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Daily devotional

October 17 – Not many should be teachers

We all stumble in many ways. – James 3:2 Scripture reading: James 3:1-2 One of the reasons we read the law of God each Sunday morning is to remind us that we stumble in many ways. God wants us to repent of our sins and come to know afresh His forgiving love. There was only one who never stumbled in His commitment to love God and his neighbor, the Lord Jesus Christ. As we grow in our understanding of God’s love and a realization of our sin, a maturity grows in us.  A maturity not only to fight temptation and of being a godly example to others, but an ability to deal with others in a gracious and wise manner as fellow sinners. This is why James says not many should become teachers. James goes on to tell us that teachers in the church, elders and pastors, will be judged with greater strictness. As leaders in the church, they will either be a blessing to the congregation or a means by which the members will stumble. If teachers present a teaching that is not true to God’s Word, it can cause members to fall away from Biblical truth. For this reason, those seeking to be elders and pastors need not only have a sound understanding of God’s Word, but also walk in all godliness, before being a teacher in the congregation of God. Suggestions for prayer Pray the Lord would continue to raise up men in the church to be mature in doctrine and walk so that church will continue to be strong.  Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

October 16 – Faith without works is dead

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. – James 2:24 Scripture reading: James 2:20-26 One of the main points of the reformation was the confession that we are saved by faith apart from works. Paul often mentions this in his letters. Yet James writes that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. Being justified is being treated as if you did nothing wrong according to God’s judgment. To understand what James is getting at we need to look at the two examples he gives: Abraham’s faith was demonstrated by his willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac. Rahab showed her faith by her actions in hiding the spies and sending them in a different direction. She was willing to give up her allegiance to the city of Jericho and put her trust in the God of Israel. To have a true saving faith, it must also change us so that we, in our trust and allegiance to God, are willing to sacrifice anything. If Jesus is your Saviour, He must also be your Lord, the One to whom you listen, obey, and are willing to sacrifice for. Jesus said if we are not willing to give up possessions and people in our dedication to Him we are not really His disciples. In this way, James is not arguing against being saved by faith, but is challenging us to reflect on what type of faith we have. Suggestions for prayer That our faith in Jesus Christ would show itself in real actions of dedication and sacrifice to Jesus and His Kingdom and so prove to be real and saving faith.  Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

October 15 – Faith without works

My brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? – James 2:14 Scripture reading: James 2:14-19 James says that one’s faith will show itself by deeds or actions. In Galatians, Paul says that deeds are faith expressing itself through love, that is love for God and our neighbor. Although this love does not save a person, without this love expressed in action, one’s faith is dead and not able to save a person. This is because faith that saves someone will also change him/her. Your faith changes you to love God and your neighbor in a self-sacrificing way. This is because when one truly believes in Jesus Christ, a new relationship has been established in which we love because God first loved us. James gives an example of how absurd it would be to have a faith with no deeds. If your brother and sister were naked and starving and you said you loved them, yet you only expressed it by saying, “I wish you well,” who would believe you? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by actions, is dead or false faith. James goes on to say that if we believe all the Bible says but we fail to do deeds of love, we are no different than the demons, who believe and shudder. Suggestions for prayer Pray that our faith in Jesus Christ would compel us to do deeds of love for God and our neighbour. Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

October 14 – Mercy triumphs over judgement

So speak and act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. – James 2:12 Scripture reading: James 2:8-13 In today's passage, James shows us all sins are equally wrong before God. This is true because all the commandments instruct us to love God and our neighbour. All our neighbours, both far and near, have been created in God’s image and we are therefore commanded to love them, even our enemies. Loving our neighbour is like loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. In going through a few commandants as examples, James wants us to admit our failings in respect to them. In doing so, we will have a different way of looking at our brothers and sisters in the Lord when they sin. James says we are to speak and act as those who are judged under the law of liberty. Since we cannot keep the law properly ourselves, we are not to speak and act as if we are perfect and without sin. We are God’s forgiven children not because we are righteous in ourselves, but only through God’s grace in Jesus Christ. For this reason, we should seek to keep the commandments out of a thankful heart because of God’s ongoing mercy to us. This should cause us to have mercy when approaching a brother or sister who has sinned. Instead of making quick judgements on others, let us remember God made His judgments on us with mercy. In this way, we will show that mercy does triumph over judgement. Suggestions for prayer Pray that we would show in our relationships that mercy has triumphed over judgement. Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

