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Daily devotional

May 21 - Jesus, our banner (I)

"And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious." - Isaiah 11:10

Scripture reading: Isaiah 11:1-16

Jesus Christ, the coming Messiah, from the line of David, is compared in this verse with a Banner. A banner is something that encourages soldiers. It might have been a cloth, a figure, or at night a torch, that was there to help soldiers during the battle. In order to be encouraged by a banner, it needed to be lifted up for all to see. Jesus is that Banner. How is Jesus this banner for His people today?

  1. Just like a banner identifies a group of soldiers, so Jesus identifies with His people – When we are enrolled by faith in Jesus’ army, Jesus identifies with us. We have become Christians. Christ now lives in the believer (Galatians 2:20). And He rallies and unites Christians around Himself (Galatians 3:28).
  2. Just as a banner brings soldiers together, so Jesus, through His cross brings Christians together – Jesus told us personally, when He would be lifted up, He would draw all men unto Himself by the banner of His cross (John 12:32). He said this in light of some Gentiles who came and asked Phillip if they could see Jesus. And Jesus, knowing this verse from Isaiah, tells Phillip that Gentiles and all kinds of people will be brought together after His death. A world-wide army of believers, who have seen the power of the cross, will enroll under Jesus’ banner. When the cross is held high in the preaching and in missions, we can be assured that the church will grow.

Suggestions for prayer

Praise God for the cross and for its attractive power. Pray for pastors, Bible teachers, professors and missionaries and other places where the cross is being held high. Pray that many would be brought to saving faith.

Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 16 - Jesus, the fountain of living waters (I)

“Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”” - John 4:13-14  Scripture reading: John 4:1-15 Jesus is the Fountain of living waters. The question is: what is it about fountains that shows us something of who Jesus is? Jesus is a never-ending overflowing Fountain – A fountain of living water in nature is a place where the water spontaneously bubbles up from the ground. Some fountains can yield water from the ground up to a ton a minute, year in, year out! Jesus is such a never-ending overflowing fountain too. His Words are the waters that refresh our souls. When we believe in Christ and drink from His Word, it renews and refreshes us in the inner man – in our hearts. He promises that His words are an ever-flowing fountain that springs up into eternal life! Jesus is our fresh Fountain – Fountains in nature generally bubble up crystal clear water. In Bible times, in a hot climate, fresh water was absolutely vital; without it, you would die! As sinners we naturally, like this woman, prefer the stagnant and poisonous waters of sin. Instead, Jesus offers us clear water. When He comes into our lives, He brings holiness and purity by His Holy Spirit. When we drink of those waters, we will stop thirsting for sin and thirst more for Jesus. There is nothing more refreshing to our souls than the grace of our Lord Jesus. Come afresh to Jesus and His fountain today and let the flow of His atoning blood not only refresh your soul, but also refresh your hope of eternal life. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for His never-ending and ever-freshly flowing Fountain in Jesus Christ. Pray for His overflowing grace to refresh your soul and focus your hope. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 15 - Jesus, the rock of ages (II)

“And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by.”” - Exodus 33:21-22  Scripture reading: Exodus 33:12-23 Jesus is the Rock of Ages who has existed from eternity. In that respect we are rather unlike Him; we are mortal human beings. Changes can make us nervous and fearful. But when we trust in Jesus, the Rock of Ages, Who also became man, like us, we will find stability for our lives. Jesus is our Stable Rock – A rock brings stability to our lives; how does Jesus do that? In Jesus’ sermon on the mount, He finished by picturing two people who are building a house. The one was quickly done. He didn’t dig too deep and built it on the sand. The other man dug deeply until he found a rock to build on. The first man’s house fell flat in the storms and troubles of life. The second man’s house stood firm during the troubles and storm of life. Why? Because Jesus is the Rock and when we build our life on His teaching, our lives will find stability. Jesus is our Safe Rock – The Bible clearly tells us that sinners cannot see God and live. So, when Moses asked God to see His glory, he was asking for his own death. But God tells Moses that there is a place by Him! When He stands upon the Rock, God promises to cover Moses with His hand. What a picture of the Lord Jesus’ salvation. Through Jesus our Rock, there is a place where sinners can see God and live, safely covered by His Hand! Suggestions for prayer Thank God that there is a safe place with our Holy God through Christ. Pray for the grace to build your life on the teachings of Christ with real-life obedience. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 14 - Jesus, the rock of ages (I)

“Trust in the Lord forever, For in YAHWEH, the Lord, is everlasting strength .” - Isaiah 26:4  Scripture reading: Isaiah 26:1-9 Because the Lord is the Rock of Ages, it is safe to trust in Him. Yes, we should trust in Him forever! Isaiah’s word choice evokes the picture of a strong and large boulder, or a mountain cliff. God is just like that, Isaiah tells us. Jesus is our Eternal Rock - This Rock has been there for all ages, since eternity. When it speaks here about YAH, the Lord, we know that this refers to the One Triune God, Father, Son and Spirit. The Son is as eternal as the Lord Himself! He has been there from eternity (Colossian 1:17). Therefore, this applies to Jesus also. There was not a moment in the eternity past when Jesus did not exist. He is from eternity! Jesus is our Changeless Rock – If you have ever visited the Rocky Mountains, or if you live close to them, you know how impressive and massive these huge pieces of Rock are. When you are in that area it is easy to notice that they are there day after day, seemingly immovable. Storms can rage, frost can come, lightning may hit, the sun may beat, the clouds can hide them but nothing really changes these giant mountains. What a picture of Jesus! Jesus is the Rock known for His indestructible strength and duration… Troubles and trials may come to your life; weak faith may hide Him from your view… Still Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever! Like an unchangeable Rock!! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the fact that Jesus is eternally trustworthy and that He changes not. Pray for the grace to look to Jesus amidst the changing circumstances of life. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 13 - Jesus, the light of the world

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” - John 8:12  Scripture reading: John 1:1-14 When Jesus says that He is the Light of the world, He is telling us that there is darkness in this world. Without Jesus Christ in our lives, we are in deep spiritual darkness. Without Jesus, our hearts and lives are full of darkness and selfish sins. When we are unsaved, we love the darkness rather than the Light! We love our sins! The worst thing is that the prince of darkness, the devil, blinds our minds and hearts, so that we don’t desire the glorious Light of Jesus to shine into our hearts. It’s just like a spider who has weaved his web in a dark corner. There comes the fly. Because of a lack of light, it flies right into the web… Immediately, the spider jumps on the poor fly… It is totally trapped and ready to be killed. This is a picture of Satan's work. He blinds us for the danger of sin so that He can bring sinners to hell. But when the Sun of Righteousness, Jesus Christ, the Light of the World shines into our hearts, brighter than the sun, we begin to see our sins. We begin to understand how we are being trapped by our sins. Praise God, Jesus’ power is far more powerful than the darkness of sin! It will drive out our sins. We begin to hate our sins and we begin to love the Light. We want the Light, just like sunflowers, that constantly turn their heads toward the light. Suggestions for prayer Thank God when He has shined in your heart to take away the darkness of sin. Pray that you will have a deep desire to walk in Jesus’ light. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 8 - Jesus, captain of our salvation

“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” - Hebrews 2:10  Scripture reading: Hebrews 2:1-10 Jesus is the captain of our salvation. What does that mean? The word captain is not just a title for a commander in chief of an army, but it has the idea of a brave commander who goes ahead of a group of soldiers to lead the way. In other words, Jesus is the Captain Who has paved the way so that He can lead His army into freedom and salvation. How does Jesus lead the way to salvation? By fighting our enemies for us. Sin is our greatest enemy. We are to kill it before it kills us. It is a cruel enemy. But we cannot kill sin unless we follow our Captain of salvation in faith. He has entered the battlefield on behalf of His army, a band of weak sinners, and He has won the victory and paved the way to salvation and freedom. Think of David and Goliath. Goliath was a cruel killer. None could conquer him; all trembled at him, except for David. He fought and won the battle on behalf of his people. So, also Christ, led the way where we could have never won the victory. Now He calls us to follow His lead, and kill sin, in His power, knowing that He already crushed Satan's head. Only when we are strong in the Lord and the power of His might, and take from Christ the whole armour, will we be led to full salvation! His full salvation is our full protection. Trust His salvation! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the Christ, our Captain of salvation and the victory and full armour, He gives for our protection. Pray for the grace to kill sin in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10). Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 7 - Jesus, our husband

