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Daily devotional

February 7 – Daleth: Give me life

“My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!...My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!” – Psalm 119:25, 28 Scripture reading: Psalm 119:25-32 The Psalmist bemoans the fact that often his soul “clings to the dust” (25). He intensely describes how he often experiences a dying spirit. He means the same when he mentions “my ways” (26), or his “false ways” (29), or being “put to shame” (31). With similar intensity, the psalmist indicates that at times his “soul melts away for sorrow” (28). Sometimes a believer feels nothing at all. Don’t we all, at times, know those feelings? It’s important in these moments to remember that our Saviour, Jesus Christ, came to this earth for us. His strength was dried up like a potsherd, His tongue stuck to His jaws and He was laid in the dust of death (Psalm 22:15). Knowing God as Saviour, then, the psalmist prays, “Give me life” (25). His desire is that God “enlarge” his heart (32). He wants to experience the “way of faithfulness” (30). He pleads that he might “run in the way of commandments”(32). He wants to know that he is spiritually alive! Don’t we all want that too? Look to the psalmist. He knows that the way out of feeling nothing is by way of submitting to God’s will. These are two contrasting experiences. They are the consequences of two ways of living. Either we follow our ways and cling to the dust, or we cling to God’s testimonies (31), running in the way of His commandments, serving Jesus Christ, relying on His Spirit. The second way leads to brighter days and a happier life. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to give you life and to enlarge your heart by way of obedience to His commandments. Thank God for Jesus Christ, Who felt nothing at all in our place. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Slaa is pastor of the Smithers Canadian Reformed Church in British Columbia, Canada....

Daily devotional

February 6 – Gimel: Open my eyes

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” – Psalm 119:18  Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 3:14-18; Psalm 119:17-24 The psalmist asks God to open his eyes so that he sees how wonderful God is, how wonderful His law is and how wonderful are God’s blessings upon those who fear and obey Him. He is asking for the eyes of faith. As Paul explains to the Corinthians, without knowing and believing Jesus Christ, it’s like there’s a veil over our eyes. We may read and know of many Biblical facts. We may even follow God’s commands. But without the Spirit’s help and without faith in Christ, we will know, but not understand, we will see, but remain blind. We will not be filled with a wonder of God and His Word; we will not understand the glory of Christ. “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed…and we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” Today’s verse has inspired Clara Scott’s hymn Open My Eyes, That I May See: Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me; place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free. Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see. Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine! May the Lord open our eyes to see the truth of Jesus, open our ears to hear the gospel, open our mouths to spread the good news and open our hearts to love God always! Suggestions for prayer Pray that God opens your eyes of faith to see the truth. Pray that when you read and meditate on God’s Word, you will see with clarity God’s grace and demands for your life. Ask that you will see the wonder and delight of His law, as well as the beauty and glory of God Himself, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Slaa is pastor of the Smithers Canadian Reformed Church in British Columbia, Canada....

Daily devotional

February 5 – Beth: Pure living

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” – Psalm 119:9 Scripture reading: Psalm 119:9-16 This second stanza is about being cleansed and washed in the Holy Spirit through a living faith. How can we be cleansed and washed in such a way? How will our young people be that? By being in God’s Word every day. The psalmist makes use of the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, beth, in an interesting way. In most of the eight verses he uses the letter in a preposition meaning “in,” “on,” or “with.” We read: with my whole heart, in my heart, with my lips, in the way, on your precepts, in your statutes. Do you see the pattern? The way to holiness and purity is to envelop our whole lives with, to give our whole hearts to and to bathe ourselves completely in seeking to do God’s will. We must dedicate our mouths, ears, eyes, minds and hearts to God and His ways. That leads to blessed purity and holiness! It means looking to our Lord Jesus Christ. First, He is the ground of our righteousness and purity through His death on the cross. Second, He is our example to follow, showing us the way of delightful obedience. In Christ’s blood, we are made pure and in Christ’s Spirit, we make our way pure. Looking to Jesus, searching the Scriptures for Him, listening to God’s law, acting on it, we are led to pure living. O Lord, perfect us in Your love, so that we are cleansed and conformed unto Your will. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you really devote yourself every day to being enveloped and bathed in God’s Word and law, thus seeking His will. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Slaa is pastor of the Smithers Canadian Reformed Church in British Columbia, Canada....

