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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 NTGDevotional.com

Daily devotional, Uncategorised

August 29 - Still saved

“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true…” - 1 John 5:20a  Scripture reading: 1 John 5:6-12 Psalm 150 is a stirring climax to the book of Psalms. The collection of songs from Psalm 146 to 150, which so vividly describes the Lord’s peoples’ response to God, is brought to a triumphant close. The divine organist is there busy increasing the crescendo. The tremendous finale is brought near. Truly this is a fortissimo – a majestic, imposing and grandeur filled conclusion. The stops have all been pulled out! In a similar way, John comes to his concluding words. It is such a point of victory that all else is immediately overshadowed, especially those heretics who had been so zealous. While the phrase “we know that the Son of God has come” confirms what the Spirit has already written here, it is yet leading into something more. Not only did He die nearly two thousand years ago for our sin and rise victorious over the forces of evil, He is also reigning now. While He is the Saviour, He is just as much the Lord! God placed everything under Him for Him to be head over everything for the Church. How phenomenal that is! Such amazing love – that we are still saved, and so “we are in Him Who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” Suggestions for prayer Thank God for sustaining and keeping us. Pray that more of His own will see His Son’s Lordship. Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.  ...

Daily devotional, Uncategorised

June 15 - He gathers the Lambs

“Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.”” - Mark 10:13-14  Scripture reading: Mark 10:13-16 What does Jesus do? He gathers the young lambs with His arm and carries them in His bosom! His bosom is a place of tenderness and safety. When a shepherd leads His flock, young lambs are often first to tire. If they begin to straggle, he scoops them up in His arms and carries them for a while. A shepherd’s strength is wonderfully experienced in his compassionate care and love for the weak. The one time the Lord is said to be “greatly displeased” with His disciples is when they acted like children were low priority for Him and when they rebuked those who brought their little ones to Him. Jesus condemns his disciples' attitude and shows the value He places on their little souls by lifting them up in His arms, putting His hands on them and blessing them. He makes it crystal clear that these children belong to the kingdom of God! Jesus admonishes His disciples about their own need to put away pride and receive the kingdom of God with a child-like trust and humility. In Matthew 18, the disciples ask Him who will be greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus sets a little child in front of them and tells them, "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”Perhaps it’s time for a reset in our concept of “greatness” as we humbly follow our Shepherd! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for covenant children. Pray that they may become faithful and committed young men and women whom God will use to bless and build His churches in the years ahead. Pray for prodigal sons and daughters, that they may be brought back to the safety and blessing of the fold. 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 NTGDevotional.com....

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 NTGDevotional.com....