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Daily devotional

June 5 - The Spirit as wind and fire

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” - John 3:8  Scripture reading: Acts 2:1-21 In Hebrew, the words for breath, wind and Spirit are one and the same. In Greek, the words for wind and Spirit are also identical. ‘Wind’ illustrates the invisible way the Spirit works. You can’t see Him, but the powerful impact He makes on a person’s life is unmistakable. Like the wind, the Spirit’s presence drives away the putrid air of a sinful life and replaces it with the fresh atmosphere of a new life of love for God and neighbour! The 'breath’ of the Spirit is so transforming and powerful it gives new life to the dead. Like fire that warms and illuminates, the Spiritbrightens the souls of men. The oil of the Holy Spirit sets the candlesticks of our hearts aflame and makes us burn like lights in a dark world. As Pentecostal Christians, the wind and fire of the Holy Spirit must be blazing brightly in us for all the world to see! We may not remain cold and dispassionate. We can’t be content to be (theo-) logical but unemotional. We should never ‘notch down’ our zeal and love in order to not draw unwanted attention. If Ukrainian citizens and soldiers are ready to sacrifice everything for earthly freedoms, how can we fail to be willing to sacrifice our all for spiritual freedom? Don’t hesitate to let your faith burn brightly. Let your hearts and tongues be on fire with the message of the cross of Christ and its saving power! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the theological riches and depth of our Reformed faith. Pray that these truths may not just fill our minds but set our hearts aflame. Pray that ‘frozen chosen’ would be furthest from the minds of those who get to know us. Pray that the Spirit may teach us more and more of Christ! Pastor Maurice Luimes serves as the pastor of the Immanuel Reformed Church (recently relocated to Bolton, ON). Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

June 4 - A sobering message

“In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death, and he prayed to the LORD; and He spoke to him and gave him a sign. But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.” - 2 Chronicles 32:24-26  Scripture reading: Isaiah 39:1-8 In Chapter 38 Hezekiah is severely sick. God sends Isaiah to tell him to prepare to die. But Hezekiah prays fervently that God will spare him from dying so soon. Isaiah comes back to Hezekiah with an amazingly gracious message from God. "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city” (Isa. 38:5-6). The king of Babylon hears what happened to Hezekiah and sends a congratulatory note regarding his miraculous recovery. Hezekiah, in turn, thinks highly of himself. As a result, he is overwhelmed by a desire to impress the messengers and he ends up showing everything he has to them. He leaves nothing out. It’s easy, like Hezekiah, to become inflated with ideas of personal accomplishment when we are especially blessed by God. The apostle Paul had the same problem so God had to give him a thorn in the flesh. God responds by sending Hezekiah a sobering warning that Babylon would soon ruin Israel and bring them into captivity. Hezekiah, in turn, meekly acknowledges God’s undeserved mercy in sparing him further personal suffering. God gives us a good reminder here to not so easily trust those who don’t put their trust in Him. Be thankful that He is a God Who, in grace, works to pierce our inflated views of ourselves so that we can serve Him with humility. Suggestions for prayer God tells us that the prayers of a righteous man avail much. Thank Him for being a God who hears and answers prayers. Pray also for grace to keep you from being inflated with pride on account of God’s blessings and to humble yourself if you are. Pastor Maurice Luimes serves as the pastor of the Immanuel Reformed Church (recently relocated to Bolton, ON). Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

June 3 - Serious about sin

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.” - Isaiah 1:16-18  Scripture reading: Isaiah 1:1-31 Isaiah chapters 1 - 34 are brimming with judgment against the sin and evil that have taken root in the hearts of God's people. They present a stark picture of God’s righteous anger against sin, reminding His people again and again that God is Holy, Holy, Holy! He is not a God to be recklessly ignored or disobeyed. Chapter 1 itself is nearly all about God’s judgment. Yet in the middle of God’s strong warning you find these verses of forgiveness and hope: “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool” (1:17-18). They form jewels of gospel hope which shine all the more brilliantly against the dark backdrop of Israel's sin and rebellion! You can’t sweep sin under the carpet. Jesus said, “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (Matt. 5:30). You’ve got to learn to be truly serious about sin in the world and in your hearts. But thank God and rejoice that you can do so in the wonderful assurance that, by Christ’s cleansing power, though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool! Suggestions for prayer Pray for a real dying-away of the old self by learning “To be genuinely sorry for sin and more and more to hate and run away from it.” Pray for the rising-to-life of the new self that results in “a love and delight to live according to the will of God by doing every kind of good work.” (Heidelberg Catechism Q&A. 89-90) Pastor Maurice Luimes serves as the pastor of the Immanuel Reformed Church (recently relocated to Bolton, ON). Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