Daily devotional

February 4 – Aleph (4): I will praise you

“I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules. I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!” – Psalm 119:7, 8 Scripture reading: Psalm 103 The Psalmist commits to praising God through word and deed. The idea here is to throw the hand out or point out with the hand. He will throw himself completely into learning and living God’s commandments. He will praise God with his whole body! His thanksgiving and praise will be in body and soul. This is the response of the true believer who understands God’s blessings, and yes, also the blessing of the law. The meaning is this: as God blesses us, we, in turn, bless Him! Do you see here the “back and forth” of covenant blessing going on? God blesses us with His love, His salvation and His indwelling Spirit. In turn, we through faith respond with thanksgiving, holiness and obedience. We praise God (bless God) with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We are reminded of the psalmist’s conscious desire in Psalm 103:1, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!” Today, let’s remember that God has forgiven us all our sins and granted us newness of life through His only Son, Jesus Christ. Let’s not forget all His benefits. Let’s call to mind that His steadfast love “is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep His covenant and remember to do His commandments” (Psalm 103:17,18). As He has blessed us in this way, let’s also bless His holy name! Today, in all we do, let’s throw ourselves completely into praising God! Suggestions for prayer Ask God to help you live responsibly, that is, responsively. Pray that your whole life is an act of covenant worship and praise to God. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Slaa is pastor of the Smithers Canadian Reformed Church in British Columbia, Canada....

Daily devotional

February 3 – Aleph (3): Blessed

“Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways.” – Psalm 119:2,3 Scripture reading: Psalm 119:1-6 Every verse in stanza 1 begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, which is aleph. It basically corresponds to the first letter of the English alphabet. Even the very little children, who don’t know their alphabet yet, already know this first letter. What most people don’t know, however, is that the Hebrew word translated in our English text blessed begins with that first letter. That’s the very first thing we should consider and understand about Psalm 119. As we begin going through this great Psalm, let us realize that the law is foremost about blessing and especially about our covenant God blessing us! The word means “happy” or “fortunate.” When we, out of true faith, seek to live our lives according to God’s law, when we focus on making our ways blameless, keeping the Lord’s testimonies, seeking Him with our whole heart, aspiring to do no wrong, walking in His ways, there is abundant happiness! Then God will look upon us favorably! Let us remember that as we walk in the Lord’s ways, we are doing so out of thankfulness. We are following our Lord Jesus Christ, Who walked before us and is the pioneer of our salvation. Because Jesus was faithful and obedient to His heavenly Father, even obedient unto death on a cross, He has brought true happiness and blessing back into the world. As we begin our work week, let’s look to Jesus, thankfully follow in His footsteps, and experience real spiritual blessing. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the preaching yesterday, and your devotions today and going forward, will lead and direct you to thankfully walk in the Lord’s ways, so that you are truly blessed and happy. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Slaa is pastor of the Smithers Canadian Reformed Church in British Columbia, Canada....

Daily devotional

February 2 – Aleph (2): Delighting in Torah

“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!” – Psalm 119:1 Scripture reading: Psalm 1 Oh, blessed day which God has given to us! On Sunday we may rest our bodies from our daily labors and rest our minds from our regular concerns. We can go to church and rest in the love and faithfulness of our heavenly Father. Our covenant God greets and welcomes us into His fellowship. He also speaks to us with His law. Listening intently, we reflect on the past week and realize we have fallen short again and again. It’s not pleasant to experience this purpose of the law; however, it is necessary and good to be reminded that we are sinners, unworthy to be in God’s presence and in need of salvation. But, that’s not the end of the law! The law also directs us to our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who has fulfilled the law in our place. God graciously sent Him to be our obedience and righteousness! Further, in faith and repentance, we receive the forgiveness of our sins and renewal of Christ’s Spirit. In blessed assurance, we are filled with thanksgiving. We are motivated by Christ’s Spirit to renewed living! It is a joy and delight to live according to the law of God in all good works. Yes, indeed, oh blessed day! The Torah is held up as the source of blessing. That blessing from God is the desire of this psalmist’s prayer and the reason for his delight in God and His law. Let us all on this day of rest delight in and dedicate ourselves to God’s law. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you and all your brothers and sisters in the Lord will joyfully go to church today and delight in God’s law. Pray for the minister who brings to you God’s revelation, His gospel, His Word and law, and His will for your lives. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Slaa is pastor of the Smithers Canadian Reformed Church in British Columbia, Canada....

