Daily devotional

April 21 - The fruit of the Spirit - Patience

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord…” - James 5:7 Scripture reading: James 5:7-11 Patience is one of the attributes of God. The Bible often speaks of God’s patience toward Israel, or toward sinners, or all humanity. He is “long-suffering” and “slow to anger.” Peter instructs us to think about God’s patience and to “count the patience of our Lord as salvation” (II Peter 3:15). Jesus was patient with his disciples and others. He also patiently endured the sufferings of His humiliation, incarnation and the cross. The word Paul used in his fruit-of-the-Spirit list for patience in Galatians 5 is makrothumia, literally “long-suffering.” As you worship today, consider the patience and long-suffering of God toward you. Like love, the patience of God is what we call a “communicable” attribute, meaning an attribute that God shares with human beings to some degree. It is therefore not surprising that when the Spirit of God dwells in a person, that person will grow in the fruit of patience. But just like fruit on trees, the fruit of the Spirit takes time to grow, ripen and mature. For some of us, it seems that this fruit of patience takes the longest. Are you patient? We’ll continue to see that these Spiritual fruits are very closely tied together. Paul tells us that “love is patient, love is kind…” And if you think about it, one can hardly be loving, or joyful, or at peace with others without being patient (or kind, gentle, etc.). Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Holy Spirit will conform you to the image of Christ. Pray for patience. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 20 - The fruit of the Spirit - Patience

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” - Romans 8:28  Scripture reading: Romans 8:18-30 In this world we all need patience. We wait longer than we want in grocery lines, in traffic, for dinner or for a spouse. Most things, in fact, don’t happen according to our schedule. The fourth fruit of the Spirit is patience. Patience is the capacity to wait and to endure without complaining or losing heart. But how does the Spirit cause this fruit to grow in the Christian’s life? I believe it is because He convinces us of important truths about God, transforming us by the renewal of our minds. Understanding and believing these truths help us be patient in adversity: First, the Holy Spirit teaches us to believe that God is sovereign. This means that instead of being a bystander, God is in control, governing all things in His creation. The circumstances of your life, each and every day, are not accidental, but purposeful. Knowing and believing this will affect how you react to various trials of life. Second, God is perfectly wise. This means that God not only has the best purpose, but the best means to accomplish that purpose. He knows the end from the beginning, and the best path to reach that end. Understanding this we patiently endure the hardships. Third, we know that God is a loving God. His plan and purposes for His people are not arbitrary or vindictive but proceed from His love. We can be patient and trust God because, as our passage today reminds us, God is orchestrating everything for our good. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the fruit of patience will increase in you. Pray that the Spirit will convince you of God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and love. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 19 - The fruit of the Spirit - Peace

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” - Isaiah 26:3  Scripture reading: Isaiah 26:1-9 Isaiah 26 prophesies that a song will be sung “in that day,” which is the day of God’s salvation, and the song is a song of praise and joy. The coming of Jesus and His salvation is the fulfillment of this prophecy, and that salvation comes to all who believe in Him. As we noted yesterday, in Christ we have been reconciled to God and are now at peace with Him. But this reconciliation, this objective peace leads to an internal peace. It is a peace, a calm, an inward tranquility believers have because they know they are in the family of God, and their heavenly Father is for them, not against them. It is this blessed fruit of the Holy Spirit that compelled Horatio Spafford to write the hymn “It is Well with My Soul” after learning that his four daughters had been killed in a tragic accident. And this sense of peace, this “shalom,” also affects our relationships. The peaceful believer is inclined to be a peacemaker. Paul tells us in Romans 12:18, “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Our natural, sinful inclination can incline us to seek conflict and dwell on disagreements, but the Holy Spirit works in our minds and hearts to live peaceably with all. And this blessed fruit of the Spirit, this peace, “which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Suggestions for prayer Pray for that inward, calming peace that only the Spirit can give. Ask forgiveness for the weak faith that causes anxiety and fear. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 18 - The fruit of the Spirit - Peace

"For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." - Romans 5:10 Scripture reading: Romans 5:1-11 The third fruit of the Spirit is peace. This peace is both the objective peace we have with God and the subjective sense of wellness the believer has while sojourning in this world. And the former is necessary before the latter can be truly experienced. Paul begins Romans 5 by saying, “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This means that all those who are not in Christ are at enmity with God and in rebellion against His Lordship. Paul had made this point in the first three chapters of Romans. And in Psalm 7, David writes: “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; He has bent and readied His bow” (vv. 11, 12). Jonathan Edward’s great sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” very graphically brought out the reality of this enmity and God’s inevitable judgment. But the good news is that God sent His only begotten Son to bear the penalty of our sins on Himself, to be our righteousness, and so turn away the just wrath of God that we deserved. In Christ, we have been reconciled to God. Instead of enemies, we are now children of God, in a relationship of harmony. We have peace with God. Suggestions for prayer Give thanks that God, in Christ, has saved you. Give thanks for the Holy Spirit, who applies what Christ has done to and for you. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 17 - The fruit of the Spirit - Joy

“I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” - Habakkuk 3:18b Scripture reading: Habakkuk 3:1-19 When the Bible speaks of our joy, we discover that it is the Christian’s response to all the blessings we have from God. But the wellspring, the fount of joy is our salvation in Jesus Christ. For example, James instructs us to “count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…” (James 1:2). But we cannot be joyful in our trials apart from our salvation in Christ. In Psalm 119, the Psalmist says that he delights in God’s Word, in God’s commands, and in God’s testimonies. But we cannot find joy in God’s revelation without being in Christ. And at the end of Luke’s gospel, just after Jesus’ ascension, we read that His disciples “worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:52). But we cannot worship joyfully apart from being in Christ. Habakkuk was a prophet during very difficult days. In the short, Old Testament book of Habakkuk, the prophet raises complaints to God about the sorry state of affairs in Judah. He is burdened because God seems to be indifferent to the appalling spiritual condition of His people (Habakkuk 1:2-4). But after God answers his complaints, Habakkuk responds with those beautiful words, “I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” Is that your joy? God sent His only begotten Son to save you. He is the God of your salvation. Do you take joy in Him? Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Holy Spirit would impress on you His great love for you. So great is the Father’s love that He gave Jesus to be your salvation. Pray that your joy would be evident and recognized by others. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 16 - The fruit of the Spirit - Joy

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” - Romans 3:21-23  Scripture reading: Romans 3:9-26 I don’t know anybody who doesn’t want to be joyful. Yesterday we saw that Jesus is the source of true joy, and that we will bear much fruit, including the fruit of joy, if we abide in Him. But what does this mean? The Heidelberg Catechism is a summary of biblical teaching and begins by asking the question, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” The answer can be summarized: “That I belong to Jesus.” But notice what the second question asks: “What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?” Then it lists three things. That is, if you desire (as I do) to live in joy and to die in joy, you need to know and understand these things: First, that I am a sinner. And not only am I a sinner, but I have no hope of earning or meriting God’s favour on my own. Because I am a sinner, I deserve only God’s punishment. Second, that God in love sent His only begotten Son to save sinners like me. There is no other Saviour but Jesus Christ and I am trusting in His salvation. Third, that my gratitude is the inevitable response to God’s grace in Christ. This gratitude is not only a feeling but shows itself in a life of obedience to God’s will. When you know, understand and believe those three things, you will have joy. Suggestions for prayer Pray for a deeper appreciation for the gospel. Pray that the gospel will be the pillar and foundation of your church’s ministry. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 15 - The fruit of the Spirit - Joy

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” - John 15:11  Scripture reading: John 15:1-11 Joy is the possession of every child of God. The triune God is a God of joy and the source of joy to all who trust in Him. In Deuteronomy 16:15, Moses told the children of Israel: “The Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.” And the second fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 is “joy.” This means that those in whom the Holy Spirit dwells will possess, to some extent, joy. Jesus instructed His disciples (and you) in the upper room so that His joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. He said this after saying that He is the Vine and we are the branches, and apart from Him we can do nothing. Apart from Jesus, we cannot bear fruit. Apart from Jesus, we are nothing but withering branches, only good for being “gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” So Jesus lovingly instructs and encourages us to abide in Him. Only then will we thrive, bear fruit and live. Only then will we know the joy that Jesus promises. This means romance will not bring lasting joy. Recreation and sports cannot offer lasting joy. Politics and governments cannot bring you joy. Only by abiding in Christ will you have joy. Why? Because He is the ultimate and only source of joy! Suggestions for prayer Pray that you would abide in Christ, from whom all blessings flow. Pray for the joy of the Lord. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 14 - The fruit of the Spirit - Love

“Love is patient and kind…” - 1 Corinthians 13:4 Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 As you study the fruit of the Spirit, you’ll notice that they are very inter-connected. Love is the first, patience is the fourth, and kindness is the fifth. Yet, in Paul’s great “love chapter” he says that love is patient and kind. When the Heidelberg Catechism discusses the sixth commandment, it asks, “Is it enough that we do not murder our neighbour in any such way?” And the answer is: “No. By condemning envy, hatred, and anger God wants us to love our neighbours as ourselves, to be patient, peace-loving, gentle, merciful, and friendly toward them, to protect them from harm as much as we can, and to do good even to our enemies” (Q&A 107). Biblical love is not simply a sentimental, warm feeling of affection. It is concrete actions for the good of our neighbour. Love understands, for example, that when you enter the workplace, you work not simply to earn a living, but are providing a service to and for others. A shoemaker asked Martin Luther if he should quit his business and enter the monastery. Luther’s response is helpful: “Make good shoes and sell them for a fair price.” Love compels you to help an elderly neighbour with their yard work. Today, as you join with your church family in worship, be patient and kind to all. Give generously so that the deacons have sufficient funds to help the needy. Dear Christian, love your neighbour! Suggestions for prayer Pray for God’s blessing on the Word preached today. Pray that you will love the men, women, boys and girls with whom you worship today. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 13 - The fruit of the Spirit - Love

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” - John 13:34-35  Scripture reading: John 13:31-35 We are living in a violent world. Every day there are more stories of road rage, fights, brawls, rapes, terrorism and killings. And added to the actual, physical violence, there is such a deep ideological and political divide that people can’t seem to have civil discourse anymore. I understand better the biblical description that we are “sojourners and exiles” in this world (1 Peter 2:11) and am praying more fervently for Christ’s return. But He hasn’t returned yet, so how ought we to live as pilgrims? Jesus commissioned the church to go and make disciples, and in today’s Scripture reading, He says that “all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This love extends beyond our family, friends, church, and neighbours; Jesus calls us to even love our enemies and pray for them (Matt. 5:44). Peter seems to have understood this importance when he calls us to “love one another earnestly from a pure heart…” (1 Pet. 1:22) and then later repeats it more emphatically, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly…” (1 Pet. 4:8). Paul, immediately following his discussion about the civil government, says “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law…” (Rom. 13:8). Paul prayed for the gentile church in Thessalonica that “the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all…” (1 Thessalonians 3:12). Suggestions for prayer Pray that you would increase and abound in love. Pray that we in the church of Christ would be known for our love. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 12 - The fruit of the Spirit - Love

“We love because He first loved us.” - I John 4:19  Scripture reading: 1 John 4:7-21 When you understand that the summary of God’s law is to love God and our neighbour, and then consider the many other passages of Scripture that call us to love, it isn’t surprising that the first fruit of the Spirit is love. In fact, as the apostle John says, “anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (I John 4:8). That means if the Spirit of God dwells in you, and God is love, then it follows that you and every true believer will, to some degree, bear the fruit of love. To love is the Christian’s most important obligation as we sojourn in this world, and it’s good to be reminded of this. As a pastor for more than 32 years in reformed churches, I’m so thankful for our commitment to being faithful to God, to upholding the truth of His Word, to teaching and training our children to be confessional. But, in all honesty, I’ve been discouraged at times when I haven’t seen that same commitment to love. Can we truly say we’re being faithful to God if we lack love? I’ve been in congregational meetings where angry speakers gave no evidence of love. I’ve had to counsel church members against their gossip, bitterness, and anger. So, as I am writing this I am praying that you will agree on how important this is, and evaluate your own heart and actions. Do others say of you, “he / she is a loving person who demonstrates the love of Christ”? Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Spirit would convict you of unloving words, thoughts and attitudes toward others. Pray that the fruit of love will increase in you. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 11 - The fruit of the Holy Spirit

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” - Galatians 5:25 Scripture reading: Galatians 5:16-26 We’ve seen that the Holy Spirit is necessary not only for our justification, but also our sanctification. He is renewing us after God’s image and leading us to live in accord with God’s will. And as the Heidelberg Catechism says, “in this life even the holiest have only a small beginning of this obedience. Nevertheless, with all seriousness of purpose, they do begin to live according to all, not only some, of God’s commandments.” (Lord’s Day 44, Q&A 114) The Holy Spirit does this by changing how we think, realigning our minds, thoughts and affections to align with God’s. And this change in the believer’s life starts to make him look very different from unbelievers. In Galatians 5, Paul describes this contrast by distinguishing what he calls “the works of the flesh” from “the fruit of the Spirit.” Paul uses the term “flesh” here to describe the sinful human nature in which the Holy Spirit does not dwell. It is the unregenerate mind and soul that results in a life of “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.” That is quite a nasty and disagreeable list. In contrast, the fruit growing in one in whom the Holy Spirit dwells is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,self-control.” This is, as John the Baptist had said to the Pharisees, “fruit in keeping with repentance (metanoia).” We’ll spend the rest of this month looking at these fruits more closely. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you would “walk by the Spirit” and “bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” Pray that you would not gratify the desires of the flesh, which are against the Spirit. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 10 - The Holy Spirit brings repentance

“Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” - Matthew 3:8  Scripture reading: Matthew 3:1-10 Metanoia is the Greek word that we translate “repentance.” It literally means, “changing one’s mind” and when used in Scripture means a change in one’s thoughts and way of life resulting from penitence. John the Baptist was telling the Pharisees and Sadducees that metanoia is what they needed. He was saying that their “righteousness” was mere outward conformity to the law, but lacking an inner, heartfelt repentance. Jesus would later repeat this criticism, saying, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” Metanoia as a change of mind and heart that results in a life of righteousness and obedience. It is something internal that the Holy Spirit does in a believer. Metanoia isn’t simply being sorry for sin, nor does it result in a cold, teeth-clenching obedience. The Holy Spirit changes our hearts of stone to hearts of flesh, so that we recognize our sin, agree that our sin is grievous and an affront to God, are truly sorry for our sin, and so endeavour to turn away from sin and toward God and His ways. If you covet your neighbour’s house, the Holy Spirit doesn’t sanctify you by removing the house. He changes how you think, and what you love. He will give you contentment and gratitude for what God has given you so that your desire for your neighbour’s house diminishes and goes away. The Holy Spirit works metanoia from the inside out. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Spirit of God would grant you and your loved ones true repentance / metanoia. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 - The Holy Spirit sanctifies

“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” - II Thessalonians 2:13  Scripture reading: II Thessalonians 2:13-17 As Christians, we love God and desire to live for Him, but if we’re honest with ourselves we see that our love is lacking. We want to obey Him, but often we disobey. As Luther would say, we are simul justus et peccator, which is Latin and means, “at the same time justified and a sinner.” We’re justified, saved, born again, belonging to Christ, temples of the Holy Spirit and have everlasting life. And even though that is true, we also covet, lie, lust, hate, and treat God lightly. This is every Christian’s struggle and reality in this world. Only death or Jesus’ second coming will put an end to our sinning. But you ought not to despair. The Holy Spirit does indeed dwell in you and shines the light on Christ’s atoning work for you, reminding you that you need the gospel every day. But He is also at work in you sanctifying you and conforming you to the image of Jesus. Lord’s Day 44 of the Heidelberg Catechism asks why God wants the Ten Commandments preached so pointedly. It answers in part, “so that we may never stop striving and never stop praying to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, so that we may be renewed more and more after God’s image, until after this life we reach our goal: perfection.” Suggestions for prayer Pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit to renew you more and more after God’s image. And pray, “Come Lord Jesus, come quickly.” Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 - The Holy Spirit regenerates