“For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” - 2 Corinthians 11:2  Scripture reading: Ephesians 5:25-33 Many places in Scripture show that Jesus is the husband to His bride, the church. One day there will be a glorious wedding. Until that time the bride of Christ is betrothed (or engaged) to Christ. Just as couples who are engaged set their minds on the wedding day, so should believers. How inappropriate it would be if we would start focusing on other lovers! That’s why Paul says that he is jealous with a godly jealousy because Paul wants to see the bride of Christ completely and purely devoted to Christ alone! Not only Paul has holy jealousy, but the Lord Himself is rightly jealous. He wants to meet a bride that is ready to be presented to Him, seeking to live holy lives. How can we do that? By keeping in view what He does for us: He vows that He will take care of all our needs. He shares with us what He earned on the cross, and at the open grave… He gives His righteousness, and He takes upon Himself our sins… He shares all His riches and takes away our shame and spiritual poverty. He tells us that He loves us and that the wedding is certain. Yes, the church is already considered the spouse of Christ! His love and commitment are absolutely reliable. He promised to go and prepare a place for us. Eye has not seen, ear not heard, what God prepares for those that love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9). Therefore, pursue holiness! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for Christ’s commitment to His bride. Pray for the grace to live holy lives with our desires focused on what He has done and the coming wedding day. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 6 - Jesus, our close friend (II)

“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” - John 15:15  Scripture reading: John 15:11-27 Three more things about Jesus as our close friend: He shares secrets with us and we with Him (John 15:15) – Servants are only called to obey, but with friends, we share our hearts and our secrets. Christ does so with believers. He tells us the secrets of the loving heart of His Father toward His friends. Through His Spirit, He reveals to us His grace and glory in salvation. He corrects us when we are foolish and sinful (Proverbs 27:6) – The wounds of friends are faithful, so when Christ disciplines us because of our sin or foolishness, it will hurt, but we must trust, it is for our good! We love to please Him (John 15:14) – We love to please our friends, so if Jesus is our friend we do likewise. Jesus said: You are my friends, if you do what I command you. We can know that we have become Jesus’ friend when we have a desire for godly obedience in our lives. Have you lost friends? Are you lonely? Are you longing for a friend? Jesus is a friend that sticks closer than a brother! If He is your friend, entrust your whole life to Him. What a friend we have in Jesus All our sins and griefs to bear And what a privilege to carry                       Everything to God in prayer Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness Take it to the Lord in prayer Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the privilege of sharing all that is on your heart with Jesus in prayer. Pray God for more friendship-motivated and joy-filled obedience. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 5 - Jesus, our close friend (I)

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” - Proverbs 18:24  Scripture reading: John 15:1-14 Older brothers can be close, as well as friends. Friendships are important in life; we trust, help and encourage our friends. Friends help us see things we missed. Real friends are willing to share and make sacrifices for each other. Brothers can be friends and close, but Proverbs 18:24 shows us that there is a friend that sticks closer than any brother… That close friend is Jesus! Now, what does it mean that Jesus is a close friend? He sacrificed Himself for us (John 15:13) – Jesus laid down His life for His friends; there is no greater love than that! Our friendship with Jesus begins when we believe this. That He is willing to be a friend of such a terrible sinner?! What a marvel! If He gave Himself, I want to willingly give myself to Him! We believe in Him (James 2:23) – When Abraham believed and was justified, from that moment he was called a friend of God! And so it is with us… When we believe in Christ, we are justified and we become His friend! Now we trust Him! We want to be in His presence (Proverbs 17:17) – Friends love at all times; we find out who our friends are in times of difficulty. When Jesus is our close Friend, we know He is there in times of difficulty… But we have a desire to be close to Him in prayer and we desire to hear His voice in the Word. Suggestions for prayer Reflect on your relationship with Jesus. Is He your close friend? Or, have other people/things taken that place? Rejoice if He is, repent if He is not. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

April 30 - The love of Christ

“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” - Revelation 3:19-20  Scripture reading: Revelation 3:14-22 Christ’s message to Laodicea is disciplinary, but the discipline communicates affection not rejection. Christ’s love is mentioned only twice in this book, first in 1:5 where it sustains the loyal and here in 3:19 where it pursues the disloyal. Such love ought to ignite in us the flame of repentance to incinerate all indifference. To be lukewarm is dreadful, but not so dreadful as being lost completely. Though disgusted by our persistent sin, Jesus does not want to abandon us. The King of kings appears at the door of our hearts; the Son of God Who suffered for us wants to visit us. He stands patiently and knocks continuously—through providences, impressions and the sermon you will hear today. When you experienced the stings of conscience, the sorrows of life, the movements of the Spirit, was it Christ’s hand knocking on the door of your heart? Jesus extends the most beautiful of invitations, “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” With all the rebuke and censure in these letters, there’s no compulsion at the end; there’s simply an invitation, borne of love. Jesus’ persistent knocking rouses us to respond. We bear responsibility for whether we accept or reject Christ. To do nothing is to keep the door shut in the face of Christ. But when we open the door we find ourselves loved and embraced. The hand that knocks bears the scars of the cross, which secured our acceptance and forgiveness. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you would be sensitive to ways in which Christ is knocking on the door of your heart and that you will always remain receptive to Him. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. 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

April 29 - The cross at the gate

“The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.” - Revelation 3:7b  Scripture reading: Revelation 3:7-13 Keys are increasingly unimportant today. You can open doors and start cars without keys. In the ancient world, however, keys were symbols of power. If you had a lot of keys you were an important person with access to a lot of things. As great David’s greater son, Jesus has the key of David, with authority in heaven and earth. With this key to the door of salvation, Jesus can admit people to His kingdom or exclude them. There’s only one reason why the door of salvation opens and it’s because Christ has the key. In most religions there’s a road followed by a gate. You live the right way, be a good person, and you pass through the gate. Jesus teaches us that the gate comes first and then the road. We learn in the Bible that Jesus Himself is the gate. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “I am the door” (John 10:7,9) and later, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). At the gate, which Christ opens for all believers, there’s a cross. Before we can enter the gate we must kneel at the cross, confess our sins and in faith look to Jesus Who paid the death penalty for those sins. At the cross we seek and receive forgiveness. The only way through the gate is through Jesus and the only way to God is through His cross. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord that Jesus has the key of David and is the door of salvation and pray that God would bring you to the cross to seek and receive forgiveness. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. 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

April 28 - The book of life

“I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.” - Revelation 3:5b:  Scripture reading: Revelation 3:1-6 Scripture tells us that God has a book, a register in which peoples’ names are entered, a roster of all those destined for eternal life. It’s a book of life since the names of the spiritually dead are excluded. Scripture teaches us that we can be baptized, profess faith, celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and still be excluded from the book of life. Our names can be on the church register without being on God’s register. The book of Revelation records a frightening future. One day books will be opened and the dead will be judged by what is written in the books. Everyone whose name is not found in the book of life will be thrown into a lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). Note this: if your name is not in that book it’s because you’ve excluded yourself by your own unbelief. But Jesus gives us a wonderful promise here: He will never blot out the names of those who persevere in faith and repentance, whose robes have been washed with the blood of Christ. It’s an amazing scene to envision. In the final judgment, Jesus will produce this book of life and he will recite the names of the faithful before God and all the angels. Imagine hearing Jesus say your name! Many names, acclaimed today, will sink into oblivion and never be heard again. On the final day, however, the names of the obscure will be recited and celebrated. Don’t be so sensitive about human opinion! Be very sensitive about divine opinion! Suggestions for prayer Pray that Christ would enable us to profess His name today in anticipation of Christ professing our name tomorrow. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. 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

April 27 - The test of holiness

“I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.” - Revelation 2:21 Scripture reading Revelation 2:18-28 In the beautiful garden of Thyatira, there was a weed (v.20): “Nevertheless I have this against you: you tolerate the woman Jezebel.” Thyatira is the reverse of Ephesus. Ephesus had lost its first love but did not tolerate evil. Thyatira had retained its first love, but tolerated evil. Jezebel is the name Jesus gives to a prominent woman in Thyatira who called herself a prophetess, but was compromising the Christian faith. We don’t know precisely what she taught, though it was likely a variant of the notion, common in the early church, that you could engage in sexual immorality without damaging the spirit because the body is simply the spirit’s inconsequential house. Jezebel seemingly endorsed membership in the trade-guilds and approved of participation in those civic parties which often included sexual immorality. Satan tries in any number of ways to entice churches into sin. If he can’t destroy the church by persecution, he will corrupt it with evil. One of the ways we discern sound teaching is through the test of holiness. Does a teaching encourage holiness? Does a teaching endorse sin? Jezebel’s teaching endorsed sin and so God was going to judge her. Jezebel’s bed of adultery, Jesus says, will become a bed of sickness; the scene of sin will become the scene of judgment. The disobedient will not inherit the kingdom of God. It’s all very grim until you see that God has given Jezebel and her followers a remarkable and gracious gift: “I gave her time to repent” (v.21). Don’t abuse God’s patience! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the gift of time and pray that you might use it well, not least to repent and to seek Him. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. 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

