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Daily devotional

July 25 - Friendship

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” - Proverbs 18:24 Scripture reading: Proverbs 18:20-24 Good friends are much desired and greatly appreciated. Our proverb today wisely points out that to have friends we must be friendly. A friendly person is a loving person. Proverbs 17:17 tells us clearly, “A friend loves at all times.” Paul refers to his friends as the “beloved” (Philemon 1). Love leads to many actions and high on the list is giving. “God so loved… that He gave” (John 3:16). Friends give thought, time, encouragement, assistance and service to the beloved. Job tells us, “To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend” (Job 6:14). Friends care for one another and will give freely to meet needs in any way they can. Love in action creates the bond of friendship. The surest bond of friendship is the one that unites the family of God. The best friends are one in faith toward Jesus Christ. No one sticks closer as a friend than Jesus Christ Himself. All the time He was with us, He showed Himself friendly by ministering to human needs. Again and again He fed the hungry, healed the sick and brokenhearted, gave sight to the blind, rescued the fearful, pardoned sins, and gave life to the dead. He continues serving us today by sending us His Spirit and pleading our petitions before the face of God. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.” At the cross He gave His life for our sins. I recommend Jesus as a friend to you all. Suggestions for prayer Learn to take “everything to God in prayer.” Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 24 - Faithfulness

“Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man?” - Proverbs 20:6  Scripture reading: Proverbs 20:6-12 Most of us are inclined to think we are sufficiently good in and of ourselves. We readily proclaim what little goodness we can find in ourselves. It is easy to find people of this persuasion. Finding a faithful person is an entirely different matter. They are scarce among us. Psalm 12:1 declares, “The faithful disappear from among the sons of men.” We find the names of very few identified as faithful in the Bible. Moses and Daniel are two that come to mind. In Daniel 6:4 it is said of him, “They could find no charge or fault because he wasfaithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.” Psalm 101:6 describes the faithful as, “He who walks in a perfect way.” It is true. Really kind, generous and faithful people are hard to find. Gospel grace is required to be faithful. Only hearts renewed by the Spirit of God through faith in Jesus will be inclined to pursue faithfulness. These are the hearts that seek to be faithful to God, faithful in keeping the Sabbath Day, faithful to the truth, faithful to their marriage vows; indeed faithful to all the commandments of God’s word. This is Sunday, the Lord’s Day, and you will find the faithful worshipping God today, as His people assemble in His church for public worship. May God bless today’s worship and worshippers. Suggestions for prayer Pray that God will renew hearts today and be pleased with the worship of His faithful people. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 23 - A brother offended

“A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle.” - Proverbs 18:19  Scripture reading: Proverbs 18:14-19 Brothers can be and are too often offended. Scripture records a number of such offences. Think of Cain and Abel, the first brothers born. Think of Joseph and his brothers or the sons of David, Absalom and Amnon. Such family breakdown should not happen and displease God. Of even greater concern is when an offence occurs between brothers in the church where we are called to endeavour “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Such offences easily occur and, as the proverb points out, are hard to fix. What can be done about them? The easiest thing to do is not to let them happen. Be careful to think before you speak or act. Ask, how will what I say or do impact the person to whom I speak or with whom I act. If it could cause offence, don’t say it or do it. Don’t be the cause of offence. Offences do happen and fixing them is not easy, but the effort should be made. Jesus counsels both the offender and the offended to seek the other out to make reconciliation. See Matthew 5:24 and 18:15. Carefully follow the directions given in these verses. Ideally, the sides should meet as they seek one another out. Do it lovingly (John 13:35). Do it gently (Ephesians 4:2). Do it promptly (Ephesians 4:26). May God bless you in all your relationships. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to keep you from causing offence and may He be pleased to bless any efforts made to reach out to offended brothers. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 22 - A merry heart