June 2 - The call of Isaiah

“And He said, "Go, and tell this people: Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive. Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed."” - Isaiah 6:9-10  Scripture reading: Isaiah 6:1-13 In October 2021, a Barna poll among U.S. pastors asked, “Have you given real, serious consideration to quitting full-time ministry within the last year?” Thirty-eight percent of those polled responded that they had! These past few years have not been easy times for anyone in ministry. The unity of churches has been severely tested by recent political and public health controversies. Sadly it’s pretty clear that as Christians we have not all come through “smelling like roses.” Those who consider quitting may be thinking, “This is not what I signed up for!” If so, it’s good to pause and think of the kind of ministry Isaiah was called to. He was called to ‘pastor’ a people whose hearts were dull, their ears heavy and their eyes shut! Yet he obeyed God’s call. On the other hand, as Christians, we need to ask whether we are really taking to heart the words of Hebrews 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.  Thankfully chapter 1 ends with this hope: As a terebinth tree or as an oak, Whose stump remains when it is cut down. So the holy seed shall be its stump. From the stump of Jesse, Christ would come! This means that in Him you are a holy seed who can not only survive, but also thrive even in tough times! Suggestions for prayer Pray much for your pastor(s). Pray for your elders. Pray that their ministry to you may not be with grief, but with joy. Pastor Maurice Luimes serves as the pastor of the Immanuel Reformed Church (recently relocated to Bolton, ON). Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

June 1 - Introduction to the book of Isaiah

This month we will focus primarily on the riches of Isaiah chapter 40. We’ll begin to refresh our understanding of Isaiah and the nature of his ministry by witnessing God’s call to Him in chapter 6. Then we’ll dip into Isaiah 1 and Isaiah 39 to help us set chapter 40 in its proper context. Isaiah chapters 1 through 35 focus on God’s judgment upon Israel by Assyria. Chapters 40 through 66 focus on God’s gracious deliverance of His people from the predicted Babylonian captivity and upon their ultimate spiritual deliverance through Jesus Christ. Chapters 36-39 are a historical bridge between these two sections, paralleling 2 Kings 18:13-20:19. The two main sections are so distinct that critics say they are written by different authors, especially since they assume that an author can only be writing about the past or present. Yet the New Testament clearly attributes the entire book to Isaiah. As someone else has written, “Isaiah’s remarkable prophecies about Christ’s suffering and death put the case for supernatural prophecy beyond reasonable doubt!” God authors amazing prophecies designed to comfort His people during a captivity 150 years in the future. This inspiring message of salvation for God’s people through Jesus Christ, which Isaiah unfolds, continues to thrill the hearts of God’s people through the ages! Isaiah 40 trumpets the call to “Behold Your God” and to prepare yourselves for His coming! Behold Him in all the facets of His glorious Being! He brings an end to warfare and pardons our iniquities! Isaiah sets before our minds both God’s gentleness as our Shepherd, as well His immeasurable power and majesty. Isaiah calls us to 100% confidence in His care, His knowledge, and His provision for our lives. Nothing is hidden from Him and those who wait upon Him will truly renew their strength!   The cleansing of Isaiah “And he touched my mouth with it, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged."” - Isaiah 6:7 Scripture reading: Isaiah 6:1-8 Isaiah’s vision of the Lord defies imagination. He sees the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, His train filled the temple! The glory of the Lord is so awesome that even the perfect seraphim cover their faces and feet with wings while they call to each other declaring, “Holy Holy Holy is the LORD of Hosts!” Isaiah feels himself ‘undone’, which means to be ‘cut off’ or ‘destroyed.’ His lips are so unclean that he does not see how he can survive his encounter with God. Isaiah is not far off the mark, because no man with sinful lips can see God and live unless something drastic happens. And it does! The seraphim takes a burning coal from the altar of sacrifice, flies to him and touches his mouth with it. This fire takes away his iniquity and purges the guilt of his sin! How deadly our unclean lips are! If nothing drastic happens to us, encountering God will leave us destroyed by His holiness as well! To enter into God’s presence and not be consumed, you must believe in Jesus Christ. The coal of the altar of His sacrifice on the cross has to touch your mouth and your heart. Don’t avoid it. Don’t put it off. Let it take away your iniquity and purge your sin. Then you’ll be cleansed and ready both to meet Him and to serve Him faithfully in whatever He calls you to do today! Suggestions for prayer Pray for a deep sense of the holiness of God, an intense awareness of your sinful nature, and great peace and joy in knowing that your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is purged! Pastor Maurice Luimes serves as the pastor of the Immanuel Reformed Church (recently relocated to Bolton, ON). Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

May 31 - Living to the praise of his glorious grace!