April 22 - Redeeming time

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.” - Colossians 4:5  Scripture Reading: Colossians 4:2-6 There are two aspects to time being underscored in today’s passage—namely, its function and its value. Time in the Bible, first of all, is never abstract, but something God appoints for a reason. According to Ecclesiastes, for example, there is a time for everything: a time to sow and a time to reap, a time to dance and a time to mourn, a time to work and a time to rest, etc. In terms of history, we are presently in the age of mission, of the gospel reaching the ends of the earth. The time for this mission will end when Jesus returns. In this time, therefore, walk in wisdom toward outsiders! Time, secondly, is precious because it’s God’s gift. As such, time is a friend, not an enemy. Happiness in marriage is generated by committed love that persists for decades. A tree doesn’t bear fruit instantaneously and wine isn’t produced immediately. Beneath the English translation “making the best use of the time” the Greek text has commercial language, i.e., “redeeming the time” or “purchasing/buying the time.” Because time is so precious, Paul says, “buy it, purchase it!” and use it wisely. How can we redeem time? Paul gives us a concrete example here (v.6): “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt.” Then and now, salt was prized for its seasoning potential. In the ancient world, boring speech was called “unsalted.” Our conversations today are to be salty, i.e., appealing, alluring, tasty. In the age of mission, purchase time through winsome speech! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the gift of time and pray that He might show you how best to redeem the time. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. 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

April 21 - Working for the Lord

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” - Colossians 3:23  Scripture reading: Colossians 3:22-4:1 Work for many people, then and now, is drudgery and therefore performed grudgingly. The apostle Paul doesn’t want us to work mindlessly, much less reluctantly. He wants us to be personally engaged and focused. Whereas Paul uses the word “heart” in verse 22, he uses the word “soul” in verse 23, saying literally, “And whatever you do, from the soul, work, as to the Lord and not men.” Many Greeks famously regarded the soul as an entity imprisoned by the body. For the Jews, however, the soul was a person animated by God himself. God breathed into Adam the breath of life and he became a living soul. When Paul says, “From the soul, work!” he’s not only recalling creation; he's echoing the central commandment of the entire Bible: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your soul.” We must put ourselves into our work fully. Why? Because we work “as for the Lord and not for men.” Labour today, as grim slavery then, generated the benefits of housing and food. Our ultimate motivation, however, must not be earthly. We serve a heavenly master, the Lord Jesus Christ, on Whom we must set our hearts and minds. We work for the Lord Who assigned us our vocations. Our earthly managers may not always be looking, but our heavenly Master is. Everything we do—whether answering the phone, washing dishes, operating a machine, turning in an essay, selling a product—everything must be done from the soul for the Lord. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to renew your sense of vocation in life so that you increasingly invest yourself in your work to please the Lord. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. 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

April 20 - Eyes on the Lord

“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” - Colossians 3:18-21  Scripture reading: Colossians 3:18-21 What is striking for me about this passage are the messages embedded in the text’s grammatical structure. Notice first how the callings of husbands and fathers, unlike those of wives and children, are restrained by the prohibition, “do not.” Husbands, love your wives and “do not be harsh with them.” Similarly, fathers, “do not provoke your children.” Because Paul recognizes that the positions of power husbands and fathers occupy are easily misused, he is essentially saying to such parties: “you’re susceptible to abusing authority, so restrain yourself!” Notice secondly that the callings of wives and children, unlike those of husbands and parents, are uniquely described with reference to the Lord. Wives must submit to their husbands, “as is fitting in the Lord.” Children must obey their parents in everything, “for this pleases the Lord.” Unlike husbands and parents, wives and children are in vulnerable positions. They are required to submit and to obey, respectively. Not better than their wives and their children, husbands and parents are not worthy of the submission and obedience they should receive. Though submission and obedience are part of an order the Lord has designed, they are never deserved and should never be given absolutely. You can’t talk about submission and obedience, Paul is saying, without reference to the Lord. You’re not ultimately serving your husbands or your parents; you’re serving the Lord. When you submit or obey, remember who the Lord is: not your husband, not your parents, but Jesus. Your eyes must always be on Him. Suggestions for prayer Pray that husbands and fathers (parents) would be prevented from misusing power/authority and that they would enable wives and children to live to honour the Lord especially. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. 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

April 19 - The peace of Christ

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” - Colossians 3:15 Scripture reading: Colossians 3:15-17 The Roman empire was famously characterized by a period of peace, the so-called Pax Romana that spanned two centuries, representing the longest period of stability Europe has experienced in recorded history. Both Jesus and Paul were born and died within the Pax Romana. By His death, Jesus had secured a deeper peace in relations between God and humanity and within humanity, and He summoned us to a banquet of peace and harmony. So called to peace, we must let peace dominate (v.15): “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” The verb “to rule” here was used by referees in sporting events who must make judgments. The peace of Christ, in short, must be our heart’s umpire. I’ve discovered that peace can sometimes be idolized, as if there were no higher objective to pursue. The Canadian author Rudy Wiebe captured this of the Mennonite community in his novel, Peace Shall Destroy Many. We do not pursue peace at all costs, certainly not at the expense of charity or purity. Conflict is sometimes good and necessary. To let the peace of Christ arbitrate is to accept all those Christ accepts and to accept them in the way Christ accepts them. Jesus has decisively dismantled barriers between all people groups, not least between Jew and Gentile. Don’t erect barriers where Christ hasn’t. This way of life becomes possible for those who seek the things above and set their minds on Christ, ruling at God’s right hand. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the peace of Christ would arbitrate in your heart so that your life is increasingly characterized by His loving judgements. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. 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

April 14 - A spiritual body

“Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” - 1 Corinthians 15:49  Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 15:42-49 There is continuity between the body buried and the body raised and yet, as Paul indicates, “what is sown a natural body, will be raised a spiritual body.” Spiritual body for Paul doesn’t mean non-physical body, but a body perfectly animated by the Spirit to inhabit the new creation. Paul explains this in terms of a contrast between Adam and Christ. Adam was formed from the dust of the earth and became a living being. The gift of life, however, could be taken from him, in which case he would return to the dust, as he did. Jesus, however, does not receive life as a gift; He is the author of life. His life is the eternal, immortal life of heaven which cannot disintegrate into the dust of the earth. We are united to Adam as humans and so we bear his likeness—the likeness of a mortal being. If we are born again and belong to Jesus the second Adam, we share in His life and bear His likeness—the likeness of the heavenly Man. This means that our resurrection life will be incorruptible and immortal! This is what precludes despair in the face of death. Christian hope is distinguished from mere wishful thinking because it is grounded in the past. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we by faith in Jesus will rise from the dead. This joyful expectation of the future, based on a real event of the past, should transform the present with hope! Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to give you faith in the risen Christ and hope for a future resurrection, not least in the face of death. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. 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

April 13 - Theology in botany

“But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?”” - 1 Corinthians 15:35  Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 15:35-41 If you have questions about the mechanics of the resurrection, you’re not the first. The apostle Paul writes (v.35), “But someone will ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?’” God has wonderfully filled the creation with resurrection images, the most prominent of which, as we have been seeing, is the amazing transformation of a seed into a plant. This simple image conveys three important lessons. The first lesson is that just as the seed must go into the ground and decompose before a plant can appear, so you and I must go into the ground before we can be raised. The second lesson is that just as there is a biological continuity between an acorn and an oak tree, so there is continuity between the body buried and the body raised. When your body is raised, in other words, it will be your body and not someone else’s. The third lesson is that just as the mature oak tree is far more majestic than the acorn, the resurrected body will be far more glorious than the body buried. If you’re puzzled by what kind of resurrection body you will have, you don’t need to worry. God not only has infinite resources to create something out of nothing, He is in the business of giving new bodies. Look at the powerful transformation of seed into plant in the botanic world! Suggestions for prayer Ask God to teach you the significance of the body and to help you become at home in your body in anticipation that you will have your body forever in the new creation. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. 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