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” - Proverbs 17:22  Scripture reading: Proverbs 17:22-28 The broken spirit of this proverb is a downcast brooding spirit that always looks on the dark side of things, always finds fault, and never finding anything right. Such a mindset is bad for both soul and body and when prolonged “dries the bones.” No Christian should exercise such a mindset. It is far better to exercise a merry heart which can act as a medicine for both the soul and body. Indeed who has better reason to exercise a merry or cheerful heart than the Christian? When we come in repentance and faith to Jesus, He says to us, “Be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you” (Matthew 9:2). It is a command of our Lord we need to give more attention. Other scriptures give us even more reason for merriment and cheerfulness. We don’t have a worry in the world because we cast all our cares upon God Who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Beyond that, “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). And “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). The Bible gives us good reason to, “Rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). This proverb reminds me of my rancher friend in Manitoba. He always had a smile on his face, attended every church activity, and when our youth arranged a camping weekend, he would load his trailer with horses and go along so they could go horseback riding. The world needs more Christians like him. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to fill more hearts with joy that will act as a medicine for all. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 21 - Lots and lotteries

“The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.” - Proverbs 16:33  Scripture reading: Proverbs 16:27-33 Lots in the Bible are a means of making decisions and the Proverb tells us the decision of the lot was determined by the Lord. The land of Israel was divided among the people by lot. It was a lot that exposed Jonah as a fugitive from God. The last lot mentioned in the Bible concerned the choice of Matthias as the replacement for Judas. After the Spirit was poured out, the church used the enlightenment of the Spirit in making decisions. We might use a lot today to determine who gets the last cookie in the jar, but the lot has been set aside for serious direction. What is common today is the use of lotteries. In my youth lotteries were illegal in this country and while the Bible makes no mention of them, there is good reason for avoiding them. Advertising and promoting them is very misleading. They are poor stewardship and the idea of my riches at your expense is definitely not Biblical. God wants you to earn your way through life. There is one other lot in the Bible that I would mention. Deuteronomy 32:9 appears in the KJV as, “For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” In other words, God chooses His people by His own determined lot. The same can be said of the church. Has He chosen you? The only way to find out is by you casting your lot for Him. Give Him your heart and prove you belong to Him. Suggestions for prayer Ask that God by His word and Spirit direct your faith to Christ, confirming that you belong to Him. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 20 - Pride

“Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” - Proverbs 16:18  Scripture reading: Proverbs 16:18-24 Pride has brought trouble our way since the dawn of creation. It was the serpent’s suggestion that we would be like God, that puffed us up and led to our fall into sin. There are multitudes that have since followed the way of pride. One of the more noted examples in Scripture is Nebuchadnezzar, who prided himself as the world leader of his time, only to fall and be reduced to eating grass like the oxen, until he acknowledged God as sovereign. Scripture warns us repeatedly concerning the sin of pride. Don’t follow the way of destruction. We are told in our reading for today, “Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly.” Follow after humility rather than pride. There is no better example given than Jesus, “Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation… coming in the likeness of men… He humbled Himself” (Philippians 2:6,7,8). Our challenge is to be more like Jesus. Paul gives us good counsel in Romans 12:3, “I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” We are all God’s lowly creatures and we should never forget it. Jesus encourages us in the right direction in Matthew 23:12. “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted,” Suggestions for prayer Pray that God will humble us all so that we might be better witnesses of Jesus. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 19 - Many counsellors 

“Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counsellors they are established.” - Proverbs 15:22  Scripture reading: Proverbs 15:20-26 So you don’t think you need anybody’s advice. You can work things out all by yourself. Don’t be so sure. You may be young and confident you can do it, or you may be older and of the same opinion; but our proverb warns you, “Without counsel, plans go awry.” They fail. We are all sinners and this clouds our thinking. Our minds are not as sharp as they should be. It is better to get all the advice you can. The first place to get advice is from the Lord Himself. He is the Wonderful Counsellor (Isaiah 9:6). He has also given us another Counsellor in the Holy Spirit (John 16:7). Their counsel is preserved for us in the Bible (Psalm 119:24). Always follow the counsel of the Bible as closely as you can. But the proverb speaks of a multitude of counsellors and we do well to consider others. Proverbs recommends listening to your parents (Proverbs 23:22). That is always wise. Job tells us, “Wisdom is with aged men, and with length of days, understanding.” You can turn in that direction for advice. The pastor and elders of your church should always be ready to give the help you need. Good friends who have proved themselves can be another source. Multiple counsellors should not be hard to find. Follow good counsel and your plans too can be established. The Psalmist followed good counsel and wrote, “You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory” (Psalm 73:24). Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord for the counsel you need and trust Him to receive you to glory. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 18 - A backslider and a good man