“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him Who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” - Ephesians 1:11-12 (NKJV)  Scripture reading: Ephesians 1:1-14 If you were to receive a great inheritance, perhaps your parents’ home, retirement accounts or family items that bring back fond memories, would you be grateful? I am sure that you would be! How much more grateful, then, we should be that through saving faith in Christ, we have an eternal inheritance! Furthermore, our inheritance in heaven is not based on our natural parents. Rather we are all adopted children. Our Elder Brother is Christ Himself and we are fellow heirs with Him (Romans 8:17; Galatians 4:7). Our heavenly Father has pre-planned our adoption according to the purpose of His will (11). The Holy Spirit has given us new life from above and lives within us, guaranteeing our inheritance (13, 14). How grateful we should be! There are no partial blessings in our spiritual inheritance. Rather our heavenly Father has given us “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (3). He has done so because of Christ, for “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (7). No wonder the purpose of your life and mine is to gratefully praise our triune God! We read about that three times over in this brief passage (vs. 6, 12, 14). As the Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever” (Q. & A. 1). May that be the chief end – the purpose and testimony – of your life and mine, today and forever! Suggestions for prayer Pray, sing and live the familiar hymn, “Come, thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace; streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise…” (Robert Robinson, 1758, Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing). Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. 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

May 30 - Growing in grace, knowledge, and gratitude

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” - 2 Peter 3:18 Scripture reading: Psalm 19:1-14 Whenever we consider our guilt and the magnitude of God's grace, we cannot help but be filled with gratitude. But that gratitude must not stagnate. Our gratitude cannot rest on a plateau; rather as we grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord, our gratitude must also grow. Scripture repeatedly calls us to grow spiritually. We see that in the last verse of Peter’s second letter. David also wrote eloquently about the blessings of spiritual growth through the study of God's Word. In Psalm 19, David paints a vivid picture of God's glory and power, both in creation and His Word. Verses 7 to 9 describe the perfection of God's Word, how His testimonies are sure and His precepts are right, of how His commandments are pure and His judgments righteous. And then he points out that they are to be desired more than gold; they are sweeter than honey. He points out that through the faithful study of God's Word, we are both warned and rewarded. David wrote more than 1000 years before Peter, but both have the same message. Both point out the importance of growing in grace and knowledge of God's Word. By doing so we will see our guilt more clearly, God's grace more magnificently, and our gratitude will become deeper and richer as we look forward to an eternity in the presence of our gracious God! May we never rest on a spiritual plateau, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Suggestions for prayer Ask forgiveness for a lethargic attitude toward spiritual growth. Pray Psalm 19 back to the Lord, thanking Him for His creation which reveals His glory and His Word which reveals Christ, “in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3) Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. 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

May 29 - Gratitude for God’s grace and peace

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” - 1 Corinthians 1:3  Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 1:1-9; Philippians 4:4-9 One of the most precious greetings in God’s Word is often just received as a formality. Because we hear familiar words of greeting, we sometimes take them for granted. But what gratitude we should have for God’s grace and peace! Grace refers to unmerited favour. We who by nature are objects of God's wrath, we who have transgressed God's law, and who are prone to wander and struggle against the Holy Spirit with our sinful nature, are yet cleansed by Christ, loved by the Father and in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit. That is unmerited favour! Knowing the grace of God in our lives gives us true peace: peace with God, peace with one another and peace with our circumstances, no matter what they may be. But only a prayerful Christian, focused on Christ, experiences that peace which surpasses all understanding! (Philippians 4:6-7). Knowing God's grace and peace leads to the sanctified life that 1 Corinthians 1:2 calls us to live; it leads us to truly thank God for His grace (1 Corinthians 1:4). It does so because God’s greeting of grace and peace consists not just of words, but is rooted in the faithfulness of God who calls us into fellowship with Himself (1 Corinthians 1:9). May those words of greeting, often heard on Sunday, not be taken lightly. Instead, may they result in deep and joyful gratitude expressed through obedient living every day of each new week! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for His grace and peace, and “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7). Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. 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