“But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” - Romans 8:10  Scripture reading: Romans 8:1-11 I recall one of my professors in Seminary repeatedly saying, “Regeneration precedes faith.” He was driving home the truth that apart from the initial work of the Holy Spirit, no one would or could have faith in Christ. Jesus Himself said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44). And the way the Father draws is by the Word and Spirit. The consistent teaching of Scripture is that apart from Christ, sinful humanity is spiritually dead. Paul makes this point in the early chapters of Romans, and also in Ephesians where he says, “You were dead in your trespasses and sins…” (Ephesians 2:1). His point is, what can dead people do? The spiritually dead cannot do anything. They cannot mourn over their sins and repent. They cannot breathe life into themselves. They are in an impossible situation. But with God all things are possible, and by grace alone His Spirit enters a dead corpse and breathes life into it. Only after that can that newly revived, regenerated person sense how great is their sin and misery and flee to Christ in faith. The Spirit is life! And “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:3). Suggestions for prayer Confess your sins to the Lord and praise Him for His amazing grace in your life. Give thanks that the Holy Spirit is life, both now and forevermore. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 - The Holy Spirit reveals Christ

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the father, he will bear witness about me.” - John 15:26  Scripture reading: John 15:18-27 As you go to worship today, how do you judge whether a worship service is “Spirit-filled?” I’m afraid many make that determination based on very shallow criteria. Some seem to think that if the music (or the preacher) is lively and upbeat, the Spirit is there. It’s as if the Spirit arrives when the music reaches a certain tempo, or decibel level; or when the pastor gets revved up and is walking all across the stage. Actually, the Spirit may in fact be present, but not because of the tempo. Jesus says that when the Spirit comes, “he will bear witness about me” and “He will glorify me” (John 16:14). This is the better criteria: Is Christ being proclaimed in this worship service? Is the truth about Jesus being taught? Does Jesus have the preeminence in this place? Then you can be assured that that worship service is “Spirit-filled.” If you visit the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC after dark, you will notice that the statue of Abraham Lincoln sitting on his chair is lit up with a large spotlight. The purpose of the spotlight is not to draw attention to itself, but to draw your eyes to Lincoln. The Holy Spirit is like that spotlight, shining the light on Jesus – so that you will know and worship Him. Suggestions for prayer Pray for your pastor that he will faithfully preach Christ. Pray that the Spirit will shine the light on Jesus and that you will worship your Lord and Saviour well. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 - The Holy Spirit will convict

“And when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” - John 16:8  Scripture reading: John 16:1-15 The Holy Spirit is a teacher for those in whom He dwells. But in these verses of John 16, Jesus has the world in view; that is, all that stands in opposition to Christ. The Holy Spirit will convict the world. This is a judgment, a sentencing, as when a defendant in a courtroom is convicted and found guilty. First, the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin; specifically, the sin of rejecting Jesus. This is the sin that leads to death and ultimately the unpardonable sin. Second, The Spirit will convict the world of righteousness. This is speaking of Christ’s righteousness, as opposed to their sin. The righteousness of Jesus is proven because the Father receives Christ into His presence. Third, the Holy Spirit will convict the world of judgment, “because the ruler of this world is judged.” There will come a time when all will know that Christ defeated Satan. Hebrews 2:14 says that Christ became a man “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil…” And in Colossians 2:15 we’re told that Christ triumphed over Satan and his hosts. But praise be to God that the Spirit of Christ dwells in you. In Him your sins are forgiven, you are clothed in Jesus’ perfect righteousness, and you will stand at the final judgment because Christ took your place. Suggestions for prayer Pray for God’s blessing on your pastor as he preaches to you tomorrow. Pray that the convicting Spirit will soften hard hearts and add many to the church. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 - The Holy Spirit is a teacher

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” - John 14:26 Scripture reading: John 14:25-31 As Jesus comforts His disciples with the promise of the Holy Spirit, He not only says that the Spirit will dwell in them, but also tells them what the Spirit will do. Some of Jesus’ description of the Spirit’s work is particular to the disciples. Knowing that His disciples would become the apostles of the early church, Jesus tells them that the Holy Spirit will “bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Some would later write letters that would become canonized in Scripture. Some would travel to distant lands to preach the Gospel. All would be leaders and teachers. What a gift, what a blessing that the Holy Spirit would remind them of Jesus’ words and teaching. Jesus also said that the Holy Spirit “will teach you all things.” That is, He will teach the disciples all they would need to know to fulfill their apostolic mission. He will later say, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…” (John 16:13). And this is also true for you and me. In Romans 8, Paul says that it is impossible for those who are of the flesh (not of the Spirit) to submit to God or please Him. It is only by the Holy Spirit that we can know and discern spiritual things. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you would have a receptive heart and mind for the Holy Spirit to teach. Pray that the Holy Spirit will bless your pastor and his preaching. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 - Who is the Holy Spirit?

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth…” - John 14:16-17a  Scripture reading: John 14:15-24 The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. As Lord’s Day 20 of the Heidelberg Catechism states, “The Spirit, with the Father and the Son, is eternal God.” And note how Jesus refers to the Spirit as “He.” The Spirit is not a “force,” nor an “it,” but a person, a “He.” Like the Father is a person and the Son is a person, so is the Holy Spirit. So while Jesus distinguishes between the three persons of the trinity, it is also important to note the unity as well. He had already told Philip that, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father,” and “I am in the Father, and the Father is in me” (John 14:9-11). But now, as He promises the Holy Spirit, He says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (v. 18). Jesus, Who is one with the Father, is also one with the Spirit. When the Holy Spirit comes to you, Jesus comes to you. Then Jesus says: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (v. 23). So when the Spirit makes His home in the believer, it is the Father and the Son Who make Their home in the believer. This is the Spirit of God Who now dwells in you! Suggestions for prayer Give thanks that God has not left us as orphans, but is ever with us. Pray for increased faith to “see” this reality and be at peace. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 - The necessity of the ascension

“It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go I will send him to you.” - John 16:7 Scripture reading: John 16:1-15 If the incarnate Jesus had not ascended into heaven, but stayed with His disciples, He would have been located only in that particular part of the world. His bodily presence could only be at one place at a time. He undoubtedly would have been a blessing to the people in Jerusalem and Judea, and Samaria, but what about the rest of the world? This is why Jesus, speaking words of comfort to His disciples in the upper room, tells of the Comforter to come. Jesus’ imminent departure, though painful, will not be an evil thing, but good. It will not be a loss for His followers, but gain. His bodily absence from them would actually be more useful than His bodily presence. Because in God’s wise and perfect plan, Jesus’ ascension and session at the Father’s right hand were necessary for Pentecost to happen. As we confess in the Nicene Creed, the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son.” This is good and to our advantage. Jesus understood that the Holy Spirit would bestow power and gifts to the church, not just in one localized area, but throughout the world. The Spirit would fill every place where believers are. As Christians we can be assured that whether we’re alone, with family and friends, or with our church family in worship, the Holy Spirit is always there. What a blessing! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for Pentecost and that it is for your good that the Spirit dwells in you personally, and in all believers. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 - The Spirit is life

“But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” - Romans 8:10 Scripture reading: Romans 8:9-11 Yesterday, we saw that Jesus’ resurrection was no hoax. Everything, including your salvation – justification, sanctification and glorification – depends upon the resurrection of Jesus. In Him our sins are forgiven, and our faith is valid and worthwhile. Forty days after the resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven, and then ten days after that, He and the Father sent the Holy Spirit upon the church at Pentecost. Speaking of this to His disciples in the upper room, Jesus said, “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go I will send him to you” (John 16:7). This means that if you’re a Christian, the living Christ has given you His life-giving Spirit. You are a regenerate person because the Spirit of Christ dwells in you and has given you life. The Holy Spirit has made you His dwelling place. You are a temple of the Holy Spirit. And this gracious work of the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, changes you. The Holy Spirit is not dormant, but is at work sanctifying you and conforming you to the image of Christ. This month, we will be focusing on the Holy Spirit and what He means to you. Suggestions for Prayer Thank the Father for raising Christ from the dead and giving you the Holy Spirit of life. Pray for the Spirit’s sanctifying work in your life. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 the Holy Spirit

I Corinthians 12:3 tells us that “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.” This means that if you have sincerely professed your faith in Christ, this can only be because the Holy Spirit has moved you to do so. In fact, the Holy Spirit has made His home in you. You are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. But, who is the Holy Spirit and what else does He do? I recently heard a pastor say, “Many people see the Father as the angry God, the Son as the loving God, and the Holy Spirit as the weird God.” Such a sentiment is sadly mistaken and contrary to what God’s Word teaches. But still, the Holy Spirit can be difficult to grasp. We understand “fatherhood” and are familiar with “sonship.” But “Spirit” or “Ghost” are concepts that are harder for us to fathom. And so this month we will focus on the Holy Spirit. We’ll see that He was sent by the Father and the Son at Pentecost; that He is true and eternal God; that He is one of the three persons of the trinity; and that He is essential for our salvation. But we’ll also see that He is essential for our sanctification and we will then focus on what Paul calls, “the Fruit of the Spirit. No April fools “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’”” - Matthew 28:13  Scripture reading: Matthew 28:11-15 My calendar doesn’t acknowledge it, but today is April Fools’ Day. There doesn’t seem to be agreement on how this all got started, but it has become a day when you can do pranks, practical jokes and hoaxes on others and then call out, “April Fools.” It’s usually quite innocent and all involved, the prankster and the pranked, have a good laugh. It’s rare, though, that April Fools’ Day is the day after Easter, and there couldn’t be a greater contrast. And yet, when the guards told the chief priests about the resurrection of Jesus, these spiritual leaders decided to play a hoax on the people. They instructed the guards to say that the disciples came at night and stole the body. They instructed the guards to tell a lie. Yes, yesterday was Resurrection Sunday. After His death and burial, on Sunday morning, Jesus rose from the grave and conquered death. This really happened. It was no hoax. Jesus’ body was not stolen. In I Corinthians 15, Paul makes the point that Christ’s resurrection was not a hoax. It was prophesied in the Old Testament, He was seen alive by the disciples, by 500 other people, and then by Paul himself. He even goes on to say, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins;” and that “we are of all people most to be pitied.” (vv. 17-19) But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead!! This is no April Fools. Suggestions for Prayer Give thanks that God’s plan of salvation is accomplished because of Christ’s atoning death and resurrection. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. 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 - The worship of the Victor

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing!” - Revelation 5:12  Scripture reading: Matthew 28:1-20 When the disciples saw the resurrected Christ on the mountain, “they worshiped him” (Matthew 28:17). This makes sense because the resurrection of the Lord Jesus was the public display of His victory. He is the One to Whom all authority in heaven and on earth had been given (Matthew 28:18). He had, by His death, defeated the devil (Hebrews 2:14), and as the Conqueror He is worthy to be praised. Our worship on earth enters the worship of heaven. We join our voices with the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing” (Revelation 5:12). We worship the One Who is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, Who has conquered (Revelation 5:5). We worship the One Who by His blood ransomed people for God from every tribe and nation (Revelation 5:9). We worship the One Who rides a white horse and Who has “King of kings and Lord of lords” written on His robe and on His thigh (Revelation 19:16). Isn’t that a most wonderful thought, the thought that we are joining heaven’s worship of the triumphant Lamb? Doesn’t this make the first day of the week, the day of resurrection gladness, the best of all days? And shouldn’t our worship today make us long for the return of the glorious Christ? “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” Suggestions for prayer Praise God for the victory of the Lamb and His glorious resurrection. Thank God for the weekly celebration of His victory. Pray for the return of Christ in glory. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 - Cross purposes: Victory!

“Now is the judgment of this world; now will the rule of this world be cast out.” - John 12:31  Scripture reading: John 12:20-36 We don’t usually associate the cross with victory. That’s the resurrection. That is not how our Lord Jesus sees things. In John 12:27-28, Jesus contemplates the cross and it leaves Him unsettled. His soul is troubled. Yet, He recommits Himself to glorify His Father and tells us that the cross is His victory. Jesus says that ‘now’ is the judgement of this world (v.31), not in terms of condemnation, but in terms of who will be the ruler of the world. After Adam and Eve sinned, Satan was assigned as the god of this age, the ruler of the world. The cross is a time of crisis. Who will be the ruler of the world? Will Satan continue to lead this world to its devastating end, or will the world come under new leadership with a new direction toward restoration. Jesus is in no doubt as to the outcome of the cross crisis. ‘Now’, after years of destructive rule, is the time of judgement. ‘Now’, also, is the time when the ruler of this world will be cast out (v.31). Satan will be defeated. Rule will be wrenched from him. Christ will triumph. The cross is His throne; there He is lifted up. By dealing with human sin, Christ has ‘destroyed the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil’ (Hebrews 2:14). It doesn’t always look like Christ has won the victory. However, if you are Christian, if you have been drawn to Jesus Christ, you are a proof. And you are not alone. Suggestions for prayer Praise the Lord for Christ’s victory. Ask that His triumph might be seen more and more throughout the world. Pray for His ambassadors as they proclaim His triumph tomorrow. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 - Cross purposes: Reconciliation

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” - Romans 5:10  Scripture reading: Romans 5:1-11 Hostility surrounds us, mars relationships, nation to nation, husband to wife, brother to brother. There is a crying need for reconciliation, for restoration to harmony. This is what the cross achieved between God and His people. The need for reconciliation arose early in human history. In Eden, Adam and Eve had friendship with God. Then sin happened. Harmony was destroyed. Humans became hostile towards God (Romans 8:7) and God was hostile towards humans. We became His enemies (Romans 5:10). Through the death of His Son, we are reconciled. Since it is sin that alienates from God, sin must be dealt with to achieve reconciliation. This is what Christ has done. While remaining sinless, He has taken our sins upon Himself. God was then against Him on the cross and punished Christ for our sins. Having made satisfaction to the justice of God, God removes His hostility against us. You can see this drama played out on the cross. God loved His Son, but could not overlook sin. It required alienation, banishment from His presence. That was the three hours of darkness climaxing in the cry, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ And when the punishment has been meted out and justice satisfied, our Lord was received afresh into fellowship with God marked by His cry, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ There was an armistice between a holy God and His sin-bearing Son. Let us be sure not to receive the grace of God in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1). Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the willingness of the Son to be the instrument of reconciliation. Ask that we might prize the fellowship we have with the holy God. Pray that God would give us grace to pursue reconciliation with others. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 - Cross purposes: Propitiation

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:9  Scripture reading: Hebrews 2:10-18 Propitiation is a big word not commonly used. It is an important biblical word that reveals what the Lord Jesus has done. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus identified with us by on taking flesh and blood, by being made like His brothers in every respect in order ‘to make propitiation for the sins of the people’ (Hebrews 2:17). To understand propitiation, you have to think of the wrath of God. God’s wrath is not an uncontrolled fury that escapes Him. It is a deliberate response to anyone that crosses Him or competes with Him in His devotion to His own glory. As sinners, we cross Him all the time. We rob Him of His glory and pursue our own. God’s response is to punish us in His wrath. Our Lord Jesus became man to make propitiation. That is, Jesus is the One Who turns away the wrath of God from His people. He places Himself between God’s wrath and us and absorbs it all. In bearing responsibility for our sin, He becomes liable to God’s wrath. His heart wrenching cry, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ is proof that He experienced God’s wrath on the cross. Because our Lord bears the wrath our sins deserve, God is pacified, He is appeased, His anger is turned away. God’s wrath (Isaiah 51:17; Psalm 75:8) was the cup Jesus so dreaded. Thank God that Jesus drank that cup so that we might drink the cup of salvation (Psalm 116:13). Suggestions for prayer Praise God for the death of the Lord Jesus which covers sin and turns away God’s wrath. Pray that we, by the Holy Spirit, would be careful to please God by our thoughts, words, and actions. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 - Cross purposes: Sacrifice

“He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal inheritance.” - Hebrews 9:12 Scripture reading: Hebrews 9:1-14 Remember that after Adam and Eve had sinned, God killed animals and made garments of skin to clothe them? That was the first sacrifice. The animals died in the place of Adam and Eve. This substitution was seen in the elaborate system of offerings the Lord instituted in the Old Testament. The premise was that the guilty Israelites deserved death. The killing of an animal in the place of the guilty human was a picture of the work of Christ, the work by which God and His people could live in fellowship. So, Christ comes as the Lamb of God. He sheds His blood on the cross. And then He goes into the Most Holy Place, the real one, not the one on earth, but the one in heaven. He enters the actual presence of God, with His own blood, offering Himself without blemish to God (Hebrews 9:14). And by that work He secures an eternal redemption for His people (Hebrews 9:12). Christ’s giving up of Himself pleases His Father. It is ‘a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God’ (Ephesians 5:2). In the Old Testament ritual the guilty person would place his hands on the animal and confess his sin, a symbolic transferring of guilt from the sinner to the animal. This is what we ought to do. We ought to place our hands on the head of our Lord Jesus, confessing our sins, so that we might know the purifying blessing of His sacrifice on Golgotha. Then serve Him sacrificially because He is worthy. Suggestions for prayer Ask God that we would be as delighted with Christ’s sacrifice for sin as He Himself is. Ask the Lord to give us grace so that we might be imitators of the Lord Jesus and give ourselves sacrificially to Him and to others. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 26 - Cross purposes: Redemption