“The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, But a good man will be satisfied from above.” - Proverbs 14:14  Scripture reading: Proverbs 14:14-21 A backslider turns back from following Christ. He does not guard his heart. He yields to a single temptation, but that step fails to satisfy. He then yields to another, then another until his heart grows cold towards the Lord and he loses the ability to resist what is wrong (Matthew 24:12). He ends up, as our Proverb points out, “full of his own ways.” His conscience is guilty and takes away his peace. His heart is dissatisfied. and never has enough. He is left to his own misery. Paul found Demas to be a backslider and reports, “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world.” By way of contrast, “a good man will be satisfied from above.” He is a believer in Jesus Christ and his heart is renewed by the Holy Spirit (John 3:8). He loves God (1 John 4:19) and serves Him by keeping His commandments (1 John 3:22). He has the joy of the Lord in his heart (John 15:11). He is satisfied. At the same time he joins Paul who said, “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13,14). He is looking forward to glory. I trust today you are trusting in Christ and pressing on. If not, the counsel of Malachi 3:7 affirms, “Return to Me, and I will return to you,” Says the LORD of hosts. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to restore backsliders and keep His people moving forward. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 17 - All things for the Lord

“The LORD has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.” - Proverbs 16:4  Scripture reading: Proverbs 16:1-9 God made all things for His own purposes, for His glory. Romans 11:36 instructs us, “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” The prayer of the Psalmist in Psalm 104:31 is, “May the glory of the LORD endure forever; May the LORD rejoice in His works.” We should see God’s glory revealed in all things. Psalm 19 assures us, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” Look to the sun, moon and stars and behold the glory of God. The seraphim in Isaiah’s vision cry out, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:3). We see that glory as we behold the mountains, the oceans, the forests and the lily of the field. The Christian reads of Jesus Christ, His death, resurrection and ascension into glory. His response is to declare, “Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honour and glory and blessing!" The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Scripture directs him, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Today, the Lord’s Day, Scripture calls us to, “Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Give to the LORD glory and strength. Give to the LORD the glory due His name... worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!” (1 Chronicles 16:28,29). Suggestions for prayer Ask God to open eyes to see more of His glory in all things. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 16 - A way that seems right

“There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” - Proverbs 14:12  Scripture reading: Proverbs 14:1-12 How did this man come to think that his way was right? A number of factors could explain it. Let’s look at a few. It is the nature of the human heart to conceal its sinful character. Jeremiah wisely points out, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Too many folks don’t realize how sinful they are. Many don’t know the Scriptures as well as they think they do, as much of what they know has come from faulty sources. Their knowledge of the Bible is tragically incomplete. Many think they have done enough good in their lives to be accepted by God. They have not understood Romans 3:20, “By the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight.” The fact is a man can’t make it on his own. The end result of this folly is death with no hope. There has to be another way. We find it in the gospel. The gospel, while it confronts us with our sins, also points us to the Saviour. Jesus Christ came into the world to fulfill all righteousness. He earned life, but instead of clinging to that life for Himself, He offered it up to God, a sacrifice to cover for our failures. Now He calls us to turn away from our sins and follow Him, believing that He can give us eternal life. Daily we all need to be“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Suggestions for prayer Ask God to help all to see the error of their ways and keep looking unto Jesus. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 15 - Hopes