Daily devotional

Introduction to the month of February – Aleph (1): Torah

Psalm 119 is special in several ways. It is the longest chapter in the Bible, containing 176 verses. How often we like to joke about its length! All joking aside, we readily admit this chapter in the book of Psalms is a treasure trove in itself. It is a song in honor and praise of God’s Word, the law. Psalm 119 is also an acrostic. That means each section or stanza in this psalm starts with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Since there are 22 letters, there are 22 stanzas, each containing eight verses. Even more amazing, each of the eight verses within a stanza begins with that same letter! Psalm 119 is an alphabet of prayers and praise about God’s Word. It is made clear in our English translation when each section is headed by the next Hebrew letter spelled out: Aleph, Beth, Gimel, Daleth, etc. Believe it or not, the purpose for this acrostic was to aid memorization! Memorizing, in turn, allows a person to meditate on God’s Word. As there are 29 days in February this year, we hope to cover each section day by day, dividing some up to bring us to the total of 29 devotions. My prayer is that through this month we, as God’s covenant children, will all the more come to appreciate, value and love the wonderful truths of God’s law for our lives. ***** “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!” – Psalm 119:1 Scripture reading: Psalm 19 Psalm 119 is about the Torah, which means “teaching” or “directing”. In verse 1 it is “the law.” The Bible is not merely given for our knowledge and interest, but also for our instruction and obedience. James 1:25 says, “But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” In the remaining 175 verses (except for five) we find the term torah or one of seven synonyms. In almost every stanza, each having eight verses, these eight different words for law are found. The acrostic form (see introduction) and the use of these eight torah words throughout the Psalm form the framework for an elaborate prayer. The chief aim of the psalmist is to ask God to fill his heart with a love for His law, to fill his mind with the truth of its instruction and to help him so he delightfully obeys it to the glory of God his Saviour. One tradition states that King David used this psalm to teach his young son Solomon the alphabet. If true, that was very clever of Dad! For then father David could also teach his son the alphabet of spiritual life! His son could learn the abc’s of daily prayer too, living for, and obedience of his heavenly Father. His son could come to know the God Who saves and delivers His people from the slavery of sin so that they may freely live for Him! Suggestions for prayer Ask God to fill your heart with a love for His law, to fill your mind with the truth of its instruction and to help you so that you delightfully obey God Who has saved you from your sins. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. James Slaa is pastor of the Smithers Canadian Reformed Church in British Columbia, Canada....

Daily devotional

January 31 – Proverbs on the home

“The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the just.”  Scripture reading: Proverbs 17:1-6 A home is not a house. A home is a place where a family lives. A Christian home is where a Christian family lives in unity, preparing for and doing the work of the Lord. In a Christian home there is peace even if there is not a lot of food. We know that “Better is a dry morsel with quietness than a house full of feasting with strife” (Prov. 17:1). A Christian home is a place where brothers and sisters help and protect each other. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov. 17:17). A Christian home is a place of safety. You don’t have to wonder if you are welcomed. What happens if there is no peace in the home? One wants to run away from it. Proverbs 21:9 says it is, “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.” Yes, a house without peace (Peace only comes from the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ) is a place of misery. Proverbs 15:25 warns, “The LORD will destroy the house of the proud, but He will establish the boundary of the widow.” Sin is a menace to any home. Proverbs 15:27 notes, “He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house, but he who hates bribes will live.” What is the remedy for a corrupt house? Know God’s Word, believe in Jesus and hold on to Him for dear life. Suggestions for prayer Pray that God will preserve peace and unity in the home, unity based on Jesus and that you will not ignore the mutual duties in the home. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed....