May 28 - Praise from a grateful heart

“Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all His wondrous works!” - 1 Chronicles 16:8-9  Scripture reading: 1 Chronicles 16:1-36 When the ark was returned to Jerusalem, David praised the LORD because the ark represented God’s presence with His people. Tomorrow, wherever God’s people assemble in His presence, all have the same reasons for praise which David had! First, David praised God for the wonders He has done. He wrote, “Remember the wondrous works that He has done, His miracles and the judgments He uttered” (12). David was reflecting on how the ark had been returned to Jerusalem and how God was dwelling with His people. But that verse transcends time to focus us on all the wonders God has done in our lives -wonders of redemption, providence and creation! David goes on to thank God for His faithfulness to the covenant made with Abraham (15-18), which includes wonderful promises of inheriting the land and having the blessings of God (Genesis 17:7-8). Those promises transcend time and bring us into eternity, into the heavenly Canaan. And those promises are ours if by grace we have saving faith in Christ alone, for, “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:29). David also praised God for His protective care for His people through the pilgrimage of life (19-22). God still leads, guides and protects His people. Whether in times of joy or sorrow, He is ever faithful! Considering the wonders God has done, is doing, and will do throughout eternity, our response should mirror the response of David. May that be true today, tomorrow, and forever! Suggestions for prayer Praise God for all His wondrous works: His majesty in creation, His perfect providence, and above all, His redeeming love.  Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. 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

May 27 - Living as grateful adopted children

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth.” “…I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” - John 14:16, 18  Scripture reading: Romans 8:12-17 When Jesus spoke to His disciples about His ascension into heaven, they were grieved that He would be leaving them. But He gave them this wonderful promise, “I will not leave you as orphans.” (John 14:18) He was speaking about how after He ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit would be sent by the Father and the Son in a unique and powerful way. It is by the Holy Spirit’s power that we are given life from above, adopted into the family of God and have been given the privilege of calling, “Abba! Father!” Because we are adopted into God’s family, we are given all the rights of children and become co-heirs with Christ of the immeasurable inheritance of heaven (Romans 8:15-17). J.I. Packer, in his classic book, Knowing God, recounts how the concept of adoption into God’s family has been lost in the church today. He writes: “If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thoughts of being God’s child and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all.” May you and I always be grateful that because of Christ, through the Holy Spirit’s power, we are God’s children with access to our gracious heavenly Father, Who is the giver of every good and perfect gift! (James 1:17) Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the blessing of adoption. Acknowledge that your adoption is all by grace and not by works. Pray that God would enable you, as an obedient adopted child, to live a life of gratitude for embracing you into His family. Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. 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

May 26 - Grateful praise to our ascended Lord!

“For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” - Hebrews 9:24  Scripture reading: Hebrews 9:11-28 Did you notice how verse 24 points out that Jesus entered heaven “to appear in the presence of God on our behalf”? That phrase describes an amazing truth concerning the ascension. Jesus ascended into heaven to intercede eternally on the behalf of those who by His grace have saving faith in Him alone “since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). As He intercedes, He does so with great compassion, for He has been tempted in every way as we are, yet is without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He knows the human experience completely. He has experienced hunger, thirst and conflicts from angry people; He has lived under ungodly political rulers. He knows what it is like to live in a fallen world and face the attacks of the evil one. And as the Mediator of the New Covenant, He has shed His blood to cover – propitiate – the sins of His people. Not only does the ascension assure us of our salvation through saving faith in Christ, but it also assures us that just as Jesus ascended bodily into heaven, so will we on the last day when He returns in glory. (1 Corinthians 15; Philippians 3:20, 21). Unfortunately, people today, including many Christians, don't give much thought to the blessings that flow from the ascension. The knowledge of our ascended Saviour should instill within us praise and adoration. Jesus Christ has entered heaven to intercede on our behalf! Our redemption is complete in Him! He is returning again to receive us to Himself! Alleluia! Alleluia! Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord Jesus Christ for His perfect life of obedience, His sacrificial death, His resurrection and His ascension into heaven to “appear in the presence of God on our behalf” (v. 24). Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. 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