April 12 - God’s acre

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” - 1 Corinthians 15:20  Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 As we saw yesterday, Paul argued that denying a future resurrection implied that Christ himself did not rise from the dead. Such a denial is no trifling matter. If Christ has not risen from the dead, the Christian faith is pointless, and Christians are of all people most pitiable. In today’s passage, the apostle continues to underscore the inseparable link between Christ’s resurrection and the resurrection of believers. Paul here envisions the resurrection of all believers—past, present and future—as a great harvest and Christ’s resurrection as the firstfruits, the initial yield of that harvest. Since the firstfruits of the harvest are already in, the rest of the harvest will undoubtedly follow. In this sense, Christ’s resurrection is a pledge of the resurrection of believers. Corresponding to this conception of the resurrection as a harvest, Paul in this chapter compares burial to the planting of seeds. When a body is buried, a seed is planted which will be harvested at the resurrection when Christ returns. Christians in times past would appropriately call cemeteries “God’s acre” or “God’s field.” Cemeteries in this biblical analogy are fields of planted seeds, often in rows, waiting to arise as resurrection bodies. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to enable you to see the interments of your believing friends and family as rituals in which seeds are being sown to be harvested when Christ returns. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. 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

April 11 - Hinge of the Christian faith

“Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” - 1 Corinthians 12:12  Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 The Corinthians objected to the resurrection of the dead, apparently believing that receiving the Spirit made the body unnecessary (v.12): “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” People had a dim view of the body in the ancient world. The body was seen as the locus of suffering and pain and thus a necessary evil. It’s therefore unsurprising that when Paul preached about the resurrection of the dead at the Areopagus in Athens, some scoffed (see Acts 17). If the body were the source of so much pain, and death represented the final release of the soul from the troublesome body, how could receiving the body back in resurrection possibly be good news? But Paul situates the resurrection at the centre of the Christian hope. If you deny a future resurrection, it must follow, Christ Himself was not raised. But if Christ is not raised, then the whole Christian faith is a sham: the preaching of the gospel is futile, everyone remains in their sins, and Christian believers are of all people most pitiable. The resurrection of Christ is the hinge of the Christian faith, the launch of the new creation and the ground of Christian hope. The Christian hope, as we shall see, is not simply that we will receive our bodies back at the resurrection, but that our present bodies will be powerfully transformed at the resurrection. Suggestions for prayer Thank God today for your body and for the promise that one day it will be transformed and made incorruptible. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. 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

April 6 - Jesus’ staying power

“If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” - Matthew 27:40b I Scripture reading: Matthew 27:32-41 Recording little of the physical horror of crucifixion, Matthew emphasizes the rejection of Jesus. He is rejected here by everyone: soldiers and spectators, clerics and criminals. The soldiers were reputed for the violence, the criminals for their crimes, and the spectators were especially vulnerable to mob pressure and herd mentality. What especially shocks us is the participation of the clerics (v.41), “So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked Him.” This demographic, claiming to know the Word of God, can’t recognize the Son of God. They taunt Him by promising faith, if He comes down from the cross (v.42b): “He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross and we will believe in him.” Could Jesus save Himself? At some level, He obviously could. With armies of angels at His disposal, He had the power to extricate Himself from the cross and it would have been spectacular if He did. At another level, Jesus could not. He was internally constrained, by the will of the Father and by the love of sinners, to remain on the cross. In the end, we must say two things. If Jesus did save Himself, He could not save us and if Jesus did not save Himself, He could save us. Today let’s thank God that Jesus stayed on the cross for us and let’s praise Jesus for His love for us that so compelled Him. Suggestions for prayer Praise Jesus that His love for us, while He was dying, was undying. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. 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

April 5 - Two freedom fighters

“And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”” - Matthew 27:23 Scripture reading: Matthew 27:11-26 Like so many episodes in the suffering of Christ, this account is full of irony. The imperial judge is a pawn on the Jewish chessboard. The governor does not govern. The religious leaders, supposed experts in the will and ways of God, oppose God’s anointed one, while the truth is revealed to a pagan. Far more than simply Matthew’s literary ingenuity, irony is a fitting way to convey the gospel message. Notice too how the crowds prefer a hardened criminal to an innocent man. From the Gospel of Mark, we learn that Barabbas was imprisoned with others for insurrection and the murder of Romans. Barabbas is of course his family name, meaning literally, “son of the father,” suggesting that he emerged from a family of rabbis. Several ancient manuscripts indicate that his first name was Jesus, a very common name in 1st-century Palestine. Pilate’s question, therefore, is: which Jesus do you want, which son of the father, which freedom fighter? Jesus Barabbas wants to save his people from the tyranny of Rome through violent revolution. Jesus Christ wants to save His people from the tyranny of sin through humble sacrifice. In the end, the guilty party is released and the innocent party is condemned to be crucified. This irony especially depicts the gospel. You and I are guilty before God’s judgment seat. We are declared innocent and freed because Christ, the innocent one, was condemned and crucified. Suggestions for prayer Pray for a fresh embrace of the wondrous exchange whereby Christ receives our sin so that we might receive His righteousness. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. 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

April 4 - The riddle of King Jesus

“They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him.” - Matthew 26:66b-67 Scripture reading: Matthew 26:57-68 The Supreme Court for the Jews, the Sanhedrin, assembles in the house of Caiaphas the High Priest with an impressive list of guests—priests, elders and scribes. They await the arrival of Jesus until He is finally ushered into their presence. This is not a reception for a king, but a trial for a prisoner. Here we encounter the riddle of King Jesus. Spiritually blind, these men in Caiaphas’ house can’t solve this riddle. Not solved by reason or logic, the riddle of King Jesus can only be solved by those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. Even Peter, who once acclaimed Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, sits at a distance with the temple police, an outsider, a mere observer. Here we see King Jesus scorned and mistreated—they spit in His face, strike Him and slap Him. But do you have eyes to see? Far from contradicting His messianic claims, the sufferings of Christ corroborate them. This is what the Messiah came to do for sinners like you and me. Jesus here is actively fulfilling Isaiah’s messianic prophecy: “I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting” (Isa.50:6). The riddle of Jesus has become the riddle of the church. The maligned King Jesus has become the maligned church which reigns with Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord for fellowship with His sufferings in order you might also experience fellowship with His glory. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. 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

April 3 - A Garden of Grief

"And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”" - Matthew 26:39 Scripture reading: Matthew 26:36-46 As we begin what is sometimes termed “holy week,” commemorating the last week of Jesus’ earthly life, we travel to Gethsemane, just outside Jerusalem. Because the city was overcrowded for Passover celebrations, most pilgrims had to sleep outside, not least the disciples who chose as their campsite for the week, this now infamous olive orchard. The garden is the site of deep and dark grief for Jesus. By His own admission, His soul is very sorrowful, even to death (v.38). What is killing Jesus is an ominous cup He must drink. Throughout Scripture this cup represents the judgment and wrath of God against sin, including your and my sin (see, e.g., Isaiah 51 and Jeremiah 25). The terrifying cup Jesus must drink is more than a preview of the cross; it’s a foretaste. With bloody sweat on His brow, Jesus plaintively asks the Father if there’s any other way for His wrath to be satisfied. At the same time, however, He commits Himself to do the Lord’s will. It’s an extreme instance of what we all at times experience—namely, a summons to obey the mysterious will of God in the face of the pain we know it will bring. As the sin-bearer, Jesus experiences the judgment we deserve so that we might be declared innocent. He drinks the cup of God’s wrath so that we might drink the cup of God’s blessing. He faces the fierce anger of God so that we might enjoy His warm smile. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to provide you the grace to obey His will when it runs counter to your ambitions and dreams. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. 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

March 29 - Preparing with a job qualification 

“...not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”” -Hebrews 7:16, 17 Scripture reading: Hebrews 7:11-19 The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world to serve as our only High Priest. That was an essential part of His “job” as it were. He was not a descendant of Aaron, the father of Old Testament priests, who all served in weakness and were sinners. Jesus did not become our priest because of earthly ancestry, Rather He is our priest on the basis of the power of His endless life. He is our priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. As our eternal High Priest, Jesus sacrificed His life for His people. He is worthy of our trust. Our calling is to turn to Him in faith. As disciples, we beseech Him to represent us before the throne of God. Jesus is at this moment in heaven interceding for His people, obtaining the Father's grace and mercy because of His sacrifice upon the cross. If your soul longs for salvation, if you desire eternal life, if you want the Lord to hear your daily prayers, and if you want perfect guidance through this life and into the world to come, then you need a priest, a mediator between you and the Lord. Jesus is the One, Who can do this great work. He alone is qualified. He alone proved by His sacrifice at Calvary that He could do the task and accomplish the great work of salvation. In sincere, humble faith, look to the eternal High Priest ordained in the order of Melchizedek. He is Jesus, our Master, our great and only High Priest. Suggestions for prayer Pray in confidence, if as a true disciple, your prayers are offered in the Name and by the saving power of Jesus, our Priest forever. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 28 - Preparing by looking to Jesus alone