Daily devotional

January 30 – Proverbs on prayer

“The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.” – Proverbs 15:29  Scripture reading: Proverbs 28:9-13 Prayer is the means God has ordained to give you the things that are necessary for you to do the work He has called you to do. God delights to hear the prayer of the upright. In Proverbs 15:8 He tells us, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is His delight.” Who can say this? Who delights to have people ask him for things? Only God! But if God delights in the prayer of the upright, how does one become upright? One can only become upright when the righteousness of Jesus is counted as his own. So there is no prayer without sacrifice, the sacrifice of Jesus. This means the non-Christian cannot pray. His prayers go into the air, not to God. There are things that hinder your prayer (proof that prayer by itself is not magical). First, Solomon warned that God will not answer your prayer if you neglect His law and refuse to be obedient. Proverbs 28:9 says: “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” In fact, without proper ground for prayer, your prayer can become the cause of judgment. It is trying to get something to which you are not entitled. Second, if you are secretly living in sin, your prayers are dead. Proverbs 28:13 says: “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” Suggestions for prayer May you always pray through Jesus Christ and pray often for things that are good in doing God’s work. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed....

Daily devotional

January 29 – Proverbs on money

“The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.” – Proverbs 10:22  Scripture reading: Proverbs 3:9-10 You’ve probably heard that money makes the world go round! Is that really true? Is survival and progress in this world dependent on how much money you have? It seems so when you see how obsessed people are about accumulating wealth. Many things are sacrificed on the altar of wealth. Now don’t misunderstand, wealth by itself is not sinful. Solomon, a rich man, wanted you to remember a few things. Earn your money honestly, for wealth gained by fraud disappears. Earn your money without abusing others. Honor the Lord with your wealth by giving back a tithe to Him. Share your wealth with the needy. Don’t trust in your money or it will be your downfall. Concurrent with these instructions, know there are many things better than riches – a good name, for instance. Proverbs 22:1 says: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.” And do not become preoccupied with wealth. Wealth does not profit anything on Judgment Day. Even in this life, your wealth is stolen, misused by the civil authorities, and of course, stolen by civil authorities by inflation. Don’t forget your greatest riches are gained through Jesus Christ and no one can take them away. Moreover, your good works are riches that you can store up in heaven. Have you considered how much time you spend storing up treasures that you will have for eternity? Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will love the riches you have in Jesus Christ and that you will be thankful for earthly wealth and use it according to the Giver’s decrees. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed....

Daily devotional

January 28 – Proverbs on violence

“The violence of the wicked will destroy them, because they refuse to do justice.” – Proverbs 21:7  Scripture reading: Proverbs 1:10-19 There is no question that there are times when violence is necessary: in war, self-defense and just punishment. But like in the days of Solomon, we are often surrounded by violence, especially if we live in cities. Some make their living with violence and they plot and plan. Others use violence on the spur of the moment because they lack self-control. Either way, this type of violence is wrong and you have to learn how to deal with it. Solomon describes violence as a fruit that the wicked produce. Why do men commit violence so much? Proverbs 29:10 says: “The bloodthirsty hate the blameless, But the upright seek his well-being.” No one is violent with the one he loves! Violence is rooted in hate! You must avoid situations that cause or promote violence. If you have rowdy friends or visit a rowdy bar, for example, the potential for violence increases. Proverbs 24:1-2 tells us: “Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them; For their heart devises violence, and their lips talk of troublemaking.” Further, deal with the issue of contentment. You have your contentment in Jesus. Don’t envy. It is a common cause of violence. As Proverbs 3:30-31 says: “Do not strive with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm. Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways…” So don’t be violent. Love your enemies. When violent people are around you, move. Have friends who encourage you in Christian living. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will hate and avoid violence and that you will love and promote peace and encourage justice on those who are violent. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed....

Daily devotional

January 27 – Proverbs on mockers

“A proud and haughty man —"Scoffer" is his name; he acts with arrogant pride.” – Proverbs 21:24 Scripture reading: Proverbs 14:6-9 If you believe in abstinence until marriage, or you take your children out of public schools, or you believe in the biblical grounds for divorce, you are seen, at the very least, as a prude, if not weird. Movie stars, politicians and judges loudly proclaim this. Christians are mocked and viewed as hindrances to progress. This is not abnormal. Christians have often been seen this way in history. What happens to mockers? Proverbs 19:29 tells us “Judgments are prepared for scoffers, and beatings for the backs of fools.” How are you to react when you are mocked? Don’t take mocking personally. It is God whom they are mocking. Avoid the scoffer. Proverbs 22:10 says: “Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; yes, strife and reproach will cease.” Chase him away because he is not interested in learning. Proverbs 15:12 adds: “A scoffer does not love one who corrects him, nor will he go to the wise.” As tough as it may be to do, leave him. Go far away. Proverbs 9:7-8 instructs: "He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.” What makes you able to react this way? Your time belongs to the Lord (Psalm 90) and He wants you to use your time wisely. If an activity will not lead to the salvation or sanctification of the soul, it is not worthwhile. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will not take mocking of your faith personally and that you will persist in faithful obedience to the Saviour. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed....

