meanwhile, employers needing unskilled workers for low paying jobs can’t seem to find them. Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom. Prove yourself a worker and move up from there. May God bless your labours today and feed you well. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to help us all to get working and see that we are well fed. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 29 - Bad influences

“Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them; for their heart devises violence, and their lips talk of troublemaking.” - Proverbs 24:1,2  Scripture reading: Proverbs 24:1-9 This proverb is concerned about the company we keep and makes its warning very clear. Have no desire for or delight in evil company. It is very dangerous for your faith which is why 2 Corinthians 6:14 inquires, “What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?” For one thing, the hearts of evil people are always planning to pursue some manner of iniquity. They happily turn to violence or any number of violations of God’s law. This is their way of life. In addition their lips talk about the evil that abides in their hearts. They make a habit of talking about troublemaking or the other evils they plan to carry out. They advertise their folly. All of this has a bad influence on believers. In Psalm 73 the psalmist confesses that he was envious when he considered the prosperity of the wicked. He admits he almost slipped and fell from his standing in the faith. 1 Corinthians 15:33 simply tells us, “Evil company corrupts good habits.” Don’t let it happen to you. We can learn from our psalmist friend who almost fell. At that point, he says that he went into “the sanctuary of God.” There the ways of God and His righteousness were brought back to his understanding and he realized God was all he desired. Ever keep the truths of God’s word in your mind and heart. “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 21). Suggestions for prayer Ask God to help us hide His word in our hearts so that we might not sin against Him. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 24 - Faithfulness

“Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man?” - Proverbs 20:6  Scripture reading: Proverbs 20:6-12 Most of us are inclined to think we are sufficiently good in and of ourselves. We readily proclaim what little goodness we can find in ourselves. It is easy to find people of this persuasion. Finding a faithful person is an entirely different matter. They are scarce among us. Psalm 12:1 declares, “The faithful disappear from among the sons of men.” We find the names of very few identified as faithful in the Bible. Moses and Daniel are two that come to mind. In Daniel 6:4 it is said of him, “They could find no charge or fault because he wasfaithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.” Psalm 101:6 describes the faithful as, “He who walks in a perfect way.” It is true. Really kind, generous and faithful people are hard to find. Gospel grace is required to be faithful. Only hearts renewed by the Spirit of God through faith in Jesus will be inclined to pursue faithfulness. These are the hearts that seek to be faithful to God, faithful in keeping the Sabbath Day, faithful to the truth, faithful to their marriage vows; indeed faithful to all the commandments of God’s word. This is Sunday, the Lord’s Day, and you will find the faithful worshipping God today, as His people assemble in His church for public worship. May God bless today’s worship and worshippers. Suggestions for prayer Pray that God will renew hearts today and be pleased with the worship of His faithful people. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 23 - A brother offended

“A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle.” - Proverbs 18:19  Scripture reading: Proverbs 18:14-19 Brothers can be and are too often offended. Scripture records a number of such offences. Think of Cain and Abel, the first brothers born. Think of Joseph and his brothers or the sons of David, Absalom and Amnon. Such family breakdown should not happen and displease God. Of even greater concern is when an offence occurs between brothers in the church where we are called to endeavour “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Such offences easily occur and, as the proverb points out, are hard to fix. What can be done about them? The easiest thing to do is not to let them happen. Be careful to think before you speak or act. Ask, how will what I say or do impact the person to whom I speak or with whom I act. If it could cause offence, don’t say it or do it. Don’t be the cause of offence. Offences do happen and fixing them is not easy, but the effort should be made. Jesus counsels both the offender and the offended to seek the other out to make reconciliation. See Matthew 5:24 and 18:15. Carefully follow the directions given in these verses. Ideally, the sides should meet as they seek one another out. Do it lovingly (John 13:35). Do it gently (Ephesians 4:2). Do it promptly (Ephesians 4:26). May God bless you in all your relationships. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to keep you from causing offence and may He be pleased to bless any efforts made to reach out to offended brothers. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 22 - A merry heart

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” - Proverbs 17:22  Scripture reading: Proverbs 17:22-28 The broken spirit of this proverb is a downcast brooding spirit that always looks on the dark side of things, always finds fault, and never finding anything right. Such a mindset is bad for both soul and body and when prolonged “dries the bones.” No Christian should exercise such a mindset. It is far better to exercise a merry heart which can act as a medicine for both the soul and body. Indeed who has better reason to exercise a merry or cheerful heart than the Christian? When we come in repentance and faith to Jesus, He says to us, “Be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you” (Matthew 9:2). It is a command of our Lord we need to give more attention. Other scriptures give us even more reason for merriment and cheerfulness. We don’t have a worry in the world because we cast all our cares upon God Who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Beyond that, “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). And “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). The Bible gives us good reason to, “Rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). This proverb reminds me of my rancher friend in Manitoba. He always had a smile on his face, attended every church activity, and when our youth arranged a camping weekend, he would load his trailer with horses and go along so they could go horseback riding. The world needs more Christians like him. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to fill more hearts with joy that will act as a medicine for all. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

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