October 13 – Showing no partiality as God’s children

My brothers show no partiality as you hold the faith in Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. – James 2:1 Scripture reading James 2:1-7 In today’s society, many admire prosperous people as opposed to the needy. James tells us that those who have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are not to look at others in this way. He gives an example of two people entering a worship service, a wealthy person and another wearing rags. There could be a tendency, James writes, that we pay special attention to the rich man and ignore the one in rags, hoping he would slowly drift away. When we do so, we judge with evil thoughts. By making this distinction, we are saying the one is worthy to be in the household of God, while the other is not. Worthiness then is based on worldly standards, not on a person’s faith in Jesus Christ. James reminds us that a person who is poor in the world can be rich in faith and heir to the kingdom of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Throughout the Bible, we see that God has a special interest in the poor and we must have that same attitude. If a politician or a rich man comes to a service we are not to treat them any more special than a homeless person. They are both image-bearers of God and both need the good news of Jesus Christ. Suggestions for prayer Pray that we would not look at people from a worldly perspective but with the eyes of Christ. Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

October 12 – Pure religion before the Lord

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world. – James 1:27 Scripture reading: James 1:26-27 In our world today, many claim to be religious or spiritual. During the time James wrote this letter, many people claimed to be religious. He uses the word religion to indicate how a person worships the Lord. James emphasizes that for one’s religion to be real, it must affect a person’s everyday life. He tells us, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that if we claim to be religious, but do not bridle our tongue, our religion is worthless. If you come to church to worship and honor God with your words but are careless in your speech, God does not see your religion as worshipping Him or honoring His Name because it does come from a heart that has been changed by the good news of Jesus Christ. When a person trusts that Jesus has washed away their sins, and that they are pure before God, they will worship God and give offerings not only on Sunday, but will seek to help others throughout the week. They will not only guard their speech, but keep themselves unstained from the world. Instead of seeking the fleeting pleasures of this world, they will be people who find comfort and joy in serving the Lord every day. Suggestions for prayer Pray that our religion would come from a thankful heart that seeks to please our Lord and bless our neighbour with our tongue and actions. Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

October 11 – Praying with thankful hearts

Do not be anxious about anything, but by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:6 Scripture reading:  Philippians 4:4-7 Today is a special day in which Canadians can reflect on the harvest and the preservation of our nation. We are blessed in that we can give thanks no matter what situation we find ourselves in, whether we had a great harvest, or whether the year was more difficult because of a pandemic. Christians always have a reason to be thankful. Paul wrote the book of Philippians from a prison cell, uncertain whether or not he would be executed for proclaiming Jesus as Saviour and Lord. He wrote to a group of Christians who were poor in the eyes of the world and persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. Yet, Paul called them to rejoice in the Lord because they had Jesus in their lives and thus had the greatest treasure a person can have. Do you see that when you know Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, you have the greatest gift of all? In their difficulty, Paul also called them to make their prayers and supplications with thanksgiving. They were called to ask for relief from their troubles with thankful hearts trusting that nothing in all creation could separate them from God and His love. As beloved children, God loves us when we come to Him with our requests, but He calls us to do this with thankful hearts, trusting that nothing will ever separate us from Him. Suggestions for prayer Ask that we bring our requests with a thankful heart this day and always. Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

October 10 – Living in true freedom

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. – James 1:25 Scripture reading: James 1:22-25 James emphasizes that those who love the Lord are not just to listen to the Bible with their ears, but do what it says. He tells us that if we just listen to the words of the Bible without doing them, we are only deceiving ourselves into thinking we are children of God. That is, if we are not reading the Bible to see how we are to live as God’s beloved children, we are not showing we are children of God. To truly believe in Jesus Christ causes believers to want to live for the Lord. James does not mean we have to be perfect, but if the Word of God has saved us, it will also change us in such a way that we will see our flaws and want to do something about them. If we don’t read the Bible in this way, James says we are like a man who after looking in the mirror goes away and forgets what he looks like. To hear the Word of God is like looking into the mirror, realizing we are not what we should be and seeing the changes that need to happen in our life. When we read the Word of God, it compels us to work at those changes. In doing so we will grow in liberty or freedom; that is in living the way God wants us to live, in the joy of salvation as His beloved children. We will be blessed in what we do. Suggestions for prayer Pray that we would read the Bible with open minds and hearts, admitting our flaws and be eager to work on them as beloved children of God. Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

