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Daily devotional

December 27 – Enjoying the Savior’s presence: blessings flow far as the curse is found

“The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” – Matthew 11:5  Scripture reading: Mark 1:14-34 The Gospels quickly move from Jesus as a baby in a manger and boy in the temple to Jesus as a powerful Preacher and a marvelous miracle-working Man. His teaching amazed people because He taught with a calm, compassionate, kind, confident authority they had never heard before. All the other prophets spoke about God, but Jesus spoke as if He was God. And His miracles provided abundant proof that He was indeed God. With words, Jesus not only communicated ideas, but controlled creatures and creation alike. At His command, demons departed, leprosy left and fevers fled. Lame limbs were restored to life, sight was restored to the blind, speech returned to the mute, sound was again heard by the deaf. At His word, raging winds ceased, surging waves were stilled. Most amazing of all, when He spoke, the dead would hear His powerful voice and walk right out of their tomb (John 11:43-44)! If Jesus could do all this by speaking a word, you can be sure people's sins were forgiven too when He said they were. No wonder people came in droves when Jesus came to town. The whole world was going after this Doctor who healed both soul and body (John 12:19). What an exciting time! Through the miracles He performed, Jesus gave a glimpse of what life in His kingdom would be like: No more would sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground because He came to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found. Suggestions for prayer Thank Jesus for the cosmic scope of salvation He brings. He saves not only our souls, but also our bodies which He promises to raise and restore, transforming them and making them like His glorious body. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 26 – Celebrating the Savior’s coming (2) with gentile Wise Men

 “And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:10-11 Scripture reading: Matthew 2:1-12 On the night Jesus was born, an angelic choir announced His birth to Jewish shepherds who then hurried off to worship Him. Some time later, a special star announced to Gentile astrologers from the east that a Jewish king had been born. Guided by a special star, they arrived in the Jewish capital of Jerusalem. Guided the rest of the way by Micah's prophecy, they headed ten kilometers south to Bethlehem. There they found the King and worshiped Him. Notice that Jesus certainly is King of the Jews, but He is not King of only the Jews. The angel had told the Jewish shepherds that the birth of the Saviour was good news for all people. Now Gentile astrologers from the east travel from afar to worship King Jesus and pay homage with lavish gifts to celebrate this joyous event in a festal way. Just being a member of a church, having Christian parents, or setting up a Christmas tree doesn't mean you worship King Jesus. The Jews of Jesus' day had their church membership, Jewish parents, and customary clothes and religious rituals. But Herod, the religious leaders, and many common folk, wanted nothing to do with Jesus. In contrast, these wise Gentile men did! Though they worshiped Him with the limited knowledge they had, they worshiped Him who is King of kings and Lord of lords. In so doing, they foreshadow the worship that is now and ever will be offered to Jesus by Gentiles from all nations, tribes and tongues. Suggestions for prayer Thank God that He redeems the rich and poor, shepherds and sages, Jews and Gentiles, and is building a Church that consists of people from every tribe, tongue and nation. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 25 – Celebrating the Savior’s coming (1) with Jewish Shepherds

“And the angel said to them, 'Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.'” – Luke 2:10-11   Scripture reading: Luke 2:1-20 After not just hundreds, but thousands of years, the long-awaited Saviour was born. Although we don't know what day Jesus was actually born, it is certainly fitting that we set aside a day to remember His birth because His birth is the most important event in the history of the world. God certainly thought so. Look how He announced the birth of His Son. Suddenly, and without warning, the stillness of the dark night was broken. It was as if God switched on a set of bright spotlights, instantly transforming the field in which Jewish shepherds were sitting into an outdoor theatre where a spectacular sound-and-light show unfolded. First one angel pierced through the darkness with glorious, heavenly light while heralding good news of great joy: “Today, in the town of David, a Saviour has been born to you.” Then a whole host of heavenly heralds appeared, bursting forth in praise, singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” After the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds hurried off to Bethlehem. Finding everything to be just as the heavenly heralds had said it would be, they returned home with hearts filled with uncontainable joy. Acting as the first evangelists, they imitated the angels by announcing the Good News of the Saviour's birth to those around them. Will you, like the shepherds, praise God for the gift of His Son and tell others that He is what Christmas is all about? Suggestions for prayer Praise God for fulfilling His promise to send the Saviour, and pray for an opportunity to share the meaning of Christmas with someone who might not know Who it's really all about. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 24 – A frequently forgotten advent figure: John the Baptist