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” - Proverbs 13:12  Scripture reading: Proverbs 13:12-17 Nobody likes their hopes denied or put off. If you fail your driver’s exam, the girlfriend says no, or the promotion goes to someone else, you are disappointed. But, if you pass your driver’s test, the girlfriend says yes, or you get the promotion, you are delighted, or as the proverb puts it, “It is a tree of life.” All of this suggests we need to be careful about what we hope for. Don’t set your hopes too high. You don’t need riches and the best of everything to be happy. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. You don’t need to be number one or king of the world. Romans 12:3 tells us not to think too highly of ourselves. Have modest hopes and keep them at a level at which you can fulfill them. The problem here is that we are born sinners. We are prone to be too self-centred and self-promoting. We need to listen carefully to Jesus as he tells us, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” This amounts to the death of our old sinful hearts. Galatians 5:24 says, “Those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” This sounds demanding, but it comes with the promise of sin forgiven and a new heart. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you” (Ezekiel 36:26). That leads to modest desires and “a tree of life.” Suggestions for prayer Ask God that we might all have new hearts and desires that can be fulfilled. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 14 - Idleness and diligence

“The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.” - Proverbs 13:4  Scripture reading: Proverbs 13:1-11 The Bible begins with the account of God’s six days of work in creation. Then Genesis 2:1 tells us, “on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work.” God is a worker. So is His Son, Jesus Christ, Who said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” Later from the cross He cried out, “It is finished.” He finished His work. Since God created man in His likeness, man too is to be a worker. At the beginning, God set man in a garden “to tend and keep it.” In Exodus 20:9 man is told, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work.” God intends for us to be workers. He also intends us to be good workers. Colossians 3:23 teaches us, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” The proverb before us speaks of “diligent” work and warns us against being lazy. Too often we go by our feelings. If we don’t feel like working we slack off, work poorly or perhaps do nothing. The result is that at the end of the day we profit nothing and feel worse. You now have a day ahead of you. Hopefully, you are ready to follow the Scriptures. Use the day well. Give it your best work and when it is over, your soul will be enriched and you will feel good about yourself. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to move many, to become diligent workers so that they may enjoy the richness of soul that it brings. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 13 - Creation and creatures

“A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” - Proverbs 12:10  Scripture reading: Proverbs 12:1-10 In Genesis 1:28 God appoints man as the lord of creation. “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Clearly, man is to rule over creation and its creatures. Much evidence today suggests that man has failed in his task. I have seen comments in the media suggesting that God’s assignment to man was very foolish. The commentator should read further in his Bible. Proverbs 12:10 will tell him that the wise man “regards the life of his animal.” He takes good care of the creatures around him. It is the wicked and the cruel that cause neglect and damage. Man does well to care for the creatures because God himself sets the example. Consider Psalm 145:9, “The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.” This care also appears in the fourth commandment where the ox, donkey, and any cattle are given rest on the Sabbath day as well as man (Deuteronomy 5:14). This indicates that man’s dominion is to be of a caretaker. Man is not free to treat creation and its creatures any way that he pleases. His stewardship of creation will be judged by God. May the Lord give to us all the wisdom we need, to treat and use the creation and its creatures He has given to us, with thoughtful and appropriate care. Suggestions for prayer Pray that God’s people will be joined by many in the responsible care of creation and its creatures. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 12 - Winning souls

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.” - Proverbs 11:30  Scripture reading: Proverbs 11:24-31 The winning of souls to righteousness and Christ is ultimately the work of Christ himself, Who purchased them by His blood. Yet He has also given us, His followers, a part in this ministry. He says to us, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” In some situations, souls can be won by a simple explanation of the gospel, but more often than not the process can include a variety of activities. There is a need to win them as friends first. There are a variety of ways this can be done. Exercising hospitality is a very good way to begin. Invite folks into your home. Prepare a tasty meal for them. A wise elder in Philadelphia used to tell me, “You don’t get to know a person until you have had your knees under the same table.” Simply listening to people helps. You can learn much about them, discovering their interests and concerns. Most people like to be listened to and now you can pray for them wisely. Don’t forget to pray. Ministering to peoples’ needs, assisting them in their labours, and demonstrating that you really care for them goes a long way in gathering their attention. Now they will be inclined to listen to what you say and you can tell them about the Saviour we all need so much. Remember Daniel 12:3, “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.” Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to move many into doing what they can to win souls. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 11 - Mercy