“But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?” - Galatians 4:8-9 Scripture reading: Galatians 4:1-11 Our basic Christian confession is that Jesus, God's Son, is the only Saviour. This means that today we must take a stand, a personal stand of faith, a stand together as a church, in the midst of a society that demands compromise. This is true now, just as it was true for the new Christians in the little mission churches of Galatia. The Apostle Paul was deeply concerned that there were those in the Galatian churches who had fallen into a dangerous error, Although they said that they believed in Jesus, still they thought that they needed, or at least could benefit from, the help of angels and other spiritual powers. They were placing themselves in bondage to beings that were by nature not “gods.” There are many today who turn to the social gospel, who think that the world can be saved by nuclear disarmament, environmental action, UN declarations, and civil rights protests. They hope that such human efforts will save them. The question posed by the Apostle must be asked of them, “How is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?” Sinful human beings are always tempted to put faith and trust in someone or something other than the Lord. There can be no compromise here. Either Jesus is the complete Saviour, or He is not the Saviour at all. Our calling is to put our full trust in Jesus alone, the complete Saviour. Suggestions for prayer Ask God for wisdom that you may recognize the dangers you face, when Satan tempts you to put your trust in anyone or anything other than Jesus. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 27 - Preparing by trusting

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” - Psalm 20:7 Scripture reading: Psalm 20:1-9 Everyone lives by trust. We all trust someone or something. David, the inspired psalmist, looked around himself in his day and age and saw that there were those who trusted in military might. In ancient times many trusted in chariots and horses, the super-weapons of those long ago days. David, directed by the Holy Spirit, warns us against such a trust in human power of any kind. We who know and love the Lord have the most powerful trust of all, a wholehearted faith in Jesus, as our only Saviour. When we trust in Jesus to save us, we gain a wonderful confidence and a lasting sense of peace. Each time we remember the name of the Lord, we exercise that amazing trust, for the very name Jesus means Saviour. As you walk with the Lord day by day, live in the power of that trust, which all who believe in the Lord have found totally dependable through the ages. All around us today we see unbelievers put their trust in earthly schemes, in weapons, in so-called science, in government welfare programs, and in empty political promises. Those who put their trust in such human efforts are sure to be disappointed. Such earthly trust is always betrayed and evaporates into nothing. As children of God, disciples of Jesus, let us avoid that by putting our trust in the Lord alone, in Jesus, in whom we find all things necessary for our salvation in this world and in the world to come. Suggestions for prayer Pray for the powerful working of the Holy Spirit in your heart that you may receive the wonderful gift of faith. Ask the Lord to lead you in His ways, so that your faith, once given to you, will be strengthened. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 26 - What attracts you?

“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” - John 12:32 Scripture reading: John 12:27-36 Today, the doors of the churches are open. Worship services are held. I hope you plan to attend. If you do, good, but dare to ask yourself, “What attracts me to worship God in His church?” Consider Jesus' words in our text. His people are drawn to Him by the power of the cross. It is the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that reconciles us to God, that restores us to the Father's favour and opens heaven's gate for the sheep of the Good Shepherd. What draws you to church? Is it mere custom, routine, or a fear of hell? Such motives are insufficient and unworthy. It must be the Lord Jesus Himself, Who attracts His sheep. It must be the power of the cross that pulls and tugs at our heart, which draws us to the Saviour Himself and to His House of Prayer to worship on the Lord's Day. In these days, when we think upon Christ's sacrifice for us in a special way, remember the judgment of the cross: that God's justice is sure and must be satisfied. Remember that the price of that satisfaction is the perfect sacrifice of the Lord Jesus upon the cross. May it be true faith in Christ Jesus, love for Him, and a deep and abiding thankfulness for His willingness to give Himself for us to pay the price of our redemption, that draws us to the Saviour. May that motivate us to worship Him today (and always) with wholehearted devotion. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to fill you with thankfulness and devotion for His great salvation. Pray that, as you worship in church today, you will be drawn ever closer to the heart of Jesus. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 21 - Preparing with a reconciled heart 

“…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” - Luke 19:10 Scripture reading: Luke 19:1-10 The great work entrusted to the Son of God, when He came into this world, was and is to reconcile His chosen people, to the Lord God Almighty. That was the Father's plan from before creation to save His elect from the sin into which the human race had plunged itself through the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Luke 10:1-10 is a story of reconciliation. Zacchaeus, the public sinner, is reconciled to God and man. Amazing! So unexpected! Zacchaeus is reconciled because Christ Jesus came into his life and changed all things. Remember, dear reader, such reconciliation is not just something for a man who met Jesus long ago, but it is also a necessity for us. We must recognize that it is only through the ministry of Jesus that such reconciliation is possible. God calls us to be reconciled, and only through faith in Christ and all that He accomplished by His death and resurrection is this possible. How can you be reconciled to God? Confront your sin and be confronted by the perfect Saviour, Jesus. Confess your sin, seek forgiveness in Jesus' name, and receive forgiveness. God will forgive those who are reconciled to Him. Now and always be reconciled to God. As forgiven sinners, we rejoice in our salvation, which Christ won for us, which we will soon remember on Good Friday. We live in hope, because of the power and glory of Jesus' resurrection, which we soon celebrate at Easter. May your heart and life, like Zacchaeus', be restored to God's favour. Suggestions for prayer Pray that your sins be covered by the shed blood of Christ, our Saviour, and that through Him you will be eternally reconciled to God. Thank the Lord for the restoration of life that we have in Jesus. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 20 - Preparing as a sheep of the Good Shepherd 

“He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.” - Isaiah 40:11 Scripture reading: Isaiah 40:1-11 Jesus said, I am the good shepherd (John 10:11). As we prepare our hearts to remember the climax of His earthly ministry, it is good that we do so with this fact clearly in mind: Jesus is the Good Shepherd. We are His sheep. Far too often we are wandering sheep. “All we like sheep have gone astray,” declares Isaiah (Is. 53:6). We need the Good Shepherd to guide, lead and protect us. It is a humbling experience to admit that by nature we are poor, wandering sheep, but that is our spiritual reality. We must humbly admit that we are saved, not by our own righteousness, nor by our human abilities. It is our Good Shepherd Who saves us and feeds us by His Word and Spirit. He Himself is our food, the very bread of life (John 6:55). To hungry souls the promise of our text is so sweet, as our Saviour promises to feed us. That promise is sure and we experience it in a deep, spiritual way every time we share in Holy Communion! He gathers, carries and leads His sheep. We can depend on the Lord Jesus to care for us. What a blessing the sheep of the Good Shepherd enjoy! Day by day then, humble yourself, acknowledge that you are a sheep in need of a shepherd. By faith find that Shepherd, place your trust in Him and all that He accomplished for your salvation. Rejoice, Christian, to be a sheep of the Good Shepherd's flock. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Spirit to work within you to humble your heart, so that you will find your place in the Lord's flock as one of His sheep. Thank the Lord for feeding, gathering, carrying and leading you on through life. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 19 - Four marks

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” - Acts 2:42 Scripture reading: Acts 2:29-47 It's the Lord's Day. God calls you to worship Him. As you do so, you should see in yourself and in the church that you attend, four characteristics that are described in our text and were clearly seen in the gatherings of the first Christians in Jerusalem. The first mark is “they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine.” Our calling as Christians is to be faithful to the truth of God's Word. Do you truly believe what the Bible says? Does the church you attend faithfully adhere to the teachings of Scripture? Some, with the name of church, openly deny the authority of Scripture. A true Christian's calling is to continue steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine, all of it. That is needful for any group to be a true church of Jesus Christ as well. The second mark is fellowship. Sharing in the full life of a Christian community is vitally important for spiritual life and growth. The church is the family of God and to cut yourself off from that family is a major step toward spiritual disaster. How is the walk of your discipleship when it comes to fellowship? The third mark is the breaking of bread. If you have an opportunity to partake of the Lord's Supper this Sunday, do so well-prepared and in good conscience. The fourth mark is prayer. It is a privilege to share a prayer time with fellow Christians in God's House. Personal and public prayers are vital to a rich, vibrant spiritual life. Suggestions for prayer Pray that your Sunday will truly be the Lord's Day, as you worship with fellow believers in a church that steadfastly continues in all of the apostles' doctrine. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 18 - Preparing for an exam

