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Daily devotional

January 13 – Proverbs on the unchangeable Scripture

“Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life.” – Proverbs 4:13 Scripture reading: Proverbs 30:1-6 It didn’t take long for Nintendo GameCube to be tossed aside for a new and better version, and then another and another. But there is no such worry about the Scriptures. God’s truth never changes. God’s truth is perfect and that means it can never be improved. You need truth. Truth shows the danger you are in without Christ. (Truth is used figuratively by Solomon to refer to Jesus. Jesus described Himself as the Truth.) Truth shows you the way to return and remain in a right relationship with your heavenly Father. As we read in Proverbs 4:4: “He also taught me, and said to me: 'Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live.'” God’s truth shows God’s love. What about those who are trying to reinterpret God’s Word, or water it down to make it more acceptable? Look at one example. Some don’t like only men as elders, so they reinterpret the Scriptures to allow women elders. In reality they are changing God’s Word. The Lord warns what would happen to anyone who changes one jot or tittle of his Word. So read Christ’s Word, hide it in your heart and work to see it established in your life, in your family’s life, in the church and in the world. Teach God’s Word, starting in your home, and note that the Lord puts the focus especially on fathers to do this. Keep your children alive! As it says in Proverbs 4:6: “Do not forsake her , and she will preserve you…” Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will be diligent in reading, meditating on and promoting the Holy Scriptures and that you will rely on God’s Word to guide in all areas of your life. 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 12 – Proverbs on lying

“He who speaks truth declares righteousness, but a false witness, deceit.” – Proverbs 12:17  Scripture reading: Proverbs 6:12-19 The tongue, which was created as an instrument to praise God, can instead be the source of great hurt, great, great hurt, when it tells lies. What happens when you lie? When you lie there is chaos in society. Proverbs 20:28 tells us “Mercy and truth preserve the king, and by lovingkindness he upholds his throne.” But when you lie, families and churches are destroyed. Consider some examples: A mother who lies to protect her children from discipline destroys godly order. Those children lose a sense of what the truth is and would not be able to trust the Bible and its doctrines. A State that teaches that abortions are not murders, or a civil court that says that spanking a child is mentally destructive, is undermining societal structure and robs God of honor. As we learn in Proverbs 26:28: “A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, and a flattering mouth works ruin.” Moreover, lying in court can send an innocent man to his death. No wonder lying lips are compared to poisonous snakes. Ultimately, lying lips send people to hell. How then are you enabled to speak the truth and help to maintain order and bring honor to the Lord? When you are filled with the Holy Spirit of Jesus, Who is the personification of truth in you, you will speak the truth. There is no other way! Proverbs 8:7 says: “For my mouth will speak truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips.” Invest in truth. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will know the truth, speak the truth and train your children to do so and that you will support the speaking of truth in every area of society. 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 11 – Proverbs on love

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.” – Proverbs 10:12 Scripture reading: Proverbs 17:9-14 Love is not the excited feeling you sometimes get around a girlfriend or wife. That may be a response to love, but it isn’t love. Solomon described love quite differently. Love is not a feeling. Love is an act. Love is shown and seen. You are commanded to love all men, but your love must be stronger for those who are closer to you. So love your wife more than you love your neighbor. Never allow your children to doubt your love. Love them by exercising discipline, as we read in Proverbs 13:24: “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” Love will make you confront sin in the lives of others as it says in Proverbs 27:5-6: “Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Love even your enemies, as we we are taught in Proverbs 25:21: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink…” Remember, love is not a popularity contest (done to be loved back). Love is work! You are only able to love the way God commands after you experience God’s love in Jesus Christ. So only the Christian can truly love. That’s the truth! Be warned then not to intermarry with non-believers because they can’t truly love. They don’t know true love. Are there benefits in love? God promises to bless those who love. Also, others may love you back and you will find contentment. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will grow in your sanctification by learning how to love and that you will die to selfishness and reflect more on God’s Love Letter. 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 10 – Proverbs on giving and receiving honor