“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” – John1:29 “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” – Matthew 3:2,8 Scripture reading: Matthew 3:1-12 Tomorrow is Christmas Day. Pictures of peace and tranquility likely come to mind — perhaps that of a silent and holy night where all is calm and all is bright. So why consider John the Baptist? Didn't he wear clothes made of camel's hair, eat locusts and wild honey, and preach rather unsettling sermons? Yes, indeed. But despite his unusual personality and unpopular message, he is a very important Advent figure. John was born as little as six months before Jesus. As the last Old Testament prophet, he announced Christ's arrival with a declaration that contained a Passover connection: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). But John suddenly switches his focus to Jesus' second coming. The fire John speaks about is not the warm glow of Christmas candlelight. The axe is not used for chopping down Christmas trees. John is speaking about the eternal fires of hell and the axe God will use to cut down the wicked. Then, like a parent who says, “I'm sick of hearing you say you're sorry. Show me you are sorry,” John calls us to bear fruit that shows our repentance and faith is genuine. We ought not to forget John the Baptist during the Advent season. By reminding us of the wrath of God that will be revealed at Jesus' second coming, John enables us to properly appreciate what Jesus came to do in His first coming: He bore God's wrath on the cross to give us peace with God. Suggestions for prayer Confess your sins, include your half-hearted 'sorries', to God. Ask for assurance that through Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, this forgiveness has indeed been granted, God's wrath has been removed, and you have peace with God. Also, thank Jesus for His promise that all who abide in Him will bear much fruit (John 15:5). This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 23 – Prophets promise Christ’s coming (2): A backwater birthplace

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” – Micah 5:2 Scripture reading: Micah 5:2   The Israelites had returned from exile, rebuilt the city of Jerusalem, and re-instituted the temple. But the nation of Israel never returned to her former state of strength and glory. Not even close. Although the people of God were again living in their homeland, they never again enjoyed full independence as a nation. The Israelites were mere tenants who rented the land by paying tributary taxes to a succession of Persian, Greek and finally Roman rulers. As for the reconstructed temple, it was nowhere near its former size and splendor. And by Jesus' day, the throne in Jerusalem was occupied not by a righteous descendant of David, but by the ruthless, wicked Herod the Great. He stole his brother's wife. And to protect his position and power, he murdered not only the baby boys in Bethlehem, but many of his family members. With the palace occupied by a succession of corrupt, non-Davidic kings, how would the promised Ruler of David's line be born and come to reign? Micah's prophecy gives God's people a clue. Don't look to Jerusalem and its thoroughly corrupt corridors of power. Look to the backwater town of Bethlehem. This humble town would be the birthplace of Jesus, the Saviour. His lineage goes back not only to King David, who was born in this same town of Bethlehem (1 Samuel 17:12). This Ruler's lineage goes even further back into eternity past, He is not only the son of David, but the eternal Son of God. Suggestions for prayer Thank God that though Jerusalem was occupied by evil rulers appointed by Rome, God's ancient promise still stood. Thank Jesus for being a King Who gives His life so we might gain ours. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 22 – Prophets promise Christ’s coming (1): A Christmas stump

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” – Isaiah 11:1  Scripture reading: Isaiah 11:1-16 As promised, a remnant returned to the Promised Land. But only a remnant. When you hear "remnant," think "remainder." In mathematics, ninety-nine divided by five is nineteen, remainder four. Four is but a small fraction of the ninety-nine – a mere four percent! That's about the size of the group that returned to Jerusalem – a small fraction of the whole. The prophet Isaiah uses not mathematics, but trees to describe how small the remnant was. Back in Solomon's day when the kingdom of Israel was enjoying her golden years, she was a tall, sturdy tree with leafy limbs that stretched out far and wide across the land. But because of her sin, she was cut off at ground level. Nothing but a stump remained of the once grand and glorious kingdom. What had come of God's promise that David's kingdom would endure forever? Had Israel's sin nullified or voided God's promise of the coming Saviour? No! Remember, this was a “No ifs, ands, or buts” promise from God. Though Israel was now nothing but a stump, there was still a stump. And this stump, according to Isaiah, is a Christmas stump. We might be far more familiar with Christmas trees, but Isaiah's Christmas stump has a much clearer connection to Christ. Isaiah says that from this Christmas stump will spring forth a Christmas shoot, a Seed, a Son. The family tree of Jesse, father of King David, would be revived and begin to grow again. The promised Saviour would still be born! Suggestions for prayer Thank God that His promise to send a Saviour to redeem us from the curse of our sin was a “no ifs, ands or buts” kind of promise and that though God had to punish Israel, her failures did not stop His promise from being fulfilled. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 21 – The exile: The end?

“Thus says the Lord GOD to the land of Israel: ‘An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. Now the end is upon you, and I will send my anger upon you . . . and I will punish you for all your abominations.’” – Ezekiel 7:2-3 Scripture reading: 2 Kings 17:5-23 Under Joshua's leadership the Israelites defeated the Canaanites and took possession of the Promised Land. By King Solomon's day “Judah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea. They ate and drank and were happy” (1 Kings 4:20). God certainly fulfilled His promise to multiply Abraham's descendants and give them land. Tragically, just when things were as good as could be, they got worse than can be imagined. Solomon married foreign women, worshiped false gods and set Israel on a deadly path of disobedience. God sent one prophet after another to call His rebellious people to repent, but they refused to listen. God had to punish them. Ounce by ounce, the gold was stripped from the temple. Piece by piece the temple furnishings were carted away. Group by group, God's people were carried far away from His presence. They became foreigners in a foreign land with foreign gods. Why were they dispossessed so soon? Had God broken His promise? Certainly not. God reminded His people that He had not broken His promise, but they certainly had broken His commands. It seemed like this was the end of the story, and that Israel was history. But God's promise to send a Saviour was a “No ifs, ands, or buts” kind of promise. Through the very same prophets who prophesied punishment through exile, God promised that a remnant would return, and He restated His promise that the Saviour, Jesus Christ, would come. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to help you take sin seriously, and thank Jesus that He was exiled from the presence of God while on the cross so that we can forever be in the presence of God in Paradise. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 20 – Picture #6: The Promised Land

