Life's busy, read it when you're ready!

Create a free account to save articles for later, keep track of past articles you’ve read, and receive exclusive access to all RP resources.

Browse thousands of RP articles

Articles, news, and reviews with a Biblical perspective to inform, equip, and encourage Christians.

Get Articles Delivered!

Articles, news,and reviews with a Biblical perspective to inform, equip, and encourage Christians delivered direct to your inbox!

Create an Account

Save articles for later, keep track of past articles you’ve read, and receive exclusive access to all RP resources.


Advertising



Most Recent



The Rest


Daily devotional

January 7 - Faith is a good fight

“Fight the good fight of faith” - 1 Timothy 6:12a                    Scripture reading: 1 Timothy 6:1-21 Our Scripture meditation today reminds us of three vital truths.  There is a fight; it is a fight of faith and it is a good fight. If there were no enemies to faith, there would be no fight to it. We need to know the enemy and in God’s grace confront the enemy. Timothy as a young pastor needed encouragement to keep focused on the raging battle. The good fight of faith is the spiritual conflict with Satan’s kingdom of darkness in which believers are necessarily involved. As Paul began his letter to his understudy, Timothy, so he concludes it. The gospel is opposed from all sides. The world has declared war against Christ and His Kingdom. All around us the Word of God is ridiculed and spurned. Even within the church at large, the trustworthiness of the Scriptures is questioned and sadly denied.  We have no option but to take up our post. The Greek word for “fight” gives us the English word “agonize”. It was used in both military and athletic endeavors to describe the concentration, discipline and extreme effort needed to win. Paul urged Timothy to fight, that is, to agonize for Christ’s cause.  Are you a soldier of the cross, a follower of the Lamb? Do you fear to own His cause, or blush to speak His Name? Suggestions for Prayer Ask for ongoing grace to be found faithful in the fight.   Rev. Peter Vellenga is presently serving as itinerant preacher waiting upon Lord for continued assignment....

Daily devotional

January 6 - This will be a year of battle

“…wage the good warfare.” - 1 Timothy 1:18                        Scripture reading: 1 Timothy 1:1-20 Our calling in this year remains the same as in the days gone by. To be a people of faith and faithfulness involves battle.  Being a Christian is not smooth sailing. Already in this young year you have faced numerous temptations, whether you recognized them or not. We need to fight against sin - our sinful nature, the sinfulness of this world and even the devil himself. Are you fighting? What do you know about your sinful nature?  Do you recognize the snares of this world for what they are?  The world offers empty frivolity and hollow enticements which would have us become idol worshippers. Do you realize the enemy would always seek to accuse, to break down, to lead us astray? He is busy luring, ensnaring, goading into sin. Do you recognize the powers and principalities spoken of in Ephesians 6?  Paul, by the Holy Spirit, instructed Timothy and by extension every Christian to fight the battle against the enemies of Christ and the gospel and to do so with a good conscience. A good conscience serves as a rudder that steers the believer through the rocks and reefs of sin and error. Be careful not to make shipwreck of your faith. Plan your strategy.  Know your position in the battle. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to help you wage the good warfare. Pray for wisdom and courage. Rev. Peter Vellenga is presently serving as itinerant preacher waiting upon Lord for continued assignment. ...

Daily devotional

January 5 - He calls me by name

“...and I know you by name” - Exodus 33:17                                    Scripture reading: Exodus 33:1-23 In the days prepared before us, we will be called to face a variety of circumstances of which some will seem beyond our ability to endure. In our Scripture lesson today, the LORD commands Moses to lead the people into the promised land. Moses found that task beyond his ability.  How does the LORD respond to Moses’ doubts?  The Lord reassures Moses that He knows him by name! The Lord promises His care for His servants and does so by name! Our names carry meaning; they also serve to shape our identity. While in a crowd we may be just another figure, seemingly insignificant, no Christian is anonymous to God. For the One who made heaven and earth, knowing a few billion people is not a problem. God loves you immensely (John 3:16), He thinks about you all the time (Psalm 139:17-18), and He calls His sheep by name (John 10:3).   Moses was a picture of a greater One to come. His Name is Jesus—the One who delivers us from our sins.  How well do you know His name? His is the Name above all names (Philippians 2:9). “How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear! It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, and drives away his fear.”  Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord that He knows us by name. Praise the Name of Jesus. Rev. Peter Vellenga is presently serving as itinerant preacher waiting upon Lord for continued assignment....