“By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life.” – Proverbs 22:4  Scripture reading: Proverbs 26:1-8 It is strange that in our society we often give movie stars and sports personalities more honor than we give policemen. If you watch reality TV shows about policemen, you’ll find there is an increasing lack of respect for them and you’ll even see violent attacks against them. And they serve us and protect us. But God commands you to show honor! Start with the fifth commandment and honor those on whom God places honor: parents, elders, teachers, employees, etc. (Proverbs 3:35). Respect them and treat them well. You are able to humble yourself and honor others when you remember what you were before and what the Lord Jesus has made of you. You were the pauper running madly to hell. He rescued you and gave you a new heart, a new record and a new life. You were brought into His kingdom, protected and fed. He then commands you to honor those over you. Then make it easy for people to honor you by living well. Don’t praise yourself; wait for honor. As Proverbs 27:2 says: “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.” Or as we read in Proverbs 12:9: “Better is the one who is slighted but has a servant, Than he who honors himself but lacks bread.” Gain honor by fearing the Lord (Proverbs 15:33). Don’t be proud. Pride will destroy you (Proverbs 18:12). Or as it says in Proverbs 25:27, “It is not good to eat much honey; so to seek one’s own glory is not glory.” Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will worship and honor God in humility and that you will not boast about what you are or have accomplished and that you will honor those God has placed over 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 9 – Proverbs on friends and neighbors

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17  Scripture reading: Proverbs 19:1-6 It is very sad when a person has few or no friends. It is wonderful when you have friends – friends you are able to support and friends who support you back. You can pour out your hearts to each other. You can laugh, be sad and grow together. Those who like being alone rob themselves of one of the greatest blessings God gave to His children and they are robbing God of the praises that come to Him through friendships. But here are some warnings the wise man wanted to pass on regarding friendship and neighbors. Choose your friends carefully. Consider what you can give to a friendship, not just what you can get. Don’t choose friends because they are rich or have influence. Choose friends who won’t abandon you in difficult times. (Do you remember David and Jonathan’s faithfulness to each other?) Don’t be a fairweather friend either. A true friend will speak the truth to you, even if it hurts. A good friend will challenge your sinful actions. A good friend will challenge you to grow in your faith. You must also consider there may be friends you have to give up because they don’t build you up. That is a small price to pay. Christ died for you and brought you into His family with many wonderful brothers and sisters. Moreover, He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Enjoy Christian company and work together for Christ’s glorious kingdom. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will be unselfish in your friendships and that you will work together with friends and neighbors for Christ’s kingdom and that you will always speak the truth. 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 8 – Proverbs on discipline of children

“Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction.” – Proverbs 19:18 Scripture reading: Proverbs 13:22-24 I heard someone say, “My children are my friends; I don’t hit friends.” But that is wrong on two fronts. First, your children may be friendly with you, but they are not your friends. They are your children! You don’t make friends eat vegetables or go to church. Second, you don’t “hit” your children; you spank them. Hitting is to satisfy your anger. God commands discipline. As Proverbs 13:24 says “… But he who loves his son disciplines him promptly.” So to not discipline your children is to hate them. That same verse begins: “He who spares his rod hates his son…” You must discipline from love. And you are to start discipline when they are young. And of course, spanking is not the only form of discipline. As children get older, the type of discipline changes. Children need discipline. In Proverbs 19:18 we read: “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction…” You can’t bend a branch when it is old. It is hard to do a worse thing to your children than not disciplining them. There are blessings to discipline (especially when it is combined with instruction). Discipline teaches a child to be humble. Discipline restores the child to the right path. In fact, Solomon said that if you spank your child you will save his soul from hell (Proverbs 23:13-14). So to not discipline your child is to desire for his death! And don’t forget the shame a bad child brings to parents. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will be able to discipline from love not from anger and that you will have patience with your children, knowing God’s patience with 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 7 – Proverbs on taking advice