“The merciful man does good for his own soul, But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.” - Proverbs 11:17  Scripture reading: Proverbs 11:16-21 Today, I will begin with the statement, “But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.” We tend to think of cruelty in its more extreme forms, such as Jezebel’s massacre of God’s prophets or the persecution of Christians in the world today. But cruelty can take on lesser forms. Some folks are cruel with their speech using it to cut down people who are not in their favour. Others can be cruel simply by ignoring people and keeping them at a distance. Surely the proverb would warn us against all forms of cruelty seeing that they add to our own troubles. We all need to be more focused on mercy which does us good as well as those to whom it is directed. There is no finer display of mercy than that of the Samaritan who bound up the wounds of an injured alien, brought him to an inn and provided for his care. But there are lesser forms of mercy calling out for our attention. Pure religion calls us to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, to feed those who are hungry, and to give a cup of cold water to the thirsty. To these Biblical admonitions, we can add any number of kindnesses that are needful today. Shopping for shut-ins, providing transport for medical treatments, helping the unemployed with expenses, and uttering a kind word when it is needed are always in order. There are limitless opportunities for mercy. Let us be keen to observe them and quick to respond. Suggestions for prayer Pray that we all be more mindful of needs and be ready to respond with acts of mercy. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 10 - Trust in the Lord

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” - Proverbs 3:5, 6  Scripture reading: Proverbs 3:1-8 The contemporary unbeliever has full confidence in himself and does not trust God. He doesn’t see his need for God. He has full confidence that he can figure things out on his own and if necessary provide his own covering for his sins and failures. In practice this approach doesn’t work well. He can’t escape his guilt. He needs to hear the gospel, to acknowledge his sinfulness and turn in faith to Jesus. Jesus will freely pardon and renew his heart. Now he can trust in the Lord. Trusting the Lord is done with the whole heart. The believer puts all his trust and confidence in Jesus. He sees Jesus as the Lord and giver of life and relies completely on Him. Trusting the Lord is also done with a single heart. The believer turns away from trusting his own understanding, trusting simply in Christ and no one else. Now he is ready to face life anew. The believer has turned away from his old course of life. Now he accepts the Lord’s direction for his life which is given in the scriptures. By studying God's word with a prayerful heart, he finds all the direction he needs and follows it. Now he is ready for life. He is also ready for worship. Since today is the Lord’s Day he is eager to join with God’s people in the public worship of God. May you be found among them today. Suggestions for prayer Pray that God will turn people away from their own understanding to embrace the Lord and giver of life. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 9 - Many words

“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.” - Proverbs 10:19  Scripture reading: Proverbs 10:13-21 The proverb assures us that when many words are spoken, you will hear sinful words among them. The reason is that our words come from our hearts (Luke 6:45) and our hearts are “desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). This is no small matter. The solution begins with God giving us a new heart as we come in repentance and faith to Jesus. But be careful! The proverb tells us it is wise to restrain our lips. In Psalm 141:3 the Psalmist prays, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” We simply must think before we speak. How will those who hear us be touched by what we say? We must ask ourselves first if what we say will be true, kind and necessary. If we can’t be sure, it is wise to refrain from speaking. If we profess to be followers of Jesus, we need to remember that no one ever spoke like Him. He always spoke the truth with love and compassion for those who heard. How can we do less? Keep in mind these proverbs. Proverbs 10:20 “The tongue of the righteous is choice silver.” Proverbs 12:25 “A good word makes (the heart) glad.” Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath.” Your kind and careful use of words will bring blessing to others and to yourself as well. It is well worth the effort. Suggestions for prayer “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer” Psalm 19:14. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 8 - Covering sins

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.” - Proverbs 10:12  Scripture reading: Proverbs 10:6-12 The Proverb sets before us the contrast between Hatred and Love. There is much we can learn by considering what is here. May our hearts be open to what we find. Hatred is to be avoided at all costs. It destroys peace and stirs up irritation, contention and strife. It separates friends and sets them against one another. If unrestrained it can become murderous (Matthew 5:21,22). The condemnation of God rests upon it. Hatred is always ready to find fault. It turns minor matters into great offences. It exposes secrets and keeps reporting them, not willing to see any disturbance die out. It holds tight to its record of wrongs. Its author is the prince of darkness. On the other hand, love could not be more different. It seeks to make peace at every opportunity. It overlooks every grievance it possibly can. It is quick to forgive and forgets every offence when it is over. The words of 1 Corinthians 13 cannot be improved. Love “does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Love covers all sins. Scripture teaches that “God is love.” Love originates in Him and He “demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), that all our sins might be covered. How can we fail in any way to love one another? Suggestions for prayer Ask God to fill our hearts with love and move us to cover any sins perceived against us. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