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” - Psalm 139:23, 24 Scripture reading: Psalm 139:1-24 How fortunate we are that other people cannot read our hearts and minds. Our employers, employees, teachers, students, preachers, parents and children, none of them can truly know what's in our hearts and minds. We are safe, except, of course, that God can read our thoughts and He knows exactly our innermost feelings. David comments on this in Psalm 139. By the inspiration of the Spirit, David declares that the Lord is all-knowing and everywhere present (verses 1-12). He knows all because He is our Creator (verses 13-18). God sees the evil of the wicked and will visit them in judgment (verses 19-22). Then, in our text, David requests that the all-knowing Lord examine him. How did David dare do this? He knew that God would see his sins and weaknesses. Yet David had confidence that God's examination would reveal that he was a child of grace. It was well with his soul because God had forgiven him and made him righteous by grace alone. David also asks that, after examining him, that God would lead him “in the way everlasting.” As you prepare to worship the Lord in His church tomorrow, search your heart and life. In that examination, reflect on the fact that God knows your inmost thoughts and feelings. Then seek from the Lord His grace and forgiveness, and pray for His guidance as He leads you onward in “the way everlasting.” A good start is to attend worship services tomorrow on the Lord's Day. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you each step of life's way and to help you prepare for worship tomorrow in the midst of the communion of the saints. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 13 - Preparing with mercy

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” - Matthew 5:7 Scripture reading: Matthew 5:1-12 Christians realize the need for the mercy of God. The Lord Jesus went to the cross, suffered and died because His heart was merciful to us. In our text, the Lord speaks about this much-needed virtue. He told the crowd on the Galilean hillside and us today, that we have a responsibility. If we want inner peace, true happiness and satisfaction, we need not only desire to receive God's mercy, but we need to be merciful ourselves. In a world filled with hate and cries for vengeance, we must show mercy to those who have wronged us. In a world filled with suffering and pain, we must reach out to others and help them in their distress. When you speak and act, you must judge your words and actions by the standard of mercy. Daily we pray to experience God’s mercy as we ask Him for pardon and for grace. Then we realize that Jesus's words are of utmost importance to us: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Today, recommit yourself and your ways to the Lord. To do this, Jesus says that you must be merciful. Are you? It takes a heart willing to give up sin to live a Christ-like life. It takes God's all-powerful help. In your words and deeds today and every day show that you are a true disciple. Be merciful to those around you. By God's grace we can be merciful and so we shall experience the mercy of our Saviour in a measure rich and full. Suggestions for prayer Seek the working of the Spirit to soften your heart and to guide you so that you can be a faithful disciple, showing mercy to those with whom you come in contact at home, at work, at school, at church, wherever you might be.  Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 12 - Invited and ready

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” - Matthew 22:14 Scripture reading: Matthew 22:1-14 In Jesus' parable, the guests came because they received a royal invitation. Yet, some didn't care; some reacted negatively. Others were invited right off the street. The king provided all that was needed for these guests to clean up, but when he entered, one man was still in his old, dirty clothes; he had not put on the new robe the king had provided. This man had no excuse for not wearing the robe given by the king. He had not valued the invitation highly enough to make himself ready. When the king called him to account, the man was speechless. He had no reason to be there without wedding clothes on. The king had him thrown out. The penalty was severe, but just. Jesus taught the people that it is not just the invitation that matters, but also the readiness of the guests. Today, you are invited to church for worship. Many will ignore the invitation. Will you? Perhaps you will come to church, but are you ready, clothed in the righteousness of Christ? Like the king in the parable, the Lord God not only invites, but He also notices who has come into His presence clothed aright. Turn to the Lord in true repentance. Trust the Saviour with true faith. It is the humble, trusting soul, the disciple who is following Jesus, who is clothed with the robe of salvation. Wearing that robe, we can enter into God's House and worship Him in spirit and in truth. You are invited. Make sure that you are ready. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to give you the grace and wisdom you need to prepare to worship Him this day in spirit and in truth. Pray for those who ignore the King's invitation that they may be converted. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 11- Preparing with the Lord’s favour

“Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation…” - Psalm 51:11, 12 Scripture reading: Psalm 51:1-19 Few today know what it is to be “cast out.” We live in a very tolerant society, but in other places and times, it was different. To be cast out was like a sentence of death. Whole nations were cast out of their homes and left to perish. It is a tragedy repeated far too often in human history. King David knew the feeling of being cast out. He recognized that his sin had evil results and feared that he would lose God's favour and that God's Holy Spirit would be taken from him. This terrible feeling drove him to seek the Lord and His grace in prayer. We should learn from this. Too often our souls can be dull. We take it for granted that God's Holy Spirit is happily dwelling in our hearts. The fact is: sin disrupts our fellowship with God. When we turn away from the Lord in self-righteousness, or neglect the means of grace provided for us in the church, we will soon feel a spiritual emptiness and lack a good conscience. David could not accept this spiritual loss. He had sinned, but he turned to the Holy Spirit Who could restore him to God's favour. That blessed restoration resulted in David again experiencing the joy of the Lord's salvation. As another week ends and you prepare for worship in God's House tomorrow, may you seek the blessing of the Spirit's work of applying Jesus' righteousness to you, so that you too will experience the Lord's favour and the joy of His salvation. Suggestions for prayer Seek to experience the Lord's favour by asking the Spirit to apply Jesus' righteousness to you and allow you to know the Lord's favour. Pray for spiritual wisdom which recognizes the importance of public worship, which the church provides tomorrow. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 10 - Heartfelt preparation

“...because your heart was penitent...I also have heard you, declares the Lord.” - 2 Kings 22:19 Scripture reading: 2 Kings 22:1-20 A major part of our faith and our response to God is found in our inner life. People around us hear our words and see our actions, but God alone reads our hearts. When we stifle our deep and powerful heartfelt feelings toward God, we do ourselves spiritual damage. That is certainly true when it comes to repentance. Those who deaden their hearts, deny their inner struggles and train themselves to be unfeeling, have great difficulty here, because repentance involves our total being as we turn away from the world and toward the Lord Jesus Christ. We see this in 2 Kings 22. The Law of the Lord convicted King Josiah of his sin and the sin of his people. The king had a reaction. Outwardly he tore his clothes, a public action and custom of his day. That outward action, however, was not merely a custom, rather it was the result of what was going on in the heart of the king. His heart was truly penitent as he wept. He humbled himself before the Lord. His outward actions were a reflection of his inner struggle of soul and of his repentance. In a few weeks, we will mark Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter. Many will outwardly celebrate with chocolate bunnies and coloured Easter eggs and nothing more. God grant that our celebration be far different! May all that Christ Jesus accomplished move us deeply. Like Josiah, let us turn to the Lord with penitent hearts. The Lord Jesus receives the penitent in His overflowing grace! Suggestions for prayer: Express your sincere penitence with prayer that humbly seeks the Lord's forgiveness. Seek His divine help to banish pride, worldliness and stubbornness from your heart and life. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 5 - Preparing with love and fear

“I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you.” - Psalm 5:7 Scripture Reading: Psalm 5:1-12 David, under God's inspiration, speaks here of going to the tabernacle to worship the Lord. What David said speaks to us this Sunday as we worship the Lord at church. God's house of prayer is a special place: dedicated to the public worship of the Almighty. Here we listen to God's Word preached, sing praises to God, have public prayer and share in the sacraments. Our text urges us to worship in the proper spirit, today and at every service of Christian worship. We, like David, can enter God's house aright, because in His divine love, God has laid His sovereign claim upon us. Those who by faith know God's steadfast love are true worshippers and will receive a blessing. The proper spirit of worship also includes godly fear, that wholehearted respect and devotion, which is a hallmark of a true believer. When we fear the Lord, turning to Him respectfully, in awe of His majesty and amazed by His glory, then our worship is genuine and God pours out a blessing upon us as we appear in His courts. God's love and our reverent fear are basic to true and blessed worship. May your heart be prepared with such love and fear today as you go to church and as you prepare for the days of Christian remembrance in the month ahead. It is God's steadfast love that motivates us to come and worship, and our godly fear of Him provides the proper spirit in which we gather together in church this Lord's day. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for His wondrous love, which brought you into fellowship with Him and His people. Pray for a spirit of godly fear to fill your heart as you join in public worship today. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 4 - Preparing by breaking

“And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it.” - 2 Kings 18:4b Scripture reading: 2 Kings 18:1-8 During Israel's 40 years in the wilderness, God commanded Moses to make a bronze snake as a remedy for a plague of poisonous serpents. The people of Israel kept that bronze serpent for some 800 years. There was nothing sinful in that bronze snake itself, but in disobedience, the people of Israel had turned it into an idol. They thought there was power in it and they worshipped it. At last King Hezekiah, realizing the problem, took drastic action: he broke that bronze serpent in pieces. He destroyed that originally good thing, which had become an idol for the people. As we prepare to mark the days of Christ's passion in the month ahead and in our whole walk of life with the Lord, we must consider how we view and use, or misuse, the good blessings of God. Anything: a house, a car, a job, a vacation, money itself can become an idol if we love it more than we love the Lord. Also, as Jesus declared in the Gospel, anyone: a wife or husband, a father or mother, children, a boyfriend or girlfriend, yes (!) any human being whom we love more than the Lord has become an idol in our hearts. By the power of the Spirit, recognize anything or anyone in your life that has become an idol. Then, by the power of the Lord, break it like King Hezekiah broke the snake. Dash in pieces the power of the idol that would damage your love for the Lord, which must come first in your hearts and lives. Suggestions for prayer In humble prayer ask the Lord to show you what has become an idol in your heart and life. Then ask for power from on high to break the power of that idolatry, so that love for the Lord will come first in your soul. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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, Uncategorised