“To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” - Revelation 1:5b-6 Scripture reading: 1 Peter 1:13-21 Martin Luther King Jr. ended his August 28, 1963, speech envisioning all Americans singing, ‘Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.’ That is the song Christians can sing with gusto because one of the cross purposes is redemption. Peter speaks about ransom (1 Peter 1:18). Ransom has an Old Testament background. A person could redeem another from slavery for a price. As sinners, we are enslaved to sin’s guilt and power. There is no way we can release ourselves from it. The chains binding us to sin are too strong. All the perishable things such as silver or gold cannot pay the ransom. Indeed, wealth cannot even keep people alive. The graves of the wealthiest are with us today. And if wealth can’t rescue a person from the death of his body, how could it ransom a soul from bondage to sin? But Christ can and does. He was chosen before the foundation of the world to be the ransom price for sin. He takes our sin. The price He pays to God for our freedom is His own life. The Son of Man gave His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). He must be the acceptable redemption price. God would never have put His Son through the ordeal of the cross if He could ransom sinners with wealth. Do you know the redemption of God paid on Golgotha’s cross? Then sing it out, ‘Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, I’m free at last!’ Suggestions for prayer Praise God that the Son of God loved us and gave Himself for us. Ask God to give us a hatred for sin and its enslaving power. Pray that the Spirit would make the blood of our Lord Jesus precious to us. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 - Christ’s return

“This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” - Acts 1:11  Scripture reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 When special guests arrive at your home you don’t want to miss their arrival! A concern the Thessalonian Christians had was that their deceased fellow believers would miss out on Christ’s return. It was enthusiastically anticipated. They were waiting for God’s Son from heaven (1 Thessalonians 1:10). And so should we. We don’t know when our Lord will return. But we know that He will return and what a glorious day that will be. It will mark the end of the suffering and hardship for the people of God. The returning Christ will come with power to vanquish the enemies of the Church of God (Revelation 19:11-21). He will usher the new heavens and the new earth when God’s dwelling place will be with man and they will live in perfect happiness for eternity. For the believer, the return of Christ will be a welcome sight, so we cry, ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’ (Revelation 22:20). But for those who do not know Christ as their personal Saviour, that day will be terrifying. They will call upon the mountains to fall on them and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:16). But now there is still time. In the first coming of Christ, He comes with grace and mercy. He invites sinners to flee from the coming wrath by coming to Him for grace. The next time, mercy will no longer be extended. He will come in judgment against all those who have rejected His offer of grace. Do not be one of those. Suggestions for prayer Join with the Church of all ages and pray that the Lord Jesus would come soon. Pray for grace to trust in the Lord Jesus so that His coming will be eagerly anticipated not dreadfully expected. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 - Christ, our minister

“I will tell of your name to my brothers.” - Hebrews 2:12 Scripture reading: Ephesians 2:11-22 The Lord Jesus is at the heart of Christian worship. He is our worship leader Who presents us to the Father, Who sings together with us, and Who preaches to us. In Scotland, if a little girl, upon entering our church building, didn’t see me, she would ask her father, “Where is God?” Of course, the Minister is not God. However, the little girl was recognizing something intuitively. She had somehow grasped that when the Word of God was being preached, God Himself was speaking to her. She was on good ground in thinking this. Jesus told His disciples that He had other sheep who would come into the fold after His death and that they would listen to His voice (John 10:16). The Apostle Paul says that Christ preached peace to the Ephesians (Ephesians 2:17) even though the Lord had never ventured to Asia Minor. Paul writes that people need to hear Christ if they are to believe in Him (See ESV footnote on Romans 10:14) and that faith comes through hearing the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). When ministers and missionaries faithfully proclaim the Word of God, people are hearing the voice of Christ. As the author of Hebrews reminds us in Hebrews 2:12, Christ tells of God’s name to His brothers in the midst of the congregation. That means we should listen carefully to the preaching of the Word. As the Father said on the Mount of Transfiguration, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” (Luke 9:35). Suggestions for prayer Pray for Ministers and Missionaries that they might faithfully preach the Word. Ask God to give you grace to listen with submission to the voice of the Good Shepherd as you sit under the ministry of the Word today. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 - Christ’s spirit

“Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.” - Acts 2:33 Scripture reading: John 15:26-16:15 When Jesus went up, the Spirit came down. What blessing it is to have the Spirit. Our Lord tells His disciples that it is to their advantage that He goes away because when He goes, the Spirit comes. When the Spirit comes, He will guide the apostles into truth. Our Lord was speaking of the Spirit’s guidance in their lives. Through them, we are blessed to have the truth of God written for us in the Bible, inspired by the Spirit. It is to our advantage that Jesus goes. When the Spirit comes, He will glorify Christ. The Spirit is the divine matchmaker, introducing needy sinners to the Lord Jesus, that they might be married to Christ for their eternal salvation. Without the Spirit convicting us of our sin and showing us the glory of the Lord Jesus, we would be forever lost. It is to our advantage that Jesus goes. When the Spirit comes, Jesus comes. He speaks about the Holy Spirit as another Helper, that is, another like Himself. So closely connected are the Son and the Spirit that Paul says the Lord is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). That means that when the Lord Jesus goes, He does not leave us as orphans, but comes to us (John 14:18). In His humanity, Christ could only be in one place at a time. But, by His Spirit, He can always be with His people. Through the Spirit, He can make His home with believers (John 14:23). It is to our advantage that Jesus goes. Suggestions for prayer Praise God for our Lord Jesus’s tender care for us in that He sent His Holy Spirit to be with us. Ask God for grace that we might walk in the Spirit and be conformed to the image of Christ. Pray for Christ’s heralds as they preach tomorrow. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 - Christ’s ascension 

“And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.” - Luke 24:50-51  Scripture reading: Acts 1:1-11 Many churches that give attention to the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, hardly give a nod to His ascension into heaven. Yet, the Bible marks Christ’s ascension. It is His exaltation. Although all authority had been given to Him at His resurrection (Matthew 28:18), the ascension marks Christ’s coronation. As Peter preached, ‘Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified’ (Acts 2:36). Christ went into heaven to reign as King of kings and the Lord of lords. His ascension also reminds us that the work of our Lord Jesus is not finished. At the right hand of the Father He orchestrates the great mission enterprise. The Lord Jesus pointed out Judas’s successor (Acts 1;24-25), poured out the Spirit on Pentecost (Acts 2:33), adds to the Church (Acts 2:47), arrested Paul (Acts 9:1-9), directed Peter into the Gentile mission (Acts 10:9-16) and blessed the preaching of His Word (Acts 11:21). He rules to build His Church. From the right hand of the Majesty, He continues to serve His Church by interceding for them. In heaven, He prays for His people and supports them in their Christian journey. Luke tells us that when Jesus was ascending, His hands were lifted in blessing. What a powerful reminder that He is exalted as head over all things to the church (Ephesians 1:22). He rules for our blessing. Suggestions for prayer Thank God that our Lord Jesus is, even now, at the Father’s right hand and that He is in a position of majesty and power for the blessing of His Church. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 - Christ our King (II) 

“For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us.”- Isaiah 33:22  Scripture reading: Exodus 20:1-17 When God delivered His people out of Egypt, He gathered them around Mount Sinai and gave them His law as their rule of life. Basically He was saying, ‘I am your king and I have delivered you from the tyranny of your enemies. This is how you should live as My subjects.’ Christ our king has delivered us from the tyranny of Satan by conquering death on the cross. As the One to Whom all authority has been given, we are to observe all that He has commanded (Matthew 28:20). As our King, we owe Him our allegiance. Our allegiance to King Jesus is demonstrated in our glad submission to His authority. We are His subjects. His word is our law. As He Himself said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46). The apostles understood this well. They happily identified themselves as servants of Christ Jesus (Romans 1:1, James 1:1, 2 Peter 1:1, Jude 1:1). They no longer had an independent existence. If they lived, they lived to the Lord; if they died, they died to the Lord (Romans 14:8). They went where He sent them. They made it their aim to please Him and recognized that they were to live for Him Who for their sake died and was raised (2 Corinthians 5:9, 15). We do well to reflect on how faithfully we are subjects of such a great and gracious King. Suggestions for [rayer Pray that God would forgive us for the times we have put ourselves on the throne of our lives. Ask for a humble spirit which gladly submits to King Jesus. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 - Christ our King (I) 

“They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” - Revelation 17:14  Scripture reading: Luke 1:26-38 When the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear a son, he drew attention to the fact that the Lord God would give her son the throne of His father David, that He would reign over the house of Jacob forever, and that His kingdom would never end (Luke 1:32-33). Christ has come into the world to be our king. This was already foretold in the Old Testament. David was promised in 2 Samuel 7 that he would always have a son to sit upon his throne. Jesus is that Son of David. As king, our Lord Jesus is like His father David, a warrior, who defeated the Philistine giant, Goliath, and all the enemies of the Israelites. David secured peace for the people of God, a peace over which Solomon, his son, reigned. Jesus is the warrior Who defeats all His and our enemies, and through Christ we have come to know peace. How does He defeat our enemies? The apostle Paul tells us in Colossians 3 that Christ, by His death on the cross, disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to shame. In the cross, Christ triumphed over them. The resurrection on the third day was proof positive of His victory over sin and death and Satan. That is why our Lord Jesus told His disciples that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him (Matthew 28:18). He is the Mighty God upon Whose shoulders is the government of the universe (Isaiah 9:6). All hail King Jesus. Suggestions for prayer Thank God that we are more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ. Pray that Christ’s victory would be seen more and more throughout the world as nations bow down and worship Him. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 19 - Christ our Priest (III) 

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” - Luke 22:31-32  Scripture reading: Romans 8:31-39 We often speak of the finished work of Christ when we refer to His death on the cross. However, we ought not think that Christ is unemployed in heaven as if He is doing nothing there. He is seated at the right hand of the throne, but His sitting is not a sitting of idleness. He continues to minister in the true Tabernacle (Hebrews 8:1-2). What does He do there? Romans 8:34 tells us that He is interceding for us. What does that mean? First, to reiterate what we looked at yesterday, Christ presents His sacrifice to the Father and based on that sacrifice our sins are forgiven. Just as purchasing a birthday present for your child is of no benefit to him unless you also present it, so the death of Christ on earth would not secure our forgiveness unless He presented it in heaven. That is one way He intercedes for us. But He also intercedes for us by His prayers. If our salvation depended on our prayers, we could have no confidence we would persevere in the faith and inherit eternal salvation. But our Lord Jesus prays for us. Christ prays that we would have grace so that our faith would not fail and, if it does fail, that we would be restored. Christ is praying for you and what Father would be able to say ‘no’ to the prayers of such a devoted and loving Son? Our salvation depends on the intercession of our Priest. Thank God He is faithful. Suggestions for prayer Praise God that we have One Who prays for us in heaven to help us in our struggles on earth. Pray for others even as Jesus prays for us so that our brothers and sisters might run the race to the very end and receive the crown. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 18 - Christ our priest (II)

“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 The Old Testament sacrificial ritual took place in two places. One was in the court where the animals were sacrificed. Then the High Priest would enter into the Most Holy Place and sprinkle the animals’ blood on the mercy seat. Similarly, the work of Christ our High Priest took place in two places. On earth He offered Himself as a sacrifice for sinners. Then, Hebrews tells us, Christ, by His own blood, passed through the heavens, and entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf (Hebrews 9:24). There He sat down at the right hand of the Father. This sitting signifies something important. The tabernacle and temple had no chair upon which the priests could sit. They had to stand daily, without sitting, because their work was never completed. Sins were never really atoned for. But Christ doesn’t stand in heaven. Because of the perfection of His sacrifice which has taken away His people’s sins, Christ was able to sit down. Nothing more needed to be done. No more sacrifices needed to be made. And His sitting at the Father’s right hand is a perpetual reminder that on the basis of Christ’s work, the Judge of all the earth can grant forgiveness to guilty sinners who trust in the finished work of the Lord Jesus. As Charitie Bancroft so wonderfully wrote, “Because the sinless Savior died, my sinful soul is counted free; for God, the just, is satisfied to look on him and pardon me.” Suggestions for prayer Ask God to give us confidence in the completed, perfect work of His Son so that we might have a clear conscience and may enjoy the assurance of sins forgiven.  Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 17 - Singing with Christ 

“For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing to your name. Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.” - Psalm 18:49-50 Scripture reading: Romans 15:8-13 Singing is a large part of our worship services. We lift our voices in praise of the Triune God. It is a wonderful privilege to sing with our brothers and sisters. More than that, we are commanded to ‘praise him in the midst of the throng’ (Psalm 109:30), that is, in gathered worship. The privilege is so great we don’t even mind if some of our brothers and sisters sing somewhat off-tune! What a joy to respond to the summons, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” (Psalm 95:1). In our passage, Paul quotes from Psalm 18:49 which speaks of Christ’s praise of God among the nations and His singing to God’s name. That is, when we worship the Lord in song, the Lord Jesus sings with us. Listen to His declaration in Psalm 22:22 “n the midst of the congregation I will sing praise.” I suppose we don’t often think about the worship that Jesus, our brother, brings with us to our God. Yet, that is what Paul says. The Lord Jesus became a servant to the circumcised so that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, and Jesus joins them in the praise of God. In fact, the common theme of our songs, both Jesus and ours, is that God has rescued us from our enemies. Think about why you are singing and Who you are singing with the next time you are in corporate worship. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to teach us to sing with Jesus with joy and gladness. Pray that God would raise up ministers and missionaries to go to the ends of the earth with the gospel of life so that the nations might glorify God for His mercy. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 16 - Christ our priest (I) 

“For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. . . . And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all.” - Hebrews 10:4, 10 Scripture reading: 1 Peter 1:13-21 The Old Testament gives an elaborate ritual, symbolizing the need for the shedding of blood for the remission of sins. Already in the Garden, after Adam and Eve’s sin, God killed animals to clothe them with skins. The necessity of death and blood for forgiveness was pictured in the sacrificial system. On the annual Day of Atonement, recorded in Leviticus 16, the High Priest would kill a bull as a sin offering for himself and his house. Then he would kill the goat of the sin offering for the people. The blood of the bull and goat would be sprinkled on the mercy seat in the Holy Place. Then he would lay his hands on the head of another goat and confess the sins of the people of Israel. That goat would be sent into the wilderness. All this symbolized the Lamb of God Who would come to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29). Christ is the lamb without blemish and His blood is precious (1 Peter 1:19). But Christ is not only the sacrifice. He is also the priest who offers up Himself, not for His own sins (He had none), but for the sins of His people (Hebrews 7:27). This our Lord Jesus did for us on the cross of Golgotha. He bore our sins on the tree (1 Peter 1:24) as the substitute for sinners. He bore the punishment sin deserved, eternal death, so that all who believe in Him might be forgiven and have eternal life. Suggestions for prayer Praise God for His indescribable gift. Give thanks that the Lord Jesus was willing to be our substitute and take the curse we deserved so that we might have His blessing. Pray for the ministers of the gospel as they proclaim the words of life tomorrow. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 15 - Christ our prophet (II) 

“And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.” - Ephesians 2:17 Scripture reading: John 10:1-18 Although Jesus is now at the right hand of the Father, He hasn’t stopped carrying out His prophetic office in His state of exaltation. How does He serve us now? First, He teaches through the Bible. He promised His disciples He would give them the Spirit Who would guide them to the truth (John 16:13). They, in turn, wrote the New Testament. All Scriptures, inspired by the Spirit of Christ, are the words of our prophet. In that sense, the whole of the Bible is a red-letter edition, not just the words the Lord Jesus explicitly spoke. Second, when the Word of God is preached, we hear the voice of Jesus. The apostle Paul told the Ephesians that the Lord Jesus preached peace to them even though He had never been in Ephesus (Ephesians 2:17). In the voice of Christ’s ambassadors, apostles and pastors, who faithfully proclaim His word, we hear the voice of our Good Shepherd (John 10:16). As Paul writes to the Romans, ‘So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ’ (Romans 10:17). Finally, when our Lord Jesus ascended to glory, He poured out His Spirit upon the Church. Without the Spirit, the things of God are unintelligible to us (1 Corinthians 2:12). Hearing the voice of Christ in the reading and preaching of Scripture will be of no value to us unless the Holy Spirit illuminates our minds and hearts. Christ, by His word and Spirit, teaches us. Our obligation is to listen to Him. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord that He has not left us to find our own way, but has given us a great prophet Who by His word and Spirit teaches us. Pray that we would listen to Him. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 14 - Christ our prophet (I)

“and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”” - Matthew 17:5 Scripture reading: Deuteronomy 18:15-22 Jesus is, as Peter confessed, the Christ of God (Luke 9:20). Christ means anointed and He fulfills the three Old Testament offices of prophet, priest, and king that required being anointed with oil upon entering the office. Moses was the great Old Testament prophet of God. He spoke to the people of God on God’s behalf because they were terrified of the voice of the Lord. Moses was God’s spokesman. God said He would put His words in Moses’s mouth and Moses would speak them to the people. To reject the voice of Moses was to reject the voice of God. God promised that one day He would raise up for His people a prophet like Moses. He fulfilled the promise in Jesus, the Anointed. Jesus did miracles to authenticate His preaching just as Moses was able to do powerful signs to verify the legitimacy of his ministry (Exodus 4:1-9, 28-31). In fact, when Jesus raised the widow of Nain’s son the people exclaimed, “A great prophet has arisen amongst us!” (Luke 7:16). As the Prophet of God, Jesus speaks words of eternal life (John 6:68). As the Word of God Himself, He came to make God known (John 1:18). As our Lord Jesus stood on the Mount of Transfiguration with two great Old Testament prophets, Moses and Elijah, the voice of the Father sounded from heaven commanding us to listen to the Lord Jesus. If we do not honour the Son, we do not honour the Father who sent Him (John 5:23). Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to give us hearing ears and a submissive heart so that we may honour the Father by honouring the Lord Jesus, our Prophet. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 13 - Christ’s miracles 

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know–” - Acts 2:22  Scripture reading: Mark 1:29-39 Jesus did a lot of miracles. And yet, in Mark 1:38, He considers preaching as the reason He came. What place do His miracles play in His ministry? First, as Peter mentions in his Pentecost sermon, God did works, wonders and signs through Jesus to commend Him publicly. God was putting His seal of approval on Jesus’s ministry. Second, miracles are illustrations of Jesus’s preaching. He had come, Mark 1:14-15 tells us, to proclaim the gospel and kingdom of God. What was the good news of God and His kingdom? Certainly this: the tyranny of sin was over. Jesus Christ had come to set things right. By His death on the cross Jesus would reverse the curse and make all things new. A new day had dawned in the history of God’s dealings with His creation. Well, what does that look like? What does the reverse of the curse mean? Jesus illustrates this by His miracles. Diseases and demonic oppression are a result of sin. When Jesus heals sickness and drives out demons, He pushes back against the kingdom of darkness. These miracles are glimpses of His redemptive work. But they are always temporary. For example, Lazarus died again. But miracles also look forward. Christ’s first coming is the dawning of the kingdom. The full arrival of His kingdom is in the future. Then sin and its effects will be eradicated and all things made new. He preached this in His sermons and illustrated it by His miracles. Suggestions for prayer Praise God that we can look forward to the day when all things will become new and ask Him to hasten that day. Pray that the gospel of the kingdom would be heralded among the nations so that people would place their trust in Jesus. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 12 - Christ’s compassion 

“. . . a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope.” - Matthew 12:20  Scripture reading: Mark 6:7-34 Our passage today recounts the mission of the twelve apostles and the beheading of our Lord’s forerunner, John the Baptizer. Burdened by the death of John and knowing His disciples were wearied by the constant coming and going of the people, Jesus invites His disciples to come with Him to a desolate place for some rest. The people saw them go and reached the place of repose before them. Jesus, seeing the crowds, had compassion on them and began to teach them many things. Here we see the compassionate heart of the Lord. He saw the crowds were bereft of spiritual care and, although He was weary and hungry, He ministered to them. He pities His people left in such difficult conditions because of human sin. In His sympathetic ministry to them He comes with gentleness. He knows our frailty, understands human weakness, and by grace, treats us with a tenderness that doesn’t break us in our fragility and quench what spiritual life we have. Our need draws His attention to us. Mark tells us that Jesus’s compassion led Him to teach them many things. Certainly, His teaching must have been about Himself as He invited labouring and heavy-laden people to come to Him for rest for their souls (Matthew 11:28-29). And if His compassion is displayed in His teaching the shepherd-less crowds, what does His death as the Lamb of God demonstrate? Surely, immeasurable compassion! Happy are those who are loved by this Saviour! Suggestions for prayer Cast all your burdens upon the Lord knowing that you have a sympathetic High Priest as God’s right hand. Thank the Lord Jesus for His kind compassion in ministering to our spiritual needs. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 11- Christ’s temptations 

“For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” - 2 Corinthians 15:21-22  Scripture reading: Luke 4:1-13 Matthew and Luke both record Jesus’s temptations in the wilderness. Although the accounts are similar, the contexts help us to understand the particular point the authors are making about Jesus. Luke 3 ends with a genealogy of the Lord Jesus going all the way to Adam. Immediately, Luke records Jesus’s temptations. Luke is contrasting the unfaithful first Adam and the faithful last Adam. Both were tempted by Satan. Adam, living in the beauty of the Garden of Eden, capitulated to the enemy. Jesus, led by the Spirit into the wilderness, resisted the devil so that he departed from Him. The last Adam was successful where the first Adam failed. Jesus is qualified to be our Redeemer, to undo the ruin Adam had brought. Matthew’s focus is different. In Matthew’s gospel Jesus is the new Israel. Like Israel, God’s son (Exodus 4:22), Jesus is the Son of God and, like Israel, He was called out of Egypt (Matthew 2:15). Like Israel, Jesus was brought into the wilderness. Unlike Israel, Jesus proved to be faithful. You will notice that Jesus’s quotations of the Scriptures are all from Deuteronomy where Moses recounts God’s wilderness dealings with Israel. Where Israel failed, Jesus was successful. In both scenarios, Jesus as the last Adam and Jesus as the new Israel, is promoted as the One to Whom we must be united by faith. Only in union with Jesus will we both enjoy God without being driven from His presence and be welcomed into the Promised Land of His favour. Suggestions for prayer Praise God that in union with Jesus Christ, we will never be driven from His presence like our first parents. Thank God for Jesus’s faithfulness in His temptations and that through Him we shall enjoy God’s presence forever. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 10 - Presented by Christ

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” - Hebrews 4:14-16  Scripture reading: 1 Peter 2:1-10 How can we as sinners even think about entering the presence of God in corporate worship? Certainly, it is the height of folly to think He would receive us. Yes, if we come on our own. No, if we come through a mediator. Jesus is the mediator of our worship. He is the One Who presents us to the Father in worship as He says, “Behold, I and the children God has given me” (Hebrews 2:13). He is the One Who has passed through the heavens into God’s Most Holy Place (Hebrews 4:14) and through Him we too may enter the presence of the living God. What’s more, we may approach the throne of the Majesty without cowering, indeed, even with confidence. And through the same mediator we offer our worship. We are not so self-confident are we, to think that our songs and prayers and listening are acceptable as they come from us? We are aware of our wanderings, our coldness of heart, and our lethargy. We sometimes honour God with our lips while our heart is far from Him (Mark 7:6). Whatever worship we offer must be purified by the blood of the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. Through our mediator Jesus Christ, the spiritual sacrifices we offer as the spiritual house and priesthood of God, are acceptable to a holy God. Thankfully, through the Lord Jesus, we may proclaim the excellencies of our Saviour and know that those praises delight Him. Suggestions for prayer Praise God for the one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Ask God to help you to worship Him with joy as those called out of darkness into His marvellous light. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 9 - Christ, the warrior

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” - Genesis 3:15 Scripture reading: 1 John 3:1-10 Ask most Christians why Christ came into the world and their answer will be in terms of the forgiveness of sins. And they’re correct. As John himself says in our passage: ‘You know that he appeared in order to take away sins’ (v. 5). But that’s not all the Bible says about the ministry of the Lord Jesus. In fact, the first gospel promise in Genesis 3:15 is couched, not in the language of forgiveness, but in the language of conquest. The Israelites sang on the shores of the Red Sea, ‘The Lord is a man of war’ (Exodus 15:3). The Lord Jesus came into this world to destroy Satan (Mark 1:24), to drive him out (John 12:31), or, as John says, ‘The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil’ (v. 8). It is no surprise that before Jesus’s public ministry He encountered Satan in the wilderness, nor that the first miracle recorded in Mark’s gospel is the freeing of the man with the unclean spirit. Jesus has come to defeat our enemy, to crush the head of the serpent. How does He do that? Satan’s power over us is our sin, but if the Lord Jesus can deal effectively with sin’s condemning and enslaving power, Satan’s authority is broken. This our Lord did in His death on the cross. He paid the penalty sin deserved and, in so doing, He takes away our sins and destroys the works of the devil. Thanks be to our Champion! Suggestions for prayer Thank God that Jesus Christ has delivered us from the tyranny of the devil. Pray that by the Spirit we would not give in to our defeated enemy’s temptations. Pray for listening ears and receptive hearts as we listen to the voice of our Saviour tomorrow. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 8 - Christ, empowered by the Spirit 

“But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” - Matthew 12:28  Scripture reading: Matthew 12:15-32 How did Jesus carry out His ministry? We can explore this by considering how Jesus did miracles. To perform them, did He dip into His divinity? We might be tempted to say, ‘Of course, after all, He was God.’ But we need to be careful here. After all, other prophets like Moses and Elijah could do miracles too and they certainly weren’t God. Our Bible passage points the way for us. Isaiah prophesied that God would put His Spirit upon His chosen servant, the Lord Jesus. At the commencement of His ministry, at His baptism, this happened. The Spirit of God descended like a dove upon our Lord (Matthew 3:16). Then, led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Jesus was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1). He returned to Galilee ‘in the power of the Spirit’ (Luke 4:14) and in the synagogue, He quotes from Isaiah 61 alerting His hearers that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him (Luke 4:18). Jesus tells His opponents that He has cast out demons, not by Beelzebul, but by the Spirit of God (Matthew 12:28). If He cast out demons by the Spirit of God, we can be sure that He did all His miracles in the Spirit’s power. Jesus was a faithful servant of God; He was obedient as man. It was the Holy Spirit operating upon our Lord’s humanity, Who enabled Him to perform miracles and to carry out His ministry in faithfulness to His Father’s will and for the blessing of His people. Suggestions for prayer Thank God that the same Holy Spirit Who was upon our Lord, is upon all of God’s people, enabling us to serve our heavenly Father. Ask for grace that we would not quench, resist, or grieve the Spirit of God. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 7 - Christ, the God-man

“And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.” - Psalm 130:8  Scripture reading: Matthew 1:18-25 The two names given to the child in these verses, Jesus and Immanuel, point us to the unique nature of our Lord. Jesus points to His humanity. He is in the womb of a human mother. He is given a human name, Jesus, the equivalent of the Hebrew name Joshua. And Joseph is given the right to name Jesus. That is a sort of adoption ceremony whereby Jesus is adopted into a human family, particularly, into the lineage of David. He is truly man. But there is more going on here. He is in His mother’s womb, but He is not there in an ordinary way. We are told in verse 25 that Joseph and Mary had no sexual relations before she gave birth to the baby. Gabriel told Mary in Luke 1 that the child would be called the Son of the Most High, and that the coming of the Holy Spirit upon her and the power of the Most High overshadowing her, would ensure that the child born would be the Son of God (Luke 1:32, 35). You also see His divine nature in the names given. Even Jesus, which points to His humanity, highlights His divinity. Joshua, the Old Testament equivalent, means the Lord saves. If Jesus is going to save His people from their sins, He must be the Lord. This is confirmed when we’re told that He would also be called Emmanuel, which means, God, with us (v. 23). Jesus Immanuel, the God-man, fully human, fully divine and our Saviour. Suggestions for prayer Pray that we would grasp the wonder of God becoming man while remaining God. Thank the Lord Jesus for His willingness to become like us. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 6 - The word became flesh (II) 

“Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh,..” - 1 Timothy 3:16  Scripture reading: John 1:14-18 The Word became flesh. What profound truth these words contain. God became Man. The second person of the Trinity took to Himself a human nature while remaining divine. Becoming flesh means that Jesus had a true body. He was born as most babies are and developed as boys and girls do. He was hungry and thirsty. He sweated and grew tired. He bled. He slept. He could only be in one place at a time. And He died. Becoming flesh also means that Jesus took a true soul. He had a human psychology. He had a human mind. He learned as we do, growing in wisdom just as He grew in physical stature. In His humanity our Lord did not know everything. He had human emotions. He experienced joy and sorrow, anger and pleasure. He also had a human will with ordinary desires, longings and preferences. He didn’t desire ridicule and mockery and being forsaken by God. He was truly human, though He was sinless. It is important for us to grapple with these truths so that the incarnation might leave us astonished. He Who was eternal stepped into time. The all-knowing embraced ignorance. The everywhere present was confined first, to a human womb, and then, to specific places. The immortal became mortal. And He experienced these limitations while remaining eternal, all-knowing, everywhere present, and immortal. No wonder Charles Wesley has us sing: ‘Veiled in flesh the Godhead see, hail th’incarnate Deity, pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.’ Suggestions for prayer Praise God that, in His wisdom, He saved us by the man Christ Jesus. Pray that we would be encouraged that our Lord Jesus became like us, sin excepted. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 5 - The word became flesh (1) 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” - John 1:1  Scripture reading: John 1:1-13 We have already noted that Jesus had a pre-existence. He was from ancient days. In our passage today John refers to the Word. It is only in John 1:17 that we learn that this Word is the Lord Jesus. What does John say about Him? John tells us that Jesus is eternal. In the beginning was the Word. Before the beginning of the world and human history the Word was. Jesus existed in eternity past. John tells us that Jesus was with God. Jesus is not another face of the God of the Old Testament, perhaps a kinder and gentler face. John distinguishes between the Father and the Son. Jesus was with the Father while distinct from Him. John tells us that Jesus was God. You have probably encountered Jehovah Witnesses who say that this should be translated as ‘the Word was a god’ because in the Greek there is no article ‘the’ before the word ‘God’. Besides the fact that Greek grammar doesn’t require it, if John had put the article ‘the’ before the word ‘God’ so that it read, ‘and the Word was the God’, you would have other problems. It would exclude the Father and the Spirit from being God. To say that Jesus is a god militates against the biblical truth that there is only one God. John wrote it precisely correctly: Jesus was God. Finally, John tells us that Jesus is the Creator of all things. Nothing was made without Him, not even the eternal Son Himself. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to help you understand the glory of the Lord Jesus, that He is very God of very God, and keep you from errors about our Lord Jesus. Since the Lord Jesus is God, worship Him in prayer. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 4 - Christ and creation 

“all things were created through him and for him.” - Colossians 1:16 Scripture reading: Colossians 1:15-20 It is a wonderful truth that the Lord Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). It is unthinkable to imagine that He had not come. But in our passage today, the Apostle reminds us of another truth, a truth that is before the one mentioned above. That truth is that the world came into existence for Christ. Paul is talking about how the Lord Jesus is the image of the invisible God. This Jesus is the One Who created all things. All things were created through Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16). Jesus is the reason that God called the world into existence. Jesus does not, in the first place, exist for us. We exist for Him. We are not the centre of the universe; He is. God’s great desire is that His Son would be preeminent in everything (Colossians 1:18). Everything has been designed so that the Lord Jesus Christ, the One in Whom all the fullness of God dwells, would be worshipped. Creation is a showcase for the glory of Christ, to display His multifaceted perfections. This has important implications for our lives. Our lives should reflect Christ’s glory. We do that when we trust in Him as our Saviour, showcasing His glory. We do that when we imitate Him, displaying, in our lives, His holiness and character. We do that when we pray for people around us to glorify Christ and seize the opportunities we have to commend Christ to others. Certainly, He is worth everything as the glorious God-man. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to re-orient our thinking so that we understand that we exist for Christ before He exists for us. Thank God that the all-glorious Lord Jesus did come into the world to save us sinners. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 3 - The worship of Christ