“By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom.” – Proverbs 13:10 Scripture reading: Proverbs 1:25-27 Some people think they know everything and so they don’t want to take any advice. Other people struggle with pride so they don’t want to take advice. But the reality is that every single person at one time or another (and for most of us, many times) needs advice. When you take advice, you not only evidence a humble spirit, but you are also equipped to better serve the Lord. Taking advice is a mark of wisdom. Through taking advice you gain wisdom. If you don’t take advice, you are foolish and you won’t be able to be effective for the kingdom. Remember the foolishness of King Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, and how he lost most of the kingdom for taking bad advice! And didn’t Napoleon ignore advice about the Russian winter and faced a horrible defeat? So take advice. Take sound advice from those who are grounded in the Lord and know more than you. The Lord stores wisdom in others. Draw from them. Later in life you will be able to pass on that advice. As Proverbs 15:22 says: Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established. Your Wonderful Counselor, Who Himself is the personification of wisdom, saved you and will equip you through His Word and through His servants! Listen carefully. Listen to the Lord and live. Only He has good advice. The Devil pretends to be wise, but he leads men to their death! Suggestions for prayer Pray that you would not be a know-it-all and that you would seek advice from others to do the work the Lord has called you to in the home, church and society. 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 6 – Proverbs on alcohol

“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” – Proverbs 20:1 Scripture reading: Proverbs 23:29-35 God gave alcohol as a blessing to man, not a curse. Jesus personally made barrels of fine wine for people to enjoy at a wedding. Christians drank wine at fellowship feasts. So wine is not sinful. The trouble comes when this gift of God is abused, when it is consumed in inordinate amounts, or when it is consumed by those who should not use it. But just as you may not blame food for being fat, you must not blame alcohol for drunkenness. The abuse of a gift doesn’t make it a bad gift. What are the consequences of drunkenness? Poverty. Spousal abuse. Murder. Consider Solomon’s direct words from Proverbs 23:19-21, Hear, my son, and be wise; And guide your heart in the way. Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat; For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty… Yes, the abuse of alcohol does bite like a viper, but ultimately, the greatest consequence of alcohol abuse is hell. How can you prevent drunkenness? First, if you do drink alcohol, make sure it is in moderation. And you will have to stand before God and account for “moderation.” Second, remember that you don’t need to drown your troubles or escape reality with alcohol. The Lord will help you through your trials. You are His. Third, remember your sufficiency is in Christ. He meets the greatest needs of your life. Learn to be satisfied in Him. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will guard against drunkenness in your life and that you will not use alcohol to avoid dealing with troubles in your life. 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 5 – Proverbs on the poor

“He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given.” – Proverbs 19:17  Scripture reading: Proverbs 28:19-22 Poor people are all around. You see them on the streets asking for help. You see their images on TV at Christmas time and you hear the pleas to help them. There are also the poor among the people of God who need help and they must be your first priority. You start with helping at home! (By the way, those who teach that Christians who are poor are only poor because they lack faith are unkind and wrong. God may providentially want some to be poor so they can empathize with other poor people and help them. God may also ordain people to be poor in order that the rich could learn to care for them.) In order to help the poor in the church, God appointed deacons. Along with deacons, God wants you to be merciful to the poor and help them. But you are not only to help the poor by giving them money. In fact, money may not be their greatest need. They may need a rebuke and they may need advice on how to spend money. They may need encouragement to be patient in poverty. You may help the poor by speaking up for them if someone is abusing them. Your motivation to show kindness is in the fact that Jesus showed love to you and enriched you. As a result, you would want to help His people, especially the poor ones. Suggestions for prayer Pray that God will show you those who are truly needy and that you will be generous and reflect on how rich you are in 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 4 – Proverbs on food

“Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, lest you be filled with it and vomit.” – Proverbs 25:16  Scripture reading: Proverbs 23:19-21 The average North American eats more than 150 pounds of sugar per year. No wonder North America is the fattest continent in the world. But the misuse of food is not new. It occurred many, many times in the Bible. Now, Solomon enjoyed food, even exotic, tasty food. Food is God’s gift. But because of abuse of food, which hinders our sanctification, Solomon was compelled to address the issue of food abuse, or rather, body abuse. What did he teach? Enjoy your food, but don’t be a glutton. Being a glutton is acting as if God couldn’t provide for you tomorrow and you must eat all today. It is also an abuse of the body. Many diseases are caused by overeating. Enjoy your food, but learn to share with those who do not have, especially with those who are from the same blood, the blood of Jesus. Remember, the reason you have more food is not because you are better than Christians in Africa, but because God is pleased to bless you. A suggestion might be to miss one meal a week and give that money to the needy. (That might be good for your health as well!) Enjoy your food, but don’t waste it. Save up for hard times. Learn from Solomon’s ants (Proverbs 30:25). It seems that ants even store up more food when they sense a famine coming. Not being a glutton and not hoarding is evidence that you are growing in Jesus. Suggestions for prayer Pray that God will teach you to live a balanced life and that you will share of your abundance and be satisfied with God’s gifts. 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 3 –  Proverbs on anger

“A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.” – Proverbs 15:18 Scripture reading: Proverbs 22:24-25 Good anger is a God-given emotion that every Christian must use properly. So be angry when your God is blasphemed and when His people are attacked. Be angry when babies are killed by abortions, when the family is attacked by the state and when covenant youths sin against the Lord. Then respond in the right way, knowing that even good anger can become sinful if your response is improper. For instance, if you are angry, but do nothing when you see Christian young people doing wrong, breaking the Sabbath, for instance, your anger becomes sinful. But there is also anger that is sinful. Sinful anger has resulted in wives being abused, people being killed in motor vehicle accidents, divorces, broken friendships and destroyed congregations. Men and women can become like volcanoes and blow up, even as Moses, who struck the rock instead of speaking to it for water for Israel. Other people bottle things up until their anger finally explodes. So when you are properly angry, react properly. Pray, speak and act if you can. When you are sinfully angry, ask God for the cure for sinful anger. Ask Him to make you patient with others in their weaknesses. If you ask anything in Christ’s name, He will give it to you. God has obligated Himself to do so. So stop saying you can’t control your anger. Sin is not able to reign in your body unless you let it. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you might learn to control your anger and be patient and kind with others. 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 2 - Proverbs on fear

"The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe." – Proverbs 29:25  Scripture reading: Proverbs 3:24-26 Everyone is afraid of something. But not all fear is bad. You may fear standing at the edge of a cliff, touching a hot stove or hearing the rattle of a rattlesnake. Those are good fears. So use these fears. They will save your life. What about bad fears? First, there are irrational fears, like the fear of house spiders or the fear of enclosed spaces. There is no real danger, but some are afraid of these things. Second, some fear things that are outside of their control, like the future.  And this type of fear is based on a distrust of God, or at least it is based on a weak trust in God. Fear makes people prisoners. They don’t do what they should because they are afraid they can't control their circumstances. They don’t drive because they think they could have an accident and hurt someone. They won’t evangelize because they are afraid of rejection. They lack trust in God’s providence. They don’t think that God is willing and able to help. They may isolate themselves and not fulfill their responsibilities. How can you cure bad fears? The fear of God is the cure for sinful fears. Proverbs 9:10 tells us "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…” The “fear of God” means you know and trust Him. You know and trust Him through Jesus. You experience love. Perfect love casts out fear. Love conquers fears. The more you love, the less you fear. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will see how fear cripples you from doing God’s work and ask the Lord to remove fears so you can live for Him. 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