March 3 - Preparing by carrying

“... they seized one Simon of Cyrene who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.” - Luke 23:26 Scripture reading: Luke 23:13-31 On the first Good Friday, Simon carried the cross of Jesus. Simon carried a physical cross and we Christians, who can see ourselves reflected in Simon, are called to carry our cross and follow after Jesus in heartfelt discipleship. As we look forward to Good Friday 2023, we do well to consider this calling carefully. Search your heart and life, and dare to ask yourself a few very important questions: How do you view your own trials and temptations? With a shrug of the shoulders or with much bitterness? The Lord calls you to see that it is through the struggles of life, that you carry a cross. As you follow Jesus, there will be trials and temptations: your cross is laid upon you for your spiritual benefit. Are you willingly carrying your cross? How are you living day by day? Are you following Christ, walking in His footsteps? That is the call of God to you. The pathway is not easy, but by following the Lord Jesus you prove yourself to be His disciple. As such, you are called to take up your cross. Where is your hope? The well-prepared Christian finds hope in the cross of Christ, not in vain human works and efforts. Hear the call of the Lord. Take up your cross and follow Jesus, and so you will be prepared not just to mark the special days of Jesus' passion, but to live a lifetime in fellowship with the One Whose sacrifice on the cross was the price of our salvation. Suggestions for prayer Seek wisdom from the Lord to view your trials and temptations from a Christian perspective. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you strength to bear whatever cross is there in your life as you follow Jesus. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 2 - Preparing with prayer

“And he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”” - Luke 22:46 Scripture reading: Luke 22:39-46 For too many people, prayer is a last resort. Such people are, as it were, sleepwalking through life. They are missing out on the sweet fellowship with the Lord that prayer provides. As we read in our Scripture passage, the disciples, in their weakness, slept, while Jesus prayed. This account of what happened on the night before Good Friday, should challenge us. How is your prayer life? Prayer is to be more than mumbled words or well-worn phrases uttered by custom. Prayer is a sigh deep in our souls. Prayer springs from a heart yearning and searching for the One Who alone satisfies our needs. Christian, get up and pray, as you ready yourself to remember again the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus and His glorious resurrection! In our text, Jesus is telling us that we too, like those first disciples, need to be people of prayer, so that we will not fall into Satan's snares. The devil's plan is to impoverish our spiritual lives. When prayer is scarce, that is the result. Get up and pray to God for His needed blessings, both spiritual and physical. Pray for wisdom to turn in faith to Jesus Christ, the righteous One. Let us hear Jesus say to us: Get up and pray, seek the face of God, bow in adoration before the Almighty One, Who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Appear before the throne of grace in prayer, and you will have fellowship with the Crucified One Who is now the Glorified One! Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to help you be faithful in prayer. Make it your petition that you will be well prepared for life in fellowship with your Saviour, as you remember His sacrifice for you and His victory over sin and death. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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 25 - Total inability in a nutshell

“How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman?”  - Job 25:4  Scripture reading: Job 25:1-6 Reformed doctrines have been with us from the very beginning of time and taught in the first book of Moses, Genesis, and they continue to be taught through the Book of Revelation. They were merely recovered in the 1500’s. Reformed doctrines are biblical doctrines and Job knew them. One of the most remarkable doctrines we see in the Book of Job is the doctrine of man’s total inability, often called total depravity. In our text Bildad decried the sinfulness of man, every man who is born in the natural way. (Even a theologically inept man as Bildad knew some truth.) Then he reflected on what we have in Romans 3, that there is none righteous, no not one; there was none who sought after God. What precision! Man is rooted in sin and in his life he displays much sin. There is nothing good in him. He doesn’t have the resources to pay God for his sin and restore his relationship with God. His only hope is to plead for the righteousness of Jesus as his own. If he does this, he receives the protection that only God can give. Sadly, Bildad didn’t seem to know this part. Job wished he knew it. God’s grace is available to all who will call on Him. Don’t you want to tell someone today about the righteousness that man lacks, but which Christ earned and offers to him? Suggestions for prayer Say that you will learn the awesomeness of your salvation, knowing the wretchedness of the human heart. 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 24 - With friends like these, who needs enemies? 

“I have heard many such things; Miserable comforters are you all!” - Job 16:2  Scripture reading: Job 16:1-5 Job had lost almost everything. He was struggling with the fact that he knew and loved the Lord Jesus with all his heart and was yet suffering in soul, mind and body. He knew he had not betrayed the Lord. So the hurt caused by his close friends must have been very deep which you can see from his words. To add to that difficulty, they then accused him of being a wretched sinner whom God would soon kill. They claimed Job’s sin was the reason for his suffering. They were wrong. His friends were theologically illiterate. But they were his friends. Job could have told them to “get lost,” as we might say today. He didn’t. He was godly. He knew he had to speak up. Consider what he said to them: Job 19:2,3 "How long will you torment my soul, and break me in pieces with words? These ten times you have reproached me; You are not ashamed that you have wronged me.” A good friend will speak up when his friends are doing wrong. Job did not abandon them. He did not blast them as being evil. He spoke strongly and clearly. Aren’t you too called to confront sin in a brother or sister? Yes, and you are to do so with words which are grounded in biblical truth. It doesn’t matter if you lose some friends. You should never try to keep friends through compromise. The honour of Christ is at stake. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will learn to confront weaknesses in your Christian brothers and sisters in a godly and caring way, a way that is grounded on God’s Word. 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 23 - Life is short and full of troubles

“Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” - Job 14:1  Scripture Reading: Job 14:1-7 It really doesn’t matter if Job predated Moses or not, as some theologians believe. What is important is that both were inspired by the Holy Spirit and that we listen to both. Moses, in Psalm 90, reminded us that man’s days are short and are full of trouble, so man is to “number” his days, or rather, use his days wisely. Moses, a godly prophet, lived to be 120 years old and experienced many difficulties as he led God’s people who became more and more rebellious. The Israelites accused him of betraying them and taking them to the desert to die. Job expressed similar sentiments to his friends: Life was short and full of troubles. He understood the frailty of life. His friends did not understand that as long as man is in this world, man will be torn by sin, strife and death. They assumed life should be smooth and man would live long. How wrong they were! We need to realize that good nutrition, exercising regularly, and having quality medical care (as good as those things are), do not guarantee a good life and do not guarantee a long life. The nicest person you know will become “worm food” one day. So expect troubles in life and in death and prepare for them. You can face these troubles when you know Jesus; trust Him, and rest in Him. Heaven is waiting. Wait for heaven. A glorious life is coming. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will not worry about how long you live, but you will learn to live well. 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 22 - God puts Job in his place

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” - Job 38:4  Scripture reading: Job 38:1-11  Job could not wrap his head around the fact that he was living a good life and yet experienced severe troubles in his life. He lost his children and his relationship with his wife, most of his wealth was gone, his religious friends attacked his faith, and he lost his social status. Maybe he thought, like many today, “If I do good, good things are bound to happen to me.” That type of thinking is more like the Hindu teaching of “karma.” You may be thinking similarly as Job when you have troubles, but you must learn, as the apostle Paul taught in 2 Corinthians 4, that sometimes you will face severe trials even when you are obedient. (Of course sometimes troubles come because of sin and you must confess them.) But read 2 Corinthians 11:23-30 and see the extent of the suffering of this most godly man, the apostle Paul. In order to set Job (and you) straight, God reminded him He was the One Who set all things in place. Job did not know how the foundations of the earth were laid or when they were laid. How could he know all the deep mysteries of God? Even Adam did not see how the earth was made. The solution is then to say, “I trust you, Lord, that even though I don’t understand why I am going through a hard time. I know you love me and have a plan for me.” Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will accept the harsh discipline of the Lord and that you will trust the Lord will always do what is best for His redeemed children. 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 17 - God sees every secret thought

