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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....

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