October 9 – Quick to listen and slow to speak

Put away all filthiness and rampart wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. – James 1:17 Scripture reading: James 1:19-21 Yesterday, we read that all good gifts come from God. Today, James warns us of things we all need to digest as God’s children. We need to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. That is, we have to watch jumping to conclusions when we hear what others have to say, and seek to find out the truth before we react. To jump to conclusions without listening properly often results in anger in our hearts. When this happens our words and our actions are often not pleasing to God. This can happen even when we are trying to correct someone for wrongdoing. James tells us that in order to prevent this from happening we need to put away filthiness and wickedness. Putting away filthiness is the act of ridding your life of those things that influence you to act in selfish and wicked ways. It is to push selfish desires and passions out of your mind and heart. James says you can only do this by humbly admitting you are sinful and prone to all kinds of wickedness and turn to Jesus Christ in repentance and faith. Jesus Christ saves our souls so that we can begin to be quick to listen, slow to speak and anxious to live for the Lord. This is true because as the good news of Jesus Christ is humbly received, our souls are saved and we begin to live not for selfish wicked pleasures, but for the Lord. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the good news of Jesus Christ would more and more be received in our minds and hearts so that we would more and more live for the Lord in the joy of salvation. Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

October 8 – The good and perfect gifts of God

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights. – James 1:17 Scripture Reading: James 1:16-18 Today we look at the opposite of trials and temptations: good and perfect gifts. James tells us that God is the provider of any good gift we receive. He allows the sun to shine and the rain to fall so the crops can grow. God has not abandoned this earth, but allows good things to happen even to wicked people who reject Him. We live in a world where there is relative peace, with doctors and nurses to care for people, schools where children and young people can learn, and agencies who help people. This is God’s good providential hand in the world. James wants us to remember that our heavenly Father also gives us perfect gifts in his Son Jesus Christ. Through Him we receive the forgiveness of sins, everlasting life, adoption into the family of God and a place in heaven and the new earth. These are perfect not only in their goodness, but also in their stability. No one can take these perfect gifts from us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. These gifts are also for all times. God does not change, He offered these gifts to people thousands of years ago and they are just as precious and sure today. We see that God has worked this faith in us by His precious Word of Truth, the good news of Jesus Christ, so we can be kind of first-fruits. First fruits, in that we witness to others that they also can have these precious and perfect gifts through faith in Jesus Christ. Suggestions for prayer Pray we will show thankfulness for the good and perfect gifts with which we have been blessed and be a witness to others that they also can thank our Lord for wonderful and perfect gifts. Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

October 7 – Turning to God when tempted

God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one. – James 1:13 Scripture reading: James 1:13-15 Have you ever been upset with the trials God has brought you through? Maybe you thought, if I was not in that position, I would not have sinned. But who allowed you to be in that position? Was it not God Who is in control of even a hair falling from your head. Yet, in today's passage we are told that God cannot be tempted nor tempts anyone. Notice James does not say that temptations are the devil’s doing. We cannot say the devil made me do it. James says we are tempted when we are lured by our own desires. Our hearts are attracted to sinful activities. In the Lord’s prayer we are told to ask God to keep us from temptation. When sinful desires take shape in our hearts and minds, they give birth to sin. There are pictures, circumstances, activities and even thoughts that tempt our hearts to sin. When we live in and are content in that sin, unless we repent, eternal death is our future. The problem is not the devil or the situation God has placed us in. It is our sinful hearts and minds. In Romans 7, Paul asks how he can be saved from this body of death. He gives the answer; “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus gave His life so that we are not only washed of our sins, but brought in the family of God so that we can with confidence cry out to God, “Lead me not into temptation.” Suggestions for prayer Pray that we would quickly turn to God in our struggles with temptations, asking for His help, guidance and strength because of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