May 25 - Gratitude for immeasurable riches

"But God, being rich in mercy…made us alive together with Christ…and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places…so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” - Ephesians 2:4-7  Scripture reading: Ephesians 2:1-10 Most things in our world can be measured: the depth of the sea, the highest mountain peaks, the distance to the planets even in their elliptical orbits. But one thing that no one can measure is the depth and the richness of God’s grace given us in Christ Jesus. When God gives a gift, it is a present reality with an eternal guarantee. Did you notice in verse 6 how the Scripture describes the present reality of our relationship with Christ? It is not just in the future that we will be raised up with Christ in the heavenly realms. If by grace you have true saving faith in Jesus Christ today, you are already raised with Him! It is a present reality that will be discovered in its magnitude throughout all eternity. Remarkably, God’s kindness was given to us in Christ while we were “dead in our transgressions and sins” (1), reinforcing the truth that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…” (8). There are so many blessings from God that we are to be grateful for, but no blessing surpasses the incomparable riches of God’s grace expressed through Christ Jesus. May that present reality of being raised with Christ and being seated with Him in the heavenly realms instill profound gratitude in your heart and mine today – as it will throughout all eternity! Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for blessings often taken for granted: food, water, shelter. But above all thank Him for the gift of salvation, a present reality that will grow in magnitude throughout eternity as God demonstrates “the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (7). Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. 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

May 24 - Contentment and gratitude

 “… I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” - Philippians 4:11  Scripture reading: Psalm 73:1-28 Contentment is crucial to gratitude. We see that in verse 3 where Asaph writes, “For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” When we look at what other people have, we can easily become discontent with what God has blessed us with. The grass always looks greener on the other side. Instead of looking at what others have, we need to focus on what God has given us. Asaph eventually did that when he entered the sanctuary of God and began to understand the plight of those who don't trust in God (17). In the sanctuary of God, as he studied God’s Word and reflected on God's grace to him, he found true contentment and described how God was the strength of his heart and his portion forever (26). It is only by focusing on God and His goodness that we find true contentment, and then the gratitude flows from God's provision for us. The apostle Paul wrote about the same truth. In Philippians 4:11 he described how he had discovered contentment in every situation of life, whether living in plenty or in want. His focus was on Christ; his contentment came by trusting Him. In 1648 Jeremiah Burroughs wrote a book based on Philippians 4:11 entitled, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. Contentment is indeed a jewel, but it is rare. By God’s grace, may it be a reality in your life and mine, today and always! Suggestions for prayer Ask forgiveness for envy and discontentment, and pray for eyes to clearly see the greatest blessing: Salvation from sin and eternal life through saving faith in Christ alone, “for from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace.” (John 1:16).  Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. 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

May 23 - Gratitude for cleansing

“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice.” - Luke 17:15  Scripture reading: Luke 17:11-19 The hardest arithmetic to master, it has been observed, is that of counting your blessings. We see that truth in the healing of ten lepers. All ten were in the same situation. All ten were afflicted with leprosy. All of them called out to the Lord for mercy and asked for healing. Jesus, kind, compassionate, gracious, merciful and all-powerful, healed all ten. But how many expressed gratitude? How many were filled with praise and adoration for their cleansing? Only one, and he was a Samaritan, not even a true Israelite. Unfortunately, that scenario is not a one-time event that took place thousands of years ago. That event has repeated itself throughout history innumerable times. Leprosy is a dreaded disease indicative of our sinfulness. Just as Jesus mercifully cleansed the lepers, He cleanses everyone who comes to Him when they acknowledge their sin with genuine repentance and ask for forgiveness with true saving faith in Him alone. That describes you and me, if by grace our faith and trust is in Christ alone. But how often do we get so busy with our lives that we fail to reflect on the cleansing that we have in Christ? I have to admit that my arithmetic is not so good. I have often failed to count my blessings and express my gratitude to God. What about you? Seeing that you and I are cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, do we daily express our gratitude to Him? Suggestions for prayer Ask God to enable you to express gratitude for salvation more consistently and faithfully. And if you have never been cleansed, pray for salvation with assurance, for Jesus has promised, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” (John 6:37) Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. 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