Daily devotional

January 26 – Proverbs on honesty

“Diverse weights are an abomination to the LORD, and dishonest scales are not good.” – Proverbs 20:23 Scripture reading: Proverbs 20:5-10 It is not uncommon to buy something that did not live up to expectations. Maybe it was not well-made. Maybe the knife did not cut the tomato like it did on television. Maybe that non-stick coating on that frying pan was not really as strong as advertised. People aren’t always honest. While that is bad, you can expect that from people who don’t feel they have to give an account to God. Solomon knew the blessing and necessity of honesty for an orderly society – “Honest weights and scales are the LORD’S; all the weights in the bag are His work” (Prov. 16:11) – which ultimately was necessary for the spread of God’s kingdom. In fact, he knew that honesty was necessary because it reflected God. Solomon knew of the danger of dishonesty. As Proverbs 11:1 teaches “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight.” He describes God as hating dishonesty. And when God hates something, you can expect His judgment on it. Proverbs 20:17 explains “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.” That sure is not a pretty picture. And surely no one would trust a dishonest man. Proverbs 25:19 teaches us: “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint.” Don’t be a bad tooth. Be honest. God is your reward. You are rich through Jesus Christ. Why rob for trinkets when you have gold? Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will be satisfied with your possessions and position and that you will be known as a truthful man and bring honor to Jesus. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed....

Daily devotional

January 25 – Proverbs on the duty of the mothers

“My son, keep your father’s command, And do not forsake the law of your mother.” – Proverbs 6:20 Scripture reading: Proverbs 31:21-28 Many people think mothers were given by God to make sandwiches, wash our shirts and put on Band-Aids. Solomon advised us mothers are much more. What are the duties of mothers? Giving birth is one of the smaller duties of a mother. A mother cares for, teaches and disciplines her children from birth to adulthood. It doesn’t matter if it is snowing, she will take them to the doctor. It doesn’t matter if she is tired, she will stay up with them when they are sick. It doesn’t matter if she has work to do, she will work to mend their broken hearts. It doesn’t matter if she is busy, she will take time to reinforce the truth of God’s Word. She is a cook, a wiper, a mender, a doctor, a psychiatrist, a caterer, a comforter and personal shopper. She will do these things because she wants her children to mature and continue the work of establishing Christ’s kingdom. What are the results of good mothering? Children won’t forget her birthday! But that is one of the small results of a mother’s work. Children will become independent (and leave) and be godly. They will know how to work. Proverbs 23:25 says: “Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her who bore you rejoice.” What are the consequences of bad mothering? Children will remain dependent and ungodly. As we read in Proverbs 29:15: “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will see how important a mother’s duties are and that you will always remember to pray for your mother. As a mother, ask God to enable you to fulfill these great duties. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed....

Daily devotional

January 24 – Proverbs on justice

“To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” – Proverbs 21:3 Scripture reading: Proverbs 24:23-26  Having grown up in a corrupt third world country, I know justice is often determined by how much money you have and the ones you know. But that is not what God intended. Solomon, the wisest king to have ever lived, knew the necessity of justice and he knew how to do it well. Everyone knows how he displayed his wisdom when he pretended to order the cutting of the baby in two to handle two disputing mothers. Justice must always be based on God’s law and must be fair. That means there must be no partiality to the rich or to the poor (Proverbs 18:5). Justice takes time and investigation. It is not determined by the first to give testimony. As Proverbs 18:17 says: “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him.” Those who are oppressed should not be denied justice (Proverbs 22:22-23). This includes the abused widows, orphans and foreigners. So speak up for the oppressed (including babies sentenced to die by abortions). Cry out for justice for those who are persecuted for their faith. Why would you do this? Do this because Jesus took God’s justice for you and you want to advocate for Him. Do this because working for justice will cause men and women to praise God. Yes, only those who know Jesus can do this. As Proverbs 28:5 tells us, “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand all.” Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will learn of injustice and fight to remove it in the home, church, and nation, and that you will thank the Lord for taking God’s justice for you. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed....

Daily devotional

January 23 – Proverbs on adultery

“Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her paths; For she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men.” – Proverbs 7:25-26 Scripture reading: Proverbs 2:10-19 It is easy to fall into lusts that lead to adultery. The wicked woman flatters you with her words. Her lips drip honey and her speech is smoother than oil. She lures you with her beauty and her long eyelashes. She kisses you. She pretends she is making peace offerings and wants you to celebrate with her. She covers her bed with perfume. What are the consequences of adultery? Adultery leaves you with spiritual pain (and physical pain as well), like when you eat poisonous food that is sweetened with sugar. Adultery leads you to the grave. The adulteress will take away your strength and the best years of your life. The adulteress will reduce to a simple loaf of bread, Solomon wrote! (Proverbs 6:26). You will be burned. You will fall in a pit. Solomon knew this. He knew it in an experiential way. How should you deal with temptation to commit adultery? Be satisfied with the blessing of your life and “drink water from your own cistern” (Proverbs 5). It is safe. It is healthy. (If you are single, this is good reason to be married.) Stay away from wicked women (or men). Learn to guard your eye. You often can’t avoid the first look, but what about the second look and the lustful look? What will make you remain pure? Knowing that you are fully satisfied in Jesus Christ is the only ground that will truly keep you from sinning against the Lord. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will be satisfied with your spouse or that you will find one if you don’t have one and that you and your spouse will encourage each other in faithfulness. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed....

Daily devotional

January 22 – Proverbs on stewardship

“Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds; For riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations.” – Proverbs 27:23-24  Scripture reading: Proverbs 22:1-4 A good preacher will warn you to take care of your soul; he will warn you to take care of your body and he will warn you to take care of your possessions. Your possessions may be of less value than your soul and body, but your possessions are also God’s gifts and you have an obligation to care for them. So learn from Solomon how to spend your money, including how to care for your car and your new iPhone. We call this stewardship. You get things in two ways, either by hard work or by inheritance (from people who worked hard for it). “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich…” (Prov. 10:4). When you get things you are to care for them (but not make idols of them). You are required to make good investments. This is why lotteries are inappropriate. And yet, you must not overwork. “Do not overwork to be rich; because of your own understanding, cease! Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23:4-5). Money can become mist. As Christ’s child, thank God for your wealth. You are a mere steward. Don’t take credit for whatever you achieve. “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4). Don’t hold too tightly to wealth. Remember what you have received from Jesus! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for your wealth and talents. Pray that you take care of them and use them for good, not hoarding or wasting. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed....

Daily devotional

January 21 – Proverbs on giving

“He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.” – Proverbs 22:9 Scripture reading: Proverbs 19:14-17 Most Christians accept that they should tithe and give to the poor, but giving goes beyond those things, to other causes. First, why give? Solomon said God says so. But there is more. Giving shows you are thankful for God’s love for you. Giving shows your love for your brother. Giving brings rewards. You start giving by giving to those closer to you: God, your family, relatives, and friends. Give to strangers also. Give to proper needs. This means you must investigate. Don’t simply give because others are giving to an organization. Check them out. Find out how much money goes to administration and to the main cause. Remember, the money is not yours, but the Lord’s. You are merely stewards of those gifts. And don’t boast about giving. “Whoever falsely boasts of giving is like clouds and wind without rain” (Prov. 25:14). You must give much more than money. Money is relatively easy to give. Getting your hands down and dirty is much more difficult. Isn’t that true? It is easy to give $4.50 to Scott’s Mission downtown Toronto for a Thanksgiving meal for the homeless, but would you go and help feed the homeless, especially on Thanksgiving Day? Speak for the poor. “Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:9). Give of your talents. If able, give advice on personal life, marriage and finances. Give training to a youth. Give of your time. Give support to struggling businesses. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will help without expecting anything back and that you will be generous and not hoard. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed....