October 6 – The crown for those who are steadfast under trials

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial. – James 1:12 Scripture reading: James 1:12 The world often persuades us that one is important if he/she obtains earthly riches. In the midst of this, one is asked whether or not satisfaction is found in Christ and what He has done for you. The rich can face the test of holding onto their wealth too tightly as if their identity is in possessions. The world around us promotes the idea that vehicles, houses or abilities set one off from the rest. When we have the latest of these or grow in our abilities in various ways, we think life is good. The test is, what is more important in your life? Is it physical riches, your talents or the relationship you have with God through Jesus Christ? James calls us to remain steadfast in the midst of these tests. For the poor, it is to be content in who they are in Jesus Christ. For the rich, it is to live for Jesus Christ and not for the riches and abilities they have. For both, the test is whether Jesus is the real treasure in their life that motivates and directs them. James makes a promise for all who are steadfast in showing that their relationship with God is their treasure and motivation. They will receive a crown better than the wreath an athlete gets at the Olympics. They will be congratulated by Jesus Christ at the finish line of their lives with the crown of life, with an eternity in paradise where all the disappointments, sadness and times of loneliness will be gone and replaced with eternal bliss and happiness. Suggestions for prayer Pray that we would keep our eyes on Jesus our Saviour and so be steadfast in our love for Him, in the midst of the trials in this life as we wait for the crown of life. Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

October 5 – True riches

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation. – James 1:9 Scripture reading: James 1:9-11 Yesterday we discussed the need to pray for wisdom to deal with this broken world. As beloved children of God, we must pray with the exalted portions of faith we have been given. James goes on to tell us we need to do this whether we are rich or poor. A poor person can sometimes think, "Woe is me, I have nothing, I mean nothing.” But James says if anyone has faith in Jesus Christ, even if they are lowly in worldly standards, they should boast in their exaltation, not in who they are in the world, but in who they are in Christ. No matter what your worldly status is, in Christ, you are part of the exalted family of God. You should not be proud of who you are in yourself, but proud of who you are in Christ, for then He gets the glory. Some Christians are rich in the things of this world. There is nothing wrong with worldly riches, but they can make a person think more of earthly wealth than heavenly treasures. Therefore the rich should see their wealth as temporary. They should see that true exaltation comes from humiliation, admitting spiritual poverty and knowing that true and eternal riches only come through faith in Jesus Christ. Just as flowers of the field will eventually be scorched by the sun and die, so man’s riches will fade away. When people humbly admit poverty before God and plead for mercy based on the finished work of Jesus Christ, they will be truly exalted. Suggestions for prayer Pray that we would see that in Jesus Christ we have an exalted position that no money can buy and no poverty can take away. Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

October 4 – Praying for wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. – James 1:5 Scripture reading: James 1:5-8 Many think that having wisdom means possessing knowledge. The Bible defines wisdom as knowing and doing something about it, in a way that is pleasing to God. Knowing God as the holy and almighty God Who hates sin should cause you to go to Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins. That is wisdom. Our passage today comes just after James told us to count it all joy when we meet trials. Now he tells us that if we lack wisdom dealing with trials, we should ask God Who desires to give generously. If we wonder why this difficult time has come to our lives, we are to ask God for the ability, not to just know what to do, but to live with the trial in a way that trusts and honors God. To do this we have to have faith that God loves us and will not give us anything beyond what we can bear. If we doubt that God loves us, we will be like a wave on the sea going up and down with the circumstances of life. If we look at the circumstances in our lives to validate God’s love for us, we are not believing in Jesus Christ. If this is true, James says, we will never receive wisdom to deal with trials as children of God. This calls us to put our faith in Jesus Christ as proof that God loves us even in the midst of trials. Only then we can pray that God will give us what we need. Suggestions for prayer Pray that in the midst of the trials we are facing we will keep our eyes on Jesus, the proof of God’s love to us, so that we will have the ability to stand up under our trials. Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