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” - Philippians 2:9-11  Scripture reading: John 8:48-59 As we gather as an assembled congregation this Lord’s Day, it is helpful to remember that the worship of the Lord Jesus is at the heart of Christian worship. As a reward for our Lord Jesus’s humiliation, Christ Jesus, the God-man, is appointed to receive the nations’ worship. As Paul says in Philippians 2:9-11, they will bow at His name and confess that He is Lord. This worship of the Lord Jesus is by the Father’s design. He is the One Who seeks Christ’s glory (John 8:50) and Who glorifies Christ (John 8:54). The Spirit as well longs for Christ to be worshipped. He glorifies Christ as He declares to us the things of Christ (John 16:14). If the desire of the Father and the Spirit is the glorification of Christ, certainly His worship should be front and centre in our worship. If we do not honour the Son, we do not honour the Father Who sent Him (John 8:23). This is not to say that the Father is not to be glorified in our worship. He is as well. Lazarus’s death was for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it (John 11:4). The worship of Christ is “to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11). As you assemble for worship, pay particular attention to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ponder His greatness as the God-man. Meditate on what He has done as the Saviour. And worship Him! Suggestions for prayer Pray that Christ’s Spirit would open our eyes so that we would see Jesus and draw us to Him in trust and adoration as we read His Word and hear it preached. Pray for the success of preaching and mission work so that the Lord Jesus would be worshipped by the nations. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 2 - The eternal plan

“Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.’” - Psalm 40:7  Scripture reading: Hebrews 10:1-10 In Hebrews 10:5-7, we are eavesdropping on a conversation between the Father and the Son. We overhear the eternal Son telling the Father that Old Testament sacrifices were not fit for His ultimate purpose. In terms of taking away sins they were not desired, and God took no pleasure in them. Not that God didn’t want a sacrifice but the sacrifice He wanted was the sacrifice of His Son. That is why the Father prepared a body for Him. Christ was going to be the final and only effective sacrifice for sins. Then the Son tells the Father that He has come to do God’s will, that is, He has come to reconcile sinners to God. The Son knew that meant suffering, rejection and crucifixion for Him. Yet, He was committed to doing His Father’s will. There is one more thing the Son tells the Father. Jesus’s coming has been written in the scroll of the book. Some think that refers to the pages of the Old Testament. It is better thought of as the eternal plan agreed upon in the council amongst the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Christ was appointed to be the unblemished Lamb Who would take away sin. Christ accepted that appointment freely. He came down from heaven, not to do His own will, but the will of Him who sent Him (John 6:38). When He does come into the world, He reminds His Father of that: I am only doing what We agreed I would do for the salvation of sinners. Suggestions for prayer Thank God that He desired the salvation of His own. Thank the Lord Jesus for His willingness to do the Father’s will even when it meant His own sacrificial death. Pray for all of Christ’s servants as they declare the mystery of Christ tomorrow. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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 1 - Introduction to the characteristics of Christ

Although we might not know much about Richard of Chichester who was elected Bishop of Chichester in 1244 and died in 1253, we are probably familiar with a prayer written by him. It reads in part: “Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults thou has borne for me. O most merciful redeemer, friend, and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, day by day.” That’s a good prayer and this month’s devotional is written to get us thinking more about our Lord Jesus so that we may increasingly know Him, love Him, and follow Him. From ancient days  “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’” - John 8:58 Scripture reading: Micah 5:1-5a We know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem just over 2000 years ago. But His conception did not mark the beginning of His existence. It marked the beginning of Jesus existing as a perfect man, but that’s not the whole truth of His being, as Micah’s prophecy reminds us. Israel was in trouble because of their incessant sinning against God. God judges Israel through Assyria and Babylon. Micah already sees the siege laid against the city, but God promises deliverance that will come from someone out of Bethlehem. The deliverer is going to be a man, born on earth and of royal birth who will rule Israel. But that’s not all that can be said about this ruler. His coming forth is from Bethlehem and His ‘coming forth is from of old, from ancient days’ (Micah 5:2). That tells us something significant about our Lord Jesus. He is from Bethlehem and from of old, from ancient days. He is from a point in time, and He is from eternity. He had a beginning as a man and He had no beginning as He is divine. John also tells us about the Lord Jesus. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’ (John 1:1). Before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Jesus existed as God and with God. He is eternal. As Jesus Himself confessed, ‘Before Abraham was, I am.’ There never was a time when Jesus did not exist. He is eternal and He is God. Suggestions for prayer Thank God that when our trouble was severe, God Himself came to bring deliverance. Ask God to teach us throughout this month by the Holy Spirit so that we might understand our Lord Jesus better and worship Him. Rev. John van Eyk began his ministry in Cambridge, Ontario as a Church Planter and Minister of the Riverside Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. After 13 years there, he served almost 10 years in the Tain/Fearn congregation of the Associated Presbyterian Churches in the Scottish Highlands. John has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017. 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

 February 29 - God’s grace to us in healing righteousness

“But to you who fear My Name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; And you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves.” - Malachi 4:2  Scripture reading: Malachi 4:1-6 We have traversed the Old Testament and discovered incredible stores of the grace of God for us from Jesus Christ. Indeed, from Genesis to Malachi, the grace of God is the primary theme. His ‘covenant faithfulness and love’ (hesed) is a key ingredient to His covenant. We are very used to calling this, God’s ‘covenant of grace.’ Now, four hundred years before the incarnation and virgin birth, the promise of the Light of the gospel blazes in the darkness (cf., Matthew 4:16, John 1:4). For all who are in awe of God and live in fear of His Name, the healing of righteousness is promised. That healing is what we need the most! The church has received grace sufficient for the needs we have in our day. God provides to each of us more than enough. Our calling is to “search the Scriptures” and see that it is true. Each Old Testament account is full of hints, clues, or outright statements of the gracious act of God on behalf of His sinful covenant people. So, read! Take up the Scriptures and study. Memorize key passages and be so familiar with the longer narratives that you can summarize and explain them to your children and grandchildren. Know the Bible to know the richness of the grace of God for us in Jesus Christ. Read, beloved, and discover His grace! Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to show you more of the treasure of His grace for you in Jesus Christ. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 28 - The Spirit of grace to see messianic promises

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me Whom they pierced.” - Zechariah 12:10 Scripture reading: Zechariah 12:1-14 We live in the age of full revelation. The saints in the Old Testament had an incomplete picture. There was a lot that remained unclear to them. Yet as we see here, God the Holy Spirit was at work. Jesus says (Mark 12:36) that David spoke by the Holy Spirit in bringing Psalm 110. We believe the Spirit brought forth all of revelation, including what the Prophets said (2 Peter 1:21). And that means God the Holy Spirit inspired (breathed out) Zechariah’s prophecy, including verse 12, that it would be God the Holy Spirit Who enabled people to “…look on Me Whom they pierced.” Amazing! The Spirit of grace will give the grace necessary to understand truths about the Messiah. This is also true today. When we study the Bible or hear biblical sermons (and through other means) we are led by the Spirit of grace to a knowledge of the truth, especially about the One Who gave Himself for us. We should have great confidence about our ability to come to know more about Jesus Christ, being led by the Spirit of grace. Here in Zechariah, that was exactly the promise. The Spirit would be poured out so that the people would be able to look knowledgeably at the One to be pierced. Grace enables a correct understanding of Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord! Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to strengthen your confidence in being able to learn about Jesus Christ, being led by the Holy Spirit. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 27 - God’s grace brings new obedience!

“Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him; and the people feared the presence of the LORD.” - Haggai 1:12 Scripture reading: Haggai 1:1-15 We are deep into the 6th century BC, now. The covenant people are back from the Babylonian captivity. They have received much grace from God and are living the life of freed people again. But they are already forgetting God, particularly in terms of His House. They have their own modern dwellings and all the comforts of home, but the temple of God remains an unfinished building project. God has begun to discipline His selfish children and Haggai preached repentance. The result is a slow return to obedience and a renewed awe of God. The puritan Jeremiah Burroughs wrote a book titled “Gospel Fear”, and we can rightly plead that He would cause us to fear Him! God applied to His covenant people of Haggai’s day three actions: discipline, His prophet’s Words, and an inner “stirring” of His Spirit in the leaders (1:14). These are each acts of the grace of God designed to issue forth in new obedience. And that’s what happened! And in these same ways God constantly tends to His flock. We need discipline – it is grace; we need His Word – it is grace; and we need His Spirit to stir up our leaders, and the rest of us! God is incredibly kind to work in us, bringing us back to obedience. Do you regularly ask God to bring you back to obedience to Him? Suggestions for prayer Pray to the Lord asking that He would bring you back to a joyful obedience of all He has said. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 26 - God’s grace for righteousness in an unrighteousness age

“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” - Daniel 6:10  Scripture reading: Daniel 6:1-30 Daniel was a preview of and lived out of the grace from the Lord Jesus Christ. Daniel’s righteousness and ‘rightness’ was his because he “…believed in his God” which is to say – because he was in Jesus Christ. Being an Old Testament servant of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Daniel put all others around him lower than God. God had first place in Daniel’s heart and actions. It should not surprise us to see Daniel praying three times a day after wicked men had gotten an evil law passed, making such praying illegal. There are times when wicked men will force faithful Christians to disobey governments. As often as human rulers demand that we disobey God, we will be found faithfully obeying God, no matter the earthly trouble our obedience brings to us. This sustaining grace of God is powerfully needed in our day, along with a sizeable dose of wisdom. Have rulers demanded that we disobey God? How do we reason from the general principle to the specific instance? This is very important! However, when we are convinced that human laws are requiring that we violate God’s law, we have only one option – stand on God’s Word and accept the consequences of our obedience. “…those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed” (1 Samuel 2:30). Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord for wisdom and confidence that you rightly obey God rather than ungodly laws. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 24 - The grace of God in purification

“He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.” - 2 Chronicles 34:5  Scripture reading: 2 Chronicles 34:1-7 There is nothing wrong with having two positive and uplifting devotionals in a row! We need the encouragement which God graciously provides us in His Word. But Josiah burned priests’ bones on an altar and that’s supposed to encourage us? Oh Yes!! To understand why this act should encourage us, we need to look back at 1 Kings 13:1,2. After Solomon’s death, the kingdom split into northern and southern kingdoms, Israel and Judah. In the north, Jeroboam decided to make worship convenient and set up altars in Bethel and Dan. These altars were manned by “priests” not from Levi, who allowed for false worship. Once those priests died, their bones were preserved. So Josiah, at age 20, began to purge idolatry from the lives of God’s covenant people. That purification by purging included burning the bones of those false priests who conducted unlawful worship beginning in the days of Jeroboam. God employed the grace of scorching heat to cleanse His people! How has God worked to cleanse you of your sins? We rejoice to the highest heavens that He sent His Son to cleanse us of all our sins, making the impure (us) pure in Him! God still uses fire to cleanse us. This is why Paul tells us – 1 Thessalonians 5:19 – “Do not quench the Spirit.” Don’t put out His purifying fire by sins.  So, by grace, God still purifies us. Praise the Lord! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the purifying fires of His grace. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 25 - The grace of God’s reviving work

“O LORD, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.” - Habakkuk 3:2  Scripture reading: Habakkuk 3:1-19 This is the day we enter into the house of the Lord for corporate worship. Is there grace for God’s people on the Lord’s day? Of course! But is that still true in our day, in our circumstances? Yes. As Habakkuk writes by the Spirit’s inspiration, “In the midst of the years, make it known.” He is saying, ‘In our day too, revive Your work.’ That act of God to revive His work is our need today, and He will do it. Habakkuk is writing at the end of the 7th century, as Jehoiakim is ‘king’ and Judah, the nation, is about dead. The refusal of the people to repent of their sins is bringing God’s cleansing by the Babylonians. The times will get very tough, but the faithful will still trust the LORD (Habakkuk 3:17-19). And what times do we live in? Do we need God’s work revived? Is preaching having its proper effect? Are Christians repenting of their sins and delighting in God’s law? What expectations do you have as you come to the house of the Lord to attend corporate worship – what work will God do in your heart and life? Ask that question more personally, do you need God to graciously revive His work in your life? We come to corporate worship hungry and with the anticipation of being fed. By His grace in Christ, our God will not disappoint! Suggestions for prayer Ask God to revive His work in you today through corporate worship. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 23 - God’s grace of a righteous ruler

“He trusted in the LORD God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him.” - 2 Kings 18:5  Scripture reading: 2 Kings 18:1-8 When we look at the local, national and international political scene, things can look grim. As I am writing this devotional (on October 27, 2023) Israel and her enemies are ramping up to what seems like another bloody war. We long for righteousness to be seen in our communities and around the world. We know that complete righteousness only comes in glory, but it is right to look for the best situation we can in the fallen world. That’s what it seemed like in Judah during the reign of king Hezekiah. Why? He trusted the LORD and obeyed Him. “Trust and obey for there’s no other way…” And in our text we see many proofs that Hezekiah put the LORD and His Word first. Hezekiah steadfastly obeyed God’s commandments, ripped out all the vestiges of idolatry, and even destroyed that once useful bronze serpent of Moses’s day – which had become a relic to be worshiped. We would rejoice today to have a president like King Hezekiah who would put the LORD and His Word front and centre in steadfast obedience. We must demand our elders and pastors emulate the worldview of Hezekiah in all that happens in our churches. We are especially thankful for our King, Jesus Christ, Who was the perfect law-keeper and our righteous King! Rejoice today that we have the promise of everlasting righteousness in that world to come. Suggestions for prayer Give thanks to God for kings like Hezekiah, preview of the Perfect King Jesus! Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 22 - God’s grace shows us the terror of pride

“And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the LORD had struck him.” - 2 Chronicles 26:20  Scripture reading: 2 Chronicles 26:16-23 Uzziah - the mighty has fallen. His fall and the reason for it are gracious lessons for the rest of us. Have you ever met a person so ‘full of themselves’ that almost immediately you knew you could not be around them? Pride is such an ugly sin, especially because the very nature of it is to deny that it is sinful. So it was with the great and mighty Uzziah. He became so full of himself that he usurped the office of the high priest. He went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense. He was in gross violation of God’s law. Azariah the priest took eighty priests with him and confronted Uzziah. When the King’s anger burned against the priests, the Lord’s anger burned against Uzziah and He struck him with leprosy. This was the beginning of the end for the prideful king. Uzziah went from strong and mighty for God’s covenant people, to wickedly prideful and leprous. How far the mighty have fallen. We need the gracious counsel given by God here. “Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time…” (1 Peter 5:6), “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Uzziah shows the necessity of humility. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to bring you daily to a humble view of yourself. Plead for a Christ-like humility (Philippians 2:5-11). Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 21 - God’s grace seen in a man’s might and power

“God helped him against the Philistines, against the Arabians, who lived in Gur Baal, and against the Meunites. Also, the Ammonites brought tribute to Uzziah. His fame spread as far as the entrance of Egypt, for he became exceedingly strong.” - 2 Chronicles 26:7, 8  Scripture reading: 2 Chronicles 26:1-15 We are going to examine the grace of God as seen in the life of Uzziah. What’s very helpful about Uzziah is that we get to see two radically different situations with him in the same chapter of the Bible. We will take two different devotionals to work through this. Our passage for today reveals Uzziah, strong and mighty. How was he that way? Verse seven tells us, “God helped him…” The grace of God made Uzziah strong and mighty, and great was his strength and might. Four nations (at least!) had a hearty fear of Uzziah. He put up strong military structures, both in the city and out in the wilderness. The army of Uzziah was a well-oiled machine of more than three hundred thousand fighters. Uzziah was wise enough to have weapons and armament prepared for his army and he was a leader in things “high-tech.” He had advanced, cutting-edge weapons created so that he would entirely overwhelm any enemy. He was a man of might and power. The first 15 verses of this chapter are striking. By His grace God is able to bring about great power and might through His people. He can use you to do great things – truly! Trust the God of grace to use you to do mighty things in His Name. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to give you grace to do mighty things for His glory. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 20 - The grace of God’s secret work

“So he was hidden with her in the house of the LORD for six years, while Athaliah reigned over the land.” - 2 Kings 11:3 Scripture reading: 2 Kings 11:1-3 The speed at which time seems to pass by gets faster as we age. Children can hardly wait two months from Reformation day until Christmas – it takes so long! Adults, especially parents of those children, can hardly believe how fast that time flies by! So how long is six years for you? Have you had to wait for something for six years? Some of us have. But have we ever realized that something which just happened to us was six years in the making and we didn’t know anything about it during that time? God often works in our lives in such a way that we had no idea He was at work until, all of a sudden, His blessing breaks like huge drops of grace upon our heads. Most of God’s covenant people in Judah had no idea that for six years Joash was the king in waiting. He had been hidden away. God sometimes provides grace in ways we don’t immediately see. But He also sometimes uses His “secret agents” to accomplish His plan. I don’t know any covenant parent who named their daughter Jehosheba, but that name would be a badge of honour. This woman was a powerful servant of His for good. Through her courageous action the nation got a great king. God is very wise to sustain us by His grace even when we are unaware. Suggestions for Prayer Thank the Lord for His grace given even when we don’t realize it. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 19 - The grace of knowing God hears our prayers