“On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands.” – Ezekiel 20:6b  Scripture reading: Deuteronomy 8:7-9; Joshua 21:43-44 Although God was with His people while they wandered in the wilderness, the journey was no picnic in the park. The Israelites had food and water. But that was about it. The wilderness was a wasteland. What a contrast to the Promised Land of Canaan, “a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands” (Ezekiel 20:6b). Milk and honey might not seem like anything special to us, but they represent all that is most desirable and delightful. If you think about it, the most expensive drinks at your local cafe are still the lattes. And who doesn't like whipped cream, cream cheese and ice cream? As for honey, it represents all that is sweet. In the Promised Land, the Israelites would enjoy wheat and wine, barley and bread, grapes and olives, figs and pomegranates, not to mention the minerals and precious metals that could be mined from the ground. The land would be flowing with these good gifts; available in unending supply, like a river that never runs dry. What a contrast to their meager diet as slaves in Egypt! What a change from the monotonous manna! If the wilderness was a picture of hardship, danger and God's displeasure, Canaan was a picture of prosperity, peace and pleasure. More importantly, the Promised Land was a picture of Paradise itself. Joshua led the people into a beautiful land that pictured Paradise. But Jesus leads us into the eternal Paradise, the Promised Land of the new heavens and renewed earth. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the cosmic scope of His saving work. He is redeeming not just our souls and bodies, but this creation itself (Romans 8:19-21). This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 19 – Picture #5: The Tabernacle

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt (tented, tabernacled) among us.” – John 1:14  Scripture reading: Exodus 26:1,6-7,14; 29:43-46; 40:33-35 Pictures of Jesus were plentiful for the Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness: the Passover Lamb, thirst-quenching water, daily bread, a bronze serpent. But there was yet another picture of Jesus moving with them wherever they wandered in the wilderness. That picture was a large, elaborate tent-like structure called the tabernacle. This tent was God's home or the street address of His earthly dwelling. The tabernacle consisted of wooden poles covered with colorful curtains embroidered with intricate designs. Their beauty could be viewed from inside the tent. Covering these colourful interior curtains were three more curtain-like layers. All three were made of animal skin: the first layer was goatskin; the second, ram skin; and the third, another kind of durable leather (Exodus 26:1,6-7,14). Skin, skin, skin! God lived in a tent made of three layers of animal skin! Move into the New Testament and we find the human body described as a tent. Call it a tent of human skin. That's exactly what Jesus dwelt in when He came to earth. Christmas is the celebration of Jesus coming to earth and dwelling not in a tent of animal skin, but in a tent of human skin! This is precisely what John 1:14 describes. Jesus is the Word; flesh is a reference to the human body He took on; and 'dwelt' literally means 'tented' or 'tabernacled.' Christmas is the celebration of Jesus coming to tabernacle in a tent of human skin! Never had God's presence been nearer or clearer. Suggestions for prayer Thank Jesus that He is both the tabernacle and the sacrifice required to enter into the tabernacle, both the presence of God and the means by which we enter into the presence of God. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 18 – Picture #4: A snake

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:14-15 Scripture reading: Numbers 21:1-9 By blessing the Israelites with bread and water every day, God made it good and clear that He could and would keep His people alive in the barren wilderness. And He did! After bringing them safely to the border of the Promised Land, twelve men went in and explored. They returned with a glowing report about the land, but a grim report about the people living there: “We can't attack those people. They are far bigger and stronger than we are” (Numbers 13:23-27, 31-33). What unbelievable unbelief! God got them out of Egypt. Surely He could get them into the Promised Land? Yes, He could! But their unbelief earned them forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Fast-forward forty years. Had their behavior improved? Not really. They were again complaining about the lack of water and moaning about the monotonous manna. So God sent venomous snakes to inflict death-inducing bites. Many died. Had God's grace run out? No! When His children confessed their sin, He gave yet another picture of Jesus: a snake on a pole. By looking in faith at the serpent, the poisoned person was cured. Shocking, isn't it? Serpents are cursed symbols of sin and Satan. How could this be a picture of Jesus? While suspended on the cross, God laid on Jesus all our sin and rebellion, making Him a symbol of all that is heinous and evil. And there, Jesus redeemed us from the curse of eternal death by becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). Suggestions for prayer Thank God that just as the Israelites who looked to the bronze serpent were saved from physical death, so all who look to Jesus as the sin-bearer are saved from eternal death. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 17 – Picture #3: Bread