May 22 - The law and our expression of gratitude

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.” - Exodus 20:2-3 (NKJV)  Scripture reading: Deuteronomy 5:1-7 Each Sunday we are reminded that God’s law reveals our guilt. But the law also serves as a rule of gratitude, enabling us to express our thankfulness to God for His deliverance from sin. We see that truth in the prologue to the Ten Commandments. The prologue sets the stage for the commandments. It is only after the people are reminded that God delivered them from Egypt (6; Exodus 20:1-2) that they are given the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” And just as the LORD delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt, so too, He has delivered us from our bondage to sin and misery. He has delivered us from the tyranny of the devil, who is a far worse taskmaster than Pharaoh ever was. Just as Israel was given the law to express her gratitude to the LORD for deliverance, so are we. That is a distinctively Reformed view (as we are Reformed to Scripture) of God’s moral law. We see the law in three ways: It drives us to Christ as we see our sin. The law restrains evil in society. And, for those who have true saving faith in Christ, the law serves as a rule of gratitude, a way to live obedient lives that express praise to God for delivering us from our sin. This Sunday, and always, may we see our guilt in the light of the law, our redemption in Christ, and then strive to live in obedience to God’s commandments out of gratitude! Suggestions for prayer Pray for increasing obedience, that by it you may express your gratitude to God. And thank Him that He loves you even though your obedience is far from perfect in this life. Praise Him that throughout eternity our obedience will be perfect! Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. 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

May 21 - Living a life of gratitude

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” - Romans 12:1  Scripture reading: Romans 12:1-21 In Romans 12, the apostle paints a picture for us of what a life of gratitude looks like. Gratitude is more than syllables from our lips; gratitude must be expressed by the way we live our lives. After urging us to live lives that are sacrifices of praise to God (v. 1, 2), the apostle describes specific ways to live out that gratitude. In verses 3 to 13, he points out our need to humbly evaluate ourselves and the gifts God has given us. He points out that we don't all have the same gifts, but we all have gifts. Did you notice how diverse the gifts are? They include, among other things, teaching, contributing financially, cheerfully doing acts of mercy and extending hospitality. In other words, as you look at yourself, and look around at others in the church and the community where you live, you will see many practical ways to express gratitude to God. We express gratitude by using our time and gifts for God’s glory and the good of others. As the chapter closes it stresses that we are not to take revenge. Few things rob us of gratitude more than the feeling that we have been wronged and a desire to retaliate. Instead, we are to express gratitude to God, recognizing that He will right all wrongs; and in the meantime, we are to overcome evil with good. Syllables of praise are necessary and good, but actively living a life of gratitude is too! Suggestions for prayer Pray that as He sanctifies us, God would enable us to use the gifts He has given (4-8), focusing on love for Him and others (9-13). And pray that He would guard us from retaliation and enable us to overcome evil with good (14-21). Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. 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

May 20 - God’s grace: The cause for our gratitude

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!” - Romans 11:33  Scripture reading: Romans 11:33-12:2 A principle in philosophy is that every change in nature is produced by a cause. That principle applies not only in philosophy, but also in theology. When, by God’s grace, we begin to understand “the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God” (Romans 11:33), we cannot help but be filled with gratitude! When we realize that the eternal, omniscient and omnipotent God, Who is described in Romans 11:33-36, has mercifully saved us from our sin through the giving of His Son, it must have a “cause and effect” result in our lives. The effect is described in Romans 12:1 where the apostle urges us, in view of God’s mercy, to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God. Meditating on God's mercy instills within us gratitude which leads to a life of worship. Instead of worship being limited to church services on Sunday, worship becomes the focus of each day, keeping us from wanting to be conformed to this world. It instills within us the desire to be increasingly transformed by the renewal of our mind. Then, out of gratitude, we will seek to discern God's will, knowing that it “is good, acceptable, and perfect” (Romans 12:2). As we reflect on our guilt and God's grace, may it cause us to express sincere and joyful gratitude as we are transformed by the mercy and grace of God! Suggestions for prayer Pray with a grateful heart, thanking God for His mercy in saving you from sin. Ask Him to guard you from conformity with the world and to give you a wholehearted commitment to know and to do His will. And if you doubt your salvation, prayerfully seek the Lord in His Word, trusting His promise that “You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. 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