“And the LORD said to him: “I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me.”” - I Kings 9:3  Scripture reading: 1 Kings 8:22 – 9:9 Prayer is hard. Most Christians struggle with praying faithfully in one way or another. Donald Whitney is a recent author to label prayer a “Christian Discipline.” Many authors over the years have said similar things about prayer. Maybe one reason prayer is such a challenge for us is a nagging doubt that God hears our prayers. We understand that God hears prayers, but we also need to firmly believe that He hears our prayers. We can at least say from 1 Kings 9 that God heard Solomon’s prayer. But why did God listen to Solomon pray? Included in all the answers to this question is a basic and sweet answer – grace. God listened to the prayers of Solomon ‘by grace alone!’ Wait, I thought Solomon was incredibly wise, wealthy and wondrous in his beauty (Matthew 6:29). Yes, but he was also a womanizer and idolater (1 Kings 11:1-13). Solomon was a great king and a terrible sinner. We are godly people who also fight and lose battles with the world, the flesh and the devil (Canons of Dort 5.4). The most basic reason God listens to and answers the prayers of His sinful, covenant people is His grace. What does that mean for us? It means we should be convinced that God is listening to our prayers! His grace is full and free for us through Christ and He has decided to hear us when we pray. So…pray! Suggestions for prayer Believe God and pray! Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 18 - The grace of being allowed to worship a holy God 

“Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due His Name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” - Psalm 29:1, 2 Scripture reading: Psalm 29:1-11 It could be fairly said of King David that he was the ‘worship king.’ That is, David was consumed with the worship of our holy God. Several significant psalms come from David’s heart (by inspiration of the Holy Spirit) which seek to exalt God. David loved to meditate on and engage in the worship of Almighty God. Very often, however, David was unable to enter in and worship God. Yet, he understood that God was the King over the whole creation and was able to be worshiped where one was. We are incredibly blessed. We get to enter in and worship God in a house of worship somewhere. Although some members are unable to come to church for a variety of reasons, most of us can freely and easily enter the church building to “…give unto the LORD the glory due His Name.” Today is the day we make use of that blessing. David does here by inspiration and directs us how we shall “Give the LORD the glory due His name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” While it is true that we should worship God in every circumstance of life continually, it is a special blessing of God’s grace to worship Him with His people in His house. Let’s make full use of the blessing of attending church today. Suggestions for prayer Praise God in prayer that we are allowed to gather and worship our God together with His people. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 17 - The grace of giving all to God 

“But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the LORD and remain there forever.”” - 1 Samuel 1:22 Scripture reading: 1 Samuel 1:1-28 This is one of those passages of Scripture which stuns us – especially if we have small children at home. Here is a mother saying she will give her only son to God, forever! In those days that meant bringing him to the High Priest and leaving him there. How could a mother do that?! Perhaps we already know that we must do that – in a sense – with each of our children. God the Father gave up His own Son for us. Giving sacrificially is the way of the Christian (Romans 12:1, 2), and it is the way we should raise our children. Furthermore, we “give our children to God” in baptism, church attendance, catechism attendance, and so on. In one way or another, we are constantly giving them up to God. Since that is true of parents of children, so it should be about the lesser things of life, like money, time, energy and gifts, etc. What would we withhold from Him? Hannah did actually give up Samuel. And look how the Lord blessed that sacrifice! Do we fail to give as we should because we forgot the way God is able to bless our gifts? Tomorrow, we can worship Him sacrificially in many ways. Let’s decide today that we are going to serve the Lord with open hands, ready to give all to Him. Suggestions for Prayer Ask the Lord to accept your sacrificial giving as an expression of thanks for all He has given you. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 16 - The grace of dark providence 

“Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” - Ruth 1:21b Scripture Reading: Ruth 1:1-22 Hard times come into the life of the Christian. If you have lived any number of years, this is a fact you probably already know well. One of the great lies of the enemy is that the Christian life should be success after success with only joy and happiness. No, walking the path with Jesus Christ will include some real and serious hardships. Naomi is in the midst of such a hardship. She lost her husband, her only two sons, and the dream of finding relief in Moab. She is returning to Jerusalem with a burden of defeat and despair. Have you ever felt that way? Our Lord experienced the darkest providence. He arrived at the Garden of Gethsemane entering a very dark valley. He faced the torturous cross, which He would come to only after illegitimate trials and through beatings. His disciples would abandon Him. His Father would forsake Him. He was walking into a black hole of God’s providence. But He emerged on the other side, and we are now saved! How are we helped by remembering the glory that comes after the dark storm? Naomi would eventually enter the most fruitful and joyful time of her life – but at the end of chapter one she could not see that.  We would do well to remember all Christ endured for us and learn that all things, even dark providences are for our good (Romans 8:28). Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to teach you His grace of hard providences. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

 February 15 - The grace of a surprising deliverance

“But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Would you plead for Baal? Would you save him? Let the one who would plead for him be put to death by morning! If he is a god, let him plead for himself, because his altar has been torn down!”” - Judges 6:31 Scripture reading: Judges 6:11-35 This is a text full of surprises. To understand why, let’s see what’s going on. Joash is Gideon’s father but was an avowed idolater. This reminds us of Terah, father of Abram. God commanded Gideon to tear down his dad’s Baal altar and sacrifice one of dad’s young bulls to the True and Living God. Once Gideon did this the town leaders wanted Gideon dead. Keep in mind that Joash was THE leader of that clan! But when the other town leaders come for Gideon’s head, Joash stands up for his son and for the God of heaven and earth! Was Joash converted? We’re not sure, but it sounds that way. In any case God used this former idolater to save Gideon from certain death. Gideon would go on to be a powerful Judge over Israel, used by the Lord to save the covenant people, but only after being saved himself. God surprised Gideon by using his dad. How has God surprised you? We should be surprised that God has given us any grace at all. Receiving saving grace through Jesus Christ should stun us. But then we think of all the other ways God surprises us. He has promised that, along with Jesus Christ, He would also “…freely give us all things” (Romans 8:32). We are surely richly cared for by our God and today will be no different. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to show you today some of the surprising ways He cares for you. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 14 - Grace for courage 

“And Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go!” So she said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking, for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.” - Judges 4:8, 9  Scripture reading: Judges 4:1- 5:31 Deborah was not prophesying about herself when she said “…for the LORD will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.” Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, would be pegged by God for the task of killing Sisera. Still, when it comes to courage, both Deborah and Jael had received ample supply from God. Deborah had to hold the hand of timid Barak to wage war against the Canaanites of Jabin. Jael would hold a tent peg to the temple of Sisera and hammer him to the earth. Neither woman, it seems, had been pining for a fight. Yet, when the moment of need arrived, both received grace from God equal to the task. The bigger picture of this text is God’s delight when His people willingly offer themselves in His service (read chapter 5 carefully). This both Deborah and Jael did, but the courage to fight was given to them from the Lord. It is never by might nor by power, but always by His Spirit. The point should be obvious – God can grant us courage equal to the task. We are probably not tasked to fight Canaanites or drive a tent peg into a person’s head (gross), but our task might seem to us too hard to deal with. Remember Deborah! Remember Jael! Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to give you courage for the hard tasks you face. Remember those who lived by faith before you and seek help from God. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 13 - Grace of the knowledge of God 

“So Joshua did as Moses said to him, and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.” - Exodus 17:10, 11 Scripture reading: Exodus 17:8-16 Here is where we meet Joshua for the first time (verse 9). He is a man who will experience amazing things, but who will also need from God amazing grace. In this text, the grace he received was learning that Israel depends completely on God. If you know that about yourself and your situation, you have received grace that is very helpful. Joshua was tasked by Moses to fight with Amalek, a warring nomadic people. Joshua needed grace so that he could fight. Moses said he would go to the top of a hill with the “…rod of God in my hand.” Moses had held that rod as God caused the plagues of Egypt. Moses raised that rod over the waters which God parted to allow Israel safe passage and collapsed back over Pharaoh and the armies of Egypt. Now Moses will hold the rod up so that Joshua will be able to defeat Amalek. The rod has no power itself, but it is a visible sign and seal of God at work to save His people. When Moses’ arms drooped, Amalek prevailed. Why? Because the visual of God’s power disappeared from Joshua’s (and Israel’s) sight. What mattered most was to gain the knowledge that “salvation is of the Lord.” This truth needs to be imprinted on our hearts. God alone is our deliverance. Do you know that none can save you but God alone? Suggestions for prayer Ask God to strengthen your knowledge in His sovereign power to save. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 12 - The grace of continuing

“And Moses spoke to Aaron, and to Eleazar and Ithamar, his sons who were left: “Take the grain offering that remains of the offerings made by fire to the LORD, and eat it without leaven beside the altar; for it is most holy.”” - Leviticus 10:12 Scripture reading: Leviticus 10:1-13 How would you react if two of your brothers had just been burned alive? Nadab and Abihu had failed to regard the LORD as holy when they went in before Him. Their brothers, Eleazar and Ithamar surely saw what happened and smelled the results. Fear must have gripped their hearts. And then, after words of admonishment and caution (10:6-11), come again words of grace and kindness. The LORD tells Aaron and his remaining sons to eat the blessing He has provided for them. God tells them to continue. God’s people sometimes find it hard to continue. Life in the fallen world can be exhaustive and distressing. Often, we are one catastrophe away from complete collapse. But God grants us the grace to continue. Sometimes things are not at ‘near collapse’, but we are weary, worn, frazzled and tired of the forward march. But God can give us grace to continue. Have you known His grace to you when you didn’t really want to continue? Our process in these devotionals is to go from a specific act of God’s grace in the lives of His covenant people, extract biblical principles, and apply these today. But that requires we each “take note.” We can learn these lessons and discover the application, but we need to be ready to see these truths for ourselves in how God is at work in our lives. Take note. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to give you grace to continue after hard providences have befallen you. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 11 - Grace for service in the worship of God

“After that the Levites went in to do their work in the tabernacle of meeting before Aaron and his sons; as the LORD commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them.” - Numbers 8:22 Scripture reading: Numbers 8:5-26 On this marvellous Lord’s day, we have the opportunity to look back to the shadowy time of the Old Testament and notice how brilliantly God’s grace did shine. Aaron was tasked with putting the Levites to work in the tabernacle as helpers to the priests. God was calling up those He decided were necessary for the worship of Himself offered in the Tabernacle. These Levites would be living, breathing examples of God’s grace. His grace is fundamentally required if His people are to rightly worship God. We see many helpers in our worship of God today. From the “audio/visual” workers to the accompanists to the janitors and the greeters, the bulletin secretary and many others. The list is long of those who participate by works of service. We can only make rough comparisons between old and new covenant worship. Levites served as helpers to Priests then and today, those who give assistance toward corporate worship help the minister under the elders. It’s a delight to see God’s people working together in tasks that make corporate worship possible, more convenient, more beneficial and more beautiful. For each task and every hour spent in those duties, God grants the needed strength, wisdom and time. Take a moment today before or following a worship service to notice how everything is clean, orderly, well organized, aesthetically pleasing and purposefully designed to make worship a rich benefit to us. Suggestions for prayer Look around and thank the Lord in prayer for His kind grace. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 10 - A “wall” of grace

“You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves that you do not go to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.’” - Exodus 19:12 Scripture reading: Exodus 19:1-25 Moses was a man uniquely used by God. The privilege, power and prestige which he had is unparalleled among humans and eclipsed only by the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Moses, God spoke and directed His own people, Israel. And in our text for today, God used Moses to erect a “wall” for safety. The ones kept safe by the wall were God’s people. What the wall kept them safe from was God! Thus, we can call this a wall of grace. We are reminded by this that God uses prohibitions and restrictions to keep us safe. Moses, God’s man of laws, set down this boundary – a “law” – so that the people would remain alive rather than being killed. If the people were to “…break through” the result would be death. Like a railing at the rim of the Grand Canyon, this boundary marker set up by Moses was a gracious restriction. We should praise God for His Word, “No!” His loving Word keeps us safe, especially ‘no.’ Truly God reveals two significant things in this text. First, His love. He loves His people enough to tell us ‘no.’ Second is His holiness. When His holiness is transgressed, He will ‘break out’ in judgment against the transgressor. May our hearts overflow with thanks for God’s ‘no!’ Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to make you willing to hear His Word ‘No’ and obey the Divine restrictions. Ask God to show you how helpful His wall of grace is. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 9 - Grace as relief from struggles

“Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: “For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house.” And the name of the second he called Ephraim: “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”” - Genesis 41:51, 52  Scripture reading: Genesis 41:37-57 We are quite familiar with Joseph. Some of the sweetest pictures of God’s grace in the Old Testament are viewed in his life. Here in chapter 41 Joseph, now fully employed by Pharaoh and as the second in command in Egypt, names his two sons, born from Asenath. Notice two things about the names he gives them. First, the names Manasseh and Ephraim are Hebrew names, not Egyptian. This ascertains that they belong to the God of the Hebrews, even though born in Egypt to an Egyptian mother. But second, the meaning of the two names are quite telling. Manasseh – “God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house”, and Ephraim – “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction”, are also statements of faith. Read these powerful statements – God has brought me through! God has brought me to peace after a great storm! Christians have every reason to believe that God will bring us through. We know that the almighty, merciful God can take a serious and devastating circumstance and bring good to us and glory to Himself from it. Sometimes, God’s grace provides relief from our struggle! Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to show you how He has brought you through in days past. Ask Him to give you assurance of His grace for the days that are ahead. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

 February 8 - Grace in time of sinful competition

“When the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren.” - Genesis 29:31  Scripture reading: Genesis 29:15-35 There are many factors involved in the tussle between Rachel and Leah. We will only focus on one. Love. It is interesting to note how God allowed the misuse of love to bring about the twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob’s failure to properly love both women well (how could he have??) brings about a sinful competition between Rachel and Leah, with their two maidservants as pawns. The result is the birth of the tribes of Israel. There is great grace to be discovered here. Jacob loved Rachel. She was a true beauty. As Rich Mullins once put it in song, Leah was there “…for dramatic effect.” The LORD sees that Jacob doesn’t love Leah as Scripture commands and He opens her womb. God granted the grace of motherhood. Leah gives Jacob four sons in a row. Meanwhile, Rachel is experiencing crushing depression (which want-to-be mother hasn’t?) Eventually, God grants Rachel motherhood, including a son she names Joseph. Here is great grace indeed. We might find ourselves in the unwelcome situation of a sinful competition. Sometimes parents do outwardly show more love to one child than to others. Sometimes spouses sin greatly and love some person outside of the marriage. Many other examples could be mentioned. But we need to remember that God sees it all and He is able to grant us rich and deep grace during the grief caused by sinful competitions. Suggestions for Prayer Ask the Lord for sustaining grace when the sins of others hurt you. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 7 - Grace in life’s messes

“May God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you be an assembly of peoples;” - Genesis 28:3 Scripture reading: Genesis 28:1-9 Jacob was crafty. By that we do not mean that he knew how to use Mod Podge or craft a quilt. Jacob deceived his father Isaac and stole a blessing from Esau. But God was working behind these actions of Jacob. Here is the mystery of why God allows the shenanigans we read about in the Bible. Yet, He also puts up with many nasty things from us. After Jacob ‘secured’ the blessing, Issac sent him to find a wife. Where? Where Isaac went to find Rebekah–Haran. God intends to bless Jacob and make an assembly of peoples out of him. Abraham needed Sarah. For Isaac it was Rebekah. But for Jacob it will be Rachel plus. Maybe it would be better to say Leah plus, for Judah will be born to Leah. The back and forth of the birthing history between Leah and Rachel is legendary. Through those turbulent waters comes the nation. Jacob had earlier made Isaac quiver with anger by deceiving him (Genesis 27:33), but then got a full quiver from his two wives, the twelve tribes in seed form. Finally, he reverts to causing man to quiver when he acts unwisely toward his uncle Laban. We must see God’s hand in all of this to bring about His plan of grace. So too with us. Is your life a mess? Trust God and follow Him. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to show you more grace when you make a mess out of your life. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 6 - Amazing grace in answered prayer

“Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, “The thing comes from the LORD: We cannot speak to you either bad or good. Here is Rebekah before you; take her and go, and let her be your master’s son’s wife, as the LORD has spoken.”” - Genesis 24:50, 51 Scripture reading: Genesis 24:1-67 What should we pray for? When might our prayers be answered? Do we need to use exactly the right words for God to hear and answer our prayers? These and other questions and doubts impede what E.M. Bounds called “The Power of Prayer.” What we need to remember first about prayer is the amazing fact that God listens to us at all. I’m sure we’ll talk more about that another time. But it is clear in our reading that God did hear the prayer of Abraham’s servant. Abraham told his servant to go take a wife from Abraham’s people. He was sending him on a ‘dangerous journey’. The servant wanted some wiggle room. What if she won’t come? The servant went anyway. Gloriously, when the servant arrived in Haran, he prayed. He asked God to be God. And God was indeed sovereign in this wife hunt. As Rebekah’s brother and father would soon say – this thing comes from the LORD. One truth about prayer we learn later in life is that God moves us to pray about things He plans to answer. This way we learn to pray with more boldness. It is truly amazing that God answers our prayers, and His answer is always gracious help given to needy sinners. So, as James would say, we should ask in faith, with no doubting. Our God is gracious and will answer our prayers. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to cause you to pray about that major issue in your life. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 5 - Uprooted and transplanted by God’s goodness

“Now the LORD had said to Abram: Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land I will show you…So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him…” - Genesis 12:1, 4 Scripture reading: Genesis 11:27 – 12:4 By the time Abram and Sarai had moved as directed by the LORD (Genesis 11:27 to 13:1), they had covered over 1500 miles. That’s about the distance between New York and Dallas. Yet the distance of religious reality they covered was far greater. As Joshua is reviewing covenant history, he retells that Abram and his father Terah had worshiped false gods in their ancient city of Ur. Ur was home to the moon god, Nanna (or, Sin). Since Ur was a wealthy city on a major trade route, the people there probably considered the proper worship of the moon god very important to their financial strength. ‘Long live Nanna of the Ur-ites!’ God had a different plan for Abram and Sarai. Grace leads. By moving dad, Terah, to Haran and then Abram and Sarai into the region that Israel would later inherit, God was showing how He can deliver His people. The travelogue of these two was a journey by grace. God commanded Abram in the way he needed to go to depart out of idolatry. And as we probably know, God was at work to bring Abraham into a covenant relationship of grace with Himself. Through Abraham and Sarah, God would create a nation for His glory. Through their Heir, Jesus Christ, God would make a people for Himself, for His glory. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to remind you how He brought you to Himself. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 4 - The glory of Babel’s reversal 

“We hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” - Acts 2:11  Scripture reading: Acts 2:1-13 What occurred at Babel, recorded in Genesis 11 was done by God, for the good of the church, and could rightly be called an act of His grace in discipline. Acts 2 tells us about the reversal of Babel because of the victory of Jesus Christ on the cross and through the empty tomb. What do we read of in Acts 2? “…we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God!” What glorious grace God poured out! In the forward to his masterful summary of the Christian faith, Herman Bavinck writes that the name of his book (The Wonderful Works of God) is, “…borrowed from Acts 2:11.” Bavinck explains: “The Spirit was poured out precisely so that the church would come to know these works of God, to glory in them, and to thank and praise God for them.” As the church was gathered by the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, so are we gathered together on the Lord’s day to hear God speaking in His gospel language. The Lord Jesus Christ will see the fruit of His work on Sunday. His people, drawn by His Holy Spirit, come to church to offer Him thanks and praise. The gathering of His people to worship on the Lord’s day is a portion of the Lord’s reward. It is also the proof of the reversal of Babel, a sign of God’s grace. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to give you joy about the privilege of corporate worship. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 3 - The grace of discipline

“And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” - Genesis 11:4  Scripture reading: Genesis 11:1-9 O the pride of the human race! What wicked pride we easily discover camped out in our own hearts! Included in the Bible are many examples of God using discipline in a way of grace. Here in Genesis 11, ‘the whole earth’ decided to ‘make a name for’ themselves. Note that well – “they”, humans, were convinced that they could do what it would take to make a name for themselves. Satan’s lie (Genesis 3:5) has come to flower in plans to build a tower. God will respond with discipline. Does the Lord God allow humans to build to heaven? By no means. Just like He will confuse the efforts and doctrines of every false, works-based religion He confuses man’s language here. God takes away the most basic, required tool of the building project – the ability to communicate. Humanity is divided and cast far and wide across the globe. God’s discipline kept humans from doing the great harm their pride would have earned. Jump ahead with me to Acts 2. The ascended Lord Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit as He promised (John 16:7), and the work He began in Jerusalem was again gathering together the nations as one. They all heard the same ‘wonders of God’ (Acts 2:11) as if no confusion existed. What grace God worked. Today, humans everywhere can hear the good news proclaimed. Our God is perfectly wise. Suggestions for prayer Ask God to make you confident about His wise use of the grace of discipline. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 2 - A colourful sign of given grace 

“And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: “I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.”” - Genesis 9:12, 13 Scripture Reading: Genesis 9:1-29 It’s obvious to anyone with eyes which see that humans corrupted one of the most obvious signs of God’s grace – the rainbow. We live in a fallen world and know that many will ‘shake their fist at God.’ God still sees the promises He made to Noah whenever the rainbow adds its colours to the sky. For all who read the Bible and take in His Words, the rainbow remains a beautiful reminder of given grace. The sin of Adam and Eve spread like a plague. “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). God decided He would cleanse the earth by a flood which would cover the globe. In grace, God commanded Noah to build an ark. God would preserve life inside that ark. After Noah’s family and animal representatives were loaded into the ark, God sent water from above and below and the world was washed by water. Noah and his family were preserved from destruction by the grace of God. From that time until now, every time the rainbow shimmers in the sky, God is ‘reminded’ of His covenant of grace. In chapter 17 of the Second Helvetic Confession, Henrich Bullinger correctly understood the Ark as a type of Christ. God’s grace preserved us in Christ – hallelujah! Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to remind you that the rainbow is a sign of His grace!  Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

February 1 - Introduction to grace 

The devotional for February will be a journey through the Old Testament in search of grace. What do you think? Will we find an ample supply? How often and how explicitly does God reveal His grace toward His erring covenant community in the Old Covenant? Do we find grace in Genesis? How about in Numbers and Judges and 2nd Kings? Yes, of course. We do say that, don’t we – “yes, of course”? But there is a lot of joy to be experienced and knowledge to be gathered up in the search! Louis Berkhof has an insightful explanation of the various ways the Scriptures employ the word or concept of grace. He writes (among other things) that grace in the Old Testament “…most generally means favour or good-will…This means that grace is not an abstract quality, but is an active, working principle manifesting itself in beneficent acts…The fundamental idea is, that the blessings graciously bestowed are freely given, and not in consideration of any claim or merit.” This way of understanding grace will flower and bloom before our eyes in this devotional, but we will also see it transition into the grace of salvation as found in the covenant of grace in Jesus Christ. In other words, it’s not easy to overstate the rich value of the grace of God in Christ to sinners as seen in the Old Testament. Twenty-nine snapshots of the grace of God await you, rushing out of the good old breezes of the Old Testament. Pray that our hearts may be filled to overflowing as we learn how rich is the grace of God in Christ to His covenant people both then and now!  Clothed by the grace of God “Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.” - Genesis 3:21 Scripture reading: Genesis 3:1-24 We begin our month of exploring the grace of God with those well-known parents of ours, Adam and Eve. This is an exceptionally important place to start. It helps us on this first day of the month to have our grasp of the human condition and God’s answer set squarely before us. You know this history, don’t you? Adam and Eve, placed in the garden of God’s goodness, had everything going for them. The world was perfect, their relationship with God intimate and joyful and their union with each other sweet and sin-free. Imagine a marriage like that! Imagine a world like that. But. Then. Sin. How? The long and short of it is they did not believe God. When the tempter told them he had a better plan than what God had said, they listened to the liar. Terror and violence and everything ugly and gross was brought into the world all at once. Very soon, jealousy and murder would follow. God provides the answer. The answer of grace was costly. Death. Blood was spilled so that Adam and Eve could be covered. This death-for-covering was real in that moment, but also a preview of what Jesus Christ would do for all His people. Grace. It is vital that we see how costly His grace is. By month’s end, we should know that truth better. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord this month to teach you how much His grace for you cost. Rev. Harold Miller graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2001 and has served churches in Wellsburg, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri before arriving at Oak Lawn, Illinois in 2020. 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

January 31 - Iniquity forgiven

“And no inhabitant will say, "I am sick"; the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.” - Isaiah 33:24  Scripture reading: Leviticus 16:1-34 On the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16), the high priest would lay his hands on one of two goats. The first goat was sacrificed for the sins of the people. This second goat (where we get the term 'scapegoat') was sent out of the camp and into the wilderness, symbolically carrying upon its head the guilt of the people. Their iniquities were forgiven. Christians have the fulfillment of this Day of Atonement in Jesus Christ. He was led outside the city of Jerusalem to be crucified, and “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6b). This is the only ground for peace - bodyand soul. There is a correlation between sin and sickness. Without sin in the world, there would be no sickness. That is why the new creation is described as having no sickness, as well as no hunger, nor thirst; there will be no sin! How could there be sin? Jesus Christ paid for our sin. Therefore, God has removed our sins from us “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). God repaid Christ “according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10), and has instead shown steadfast love and grace to us. It is joyful to end our study of this chapter with this final verse. Even though we have repeatedly heard descriptions of the Lord's crushing judgment on our enemies and His faithful protection over His chosen people, none of these deep and rich promises would truly be blessings to us without this final word: your iniquity is forgiven because of the finished atonement of Jesus Christ! Suggestions for prayer Confess your iniquities to the Lord and ask that they be forgiven for the sake of Jesus Christ. Give thanks that your iniquities were laid on Jesus Christ and He made perfect atonement. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 30 - Powerless enemy

“Your cords hang loose; they cannot hold the mast firm in its place or keep the sail spread out. Then prey and spoil in abundance will be divided; even the lame will take the prey.” - Isaiah 33:23  Scripture reading: Romans 8:31-39 Isaiah returns with a final description of the Assyrians. It is a final rebuke against the pride of man. Like sailors vainly attempting to re-position the mast of a ship against forceful winds, so the Assyrians will attempt to withstand the judgments of God in vain. By contrast, God's people will divide abundant “spoil.” Whatever treasures would be aboard that “ship” would be plundered, and plundered easily. The Assyrians will be left so helpless and destitute that even the lame will be able to limp in, take their treasures and safely limp away. In another analogy with a similar meaning, Jesus speaks of “binding the strong man”; that is, in His earthly ministry He was taking spoil from the kingdom of Satan. All His teaching and healing was proving the powerlessness of the enemy. God's people were being healed and delivered! The message to us once again is: do not be afraid. Because of Christ and His blood shed for you, God is for you and not against you. No enemy is more powerful than God's love for you in Christ, because Christ is the One Who died and Who was raised, and is at God's right hand interceding for you! Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for His great love in Jesus Christ. Praise God for His wisdom and power in defeating the powers through the weakness of the cross of Christ. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 29 - The Lord our judge

“For the Lord is our Judge; the Lord is our Lawgiver; the Lord is our King; He will save us.” - Isaiah 33:22  Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 Because He is the King, the Lord is the only just and righteous Judge and Lawgiver. The Lord alone keeps His just law and judges with righteousness. He is the King of kings and He alone. The Lord is our deliverer and administers justice for His glory and our well-being. This is another promise of the Messiah to come. The Messiah was promised to God's people as their Redeemer, but also the One who would rule with a “sceptre from Judah” (Genesis 49:10). Jesus' work for our salvation consisted not only in our redemption, but also His fulfillment of all of God's justice and righteousness, even bearing the curse of the law that we deserved. “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). In the new heavens and the new earth, Jesus will continue to rule as our King. There will be no sin, but He will still be Judge and Lawgiver; because, in all of the new creation, God's Law will be perfectly upheld. Therefore, living in Christ's Kingdom now, yield to His rule and authority. Listen to His voice and obey Him. We have been delivered from the condemnation of the Law and made new in Christ, that we may walk in newness of life. Obey the Word of your King; it is for service that He saves you. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord for help to obey His commandments. Give thanks that Christ by His Word and Spirit has made you a new creation in Christ. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 28 - Forever safe

“But there the Lord in majesty will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams, where no galley with oars can go, nor majestic ship can pass.” - Isaiah 33:21  Scripture reading: Revelation 22:1-5 Isaiah's vision of a fully protected, fully sanctified, filled Church continues here. Not only will God's people feast in joy and peace because God is with them, but there will be ample supply forever. Broad rivers and streams carry with them the promise of fertile land, bountiful harvests, luscious vegetation and productive trees and vines. What is more, is that even though these rivers and streams will be broad and flowing, no passage will be given to any invaders coming by ship. Nautical raiders will not be permitted to pass through and threaten God's people. These rivers and streams will only bring life. In Revelation, the New Jerusalem is pictured as having the “water of life” running through its midst, proceeding from the throne of the Lamb. There is life there, and much fruitfulness. Notice that in both Revelation 22 and here in Isaiah 33 that this life-giving water has Jesus Christ as its source! Life is not life without Jesus; He is the Life! So all life and all joyful blessedness will come from Jesus Christ, even as life came into being through Him (Colossians 1:15-20). Believe in Jesus Christ and be enlivened in His saving grace and righteousness! May you have a foretaste on this Lord's Day of the eternal rest Christ holds for us. May you have that longing to be at home with the Lord where Christ will give us life and rest eternally! Suggestions for prayer Give thanks to God for Christ's eternal salvation and that by His life we may have life. Pray for faith to be hopeful for resurrection on that Day.  Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 27 - Jerusalem untroubled and immovable

“Behold Zion, the city of our appointed feasts! Your eyes will see Jerusalem, an untroubled habitation, an immovable tent, whose stakes will never be plucked up, nor will any of its cords be broken.” - Isaiah 33:20  Scripture reading: Psalm 48:1-14 Here is God's promise to restore the Church. He will not only deliver it from its enemies, but also establish the Church in favour and prosperity. The Church is here called “Zion” as throughout the Psalms and Prophets. It is identified primarily as the people of God who assemble for “appointed feasts.” It was in the feasts that salvation was proclaimed through symbols and signs, the law of the Lord kept and the covenant renewed. What Isaiah promises here, by way of God establishing His Church, is an eternal promise. We see it in shadows yet today. Tomorrow, God's people are called once again to “assemble.” The Word of God gives us the basis and direction for all of our worship. Christ is central in the preaching and the sacraments—so once again God's salvation in Christ is proclaimed promiscuously! The law of the Lord is kept in keeping the Sabbath day holy, reading His law and being instructed in it. And the Lord graciously renews His covenant with us as He speaks His promises through His Word and we respond humbly with thankful praise, prayers, and offerings. Without God's grace and patience with us, we'll never be untroubled. We would be a tent blown about in the wilderness winds. Nothing would tie us down. We are covenant-breakers who need God's covenant renewal. He restores us and establishes us in Jesus Christ. Suggestions for prayer Rejoice in the privilege of assembling for the festive Day of Rest and seek the Lord's help to be prepared in heart and mind and body for the Lord's Day. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 26 - Insolent people of obscure speech

‘You will see no more the insolent people, the people of an obscure speech that you cannot comprehend, stammering in a tongue that you cannot understand.” - Isaiah 33:19  Scripture reading: Mark 15:16-20 The present verse strengthens what we read in yesterday's passage about the removal of the Assyrian officials. Now we are told that the Assyrian people themselves will also be gone. Part of the oppression against the Jews was the “obscure speech” of the Assyrians—they could not understand their language, could not understand the commands and instructions they were given and were unable to have any meaningful communication with their oppressors. You might not know how that feels. But you do understand that universal shame, embarrassment and hurt when a group points their fingers at you while laughing hysterically, even if you cannot understand their language. God's deliverance of Judah will include the silencing of these insolent people of obscure speech. He will completely remove them. Have you ever considered the suffering Christ endured in the mocking words of the people and their leaders? They hurled words of abuse at Christ. They spoke Christ's own Word against Him! This was part of Christ bearing our curse; it was also that God might judge the world for its unrighteousness. While God the Father did not silence the mocking tongues in Christ's life, He will ultimately turn those mocking tongues to praise Christ the Suffering Servant: “At the Name of Jesus every knee should bow...and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord...” (Philippians 2.10-11). Suggestions for prayer Give thanks to God that He speaks to us through His Son and His Word in language we can understand. Give praise to Jesus for enduring hateful mockery for your salvation. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 25 - Making all things new