Introduction to the month of January

We do not preach a lot of sermons from Proverbs, but it is not Solomon’s fault.  He was inspired by God to write these proverbs and God preserved them for us.  Since all Scriptures speak of Christ (how He saved us and how He sanctifies us for His glory) then we must find Christ in them.  It is our fault therefore that we do not preach more from Proverbs. One of the reasons we likely have not heard more preaching from Proverbs is that the book is seen as a list of morals. And since we insist on historical, redemptive preaching, Proverbs doesn’t seem to fit well into that way of preaching.  Well, maybe it is hard to preach Proverbs, but we must be bold.  We must dig into Proverbs and learn of our salvation and sanctification through Jesus Christ. This is what we will do this month. I hope after this month you will take more time to dig into this book regularly and see the rich doctrines it contains and illustrates. Let God’s Word bless you. Proverbs on pride  “By pride comes nothing but strife…” – Proverbs 13:10a  Scripture reading: Proverbs 21:1-5 Do you enjoy being around a humble person, someone with a gentle spirit?  You feel safe around him.  But it is most difficult to be around a show-off or egomaniac. He only talks about himself and you can’t wait to get away from him. What does pride look like? Proverbs 21:24 says: “A proud and haughty man —'Scoffer' is his name; he acts with arrogant pride.” A man may think he is superior by virtue of his education, money, position, ability or influence. What happens when one has pride?  The proud man with elevated feelings crushes others or takes advantage of them. Because of pride, Solomon enslaved his fellow Jews!  Pride caused slavery. Pride caused the destruction of the Jews in the holocaust by Hitler, the slaughter of the Armenians by the Muslims, and the murder of the Chinese and Koreans by the Japanese. Today we see pride when men abuse their wives, belittle different races and display impatience. God may destroy you if you are proud or destroy the thing in which you show your pride: car, wealth, job, education or health!  Remember Herod and the worms! Remember Adam. How do you cure pride? Know that God hates the proud.  Proverbs 8:13 tells us: “…Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate." God brings them down to destruction. You must, therefore, remember you are not your own but belong to your Saviour Who died for you. You are His servant. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you will follow wisdom (another name for Jesus) and abandon pride, that you will humbly serve and worship 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

December 31 – The return of the King: Enjoying paradise forever!

“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.” – Isaiah 65:17 Scripture reading: Revelation 21:1-5, 22-27; 22:1-5 The story of the Bible ends where it began: in the Paradise of a newly created world. The first Paradise was ruined by sin and cursed by God. Pain and punishment, sickness and sadness, disease and death resulted. But the story of the Bible has a “happily ever after” ending for all who trust in Jesus Christ. When Jesus comes again, the heavens and earth will be cleansed by fire (2 Peter 3:7,10-13). This is Good News. It will be a purifying fire that destroys all evil and purifies all that is good. It will be step one in God's work of “making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). Notice God does not say He will make “all new things” but that He will make “all things new.” While the absence of sin and its consequences will make the new creation feel very different from this fallen one, it will also feel very familiar: we will build houses and dwell in them, plant vineyards and eat their fruit, long enjoy the work of our hands; animals will populate the earth, living in peace without preying on each other; we will feast on the best of meats and finest of wines at the Bridegroom's banquet (Isaiah 65:21-25; 25:6-8). There will be no more curse. We won't even remember that sickness, sadness, sin and death once existed. We will dwell with God and each other in perfect harmony forever and ever. We cannot even imagine how amazing it will be (1 Corinthians 2:9). Suggestions for prayer Pray that you, in keeping with God's promise, would live each day looking forward to the new heavens and new earth, the home of righteousness, which God has prepared for those who love Him (2 Peter 3:13; 1 Corinthians 2:9). 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 30 – The character of the King’s return