May 19 - The immeasurable grace of our triune God

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” - 2 Corinthians 13:14  Scripture reading: Galatians 3:23-4:7 Although we see God’s grace in each individual member of the Trinity, we see the pinnacle of grace interwoven through the unity of the Godhead (the Trinity). In Galatians 4 we read how the Father “sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (4, 5). And almost in the same breath we are told of the Spirit’s work, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son (or daughter), then an heir of God through Christ” (6, 7). The Father, Son and Holy Spirit work together in perfect harmony, granting us a trifecta of heavenly grace. Their triune work of redemption reminds us that all things are of the Father, through the Son, and by the Holy Spirit. That truth flows from the Benediction which concludes Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. No wonder that before pronouncing the Triune blessing, he wrote about rejoicing and living in peace (2 Corinthians 13:11, 12). If we truly know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, then you and I have great reason to rejoice, making every effort to live in unity and harmony with others, all for the glory of God’s immeasurable grace! Suggestions for prayer Praise the Lord for His harmonious work in your life. Praise Him for His Fatherly love, the redeeming work of Christ, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. 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

May 18 - The inward yet abiding grace of the Holy Spirit

“…Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour…” - Titus 3:5-6  Scripture reading: Titus 3:1-15 If you have ever checked into a filthy motel room, you know the meaning of disgusting. That experience, unpleasant as it is, in some ways points to the inward, yet abounding, grace of the Holy Spirit. He Who is one with the Father and Son, the true and eternal God, lives within us making our sinful flesh His temple (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). When the Holy Spirit gives us new birth, He also cleanses and transforms our life. Did you notice the description in verse 3 of how we once were? “…Foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” That description doesn't apply just to other people; it is a mirror reflecting the darkness of our heart apart from the regenerating and sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. Having given us new life, the Holy Spirit cleanses us far more than any maid who cleans a motel room. The cleansing that we have is from Christ, as the Holy Spirit applies the merits of Christ to each one whom the Father has chosen. After describing the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit, the apostle describes how we are to devote ourselves to doing good and avoid dissensions and quarrels (v. 8, 9, 14). Instead, we are to live grateful lives of praise for God's saving grace and sanctifying Spirit. May joyful gratitude be reflected in your life and mine – today and always! Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for making our sinful and frail bodies His temple, in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to continue to sanctify us, so that we may more fully reflect His grace and cleansing power to others. Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. 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

May 17 - Grace upon grace through Christ

“For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” - John 1:16-17  Scripture reading: John 1:1-18 Just as there is no timeline for the grace of the Father, so also the love of Christ transcends time, for “He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Peter 1:20). He loved us from all eternity and demonstrated His love for us in that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We see His grace, not only at the cross, but throughout His life on earth. Every leper cleansed, every person who received sight, each one healed from an otherwise incurable disease, and those who were raised back to life, are all witnesses to the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. But it is still at the cross where His grace is most evident. It was there that “for our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). From the cradle to the cross, we clearly see the truth of 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” Throughout eternity we will praise Him who is the Alpha and the Omega, our eternal Saviour and Lord. But if you have experienced God’s grace, through saving faith in Christ alone, then live a life of gratitude and praise here and now, each and every day! Suggestions for prayer Thank God, with awe and wonder, that He has loved us with an eternal love. Pray that in the brevity of our lives we would strive to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength – with all that is within us!  Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. 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

May 16 - Our gracious father in heaven

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” - James 1:17  Scripture reading: Psalm 103:1-22 There is no timeline for God’s grace to us; the love of our heavenly Father transcends time and is eternal. In eternity past, long before you and I were born, we received the love of the Father as He predestined us to live to the praise of His glorious grace (Ephesians 1:4-6). He also set the exact moment in history for our lives to begin and to end here on earth, for all our days were written in His book before one of them came into being (Psalm 139:16). And during each day of our lives, He provides for us. We are taught to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” and who is it who supplies our daily needs? It is our Father in heaven. He watches over us, provides for us and protects us (Matthew 6:25-34). He holds us in the palm of His hand as we are given triple protection, held in the hands of the Father and the Son (John 10:28-30) and in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21, 22). And throughout eternity we will experience the fullness of God’s Fatherly love and grace. In the parable of the prodigal son, recorded in Luke 15, we see a picture of the Father’s love for us. Just as the prodigal son was welcomed home and given a joyous feast, so all who have saving faith in Christ alone will bask in the love of the Father at the wedding feast of the Lamb – and throughout all eternity! Suggestions for prayer Pray Psalm 103 back to the Lord. Thank Him that He is merciful and gracious and does not treat us as our sins deserve, but has compassion on us. Ask Him to enable all of us to praise Him more fully and gratefully! Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. 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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