“Your heart will muse on the terror: "Where is he who counted, where is he who weighed the tribute? Where is he who counted the towers?"” - Isaiah 33:18  Scripture reading: Revelation 21:1-8 In a series of three questions, Isaiah makes an even sharper contrast between Assyria's tyranny and the deliverance of the people. Judah will recall the time of their affliction with a kind of relish, delighting in their new freedom from the oppressor's heel. Assyria had dominated every part of life, but no more! “Where is he who counted?” This representative of the enemy counted, presumably, the tribute (taxes) the people brought. He was a constant reminder of the enemy's daily presence. “Where is he who weighed the tribute?” This was the one who weighed the gold or silver for the tribute. Such “weighers” were probably corrupt, skimming to pad their own pockets, testifying to the inherent corruption. “Where is he who counted the towers?” This man would have made measurements with respect to Judah's forces and fortresses. Assyria would have limited their armaments, for obvious reasons. But notice the certainty of the opening line of this verse: there will barely be the memory of it left, and if that, only a satirical joke. There will not be anything left of Assyria's oppression. This is the beginning of restoration. Romans 6:6 says: “We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” Christ will make all things new. It is guaranteed by His resurrection and ascension. Suggestions for prayer Give thanks to the Lord for Christ's ascension to God's right hand, for His intercession for us, and for the hope we have for the new heavens and the new earth because Christ is there. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 24 - As far as the eye can see

“They will see a land that stretches afar.” - Isaiah 33:17b  Scripture reading: Matthew 13:31-33 Even though wickedness spreads, seemingly so easily, in the hearts of people and throughout the nations, we look to our King with a firm hope. His Kingdom might look small and weak to the world, even as the world looked on Jesus with contempt instead of worship (see Isaiah 53:2); but Christ's power and greatness are not of this world. Judah would see a return to the promised land, as a foretaste of the eternal fulfillment of this promise. And this promise here lies in contrast to the desolation that the land is experiencing (see v. 9). When the land was under siege by the Assyrians, it was confined, narrow and desolate. When God restored His people to the promised land, the land stretched out far again and it was fruitful again. We may look forward to the fulfillment of these promises. But we do not merely look to a future “then” without considering the increase of Christ's Kingdom today. A Kingdom needs people. Christ is ruling in hearts already as King. He is also executing His rule through all His servants, even kings, presidents, prime ministers, and nations. Let us rejoice that we are ruled by Christ's Word and Spirit, when His church is strong and growing, and when the devil's work and every force that revolts against Christ is destroyed. Suggestions for prayer Pray that Christ may rule you by His Word and Spirit, keep His church strong and growing. And that the devil and every force against Christ would be destroyed until Christ is all in all in His Kingdom. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 23 - The King in his beauty

“Behold, your eyes will behold the king in his beauty; they will see a land that stretches far.” - Isaiah 33:17  Scripture reading: Psalm 45: 1-17 This was an important and immediate promise for the Jews to hear. Their king, Hezekiah, was shut up inside the kingdom and rendered helpless, surrounded by this opposing force. The state of the people and the kingdom was desperate and lamentable. Yet, the promise is the restoration of the line of kings of David. Even in Hezekiah, there remains God's faithful promise that one of David's sons would be on the throne. It is a pledge of God's love for His people. Even though Hezekiah may be “clothed” with weakness, he is a token of God's promise and the former beauty and splendour and greatness of the king will be restored. But the people must see Hezekiah as a sign of God's covenant promise, not its ultimate fulfillment. The church sings of the beauty of the King in Psalm 45. For the King that will restore strength and glory to the Kingdom is Jesus Christ, the Messiah. It is through Christ that God reigns and rules with justice and righteousness, and by Christ's rule that we are secured and restored. The church may look frail and weak today, and while the Kingdom of God has been at hand since Christ's coming, it sometimes seems powerless against the kingdom of darkness. Any kingdom is only as powerful as its king. The Kingdom of God has an Almighty King in Christ. Christ is now arrayed in beauty and regal splendour, even though He first came with “no form or majesty” (Isaiah 53:2). Suggestions for prayer Exalt the Lord Jesus Christ with praise for His majesty. Thank Him for His faithful and just rule over all things by His Word and Spirit. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 22 - Impenetrable defense

“He will dwell on the heights; his place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; his bread will be given him; his water will be sure.” - Isaiah 33:16  Scripture reading: Revelation 7:9-17 Because this Man, Jesus Christ, is righteous, He has a secure place with the Lord. Such a place “on the heights” and a “place of defense” evokes the image of a fortified tower high above the reach of enemies, or a naturally rocky crag atop cliffs that cannot be scaled. With such an impenetrable fortress, “What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11). The strategic risk of dwelling in such a fortress, especially one up high, is being able to gather food and drink. If a people has protected itself within a strong city wall, an army laying siege will attempt to cut off the food and water supply. God will provide here as well. Food and water will be constantly available. God will never fail, nor will this Man diminish. There is eternal security here. This is the hope we have as Christians: eternal security by faith in Jesus Christ, where no enemies will threaten. We will lack nothing for our daily needs or supplies. These are rich gifts of grace in Christ! As it says in Revelation 7:16: “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” So we must always trust God to provide for all our needs and be content with what He provides. Suggestions for prayer Pray these petitions of the Lord's Prayer: for your daily bread, deliverance from the evil one. Praise the Lord that His is the Kingdom and the power and the glory. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 21 - Christ walks and speaks righteously

“He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hand, lest they hold a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking on evil…” - Isaiah 33:15  Scripture reading: Matthew 4:1-11 Only this Man can enter the new Zion and dwell in the presence of God's holy fire. It is noteworthy that the verbs in this verse refer to a singular, individual man. Jesus Christ is this Man of righteousness. His walk is righteous; surely Jesus Christ kept God's will, never straying to the left or the right. He came to do His Father's will and He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 17) that He had accomplished that work. Jesus' speech was righteous; He proclaimed God's glory and God's Word. Jesus knew what was in the heart of man, but did not shrink from proclaiming the whole counsel of God. He said to Satan, “It is written”; He would not allow Satan to twist and stretch God's Word of truth. Jesus was tempted and bribed by the devil in Matthew 4 when the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness. Satan offered Jesus food, personal safety and the kingdoms of the world. Jesus rejected these temptations and did not sin. If Jesus had failed the temptations in the wilderness, bloodshed is what would have ensued, for that is what Satan wanted: the eternal condemnation of all people. Jesus' righteousness was necessary to save us. Finally, Jesus never sinned through His eyes. Rather, Hebrews 12:2 calls Jesus “the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Suggestions for prayer Give thanks to the Lord that even though Jesus was tempted as Adam was, He did not sin. Praise the Lord for the last Adam Who is our life-giving spirit. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 20 - Who then is worthy?

“Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?” - Isaiah 33:14b Scripture reading: Hebrews 10:11-25 This is another thematic verse in this chapter: a confession of our unworthiness to enter God's holy presence because we are sinful. Psalm 130:3: “If You, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” If you follow the description of the worthy person who could stand in the Lord's judgment on his own or her own, you will quickly see it is not a description of you. Except for Jesus Christ! We will see how Jesus in His righteousness fulfills the requirements in the following verses. Christ's sacrifice for sin was “once-for-all.” We cannot escape God's consuming fire. When offerings were burned before God, it showed the people that His wrath is all-consuming. Jesus' sacrifice is better. Those other sacrifices “can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12-13). He sat down because His saving work was complete; “It is finished,” He said. Only by faith in Jesus Christ can we enter God's holy presence. We “have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh” (Hebrews 10:19-20). Tomorrow, you will enter God's holy presence with the assembly of God's people. Christ's righteousness and atoning blood cover you that you may enter with fear of God's consuming fire, but enter in the joy of Christ's salvation. Suggestions for prayer Give thanks to the Lord that He joyfully welcomes us into His presence because of Christ's sacrifice and righteousness. Give thanks to the Lord that we can know Him through Christ. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 19 - Judgment at the household of God

“The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless…” - Isaiah 33:14a  Scripture reading: 1 Peter 4:12-19 With this prophecy of such vivid descriptions of Assyria's destruction, Judah might be tempted to respond with smugness, rather than humility. There's a little bit of the Pharisees in us all. We think we're better than “them.” That smugness is usually accompanied by a second course: hubris. Hubris is a false sense of security, and over-confidence, which is based on the past. In Judah, it would have sounded like this: “Assyria is going to get it; we in Judah are secure because we're Judah.” What both Peter and Isaiah say is jarring to this false sense of security. We forget what we were in our sins: “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We were God's enemies, but still, Christ died for us. We're not better than “them”; we're not better than anyone! We're sinners, saved only by grace in Christ! So when judgment comes against God's people, those who have put their trust in themselves and their privileges, will surely tremble. Their faith is not in God. This is what God's judgment upon the church does: it purifies the church of false confessors. Hypocrites are exposed. Pharisees are rattled. Rather than smugness or hubris, respond to Isaiah 33 with repentance. Acknowledge that your own sins deserve the same destructive condemnation. God spares His people because He did not spare His own Son, but “gave Him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). Suggestions for prayer Confess your sins to the Lord and thank Him for giving His only-begotten Son for your salvation. Ask for forgiveness for the pride that believes we are better than other people. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 18 - Acknowledge God’s might

“Hear, you who are far off, what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge My might.” - Isaiah 33:13 Scripture reading: Psalm 71:1-24 The Lord now addresses those “who are far off” (the nations), and those “who are near” (Judah), so that there is a total summons to the whole world. The Psalms often include a call to the nations and all the earth to praise the Lord and acknowledge His wondrous works (see Psalms 47:1; 96:3; 98:4, for example). God commands here that all people might hear about His mighty work of salvation and that those who are close (that is, in covenant with Him) should understand its significance. This comes forward more clearly in the New Testament with Jesus' command to “make disciples of the nations” (Matthew 28:18-20), and for His apostles to be His “witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). But the message of the gospel came to Jews first and then to Greeks. John summarizes his gospel's purpose in 20:31: “But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in His Name.” God's work of salvation in Christ continues, and those who are far off must hear, and those who are near must acknowledge and understand. In your prayers, do you openly acknowledge the glory of God's saving work in Christ? Are you thankful for Christ? How are you bearing witness to Christ to people around you? How are you “proclaiming God's might to the next generation”? (Psalm 71:18). Suggestions for prayer Give praise to the Lord for His mighty works in creation and in salvation. Ask the Lord for opportunities to bear witness of His mighty works to a neighbour. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 17 - God is a consuming fire

“And the peoples will be burned as if burned to lime, like thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire.” - Isaiah 33:12  Scripture reading: Hebrews 12:18-29 The imagery of Assyria's destruction continues in this verse. Assyria was a fierce nation with strong warriors and was formidable in conquest. Everyone feared them. They had been undefeated to this point. As powerful and ruthless as they were, they would not be strong enough to withstand God's judgment. As hard as limerock may be, it can be burned by fire; today, lime is even used in making glass. Thorns prick and sometimes draw a drop of blood or two, but when dried up, thorns make great kindling and no fire is pricked by a thorn. “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). The wrath of the Lamb of God will sweep upon His enemies suddenly and destructively; they will be consumed. This is nothing short of what all sinners deserve. Sin has eternal consequences and must be punished with eternal judgment. Unrepentant sinners will endure God's consuming fire in hell forever. Praise the Lord that His wrath was poured out on Jesus Christ in our place so that we would not be consumed! Praise the Lord that the Day of Judgment will be the Day of our full redemption because of Christ! Suggestions for prayer Repent of your sins and praise and thank the Lord for Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Praise the Lord for the righteousness of His judgment. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 16 - Conceiving chaff

“You conceive chaff; you give birth to stubble; your breath is a fire that will consume you.” - Isaiah 33:11 Scripture reading: James 4:1-12 When God arises in His power and acts to deliver His people and vanquish the enemy, He will also show how futile the Assyrian effort was. All their power, their threats, their plan of war—it is all chaff, easily lifted by the wind and blown away to where no one knows, and no one cares. They will also produce stubble—like shortened stalks of corn left in the field after the combine has passed over and chopped it down. All their warmongering produces combustible products. Like their war efforts, they themselves will be consumed by fire. What is more—the fire that will kindle the chaff and stubble will be their own “breath.” Their raging and furious anger will consume them. All their cries of war will later turn into the weeping of defeat. Even Sennacherib, for all his boasting,was killed by his own sons upon his return to Nineveh. God breaks human pride with divine power. The strong cannot withstand Him. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6; see Proverbs 3:34). Pride, worldly living, human vanity, and careless frivolity only conceive chaff. It is only by faith in Jesus Christ that we can please God (Hebrews 11:6). Suggestions for prayer Pray that you may not be tempted by the world or by pride. Ask the Lord for grace to keep you humble, doing good works that please Him. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 15 – The Lord will arise

“Now I will arise," says the Lord, "now I will lift Myself up; now I will be exalted.” – Isaiah 33:10 Scripture reading: Ps. 42:1-11 We do not trust God's wisdom as we should. Not only will God keep His promises, but He fulfills them in the best way, at the best time. We often wonder, why should God wait to deliver us? What purpose is there in His delay? Put these questions another way: would we learn to trust God if He answered us immediately? Does your faith grow more in comfort, or in adversity? So when it appears that the church is in utter ruin, God intervenes. He once again declares that He is Judge over all peoples. Yes, the Jews faced tremendous oppression. They were fearful. They were brought very low. God promises to arise, and we learn that our help is in the Name of the Lord! It is often in the Word of God when God's people are low and oppressed that He arises and shows His might. When God acts powerfully out of earthly weakness and lowliness, the message is clear: God's power does not depend on mankind, and His strength and wisdom are not of this world. God sometimes brings us low and under affliction to teach us that what we need most is Him. He is always with us; He never forgets His own! He will arise, and He will act. Just as He sent Jesus “at the right time” (Romans 5:6; Galatians 4:4), the perfect Saviour. When God determines to save His people, their deliverance is certain!  Suggestions for prayer Give thanks to the Lord for His faithful presence with us and for drawing us near to Himself in our trials and afflictions. Praise the Lord for sending Christ—the right Saviour at the right time!...

Daily devotional

January 14 - The Lord lifted up

“Now I will lift Myself up; now I will be exalted.” - Isaiah 33:10b  Scripture reading: Acts 17:22-34 The kingdom of man has exalted itself and spread itself over the world since the Fall. God bides His time; these “times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a Man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). He tells Judah that He is ready to act, to encourage and comfort them. God's actions are not haphazard, but determined and then carried out according to His holy will. God's people see that all other helpers are no help at all, but we must wait patiently for the Lord to deliver. God is no greater exalted than through Jesus Christ. Isaiah will later proclaim the exaltation of the Servant of the Lord in 52:13. Jesus Christ is exalted because of His “wisdom”, but also because “He was despised and rejected by men; a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief...” (v. 3a). Would you bow humbly to Jesus Christ, exalted at God's right hand? Would you repent of your pride and confess your need for His mercy? When the kingdom of man gets proud with God, He declares, “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations...” (Psalm 46:10a). Let us not be proud and foolish like the nations, but with humble faith bow to Christ. Suggestions for prayer Give thanks to God for delivering you from the foolishness of unbelief and giving you saving faith in Jesus Christ. Exalt the Lord of glory for His glorious works. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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

January 13 - Even the land mourns 

“The land mourns and languishes; Lebanon is confounded and withers away; Sharon is like a desert, and Bashan and Carmel shake off their leaves.” - Isaiah 33:9  Scripture reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-18 This language is not to be taken literally, even though Sennacherib and his army did march down the forests of Lebanon (see 37:24), and did pass through Sharon (see Isaiah 36). This figurative description means that even the land mourns with the people; everywhere you could look, there was a sense of fading, diminishing, or “languishing.” Life, as it were, had gone out of the land. This is used as a picture of the sad condition that the coming of the Assyrians had brought on the land and its people. Lebanon, known for its stately cedars, is now browned out; its leaves have fallen and Lebanon is ashamed. Sharon was also known for beautiful blossoms, but is now a desert region. Bashan and Carmel had verdant trees that were not only bare, but had lost their leaves early. The fear of Assyria has gripped the land; all stands still, cold and lifeless in the grip of dread terror. How can we press on in our present spiritual battle? Fear and dread easily grip us when the present enemies flex and strut. Our weakness in putting sin to death sometimes gives us the same cold and lifeless chill. But “God gave us not a spirit of fear, but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). Jesus Christ gave His Spirit to fill us with power and courage and strength, that we might persevere and not wither, even when the enemies seem so close and so powerful. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ so that by His Spirit you might not languish, but press on in this spiritual battle. Rev. Todd De Rooy currently serves in Redeemer URC, in Orange City, Iowa. He has served there since being ordained in 2008. 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....