October 3 – Blessed through trials

…and let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and compete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:4 Scripture reading: James 1:2-4 For Christians it should always be a joyful thing to go to church, read God’s Word, sit under the preaching and praise God together as God’s people. But in the last year we have not always been able to gather together as we desired. This was a trial God allowed us to experience. God’s heavy hand was on our world and Christians also felt the sting of this hardship. James, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us that we should count it all joy when we meet various trials. The effects of COVID have been a trial. Not only could we not go on holidays and visit loved ones, but we also could not worship in the same way. James tells us that we should count it joy when we meet trials, even the kind that comes from a virus. Why should we count these trials with joy? God uses them to test our faith to produce in us steadfastness, trusting God whatever the circumstances. God tested us this past year with COVID. He wants us to believe He did this so that steadfastness would grow in us and that we would be able to trust God with increasing dependence on His love. In believing this we have to admit that we need to grow in this steadfastness so that we can count it all joy when we face the next trial. Through these trials God is perfecting us so that we will hold on to Him in faith lacking nothing, no matter the circumstances. Suggestions for prayer Pray that we would see and believe that the trials our Lord brings us through, will produce in us an ever-increasing steadfastness to trust our Lord’s love for us. Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

October 2 – Waiting for paradise

To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. – James 1:1b Scripture reading: John 14:1-6 James wants us to see something about who we are. The word dispersion describes people living in places that are not their home. The Old Testament people of God were scattered throughout the world by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. For a long time, they lived outside the promised land and suffered trials. God allowed this to reshape His people so that in coming back to the promised land, they would hunger to live for the Lord in the joy of salvation. God promised His Old Testament dispersed people that there would be an end to their struggles and they would return to the promised land. James, in calling the people he wrote to, the twelve tribes of the dispersion, is telling us that we, as the New Testament church, are like them. We are presently not living in our real home. God has promised that paradise awaits us. We are to live on this earth, not holding to the things of this world, but to the promise that awaits us. This past year, a small virus has reminded us that we have no enduring reality here. It has dispersed us in many ways, in that we were not able to meet as we desired for worship, Bible studies and fellowship. The last word in this verse is translated greetings, but it could also be translated to say rejoice or be glad. God calls us, His dispersed people, to rejoice, for the paradise of heaven and the new earth awaits us. May you trust that today and always. Suggestions for prayer Pray that we would see more clearly that our real home is not here, but in the paradise of heaven and the new earth. Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah, and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....

Daily devotional

Introduction to October: Living in a fallen world with faith

In living through a world pandemic we as Christians were called to deal with many different struggles and complications by our God. Not only have we been asked to work in different ways, shop in new ways, intact with each other in new ways but also worship in new ways. Many of us have wondered what is going on in our Father’s world. Many of us have lost loved ones to the virus and most of us have lost much of our sense of freedom through the long months of the pandemic. From online studies to working and meeting people via zoom or some other platform we have gone through complicated times. Some have sheltered themselves with great fear of the virus because of the news stories, others have been overwhelmed by so many conflicting news reports. We have been bombarded with both fear-mongering and conspiracy theories from many different circles. This month we will go through the book of James who tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds. As we deal with life in this broken world, in the wake of the pandemic, I pray that our study of James will help us to grow stronger in our faith as our faith is tested. May our study of James help us to have a faith that works in such a way that we more and more show our heavenly Father we love being His beloved children. May the study of James also help us to show the world around us that our faith is real, not only bringing comfort and hope to our lives but causing us to have a great care and love for our communities. May it cause us to grow in our calling to be salt and light in a world that is increasingly dysfunctional. Living for God as His joyful servants James, a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, – James 1:1a Scripture reading: Mark 6:1-6 The writer of this book was a unique leader in the early Christian church. He was a long-time leader of the church in Jerusalem and was a half-brother of Jesus Christ. Yet he does not mention either of these things when he tells us who he is. Instead, he says he was a servant, really a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Calling himself a slave of God and Jesus Christ meant James saw himself as one who was purchased by the blood for Jesus Christ and so was to live for His Master’s desires and plans before all other concerns or desires. James did not always believe and live in this reality. But the Holy Spirit so worked in his heart that he not only believed in Jesus Christ, but submitted himself to Him, as a slave to a master. This can only come about when you truly believe that God loves you and that God’s ways and desires are more important and better than your ways and desires. If you know yourself as one who was purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ, do you also acknowledge this about your life, that you are not your own, but belong to Jesus in such a way that His desires and plans come before your plans and desires? Jesus says whoever comes after me must take up his/her cross and follow me; that is to die to self and to live for your master and Lord in the joy of salvation. Suggestions for prayer Pray that God would so work in our minds and hearts by His Word and Spirit that we would respond to His sacrificial love by dying to self and living for God and His kingdom. Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional....