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Daily devotional

April 10 - In accordance with the scriptures 

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” - 1 Corinthians 15:3-4  Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 The virgin birth of Christ is important, as are His crucifixion and ascension. For the apostle Paul, however, the resurrection of Christ is “of first importance.” There simply is no gospel to preach and no hope to embrace without Christ’s resurrection. This central event in Christ’s ministry is also “in accordance with the Scriptures.” Since the Gospels were not yet in circulation, the Scriptures here refer to the Old Testament. We find an explicit Old Testament witness to the resurrection of Christ in Psalm 16, which Peter cites in his Pentecost sermon: “For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life” (Acts 2:27-28). There are also many indirect allusions to Christ’s resurrection in the Old Testament. The powerful promise of life from the grave in Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37) is linked to the third day in Hosea 6:1-2: “Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.” As He has repeatedly delivered His people from their enemies, God will deliver the Israelites from Babylon. Christ’s resurrection marks the ultimate deliverance from death which is exile from life itself. Suggestions for prayer Praise God for His faithfulness in fulfilling His ancient promises of resurrection and ask Him to convince you (afresh) of its centrality. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, 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

April 9 - Come and see, go and tell!

“Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples.” - Matthew 28:6b-7a Scripture reading: Matt.28:1-15 After proclaiming the Easter gospel to the women who visited the tomb, the angel issues a number of commands, the first of which is: “Come, see the place where he lay.” The Easter gospel isn’t wishful thinking. There is factual evidence and the women are invited to see it. They see the empty tomb with their very eyes and later see the risen Jesus Himself. The Bible repeatedly underscores that the risen Jesus was seen by people, hundreds of people (see 1 Corinthians 15:6). No less than, witness testimony is prized today in contemporary courts of law and such testimony of Christ’s resurrection is preserved for us in Scripture. That women were the first to see the empty tomb is strong support that the story wasn’t fabricated by the disciples. Women weren’t regarded as credible witnesses in the ancient world. If you wanted your fabricated story to be compelling, you wouldn’t make women the primary witnesses! The angel doesn’t only summon these women to see the evidence; the angel also commissions them to testify to what they have seen (v.7a): “Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead.” Once you come and see, don’t stay, go and tell! The Easter Gospel, first visible for these women, must now become audible for others. Those who see must tell. That’s how the Easter Gospel spreads. Suggestions for prayer Praise God for Christ’s victory over the grave and ask Him to open doors for you to share the Easter message. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, 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

April 8 - A powerless lion

“He had also descended into the lower regions, the earth.” - Ephesians 4:9 Scripture reading: Ephesians 4:1-13 The day between Good Friday and Easter has, in the church’s history, been dubbed Holy Saturday. What precisely did Jesus do between His death and resurrection? Several theories, entertained throughout church history, must be dismissed as unbiblical: Jesus did not enter hell to continue His suffering, nor did He access a holding cell for imprisoned Old Testament believers to open for them the gates of Paradise, nor did He visit the underworld to preach a victory sermon to the devil and his hosts. We must see that on Holy Saturday, Jesus experienced the precise sequence of death believers also experience: He dies, His body is buried and His soul enters heaven. He enters the “lower regions,” the realm of the righteous dead. To their great delight, He was present in Paradise that day with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all Old Testament believers. In fulfillment of the promise He made on the cross, Jesus was also with the believing criminal who was crucified beside Him. Our enjoyment of Christ upon death, of course, transcends this because we will enjoy the presence of the risen Christ, not simply the crucified Christ. On Holy Saturday, we celebrate that Christ has the keys to death and Hades. “If you see children playing with a lion,” the church father Athanasius wrote, “don’t you know that the lion must be either dead or completely powerless?” Similarly, death has been rendered completely powerless for all Christian believers. We need not fear death! Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for rendering death powerless for all believers and for His gracious presence with all believing friends and family who have died. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, 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

April 7 - Cross purposes

“And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink.” - Matthew 27:48  Scripture reading: Matthew 27:45-56 Given the torture He has already endured, and the intensity of the scorching sun, it’s unsurprising that Jesus was parched on the cross. When offered sour wine, Jesus understandably accepts it (especially clear from John’s Gospel). It’s a fascinating development. Earlier when Jesus was offered wine mixed with myrrh, He declined (v.34) because the drink was a sedative. Jesus did not want His senses dulled or His pain mitigated. When He was offered a second drink, a thirst-quencher, He accepted it. As His final demise approaches, He wants to be invigorated, not sedated. Jesus’ refusal of the first drink and His acceptance of the second demonstrate the same thing: Every aspect of His sacrifice on the cross is voluntary. Enervation must not put Jesus to death. Exhaustion must not spoil anything. Jesus wants to enter death with perfect sensitivity. Invigorated by the wine vinegar, He can complete His sacrifice by yielding His spirit to His father. It is true that at the cross the Father is imposing a punishment on the Son. It is equally true that the Son willingly absorbs such punishment. The Father and the Son, however, are not at cross purposes. The plan of redemption is a Trinitarian plan, and the love of God for sinners is a Trinitarian love. Do you want to know what the love of God is like? Look at the cross. At Christmas we celebrate that God came into the world. On Good Friday we celebrate that He suffered and died for us. Suggestions for prayer Confess your sins today, and praise Jesus for His commitment to offer the sacrifice that atoned for them. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, 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

April 6 - Jesus’ staying power

“If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” - Matthew 27:40b I Scripture reading: Matthew 27:32-41 Recording little of the physical horror of crucifixion, Matthew emphasizes the rejection of Jesus. He is rejected here by everyone: soldiers and spectators, clerics and criminals. The soldiers were reputed for the violence, the criminals for their crimes, and the spectators were especially vulnerable to mob pressure and herd mentality. What especially shocks us is the participation of the clerics (v.41), “So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked Him.” This demographic, claiming to know the Word of God, can’t recognize the Son of God. They taunt Him by promising faith, if He comes down from the cross (v.42b): “He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross and we will believe in him.” Could Jesus save Himself? At some level, He obviously could. With armies of angels at His disposal, He had the power to extricate Himself from the cross and it would have been spectacular if He did. At another level, Jesus could not. He was internally constrained, by the will of the Father and by the love of sinners, to remain on the cross. In the end, we must say two things. If Jesus did save Himself, He could not save us and if Jesus did not save Himself, He could save us. Today let’s thank God that Jesus stayed on the cross for us and let’s praise Jesus for His love for us that so compelled Him. Suggestions for prayer Praise Jesus that His love for us, while He was dying, was undying. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, 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

April 5 - Two freedom fighters

“And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”” - Matthew 27:23 Scripture reading: Matthew 27:11-26 Like so many episodes in the suffering of Christ, this account is full of irony. The imperial judge is a pawn on the Jewish chessboard. The governor does not govern. The religious leaders, supposed experts in the will and ways of God, oppose God’s anointed one, while the truth is revealed to a pagan. Far more than simply Matthew’s literary ingenuity, irony is a fitting way to convey the gospel message. Notice too how the crowds prefer a hardened criminal to an innocent man. From the Gospel of Mark, we learn that Barabbas was imprisoned with others for insurrection and the murder of Romans. Barabbas is of course his family name, meaning literally, “son of the father,” suggesting that he emerged from a family of rabbis. Several ancient manuscripts indicate that his first name was Jesus, a very common name in 1st-century Palestine. Pilate’s question, therefore, is: which Jesus do you want, which son of the father, which freedom fighter? Jesus Barabbas wants to save his people from the tyranny of Rome through violent revolution. Jesus Christ wants to save His people from the tyranny of sin through humble sacrifice. In the end, the guilty party is released and the innocent party is condemned to be crucified. This irony especially depicts the gospel. You and I are guilty before God’s judgment seat. We are declared innocent and freed because Christ, the innocent one, was condemned and crucified. Suggestions for prayer Pray for a fresh embrace of the wondrous exchange whereby Christ receives our sin so that we might receive His righteousness. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, 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

April 4 - The riddle of King Jesus

“They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him.” - Matthew 26:66b-67 Scripture reading: Matthew 26:57-68 The Supreme Court for the Jews, the Sanhedrin, assembles in the house of Caiaphas the High Priest with an impressive list of guests—priests, elders and scribes. They await the arrival of Jesus until He is finally ushered into their presence. This is not a reception for a king, but a trial for a prisoner. Here we encounter the riddle of King Jesus. Spiritually blind, these men in Caiaphas’ house can’t solve this riddle. Not solved by reason or logic, the riddle of King Jesus can only be solved by those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. Even Peter, who once acclaimed Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, sits at a distance with the temple police, an outsider, a mere observer. Here we see King Jesus scorned and mistreated—they spit in His face, strike Him and slap Him. But do you have eyes to see? Far from contradicting His messianic claims, the sufferings of Christ corroborate them. This is what the Messiah came to do for sinners like you and me. Jesus here is actively fulfilling Isaiah’s messianic prophecy: “I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting” (Isa.50:6). The riddle of Jesus has become the riddle of the church. The maligned King Jesus has become the maligned church which reigns with Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord for fellowship with His sufferings in order you might also experience fellowship with His glory. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, 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

April 3 - A Garden of Grief

"And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”" - Matthew 26:39 Scripture reading: Matthew 26:36-46 As we begin what is sometimes termed “holy week,” commemorating the last week of Jesus’ earthly life, we travel to Gethsemane, just outside Jerusalem. Because the city was overcrowded for Passover celebrations, most pilgrims had to sleep outside, not least the disciples who chose as their campsite for the week, this now infamous olive orchard. The garden is the site of deep and dark grief for Jesus. By His own admission, His soul is very sorrowful, even to death (v.38). What is killing Jesus is an ominous cup He must drink. Throughout Scripture this cup represents the judgment and wrath of God against sin, including your and my sin (see, e.g., Isaiah 51 and Jeremiah 25). The terrifying cup Jesus must drink is more than a preview of the cross; it’s a foretaste. With bloody sweat on His brow, Jesus plaintively asks the Father if there’s any other way for His wrath to be satisfied. At the same time, however, He commits Himself to do the Lord’s will. It’s an extreme instance of what we all at times experience—namely, a summons to obey the mysterious will of God in the face of the pain we know it will bring. As the sin-bearer, Jesus experiences the judgment we deserve so that we might be declared innocent. He drinks the cup of God’s wrath so that we might drink the cup of God’s blessing. He faces the fierce anger of God so that we might enjoy His warm smile. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to provide you the grace to obey His will when it runs counter to your ambitions and dreams. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, 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

April 2 - What King Jesus provides

“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” - Luke 19:38 Scripture reading: Luke 19:35-40 On Palm Sunday the crowds, by spreading their cloaks on the road before Him, give King Jesus the red-carpet treatment fitting for a dignitary. They likely see Jesus as a political deliverer who has come to rescue them from their enemies. Not wanting His kingship misrepresented, Jesus enters Jerusalem riding not a camel or a horse, but a colt. He is a humble king and His kingdom will be advanced in the way of peace and humility. This is not the first time crowds wanted to acclaim Jesus as king (see, e.g., John 6:15). When He faced this scenario before, however, He withdrew. By accepting the acclamation here, Jesus triggers a sequence of events that will conclude with His death. The enthusiasm of the crowds enrages the Jewish leaders, apparent in the Pharisees’ response (v.39): “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” The time has come for Jesus to be arrested, condemned and crucified. Jesus’ response is striking (v.40): “If these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” If people don’t acclaim His kingship, in other words, the stones, with which this city is built, will. No one who encounters King Jesus remains neutral. He is repulsive to some and alluring to others. What are you going to do with King Jesus? Sadly, the loud praise, for many in the crowd at Jesus’ triumphal entry, proved to be empty. The Palm Sunday songs of “Hosanna” were replaced within a week by Good Friday shouts of “Crucify him!” Worship King Jesus sincerely today! Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to give you a contrite heart so you can worship Him sincerely today. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, 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

April 1 - Introduction to Christ’s death and resurrection 

I am grateful that the Canadian civic calendar still aligns with the church calendar in many places. Good Friday, for example, and Christmas remain public holidays. Commemorating these days for me is of course less about a civic or cultural heritage, however, and more about celebrating historic events that have transformed the world in which we live. For our devotional readings and reflections this month, we’re going to study the world-transforming events of Christ’s death and resurrection. Central in Scripture, these events ought to be central in our lives as well. Good Friday and Easter are not only calendrical days and historic events; they ought to be personal experiences! We will begin the month by following Christ down the via dolorosa, the pathway of suffering, and we will stop at the foot of the cross on Good Friday to see our Saviour. Easter Sunday we will accompany the women to the empty tomb to revisit the momentous event of Christ’s resurrection. The following two weeks will be spent walking through chapters on the resurrection, first 1 Corinthians 15 about the importance of Christ’s resurrection and then Colossians 3, the implications of His resurrection. We will conclude the month by contemplating the powerful messages the risen Christ has for the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. What King Jesus needs “The Lord has need of it” - Luke 19:31, 34  Scripture reading: Luke 19:28-40 On this Saturday, as we anticipate Palm Sunday, we attend to Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Before Jesus is hailed as a king, He acts like a king by ordering His disciples to find a colt, untie it and bring it back. The colt must be one “on which no one has ever yet sat” (v.30). Alfred Plummer, the late 19th century Bible scholar, compared this colt to the virgin womb in which the Lord was conceived and the virgin tomb in which the Lord was consigned—a tomb Luke would later describe as “one in which no one had yet been laid” (25:53). The colt King Jesus conscripts is uniquely suited for His sacred service—an unbacked and unyoked colt. King Jesus adds an instruction: “If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it’ you shall say this: ‘the Lord has need of it’ (v.31). If a king needs something from you, he will say so, and you should comply. When the disciples find a colt and explain to the owners, “the Lord has need of it,” the owners readily volunteer it. They too are disciples of King Jesus—ready to offer their things for Him. What do you have that King Jesus needs? What are you prepared to volunteer for Him? Some of your disposable income? Some of your free time? Suppose the message came to you: “the Lord needs your Wednesday evening.” Would you consent? Suggestions for prayer Seek the Lord’s guidance and wisdom regarding when and what you may volunteer for Him. Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, 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

March 31 - Well prepared

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” - 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 Scripture reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:9-18 Our month of preparation comes to its end. When in the coming days we attend worship on Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter, may we, indeed, be well prepared to thank Jesus, our Saviour, for His ministry of atonement. May we also be prepared to take up our cross and follow Him. Before this series of devotions ends, however, let us yet consider one more event in the ministry of our Lord Jesus: His triumphant return. His second coming will be unexpected, for no one knows the time set, only God the Father. Right now, we disciples are to live in hope as we await the Last Day, when Jesus returns in glory. Our calling as Christians is to be ready, eager to meet the Lord. That readiness comes through a true faith in Jesus. When we have that faith and share it, we can encourage one another. In moments of earthly sorrow and loss, we can lift up our heads, encouraged by Jesus' resurrection. When enemies, earthly or spiritual, attack us, we have the comfort of knowing that at this coming, Jesus will cast all His and our enemies into condemnation. Let us be well prepared now by remembering the past great works of ministry through which Jesus accomplished our salvation. And when our thoughts turn to the future, we know that we shall at last meet the Lord, at Whose return we shall be filled with joy! Suggestions for prayer Make it your constant prayer that Jesus will return to us quickly. Pray that the Spirit will work in your heart and life to be sure that you are well prepared to remember what the Lord has done and to live in hope of His return! Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 30 - Preparing without fear

“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” - Luke 12:32 Scripture reading: Luke 12:22-34 All around us today people live in fear. This earthly life is all unbelievers care about and so it is all they have. Consequently, they are afraid of anyone and anything that threatens their life and property. They are afraid of virus borne diseases and death. They are afraid of political turmoil and threats of violence. They are afraid that their possessions will be stolen. To His little flock, Jesus says: Do not fear.” We can be sure that Jesus is not asking us to do the impossible. We, who follow Jesus in faith, can live without fear. We can be delivered from the burden of worry. How? The priestly sacrifice of Christ delivers us from the fear of eternal judgment and condemnation. When we know the perfect forgiveness that Jesus provides, we need no longer fear that moment when we shall stand before the judgment throne of God. The glorious resurrection of our Lord drives away our fear. Our Saviour conquered death and although it is an enemy, as Scripture says, we need no longer fear the end of the journey of this earthly life. As we prepare to mark the great days of remembrance next month, Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter, let us rejoice to live in confidence, hope and trust. In our time of need, in the hour of struggle and in the moment of temptation, we need not be enslaved by worry and fear. Jesus is victorious! And He has told us: “Do not fear, little flock.” Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the victory He gives over fear. Praise the Lord for the forgiveness we have through the cross. Give glory to God for the promise of eternal life in the power of Jesus' resurrection. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 29 - Preparing with a job qualification 

“...not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”” -Hebrews 7:16, 17 Scripture reading: Hebrews 7:11-19 The Lord Jesus Christ came into this world to serve as our only High Priest. That was an essential part of His “job” as it were. He was not a descendant of Aaron, the father of Old Testament priests, who all served in weakness and were sinners. Jesus did not become our priest because of earthly ancestry, Rather He is our priest on the basis of the power of His endless life. He is our priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. As our eternal High Priest, Jesus sacrificed His life for His people. He is worthy of our trust. Our calling is to turn to Him in faith. As disciples, we beseech Him to represent us before the throne of God. Jesus is at this moment in heaven interceding for His people, obtaining the Father's grace and mercy because of His sacrifice upon the cross. If your soul longs for salvation, if you desire eternal life, if you want the Lord to hear your daily prayers, and if you want perfect guidance through this life and into the world to come, then you need a priest, a mediator between you and the Lord. Jesus is the One, Who can do this great work. He alone is qualified. He alone proved by His sacrifice at Calvary that He could do the task and accomplish the great work of salvation. In sincere, humble faith, look to the eternal High Priest ordained in the order of Melchizedek. He is Jesus, our Master, our great and only High Priest. Suggestions for prayer Pray in confidence, if as a true disciple, your prayers are offered in the Name and by the saving power of Jesus, our Priest forever. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 28 - Preparing by looking to Jesus alone

“But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?” - Galatians 4:8-9 Scripture reading: Galatians 4:1-11 Our basic Christian confession is that Jesus, God's Son, is the only Saviour. This means that today we must take a stand, a personal stand of faith, a stand together as a church, in the midst of a society that demands compromise. This is true now, just as it was true for the new Christians in the little mission churches of Galatia. The Apostle Paul was deeply concerned that there were those in the Galatian churches who had fallen into a dangerous error, Although they said that they believed in Jesus, still they thought that they needed, or at least could benefit from, the help of angels and other spiritual powers. They were placing themselves in bondage to beings that were by nature not “gods.” There are many today who turn to the social gospel, who think that the world can be saved by nuclear disarmament, environmental action, UN declarations, and civil rights protests. They hope that such human efforts will save them. The question posed by the Apostle must be asked of them, “How is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?” Sinful human beings are always tempted to put faith and trust in someone or something other than the Lord. There can be no compromise here. Either Jesus is the complete Saviour, or He is not the Saviour at all. Our calling is to put our full trust in Jesus alone, the complete Saviour. Suggestions for prayer Ask God for wisdom that you may recognize the dangers you face, when Satan tempts you to put your trust in anyone or anything other than Jesus. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 27 - Preparing by trusting

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.” - Psalm 20:7 Scripture reading: Psalm 20:1-9 Everyone lives by trust. We all trust someone or something. David, the inspired psalmist, looked around himself in his day and age and saw that there were those who trusted in military might. In ancient times many trusted in chariots and horses, the super-weapons of those long ago days. David, directed by the Holy Spirit, warns us against such a trust in human power of any kind. We who know and love the Lord have the most powerful trust of all, a wholehearted faith in Jesus, as our only Saviour. When we trust in Jesus to save us, we gain a wonderful confidence and a lasting sense of peace. Each time we remember the name of the Lord, we exercise that amazing trust, for the very name Jesus means Saviour. As you walk with the Lord day by day, live in the power of that trust, which all who believe in the Lord have found totally dependable through the ages. All around us today we see unbelievers put their trust in earthly schemes, in weapons, in so-called science, in government welfare programs, and in empty political promises. Those who put their trust in such human efforts are sure to be disappointed. Such earthly trust is always betrayed and evaporates into nothing. As children of God, disciples of Jesus, let us avoid that by putting our trust in the Lord alone, in Jesus, in whom we find all things necessary for our salvation in this world and in the world to come. Suggestions for prayer Pray for the powerful working of the Holy Spirit in your heart that you may receive the wonderful gift of faith. Ask the Lord to lead you in His ways, so that your faith, once given to you, will be strengthened. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 25 - Preparing by standing firm

“Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.” - Matthew 26:56 Scripture reading: Matthew 26:47-56 Many Christians have a negative opinion about the disciples’ behaviour in the Garden of Gethsemane. We think, though we dare not say it openly, I would have behaved differently. It is true that the disciples do not look good in this Gospel account. If our reaction to the reading is merely to compare ourselves to the disciples, and to figure that, compared to their performance, we look pretty good, then we have made a dreadful mistake and are woefully unprepared for an up-building commemoration of our Saviour's passion. Our text shows the disciples forsaking Jesus and fleeing. That is the natural human reaction to a dangerous situation. Remember, however, that we believers are called to walk the path of the Christian life by following Jesus. That path is the way of the cross, of persecution and struggle. If we want to be a follower of Jesus, we must take up the cross and follow Him. To do this we must not flee away, rather we must stand firm. To stand firm we need God's grace. Only the grace of God can make a fleeing soul into a pillar of faith, a dying ember into a soul on fire for the Lord. Seek that grace of God in your personal devotions and by attending worship services in church tomorrow, where we receive the means of grace. Without God's grace you will be a fleeing disciple, fleeing away from carrying your cross. By God's grace alone, you will be able to stand firm in faith and follow Jesus. Suggestions for prayer Pray that God will fill you with the desire to receive His sovereign grace through personal devotions and by faithful attendance at worship in church tomorrow.  Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 24 - Preparing by serving

“Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” - John 12:27, 28 Scripture reading: John 12:26-36 As we draw near to those great days of remembrance for all Christians: Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter, let us prepare our hearts by reflecting on the saving work of the Lord Jesus and His cross. By His life and death, Jesus glorified the Father. He showed us God's everlasting love, His grace and His mercy. In His prayer in John 12, Jesus showed His concern was that He would glorify the Father's name. By the resurrection, the Father glorified the Son. We believers know that the divine Son of God obediently accomplished His Father's will. He gave His life on our behalf. The cross is a sign of Christ's victorious obedience. It is a symbol of God's glorious love. By faith let us share, as His disciples, Jesus' will and spirit. Let us come to know our purpose: that like our Master we are to serve the Lord. By our faith, let us glorify the Name of God. Let us find in our hearts the glory of the cross. We find wonder and inspiration in the work of Jesus. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). May our response to Christ, our faith in Him, motivate us to serve Him in loving obedience, taking up our cross and following Him. This is our challenge, as we remember all that Jesus did. May we, as humble disciples, follow our Master by living in wholehearted service to our God. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Lord will open your eyes to opportunities for service. Pray for spiritual strength to live a life that glorifies God. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 23 - Preparing by escaping the curse

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”).” - Galatians 3:13 Scripture reading: Galatians 3:1-14 Paul quotes Deuteronomy 21:22. as he explains to us that Christ suffered a death cursed by God. He bore all that pain and shame in order to deliver us from the curse of sin because by nature we are all under that curse. When life’s tragedies cause us to realize how real that curse is, we need to remember that the Lord Jesus walked the way of the cross. He was crucified, hung upon that tree, and His blood was shed. He willingly took upon Himself that horrible curse, so that we would never have to carry it. Consequently, Christian, in your time of trouble, if you are called to endure a season of sorrow, when life's difficulties confront you, and you feel the dark cloud of sin's curse hanging over you, remember that the Lord Jesus was crucified to redeem you, and all His chosen ones, from that curse. As you prepare to mark Good Friday, turn your heart to the Saviour with confidence and hope. In Him, find pardon full and free. In your Saviour, find strength for today and power to live as His disciple in a very unChristian age. Let your heart be filled with wonder that Christ Jesus so loved us that he suffered and died for us an accursed death. By that death He secured our full redemption. Praise God, Christian, in and through all circumstances, that your life is no longer under the curse! Jesus took that curse off you because He bore it all the way to Calvary's cross. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Holy Spirit to move in your heart so that you will know the spiritual joy that comes when a believer feels the curse of sin taken away by the power of Jesus' sacrifice. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 22 - Preparing with a motive

“For great is Your mercy toward me, And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.” - Psalm 86:13 Scripture reading: Psalm 86:1-13 As we look ahead to the great events of salvation, which we remember and celebrate on Good Friday and Easter, our thoughts turn to the intensity of Jesus' suffering, and the pain He endured at the cross. What is the motive that caused God Himself to make such a sacrifice? Why did Jesus willingly walk the road of suffering for our salvation? Psalm 86:13 reveals that motive. It was God's great mercy. Because of that divine mercy, God sent His Son Jesus, Who paid the price of our ransom at Calvary. This is the Lord's sovereign work. Our text declares, “You have delivered my soul...” We cannot boast in human strength here, for only God has the power to save. It is God's marvellous, irresistible grace that draws us out of sin, out of the old self of sin. So great is God's mercy, that it motivates the Almighty to stoop down and save even you and me! Yes, God's great mercy caused the Lord to win salvation for us, His chosen ones. As we look ahead to Good Friday and Easter, let us prepare by thanking God for His mercy. Let us celebrate His mercy so full and free. For the great, saving work of Jesus, there is a motive, a reason, and that is God's great mercy. Once again we witness from the words of Scripture the greatest story ever told: the Gospel of salvation. We humbly receive the saving benefit of Christ's sacrificial death, and we rejoice in His glorious resurrection. Suggestions for prayer Give the Lord wholehearted thanks for His mercy displayed to us in His Son, our Saviour. Make this a time of prayer focusing on thankfulness Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 21 - Preparing with a reconciled heart 

“…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” - Luke 19:10 Scripture reading: Luke 19:1-10 The great work entrusted to the Son of God, when He came into this world, was and is to reconcile His chosen people, to the Lord God Almighty. That was the Father's plan from before creation to save His elect from the sin into which the human race had plunged itself through the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Luke 10:1-10 is a story of reconciliation. Zacchaeus, the public sinner, is reconciled to God and man. Amazing! So unexpected! Zacchaeus is reconciled because Christ Jesus came into his life and changed all things. Remember, dear reader, such reconciliation is not just something for a man who met Jesus long ago, but it is also a necessity for us. We must recognize that it is only through the ministry of Jesus that such reconciliation is possible. God calls us to be reconciled, and only through faith in Christ and all that He accomplished by His death and resurrection is this possible. How can you be reconciled to God? Confront your sin and be confronted by the perfect Saviour, Jesus. Confess your sin, seek forgiveness in Jesus' name, and receive forgiveness. God will forgive those who are reconciled to Him. Now and always be reconciled to God. As forgiven sinners, we rejoice in our salvation, which Christ won for us, which we will soon remember on Good Friday. We live in hope, because of the power and glory of Jesus' resurrection, which we soon celebrate at Easter. May your heart and life, like Zacchaeus', be restored to God's favour. Suggestions for prayer Pray that your sins be covered by the shed blood of Christ, our Saviour, and that through Him you will be eternally reconciled to God. Thank the Lord for the restoration of life that we have in Jesus. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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

March 20 - Preparing as a sheep of the Good Shepherd 

“He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.” - Isaiah 40:11 Scripture reading: Isaiah 40:1-11 Jesus said, I am the good shepherd (John 10:11). As we prepare our hearts to remember the climax of His earthly ministry, it is good that we do so with this fact clearly in mind: Jesus is the Good Shepherd. We are His sheep. Far too often we are wandering sheep. “All we like sheep have gone astray,” declares Isaiah (Is. 53:6). We need the Good Shepherd to guide, lead and protect us. It is a humbling experience to admit that by nature we are poor, wandering sheep, but that is our spiritual reality. We must humbly admit that we are saved, not by our own righteousness, nor by our human abilities. It is our Good Shepherd Who saves us and feeds us by His Word and Spirit. He Himself is our food, the very bread of life (John 6:55). To hungry souls the promise of our text is so sweet, as our Saviour promises to feed us. That promise is sure and we experience it in a deep, spiritual way every time we share in Holy Communion! He gathers, carries and leads His sheep. We can depend on the Lord Jesus to care for us. What a blessing the sheep of the Good Shepherd enjoy! Day by day then, humble yourself, acknowledge that you are a sheep in need of a shepherd. By faith find that Shepherd, place your trust in Him and all that He accomplished for your salvation. Rejoice, Christian, to be a sheep of the Good Shepherd's flock. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Spirit to work within you to humble your heart, so that you will find your place in the Lord's flock as one of His sheep. Thank the Lord for feeding, gathering, carrying and leading you on through life. Rev. Gregg V. Martin was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 1977. In his years of service, he pastored a total of five congregations in three Canadian provinces. He also served for more than seven years in Latin America as a missionary, providing leadership training in Reformed mission churches. 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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