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is My flesh which I will give for the life of the world.” – John 6:51  Scripture reading: Exodus 16:1-5, 15-18, 31-35; John 6:48-51  God got His grumbling people through the first two weeks in the wilderness by giving them water on multiple occasions. Then, when the supply of food they had taken from Egypt ran out, they were confronted with another crisis: starvation! Instead of turning to God in prayer, they turned against Him in protest: “You have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death. If only we had died in Egypt!” (16:3). What unbelievable unbelief! What would you do if you were God? Better question: What did God do? With an impulse of grace, He declared, “I will rain down bread from heaven” (16:4). When they woke up the next morning, the desert floor was covered with thin frost-like flakes called manna. The flakes were white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. What amazing grace! Grace for grumblers and gripers in the form of daily bread from heaven. But this manna was more than just physical food. It was a picture of Jesus. After miraculously multiplying five small barley loaves to sufficiently feed a crowd of five thousand people, Jesus pointed to Himself, saying, “Here is the bread that comes down from heaven.... Your forefathers ate manna in the desert, yet they died. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is My flesh which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:50-51). Suggestions for prayer We eat physical food on a daily basis to nourish our body. Ask God to help you feed on Jesus, the Living Bread, on a daily basis, to nourish your soul. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 16 – Picture #2: Water

“Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – John 4:13-14 Scripture reading: Exodus 15:22-27 The Israelites escaped from Egypt and safely crossed the Red Sea. But they were not in the Promised Land yet. A vast wilderness now stood before them. Sand, sand and more sand. Scorching heat. Some poisonous snakes too. But no food. Rarely any water. This would be no picnic! But God was with them. They traveled for three full days without finding any water. Then, when they finally did find water, they found it was too bitter to drink. Since the desert is a drink-or-die environment, this was a state of emergency. Knowing that God graciously brought the Israelites out of Egypt, you would think they would believe God would continue to take care of them throughout their wilderness journey. But no! They doubted, disbelieved and grumbled. Yet God responded with grace. He told Moses to throw a piece of wood into the bitter water and suddenly it became sweet. Grace for grumblers. What a God! The next stop was at the oasis of Elim. The twelve springs and seventy palm trees symbolize the fullness of God's provision. Twelve springs, one for each tribe; seventy palm trees, one for each of Israel's elders. Full provision for the full number of God's people. This life-giving water in the wilderness was a picture of Jesus. He says, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.... The water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 7:37; 4:14b). Suggestions for prayer Thank God that the waters of His sin-cleansing, eternal life-giving grace flow in an unending stream and are available free of charge through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 15 – Picture daily #1: The Last Supper, the first Passover

“Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed.” – 1 Corinthians 5:7b  Scripture reading: Exodus 12:1-7, 12-13, 21-30 It would be another 1,400 years before Jesus was born. But God kept placing the promise of Christ's coming before His people by giving them pictures of Jesus. Not full-color photos of the man named Jesus, but simple pictures called shadows (Colossians 2:16-17; Hebrews 8:5; 10:1). A shadow might not seem like much of a picture. But it is a picture of sorts. It shows the general shape of something. The first picture of Jesus that God gives appears in the last supper the Israelites ate prior to leaving Egypt. The first nine plagues were directed only against Egypt. But the tenth plague would affect Egyptians and Israelites alike. The destroying angel would kill the firstborn in every single home because this plague symbolized God's universal judgment upon sin, and Egyptians and Israelites alike were sinners. Thank God, there was a way to escape this deadly judgment. By sacrificing a Passover lamb and painting its blood on the door frame of a home, people were ensured that the angel of death would pass over their home. The Passover lamb was God's gift. It was a substitute that died instead of the sinner. More importantly, the Passover lamb was a simple, shadow-like picture of Jesus. Consider the shadow's shape: the lamb had to be a male; in its prime (one-year-old); without defect (Exodus 12:5). That's the same shape as Jesus! He was a man, without sin, and in His prime of life, He sacrificed Himself on the cross as our Passover Lamb. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for sending Jesus as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 14 – The deliverer: Moses

“Then the LORD said, ‘I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry....And I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.’”– Exodus 3:7-8,10 Scripture reading: Exodus 3:7-10; Psalm 105:1-7,16-45 God promised Abraham that his descendants would take possession of Canaan. However, due to widespread famine, Jacob and his family moved to Egypt. Upon arriving, Pharaoh favored them, letting them live in the lush land of Goshen. But one Pharaoh's favor gave way to the next Pharaoh's fury. The Israelites became mere machines that made pyramids and palaces. God's promises now seemed far from being fulfilled. Abraham's descendants were certainly numerous, but they lived far from the Promised Land of Canaan. They were enslaved in a foreign land. It seemed all they had to look forward to was the next crack of the whip and the next baby's burial. But God had not forgotten His promise. He raised up a deliverer! During a time when all baby boys were destined for death in the Nile, Moses was saved in the very waters that were intended to serve as his grave. Safely afloat in a miniature ark of reeds, he was discovered by Pharaoh's daughter and raised in Pharaoh's palace. After learning the ways of Egypt, Moses fled to the wilderness and learned to care for sheep. God then sent him back to Egypt to deliver His people. By delivering ten powerful plagues and drowning evil lord Pharaoh and his army, Moses pictured Jesus, the Deliverer, Who defeated Satan by rising from the tomb. By leading the Israelites through the wilderness, protecting and providing for them along the way, Moses pictured Jesus, the Shepherd, Who leads us along our way.   Suggestions for prayer Thank Jesus that through His death and resurrection He delivers us from the eternal death we deserve. And thank Him for being an ever-present Shepherd Who provides for and protects us each day. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 13 – Jacob’s son Judah: A lion to look forward to