“The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight, saying, ‘No eye will see me’; And he disguises his face.” - Job 24:15  Scripture reading: John 3:18-21 It’s normal to think that because others can’t see you when you sin in secret, God can’t see your sin either. But God can see you. Even your thoughts are laid open before Him. Every evil word you whisper, He hears as if it were blaring on the loudspeakers at the baseball stadium. Every secret act of wickedness God sees as if it were on a billboard on the highway. Job knew a man could sneak out and commit adultery because others were unable to see him. That was easier to do when there was no street light and no phones pinging from cellphones antennae to show your location. But even in the dark God could see him. One might say, “I’m a good Christian; I wouldn’t go out and commit adultery. So God wouldn’t find me there.” Yet, the Lord Jesus warned about lusts, which is adultery of the heart. God sees lusts too. Now you might not commit adultery in your thoughts or actions, yet you are guilty of other sins and act as if God does not see you. What do you watch on television when you are in a hotel room by yourself? Is it the same as when you are watching TV at home with your family? How about the time you spend on the internet, doing things that don’t profit? God sees those too. God’s presence, and therefore His awareness, is a comfort when you are weak and a conviction when you sin (Psalm 139). Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will remember to live with the knowledge that God knows every sinful thought, hears every awful word you speak and sees your every sinful action. 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 16 - Lying lips are an abomination to God

“As long as my breath is in me, and the breath of God in my nostrils, My lips will not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.” - Job 27:3, 4  Scripture reading: Job 27:1-6 Doesn’t this seem like Job was bragging? Shouldn’t we avoid talking like that? We need to understand how language is used. If someone who is going through great pain says, “The pain I’m going through is unbearable,” would you call him a liar? No, he simply meant he was going through great pain, though he could bear it. That’s how you must understand Job’s comment. He lived a life of speaking the truth. He did not lie to hurt others or to get rich. He did not use his lips to promote wickedness nor did he boast about his possessions. When he made a promise, he kept it! And this is what Job intended to do for the rest of his life. So how does the world perceive you to be when it hears the words from your mouth? Do you speak the truth without fear? Do you avoid the truth in order to look good? Do you avoid the truth to advance your career or get that promotion at work? Do you remain silent when you see injustice in your home, church, school, workplace or in the halls of parliament? Do you remain silent when you hear all religions are equal? Being silent when you are obligated to speak is to lie. With Jesus in your life, you are called to reflect the truth to the world. The waters of life should flow from your lips. Because your heart is changed, your love for God and others will make you speak the truth. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will be known as a person of truth and that you will understand what truth is by constantly learning from the Word of God. 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 15 - Golden hope or hope in gold

“If I have made gold my hope, or said to fine gold, ‘You are my confidence’; This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgment, for I would have denied God who is above.” - Job 31:24, 28 Scripture reading: Job 31:24-28 Someone said if you look out your window you can see the beauty of the world, but if you put silver behind your window, you only see yourself. And it’s true, isn’t it, that silver has a tendency to block out the true joys of life and kills the desire to worship the true and living God. Job learned that his confidence was not in how much money he stored up, but in how close he was to the Father through His Son. He developed God’s vision for the world. What happens when money becomes your hope? If money becomes your hope, you won’t trust God anymore. You will hope your money will secure your future and it will keep your wife and children happy. You won’t tithe to build God’s kingdom. You won’t worship as you ought. You won’t give to the needy. And, as Job pointed out, you will deserve God’s judgment for putting confidence in money. And remember, you can’t take your money to hell with you. (On the other hand, be warned that poverty is not a virtue. Don’t feel spiritually superior if you are poor, especially if you are poor because of laziness.) If at the end of your life, you trust in Jesus and live for Him, you will be rewarded with a crown of gold for your service, a golden crown that does not fade away and a crown that can never be stolen but enjoyed forever. Suggestions for prayers Pray that you will have more passion for heavenly gold than earthly gold and that you will put in the time and effort to store up treasures in heaven. 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 14 - Drink water from your own cistern

“I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?” = Job 31:1  Scripture reading: Matthew 5:27-30 It almost seems inappropriate for an older man like Job to speak of having to control his lusts, but he was just being honest. He knew that no man, regardless of his age, is free from temptation. (He probably had grandchildren by then.) He refused to act as if he were so spiritually mature and was never tempted by human lusts. The Devil never stops attacking every man, woman and child, so long as we remain in this world. He would tempt man to lust, whether for adultery, for food or for creature comforts. He hates it when men live faithful lives and are able to restrain their lusts with the help of God’s Holy Spirit. The Sneaky Snake never rests. So it is wise, as the Lord Jesus Himself did, to fortify yourself with the Word of God. Reflect on all the riches and pleasures you have in Christ, both for now and eternity, and fend off the temptations for the temporary shiny possessions of this world. None of the things of this world brings eternal joy and they are so quickly but a memory, or they are stolen, burned-up, or taxed away. All that glitters is not gold. God told Abraham, “I am your exceedingly great reward.” Who needs anything more? What could be better than what you have in Jesus? Look to that which has lasting benefits. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will be thankful for your spouse and show it and that you will make a covenant with your eyes not to lust for earthly things. 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 9 - How good is your coat?

“I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban.” - Job 29:14  Scripture reading: Zechariah 3:1-7 To be saved, man needs righteousness. Only Christ has righteousness – a righteousness described as a covering. That covering was a red coat – a covering of blood – the blood of the cross. Job had that! He needed that covering. Why was the righteousness of Christ described as a covering? The Devil accused Zechariah of having filthy clothes – a covering of sin. The Devil is always quick to accuse a man of being dirty so God could condemn him and not allow him into the marriage feast in heaven. But Jesus quickly responded and said He would take away the filthy clothes Zechariah had and give him new clean clothes. How did Jesus get the new clothes to be given to Zechariah? Those clothes were His righteousness! He lived a perfect life so His Father could count it as your life. Christ died a painful and shameful death at the end of His earthly life, so you could be credited with His righteousness. Christ’s life and death are your covering. You needed a coat, not to protect you from cold, but from fire – hellfire. This was the context of Job! He put on righteousness – Christ’s righteousness! He did not do this in a boastful way, but he recognized he was not the source of his covering. As a result of his righteousness, he pursued justice in his life. He looked for justice for the widows, orphans and foreigners. Moreover, we can be sure he pursued the task of saving others from God’s eternal justice. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will remember and be thankful for the cross and the covering that protects you from the fires of hell. 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 8 - You're not a socialist if you help the needy

“Because I delivered the poor who cried out, the fatherless and the one who had no helper. The blessing of a perishing man came upon me, and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.” - Job 29:12-13  Scripture reading: Malachi 3:1-5 The truly reformed man is not just one who knows the five points of Calvinism or one who is familiar with the Heidelberg Catechism or the Westminster Standards. The truly reformed man is one who understands Reformed doctrine, who knows the greatness and wonder of his salvation, and puts it into practice as he shows love for Jesus and His people. Job showed that his heart was truly reformed by the Saviour by standing up for the poor, the orphans and the disenfranchised – the ones with no helper. He lived at a time when there was no social safety net. At that time, widows, orphans and foreigners were often abused for cheap labour and treated with scorn. He lived at a time when the existence of the weak in society was dependent on Christian charity. So he had to reach out to help. (Too bad Israel and then Judah forgot this, and it became one of the reasons for the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities of God’s people.) You too, as the redeemed of the Lord, must help. Remember Jesus’ words through Solomon: “If you give to the poor, you lend to the Lord.” And know this, God always pays back. Of course, you must make sure the person is truly needy, but once that is established, get to work and help. Remember, all that you are and have is not because of your goodness or greatness, but all that you are and have is because of the Lord Jesus. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will look for the poor, that you will have the desire to help the poor, and that you will help the poor. 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 7 - Serving in the civil sphere?

“When I went out to the gate by the city, when I took my seat in the open square…” - Job 29: 7  Scripture reading: Isaiah 1:16-20 Job longed for the time when he was able to go out to the gates of the city and be an elder to help make civil judgments and bring peace to society. He could easily have said he was too busy. He was busy. But he wasn’t too busy to be involved in the civil realm. He aimed to live a balanced life. Maybe he couldn’t spend as much time with his grandchildren as he desired, but a balanced life was important to him. He knew part of his work as a child, redeemed in the coming Saviour, was to be a light to the world. Light must be shone to give directions. So he longed and prayed to be able to go to the city gates. There are those who say Christians should never get involved in politics or government business, but that’s not the example we see in Scripture, and that’s not the instruction we get from Scripture. While you must be careful in your civic involvement, you are called to reflect Christ to the whole world. (There is only one King.) This is part of shining your light that the world may see Jesus living in you. Shining your light is not just sharing the Gospel. It is giving guidance to a blind world. But when you are serving, let your judgments, your actions and your words reflect the truth of Scripture and don’t bring shame to the name of Christ. Let Christ shine. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will get opportunities to serve your nation and that you will have the desire to serve your nation. 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 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....

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