“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” – Revelation 1:7  Scripture reading: Revelation 1:9-18; 19:11-21 On Christmas Day we looked back in time to remember Jesus' first Advent, but we look forward to His second Advent. And it will be very different in character. Jesus' first Advent was not noticed by many people. Only a few shepherds, and later, some wise men from the east, came to see the newborn King. Interestingly, Jesus' enemies looked for Him, but could not find Him. What a contrast to His second coming where Jesus will be noticed by everyone and His enemies will not be able to flee from Him. Jesus came to earth the first time as a humble, helpless babe wearing not a prince's garb, but swaddling cloths. He lay not in a cradle, but an animal's feeding trough. His birthplace was not a palace, but a barn. However, when Jesus returns, He will come as a mighty, majestic King wrapped in flowing, royal robe, riding a royal steed, and wielding a double-edged sword. Jesus' first coming focused on bringing salvation to His people through His atoning death. His second coming focuses on bringing judgment upon His enemies through their eternal death. When Jesus returns, the dead will be raised, the earth will quake and a final fault-line will be formed as the final separation takes place. All those standing on Satan's side will be swallowed up by eternal death in hell. But those on Jesus' side will live on the green grass of God's new creation from that day forward and forevermore. Whose side do you stand on? Where does your loyalty lie? Suggestions for prayer Thank Jesus that if you trust in Him, you can confidently await His return as Judge, for on the cross He already stood trial in your place and removed God's wrath when He bore the curse for you. 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 29 – The timing of the King’s return

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” – Matthew 25:13  Scripture reading: Matthew 25:1-13 As our thoughts turn toward the end of the year, it is natural for our thoughts to also turn to the end of time and the beginning of eternity. We know that this year ends in three days and that the year 2020 will end 366 days after it begins. But we don't know when Jesus will return to bring the world as we know it to an end and cause a recreated world to begin. Jesus tells us, “No one knows about that day or hour. The Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him” (Matthew 24:36,44). He then tells a parable to teach us to always be ready for His return. The ten bridesmaids are part of a wedding party. They are awaiting the bridegroom to arrive, but he is delayed. The delay is not the problem. Unpreparedness is. Five of the bridesmaids did not bring extra oil. When their lamps burn out, they have to head back to town to buy more oil. Tragically, the bridegroom returns while they are away. He takes with him those who are ready, but leaves behind those who were unprepared. This reminds us that Christianity is not a one-time decision for Christ, nor an insurance policy to be renewed on an annual basis. It is a moment-by-moment lifestyle of repentance and trust. We get ready and remain ready for His return by continually confessing our sins, and by continually trusting that His blood cleanses us and His righteousness clothes us. Jesus will return. Are you ready? Will you stay ready? Suggestions for prayer Thank God that the oil of forgiveness is continually and freely available through the gift of faith in Jesus Christ. Ask for help to live in a constant state of readiness by continually confessing sin and by continually trusting in the cleansing power of Jesus' blood. 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 28 – Departure & arrival announcements

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” – John 14:3  Scripture reading: Mark 8:31-33; John 13:33-36; 14:1-4 Jesus, the Saviour, had finally come. For three years He captivated the crowds by teaching, healing and feeding them – all free of charge! Excitement was surging. Then, when Jesus mounted a donkey and rode into Jerusalem, the crowds were ecstatic. He was entering the capital city, and doing so in kingly fashion! The crowds knew what this meant. This was exactly what they had been waiting for. Jesus was going to seat Himself on the throne of David in the city of David! As Messiah, He would depose depraved King Herod, overthrow the Roman overlords, and gain complete independence for the Jews. This would be heaven on earth! That's how most Jews thought the story would go. But that's not at all how the story actually goes. It actually goes exactly the way Jesus said it would go: He suffered, died, rose, and departed. Jesus had explained this sequence of events to His disciples. But like a child who tunes out when a parent starts saying something she doesn't want to hear, the disciples tuned out when Jesus began to talk about His suffering and death. They didn't listen long enough to hear the word 'rise.' The disappointment caused by His death soon gave way to delight as He rose on the third day. Then disillusionment set in again as Jesus announced His departure. But it shouldn't have, for in the very same breath, He announced His return. And because Jesus came the first time, as God promised, you can be sure He will come a second time. He promised! Suggestions for prayer Thank Jesus for the promise of His return and for the joy of knowing that when He returns, He will welcome all who trust in Him into the new creation over which He will reign as eternal King. 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 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....

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