“Judah is a lion's cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?” – Genesis 49:9 Scripture Reading: Genesis 49:1-2,8-12; Numbers 24:8-9; Ezekiel 19:1-7 God promised Abraham that his descendants would become numerous enough to form a nation. That promise came true. Abraham's son Isaac had a son named Jacob who had twelve sons. Jacob's twelve sons became the heads of twelve tribes. Those twelve tribes formed a nation named Israel. God had also promised Abraham that his descendants would inherit the land of Canaan. However, that promise had not yet come true. Two hundred years later, Canaan was still inhabited by powerful pagan peoples. These nations were far bigger than Israel. Their military technology was far better. Would Abraham's descendants ever possess the promised land? Absolutely! God had promised. And to help Abraham's descendants believe the promise given long before to their forefather, God gave them yet another promise. Through the prophetic words spoken by Jacob while blessing his sons, God promised that Judah would be a lion's cub. This meant the tribe of Judah would bear and raise lion-like-leaders who would pounce upon the pagan peoples who possessed the promised land and devour them as a lion devours its prey (Numbers 24:8-9). Think of David who not only killed lions, but also lion-like giants like Goliath. Jesus came as the ultimate lion-like leader. It might not have seemed so when, like a Lamb, He went silently to the cross. But with a great roar of victory, He rose from the dead showing He was indeed the Lion of the tribe of Judah — a Lion who defeated the greatest enemies: death and Satan (Revelation 5:5-6). Suggestions for prayer Praise God for Jesus Who is both the Passover Lamb slain for our sins and the powerful Lion Who defeated the last enemy, death, by rising from the dead. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 12 – Abraham (2): Looking forward from Mount Moriah

“God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 Scripture reading: Genesis 22:1-19; Hebrews 11:17-19 God promised to give Abraham a multitude of descendants, but at the age of eighty-six, he was still the father of none. Not much to look forward to, it seemed. Abraham and Sarah eventually doubted God's promise. Thinking God might need their help to make His promise come true, Abraham slept with his wife's household servant and received a son. They figured Jesus could descend from Abraham and Hagar's son, Ishmael. But no! God had promised to give Abraham a son through his wife, Sarah (Genesis 17:16; 18:10). And God keeps His promises! When Abraham was one hundred years old and Sarah was ninety, Isaac was born to them. Now there was hope! But then God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. Suddenly, all hope vanished. How could God's promise come true if Isaac was dead? Jesus was to descend from Isaac's seed. Despite the extreme difficulty of the test, Abraham obeyed God's command. But through this test, God presented a picture of Abraham's greater Son, Jesus. The picture is painted by numerous parallels. Both sons are dearly loved and only sons. Both are sacrificed by their fathers. Both carry the wood upon which they will be sacrificed. Both are sacrificed in the same location: Isaac on the temple mount where daily sacrifices for sin would be offered; Jesus just east on Mount Calvary. But there is one major difference. A substitute was provided to die instead of Isaac, but no substitute was provided for Jesus. He died to pay for our sin. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for being willing to offer His Son as a sacrifice for your sin. Thank Jesus that He was willing to be the sacrifice by dying in your place so as to remove the righteous wrath of God against your sin. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 11 – Abraham (1): Looking forward from Ur

“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed.’”– Galatians 3:8 Scripture reading: Genesis 12:1-7; Galatians 3:8 The judgment and renewal brought about by the flood wiped wickedness from the face of the earth, but it did not remove wickedness from the human heart (Genesis 8:21). The seed of drunkenness soon sprouted as the world's first vintner (Noah), became the first drunk (Genesis 9:21). The weed of rebellion grew as people refused to scatter across the face of the earth, instead gathering together to build a gigantic tower so as to make a great name for themselves. The tower must not have been that big, though, because God had to come down just to see it (Genesis 11:5). He put a stop-work order on the project by confusing peoples' languages. This caused them to scatter, as He had commanded them to do. Then things got worse. Instead of building big towers, people built false gods (Joshua 24:2-3,15). It seemed everyone was on Satan's side. Where would the serpent-crushing Seed of the woman come from? Was anyone on God's side? Maybe not. But God called Abraham to cross the fault-line and come to His side (Genesis 12:1). Abraham obeyed. God also promised that Abraham's descendants would be numerous enough to form a nation (Genesis 12:2), that they would live in the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:7) and that Jesus would be born from among his descendants while living in the promised land of Canaan. Through Jesus all people from all nations are blessed with the gift of salvation. Suggestions for prayer Thank God that long before Jesus came, He preached the Good News about His coming to Abraham. Praise God for the width, length, height and depth of His love which extends to all people from all nations. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 10 – Noah: Cleansing of creation through watery judgment

“Behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth....Everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you.” – Genesis 6:17-18 Scripture reading: Genesis 6 Support for Satan's side surged during the days of Enoch's great-grandson Noah. The sexual sin that began with Lamech's bigamy soon reached unprecedented levels of perversion. Violence and corruption filled the earth and subdued it. Every inclination of the thoughts of peoples' hearts were only evil all the time (Genesis 6:5). The whole human race, except for Noah and his family, had sided with Satan. Was there anything to look forward to? Yes! Noah looked forward to the restoration of creation. But restoration began with the catastrophic waters of a cleansing judgment. Most people did not believe such a judgment would come. But it did. And it cleansed the earth of evil by burying all evildoers in a watery grave. Only Noah and his family were saved. They trusted God's word about the coming judgment and obeyed God's command to build an ark. This lifeboat saved them. And they stepped out safely onto the green grass of a cleansed and renewed creation. The watery judgment of Noah's day pictures the fiery judgment that will fall when Jesus returns. It will be a cosmic, cleansing judgment that burns away all evil and purifies all good (2 Peter 3:6-7,10). It hasn't happened yet, but it will. Maybe this sounds more like something to fear than something to look forward to. But evil must be removed before creation can be renewed. Enter by faith into Jesus. He is your ark. He will protect you from the fiery judgment and place you safely on the green grass of God's new creation. Suggestions for prayer Thank God that just as He provided an ark to save Noah from the watery cleansing judgment, so He provides Jesus to save us from the fiery cleansing judgment that is yet to come. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 9 – Enoch & Lamech: where loyalty leads

“By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, 'and was not found, because God had taken him'; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” – Hebrews 11:5 Scripture reading: Genesis 4:13–5:6,18-24 The spiritual fault-line established in Genesis 3:15 divided humanity into two sides: Satan's side and the Saviour's side. Where does loyalty to Satan lead? Where does loyalty to the Saviour lead? Let's see by looking at the lives of two individuals who stand seven generations down the line on opposite sides of the fault-line. Why seven? Because the Bible uses the number seven not only to specify quantities, but also to symbolize fullness or the full extent of something. The life of the seventh man in Cain's line and the life of the seventh man in Seth's line shows us where our loyalties ultimately lead. Seven generations down Cain's line is Lamech (Genesis 5:18). Lamech defies God's norm for marriage by taking two wives. He kills a man who wounded him and memorializes the murder by composing a poem about it. Multiple wives. Murder. What a mess! That's where loyalty to Satan leads. Enoch is the head of the seventh generation in Seth's line (Gen.5:18). His life shows us where loyalty to the Saviour leads. Enoch walked with God, meaning he obeyed God's commands. As a result, he was ushered into the presence of God without experiencing physical death. Lamech and Enoch stood on opposite sides of the spiritual fault-line. As seventh in their respective lines, they symbolize the full extent of where one's loyalty leads. Loyalty to Satan leads to eternal death. Loyalty to the Saviour leads to eternal life. Where does your loyalty lie? Suggestions for prayer Pray that God would give you a heart that deeply loves Jesus and is wholeheartedly devoted to Him, for He is a Master worthy of our deepest love and loyalty! This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 8 – Cain & Abel: Two lines, two heads, the first quake

“Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, ‘For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.’”– Genesis 4:25  Scripture reading: Genesis 4:1-16, 25 Although Adam and Eve are no longer in Paradise, they still experience God's gracious goodness: they have God's promises, they are on God's side, and now they are the proud parents of two boys. Cain becomes a gardener; Abel a herdsman. Two different men. That's okay. Two different occupations. That's okay too. Not okay is that the two brothers stand on opposite sides of the spiritual fault-line because they are loyal to two different masters. The sacrifices show where their loyalties lie. God required their first and their best. Cain offered some of his produce. Not the first fruits, not the best fruits, just 'some.'  In contrast, Abel offered the firstborn from his flock and gave the fat portions, meaning the best portions, to God. Cain grew jealous and angry because God looked with favor upon Abel's sacrifice, but not on his. God warned Cain to master his sin lest sin masters him. But Cain didn't listen. Hatred quaked within his heart. His brother became the victim. And Eve, the mother of all living, became the mother of one dead. Her two sons stood on opposite sides of the spiritual fault-line. Cain represents those who are loyal to Satan. Abel represents those loyal to the Saviour. But Abel is now dead and Jesus was supposed to descend from Abel's line. Could God's people still look forward to the Advent of Christ?  Yes! God gave Eve another son, Seth, in place of Abel. From Seth's line, the Saviour would come (Luke 3:23, 38). Suggestions for prayer Thank God for keeping Advent hope alive when Satan sought to snuff it out. Ask God to reassure you that no matter how powerful Satan may be, God's plans will prevail and His kingdom will not fail. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 7 – One fault line, two lines of loyalty

“He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.’”– Hebrews 12:26b  Scripture reading: Genesis 3:15; Hebrews 12:25-29  Geographical fault-lines are deep, lengthy cracks in the earth's crust. They run through countries and continents, forming crevices so deep and gaps so wide that they physically separate people onto opposite sides of an impassible divide. Spiritual fault lines are both similar and different. In Genesis 3:15, God established a spiritual fault-line which separates the entire human race into two sides: Satan's side and God's side. But it is not a physical or spatial separation; rather, it is a separation based on a person's loyalties. By obeying Satan, Adam and Eve showed allegiance to Satan and joined his side. But God quickly fractured that loyalty by placing enmity between them and their respective seed. This was a good kind of fracture! It broke apart a deadly allegiance, separating Adam and Eve from Satan by setting them on the Saviour's side. But fault-lines are also dangerous. Just as geographical fault-lines are places where two tectonic plates press against each other, causing deadly earthquakes, so spiritual fault-lines are places where extreme pressure between Satan and the Saviour and between those loyal to them, results in deadly fighting. Tomorrow we will see how pressure between these two sides quickly builds to a quaking point. Today we note that when Jesus returns, His mighty voice will shake the entire earth. The final separation will take place as the earth opens its mouth, swallowing all those on Satan's side, but leaving those on God's side to enjoy the green grass of God's new creation. Whose side do you stand on? Suggestions for prayer Praise God for Jesus Christ Who is the bridge that allows us to cross from Satan's side to the Saviour's side where there is eternal safety and security. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015. ...