Daily devotional

January 20 – Proverbs on the future

“Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day; For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.” – Proverbs 23:17-18  Scripture reading: Proverbs 24:19-20 Who likes to have to wait for blessings? But deferring blessings is like using small fish to catch bigger fish. You might have to wait longer, but you will get more in the future. This is why Solomon urged you to wait for your future blessings. You have a rosy future that is much more than 100 years. It is for eternity! Your future blessings will come because you are a child of God, saved through Jesus Christ. Moreover, even the minutest area of your life, God knows and controls. So whether you live or die in the next year, you can be sure your future is in God’s hands. As Proverbs 10:28 says, “The hope of the righteous will be gladness, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.” Remember, the righteous are only made righteous through Jesus Christ. So be patient for your blessings to come. Expect tough times, but be confident of the future. While some have abandoned serving the Lord because they don’t want to wait for blessings, you must not! At the same time, don’t forget there are great blessings in this world now that you should appreciate! As you wait, work hard and save up more future blessings. And in order to wait, feed daily on God’s Word and His promises. The more you eat, the stronger you will get. Eventually, heaven will come. Proverbs 13:12 teaches: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” Suggestions for prayer Pray that God will give you patience when things don’t go well and that you will learn to rest in the promises of a secured future through Jesus Christ. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed....

Daily devotional

January 19 – Proverbs on dealing with fools

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” – Proverbs 1:7  Scripture reading: Proverbs 14:7-9 Is it reasonable to call someone a fool who carelessly drives into your lane and causes an accident? Maybe! But biblically speaking, the greatest fool is the one who does not believe in God or one who rejects God. The fool has contempt for true knowledge and wisdom. “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words” (Proverbs 23:9). The fool loves his own ideas more than anyone else’s (Proverbs 14:16). In Prov. 17:16 Solomon said the fool has no heart for wisdom (Wisdom is a picture of Jesus). Proverbs 28:26 tells us “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool…” A foolish son is one who rejects his father’s instruction. And Proverbs 15:5 teaches: “A fool despises his father’s instruction, but he who receives correction is prudent.” A fool loves his own opinion (Proverbs 10:10). The fool brings trouble on his own head. “Judgments are prepared for scoffers, and beatings for the backs of fools” (Proverbs 19:29). The fool even brings eternal judgment on himself (Proverbs 1:32). And he brings destruction on others who follow him (Proverbs 13:20). Fools also bring grief to their parents (Proverbs 17:25). You respond to fools by avoiding close relations with them. They will lead you astray. Proverbs 17:12 warns: “Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.” You must call fools to faith and repentance and tell them how to get them (Proverbs 8:5-6). Fools need faith! Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will learn to recognize and deal with foolish people in a way that honors the Lord and pray that your children will not be foolish, but fear God instead. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed....

Daily devotional

January 18 – Proverbs on women

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30  Scripture reading: Proverbs 31:10-23 Men are incomplete without women. God said so. He is perfectly wise. Women show the wisdom of our heavenly Father. A woman perfectly fits the needs that man has and a man perfectly fits the needs of a woman. Praise God for that! But when that relationship is corrupted, as Solomon found out, there is much hardship in the family, church and state. How can this happen? If a woman insists on independence, which is taking a rival position to the place where God put her, the family breaks down. If a woman insists on leadership (or control of) over a man, which is taking a rival position to the place where God put her, anarchy sets in. As the Chinese saying goes, “You can’t have two tigers in one mountain.” One will likely kill the other. A woman’s duty is to submit to her husband and be a helper to him, even advising him. (Advising is helping!) Proverbs 31 outlines some of those duties. A woman must, therefore, be humble so she can serve her husband, even if he is not always as loving as he is called to be. She serves because of Christ, not because of her husband. This is the kind of woman a man should want as a wife. She is good for him and she is good for the kingdom of the Lord. Fathers, train your daughter to be this virtuous woman. As Proverbs 31:10 says, “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.” Suggestions for prayer Pray that God will help you as a woman to be submissive and that God will help you as a man to love your wife so much that it would be easy for her to submit to you. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Mitchell Persaud is pastor of New Horizon URC in Scarborough, ON, a mission church under the oversight of Cornerstone URC in London, ON. He was born in Guyana, South America, into a Hindu home, baptized Roman Catholic, raised Pentecostal and then became Reformed....

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