 July 7 - Escaping the snare

“His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, And he is caught in the cords of his sin.” - Proverbs 5:22  Scripture reading: Proverbs 5:21-23 This Proverb teaches us that sin is a snare. Once you are caught by sin it is very difficult to escape. From a human point of view it is impossible. You are caught and there is only one escape. Jesus declared, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me… to proclaim liberty to the captives” (Luke 4:18). Only Jesus can rescue you. Turn from sin and embrace Him by faith and He will set you free, But be careful. Don’t get ensnared again. There are things we can do to promote our freedom. Keep God’s law in your thinking (Psalm 119:11). Romans 13:14 tells us to “make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Do not go where you can anticipate temptation. David tells us in Psalm 101:3 “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.” Looking with approval at portrayals of sin can take you where you do not want to go. Learn to keep your distance from such portrayals. Kick sin off the doorstep before it enters your house. It is very possible that in an unguarded moment you will fall into a sin. Be careful not to repeat the error. Repeated sin quickly becomes a habit. It is like having someone tie a light string around your wrists. You can easily break free. Have them keep winding it around your wrists and you can’t break free. It is the same with sin. Keep doing it and you are trapped. Seek the Lord’s pardon any time you fall into sin. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Lord will help us to keep His law in our minds and to avoid making provision for sinful desires. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 6 - Keeping the heart

“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” - Proverbs 4:23  Scripture reading: Proverbs 4:20-27 Heart in the Bible refers to the inner you; where you think, feel with emotion and make decisions about what you will do. It defines who you are because as a man “thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). We like to think that we are good-hearted people, but the Bible disagrees. It tells us that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked.” We all need to cry out with David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” God does this renewing creative work in us as we turn from sin and look in faith to Jesus (Ezekiel 36:26). Now we can love God and make good decisions. But be careful. Our Proverb urges us to keep our hearts “with all diligence.” Guard them with care and let them direct your life as God intends. We need to know how to do this. The Psalmist leads us in the way when he says that he hides God’s word in his heart “That I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11). Then think in harmony with God’s word like the righteous man in Psalm 1 whose “delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” Set your affections on God’s ways and act accordingly. That will keep your heart focused on God and you can say with the Psalmist, “I delight to do Your will, O my God” (Psalm 40:8). Suggestions for prayer Pray for hearts to be renewed and guarded by God’s word. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

July 5 - A call to humility

“Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble.” - Proverbs 3:34  Scripture reading: Proverbs 3:31-35 Scornful people are the opposite of humble people. They think very highly of themselves and look down on others, despising them and pouring scorn upon them. The Lord, ever being just in His judgments, treats them with the scorn they so richly deserve. They lose out on His favour. The story about the humble is entirely different. Upon them the Lord pours His grace and favour. For them He makes room in His heavenly kingdom. In the words of Psalm 149:4, “He will beautify the humble with salvation.” Humility is highly desirable, but how do we attain it? It begins by seeing ourselves as the sinners that we really are. We are all failures in keeping God’s law. Our hearts should be broken and contrite. We have nothing of which to boast. The remedy for sin is to look to Jesus who promptly tells us, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart.” Learn humility from Jesus. He will impart His Spirit to you and the better you know Him, the more humble you will be. We find further good advice in Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Be sure to see the best in those around you. See them as better than yourself. Your assignment today is, “Be clothed with humility” (1 Peter 5:5). Suggestions for prayer Ask God to move hearts to seek after humility. Rev. James Reaves served his last congregation, Grace Reformed Church (URCNA), in Kelowna, BC. He retired in 2014 after fifty years of ordained ministry. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

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