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Daily devotional, Uncategorised

June 8 - A fool’s errand?

“…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” - Hebrews 12:2–3 

Scripture reading: Nehemiah 4:1-5

Do you have unfinished projects that you started long ago? On my shelf I have paint, wood and supplies for a project I have not gotten around to doing. Beginning a task is easy, but persevering in a task is not. This is especially true when everyone tells you that what you are doing is foolish.

Sanballat and Tobiah, in the presence of the army of Samaria (today they would be backed by the media and masses), made all sorts of accusations, intending to make the Israelites feel that this wall-building is a bad idea and sure to fail. The mockery was destroying the courage in their hearts.

But the believer goes by faith, not by sight. Take these troubles by prayer to God, Who sees His people striving at the work, and sees the enemies trying to tear it down. God made a promise to Abraham that He would bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him. The Israelites could rightly ask God to repay their enemies for the wrong they are doing.

This reminds us: what matters is not what the world says, but what God says. The mockers will answer to God and so must we. What is done with faith in Jesus Christ will be given the reward Christ has earned, and the enemies will be given the reward every sinner deserves. We must persevere in the Christian life. Think of Noah – the world called him a fool, and he persevered, finishing his project of building the ark. He had no regrets.

Suggestions for prayer

Thank the Lord Jesus for enduring mockery so that we can be accepted. Ask God to help us live this life knowing we must give account to God for how we live.

Rev. Simon Lievaart currently serves Bethel United Reformed Church of Smithers BC. Prior to this, he served the United Reformed Church in Doon, IA. Rev. Lievaart grew up in southern Alberta, attended Redeemer University College and Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. This devotional is made available by the Nearer To God Devotional team, who also make available in print, for purchase, at

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  ...

Daily devotional, Uncategorised

December 8 - A closed book

“Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed … and no one … was able to open the scroll.” - Revelation 5:1,3  Scripture reading: Revelation 5 What is history all about? People talk of progress from primitive societies to future worlds, but who will accomplish that perfect new world? Man has often sought utopia, but always failed. John weeps because no one was found able to open the scroll, that is to fulfill the purpose of ushering in the renewed heavens and earth. We see the scroll as the book of history because of what we read in Daniel 12. The book was the story of God’s plan of redemption, how in time the Christ would come and make all things new, liberating all things from the curse of sin. How distressing that no one can open it. Incredibly, although John saw Jesus ascend, he has not yet seen Jesus in heaven! In the first verses, the scroll is closed and the renewal of all things left incomplete. Does this mean that the Christ did not conquer, that redemption did not take place? To John, this is a terrible picture. Without Jesus, who can really understand this world and its end? Is history just cause and effect? Is there a plan with someone in control? Will we overcome our sin and its effects? John cries and cries because he sees no one able to bring history to this bright conclusion. As long as the book is closed, there is no comfort, only continued decay and death. But then an elder directs him to a Lion and hope is restored, as we shall talk about tomorrow. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to help us understand that apart from Christ there is no hope for this world and to understand this vision as we conclude our study of it tomorrow. 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 ...

Daily devotional, Uncategorised

November 8 - Yes, God is still holy

“Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” - Jude 7 Scripture reading: Genesis 18:22-33; Mark 6:7-12; Jude 3-7 The lifestyle of Sodom was not destroyed with its residents. In fact, sinful humanity carries on in its unnatural desires, pretending that God’s judgment will never rain down again. Even worse, false teachers have come into the church to preach that God now endorses that same sexual immorality. One of the worst lies being told in many churches today is that God is no longer holy enough to judge sexual immorality and unnatural desires. But the punishment of eternal fire is coming. The only reason that it has not yet arrived is because God’s mercy is still gathering sinners out of their wrath-worthy lifestyles. But if the church is to preach the way of escape from Sodom’s punishment, it must reject Sodom’s false gospel. We must testify of the good news of Jesus Christ to those who parade their ungodliness. Yes, the Spirit can bring God’s mercy to any sinner! Praise God that He has called even a sinner like you to salvation in Jesus Christ! We can’t compromise that good news by pretending God’s justice has changed since His holy fire rained down upon those cities long ago. We won’t be taking the dust of our unnatural desires with us into glory, so let’s be sure to shake it off before His judgment comes. Let us love our neighbours and warn them of their need to be converted. LORD, be merciful and withhold Your judgment so long as even one can still be saved! Suggestions for prayer Appeal for God’s mercy to show us our need for purity and freedom in Jesus Christ. Ask Him to embolden the church to be clear and courageous in its witness. Pray for your neighbours and family members who need to know the way of salvation. 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

Daily devotional, Uncategorised

September 22 - I knew that you are a gracious God

“That is why I made haste to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.” - Jonah 4:2  Scripture reading: Jonah 3:10-4:3 When we read this passage, we don’t know whether to laugh or cry. We might laugh because what Jonah says is so dramatic and silly. But we might cry because we also see a bit of ourselves in Jonah. Jonah is very angry when he sees that God has relented from the disaster He had planned. When Jonah describes God’s character, he is quoting from Exodus 34:6. God described himself this way when Moses had come up Mount Sinai after the Israelites had made and worshipped the golden calf. At that time, God had revealed his patience and mercy to a very undeserving people. Jonah knew that! But this was different because these Ninevites weren’t Israelites; they were Israel’s mortal enemies. Jonah was not okay with his God showing mercy to his own enemies. As Hugh Martin notes, Jonah’s sin here is ‘pretending to be more careful of God’s glory, and more qualified to advance it, than God himself.’ Jonah wishes he could tell God what to do. Whereas Jonah was running from God in chapter 1, he now tries to run God! God is bigger than we can fathom. We only have a limited grasp of His character. It is a marvellous thing to know that God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and relenting from disaster. Suggestions for prayer Praise and thank God for his character, and for his patience and love towards us. Pray that we might have a right understanding and deep appreciation of his character. Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

Daily devotional, Uncategorised

June 8 - Does God overdo it?

“…For she has received from the LORD'S hand double for all her sins.” - Isaiah 40:2b  Scripture reading: Isaiah 40:1-5 What does this mean? It almost sounds like God goes overboard in dealing with His people’s sins. We know that sometimes parents are so upset that they lose their temper and go overboard in disciplining their children. Can the same be said of God? No! The word ‘double’ is to be understood figuratively. Isaiah tells God’s people that they have received more than enough for all their sin! But does this mean they’ve received more than enough discipline? Or does it mean more than enough grace and mercy? In a commentary on Isaiah, the Old Testament scholar, E. J. Young, tells us that this phrase can be interpreted either way. Strikingly the dilemma disappears if you understand that God's discipline is itself born of loving grace. Both interpretations then fit, hand in glove, with one another. The loving grace of God’s discipline accompanied by His mercy and forgiveness are more than enough for all our sins. Isaiah is teaching what the apostle Paul would one day echo in the words of Romans 5:20, “But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” Rest assured that a Christian will never pay even once, let alone double for a single sin! Jesus paid it all! If God’s hand ever seems heavy on you, remember that His hand in your life of faith is always filled with infinite grace and love for you! Suggestions for prayer Thank God that He is faithful, and will not allow you to be tempted (or tested) beyond what you are able, but with the temptation (or trial) will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13). Thank Him that He never loses His temper with you and that He measures everything out perfectly in your lives for your ultimate good. Pastor Maurice Luimes serves as the pastor of the Immanuel Reformed Church (recently relocated to Bolton, ON). Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at