Daily devotional

December 6 – Promise in paradise (2): Through a new set of clothing

“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness.” – Isaiah 61:10a Scripture reading: Genesis 3:6-21; Isaiah 61:10 A second Advent promise was given in the garden in symbolic form through a new set of clothing. Immediately after eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve suddenly realized they were naked. Their nakedness was not a problem before (Genesis 2:25), but now it suddenly becomes a source and symbol of shame. When we are ashamed of something, we try to cover it up. This all started with Adam and Eve. They tried to cover up the shame of their nakedness with skimpy loincloths. Did this solve their problem? No! Though covered by fig-leaves, they were still filled with fear. They hid their nakedness from each other. Then they tried to hide from God. But no matter what they did, they could not remove their fear, guilt and shame. Nor could they restore their relationship with God. But God could! He replaced their skimpy, fig-leaf loin-cloths with tunics that He tailored for them from leather. In doing so, the Tailor taught two truths. First, tunics cover far more than loin-cloths, teaching that clothing should conceal rather than reveal. Second, God taught that blood must be shed in order to cover sin. To make the leather tunics, God killed an animal. This was the first animal sacrifice. The animal's death taught that the penalty for sin is death. But the animal died instead of Adam and Eve, teaching that God graciously gives life to sinners by providing a substitute to die in their place. Suggestions for prayer Thank God the Father for this picture of Jesus given in the first sacrifice that took place in the Garden of Eden. Thank Jesus for sacrificing Himself on the cross as the Lamb of God Who takes away our sin. And thank Jesus for clothing us with the robes of His perfect righteousness. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 5 – Promise in paradise (1): Through a curse on the serpent

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” – Genesis 3:15 Scripture reading: Genesis 3:14-15; Romans 16:20; Galatians 3:15-16 Paradise was lost. But all hope was not lost. Before banishing Adam and Eve from Paradise, He graciously gave them promises that filled them with hope. One promise was embedded in the curse God pronounced upon Satan: “You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). What hope for humanity is found in this curse! God broke the bonds of loyalty that bound Adam and Eve to Satan by placing enmity (enemy-likeness) between them and their respective descendants. God made them enemies, rather than friends, of Satan. God also condemned the serpent to crawl on his belly and eat dust all the days of his life. This symbolized Satan's subjugation, defeat and ultimate doom at the hands of a descendant of Eve. Galatians 3:16 tells us that this serpent-crushing descendant or seed is Jesus. He is the promised Saviour who would reverse the curse and rescue humanity from sin and death. What hope is found in God's words of curse upon Satan! They contain the first promise of Christ's coming, making this day in the Garden of Eden the very first day of Advent! God would keep repeating this same Advent promise in many different ways until Jesus came to ensure His people could keep looking forward to Christ's coming. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to help you hate Satan and all that is evil; pray for strength to love and cling to what is good. Thank God that He will soon crush Satan completely (Romans 16:20a). This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 4 – Punishment

“The wages of sin is death.” – Romans 6:23a “Sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” – James 1:15b Scripture reading: Genesis 2:16-17; 3:8-24 God liberally provided for Adam and Eve. They had permission to freely eat from all the trees in Paradise. Only one was off-limits. But the penalty for eating from the prohibited tree was death. God warned, “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17b). Sadly, Adam and Eve ate. And they died. Immediately. Death is not just about hearts that stop beating or brains that stop functioning. Death is the separation of that which belongs together. Adam and Eve immediately experienced separation from God by trying to hide from His sight in a bunch of bushes. Separation from God climaxed when they were banished from Paradise and barred from re-entry. Separation from each other began as the formerly naked couple hid their nakedness from each other's view. Emotional separation was experienced as the blame-game began. Relational separation started as Eve soon resented her subordinate role as helper and as Adam soon abused his role as leader. Lastly, on that very day their immortal bodies became mortal. A process of decay was now underway. They were destined to return to the dust from which they were made and physical death would eventually separate body from soul. From marvelous to marred, from beautiful to broken, from endless life to decay and death, paradise was lost. Such were the tragic results of defying a good and generous God. But before banishing Adam and Eve from the garden, God made promises that filled them with hope. Suggestions for prayer Rejoice that in Christ's resurrection, death has been defeated and we can look forward to eternal life with Him in transformed bodies that will be like His glorious body. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 3 – Problems begin

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” – Genesis 3:6 Scripture reading: Genesis 3:1-7 How long did the world stay picture-perfect? Not long. The third chapter in the Bible explains how this perfect Paradise was soon perplexed by a plethora of problems. When Satan tempted Eve to eat the fruit, she said to him, “Of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die'” (Genesis 3:3). Eve remembered both the prohibition and the penalty, and she clearly communicated both to Satan. This means the act of eating the forbidden fruit was not an accident or the result of forgetfulness. Nor was it an act of desperation due to being deprived of food. It was a conscious decision to disobey God. This was defiance. Rebellion. High treason against the good and generous king of the universe! What a tragic day. Adam and Eve's relationship with God was fractured. That day a fault-line was formed. Not a fault-line that divided the earth's crust into two tectonic plates, but a fault-line that divided humanity into two sides: those loyal to Satan and those loyal to God. This fault-line would run the length of the human race. As Adam and Eve moved forward with their lives, they looked back with sadness. They regretted the choice they had made and the consequences they had to live with. But that is not the end of the story. God continued to be good and soon showed them undeserved favor, which the Bible calls grace. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to give you a discerning spirit that enables you to know right from wrong, and pray for the desire and the strength to do what is right when you are tempted to do wrong. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 2 – Permission & prohibition

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’”– Genesis 2:16-17  Scripture reading: Genesis 2:16-25 Picture-perfect. That's how the world really was when God first created it. And Adam and Eve could have lived in this perfect state forever if they obeyed God's command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Was God being miserly and restrictive by prohibiting this one tree? No! God gave Adam and Eve permission to eat from any and all of the multitude of trees in the garden. They had a buffet-sized selection of food to sustain and satisfy them. Only one was off-limits. This tells us something about God. He is not miserly nor stingy. Not at all! He is generous. He delights to bless His children with an abundance of good gifts. Consider how He lavishly provided Adam and Eve with a Paradise full of pleasures to enjoy: food, drink, fellowship, friendship, and the pleasures of sight, smell, sound, taste and touch, too! Would they delight in the abundance God had provided for them? Would they willingly obey His command? If so, they would continue to enjoy this state of peace, tranquility and harmony with God and with each other. Paradise would be theirs. Theirs forever! But if they disobeyed, Paradise would be lost. And they would surely die. God continues to bestow many blessings upon us each day. His mercies are new every morning. Will we accept the blessings He gives and find pleasure in them? Or will we look for pleasure in that which is forbidden? Suggestions for prayer Every good thing you have is ultimately a generous gift given to you by God (James 1:17). Name some of these gifts, thank God for them, and pray that you would delight in them. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....

Daily devotional

December 1 – “Looking forward to the coming of Christ” series

Looking Forward: My guess is that as you turned the page on your calendar from November to December, your first thought might have been, “Wow! Christmas is almost upon us again!” For children and adults alike, Christmas day is often the first thing that comes to mind as we transition into the last month of the year. Understandably so because the celebration of Christ's birth is something that we look forward to with a sense of excitement and eager anticipation. Christmas lights come out. Christmas trees are put up. Christmas music is turned on. Jesus' birth is certainly an event worth remembering. While our thinking turns to Jesus' birth once again, we do well to remind ourselves that God began thinking about Christ's coming into the world long before the world even began. And did you know that the first promise about Christ's coming was given by God in the Garden of Eden over six thousand years ago? Jump in with us this month to journey through the Bible with the theme “Looking forward to the coming of Christ” as our tour guide. Since the first few chapters of Genesis are so foundational we will spend the first few days camping in the Garden of Eden. Our pace will then pick up as we travel into Egypt (Exodus), through the wilderness (Numbers), into the Promised Land (Joshua), then to a foreign land, and back to the Promised Land again where the long-promised Saviour is born. We will end our journey by looking forward to Christ's second Advent. Let's begin our journey. Picture perfect paradise “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” – Genesis 1:1, 31a Scripture reading: Genesis 1:1, 31; 2:1-15 When God created the universe, everything was perfect. Pristinely perfect! Adam and Eve lived in God's beautiful garden and pleasures abounded. Flowers to see and smell, birds to hear, playful animals to watch, satisfying sensations from the sense of touch, tasty food to savor, refreshing water to drink, cascading waterfalls, lush valleys and magnificent mountain vistas to view. And to top it all off – the closest of companionship with God and with a spouse in which to enjoy all these blessings. What a joy! Adam and Eve also worked the garden, but it was pure pleasure to work in God's service. It's been said, “Get a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life.” That's the way it was for Adam and Eve in Paradise. In this state of supreme happiness and contentment, they did not have to look forward to a better state. They were living in a picture-perfect world. But it wasn't just a picture. It was real! Sadly, our experience of life falls so very far short of this perfect Paradise. It is hard for us to even imagine what life was like for Adam and Eve. But take heart! God will restore this world to its pristine and perfect state when Jesus returns. “Behold,” He promises in Isaiah 65:17, “I will create new heavens and a new earth.” You will be among those who enjoy life in this renewed creation if you trust in Jesus as your Saviour and the Lord of all creation. Suggestions for prayer As you worship today on this first Sunday of Advent, thank God for the promise of Jesus' second coming and the new creation He promises to usher in when He comes again. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Brian Zegers has been serving the Lord by working with Word of Life Ministry as home missionary to the Muslim community in Toronto, Ontario since 2015....