Daily devotional

January 4 - Exalt the name of the Lord

“Oh magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.” - Psalm 34:3                     Scripture reading: Psalm 34:1-22 Life calls us to set priorities. How have you set yours? Psalm 34 helps us set our priorities aright. Always, our great calling remains to magnify the LORD and to exalt His name and to do that with and alongside fellow believers. Think of the magnifying glass—it brings everything into sharper focus. So too for us, when we set our priorities aright. Two days ago, we in freedom could be together in the Lord’s house of praise, prayer and proclamation to testify to the greatness of our God and the great things He has done, is doing, and will yet do.  David in magnifying the LORD bears witness to the happiness of those who trust in God. He writes out of conviction and experience after being delivered from his fears, saved out of his troubles.  And that continues to be the experience of the believer to this very day. God is near the broken-hearted and saves those experiencing a heavy spirit. He hears the believer’s cry for help.  Praise to God sets the tone for all that we are called to be and do. Will you make praise one of your priorities this year?   Suggestions for prayer Ask our heavenly Father to help set our priorities aright in such a way that praise would be a top priority.  Thank the LORD for our deliverance in Jesus Christ. Rev. Peter Vellenga is presently serving as itinerant preacher waiting upon Lord for continued assignment....

Daily devotional

January 3 - Pay attention to God’s Word

“Come, let us strike him with the tongue, and let us not pay attention to any of his words.” - Jeremiah 18:18b  Scripture reading: Jeremiah 18:1-23 If we are to truly experience a blessed year of our LORD 2022, we must pay close attention to the Word of God. As Psalm 119:105 teaches, God’s Word is to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.  In our Scripture lesson today, we read of a people who lived in dead formalism and who were determined to follow their own plans and act according to the stubbornness of their own evil hearts (vs.12). The people who were called to live in covenant fellowship with the LORD spurned His covenant Word. Jeremiah was called to bring a word of reproof and correction, but that Word of wise counsel was rejected. With their own words they would strike the Word-bearer sent by God (and in the future Christ). They had murderous intentions and later Jeremiah would experience being thrown alive into a deep pit on account of God’s Word.  What will it be for us this year? Will we heed the whole counsel of God? Or, will we pick and choose according to our own liking? Each day, we who are a willful people by nature must turn to God’s Word to direct us according to His will. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord for a pliable heart. Ask for a heart that is united to fear God’s Name (Psalm 86:11b) Rev. Peter Vellenga is presently serving as itinerant preacher waiting upon Lord for continued assignment....

Daily devotional

January 2 - He leads me!

“He leads me beside… He leads me in…” - Psalm 23:2b-3b                                                                        Scripture reading: Psalm 23:1-6 What is it that you need in the year of our Lord, 2022? You need the leading of the Good Shepherd. Today’s familiar and beloved psalm has brought comfort and hope to God’s people throughout the ages.  This psalm celebrates all that the Good Shepherd does for His sheep.  Psalm 23 describes the trustworthiness of our Good Shepherd. He cares for us (v.1); He provides for our physical needs (v.2); He shows us how to live holy lives (v.3); He restores us, comforts us, heals us, and bountifully blesses us (vv.3-5); and He will not abandon us (v.6). He leads us each step of the way. How this conviction must serve for the strengthening of our souls.  However, there is in this Psalm something else that should not be overlooked. Sheep follow their shepherd. The blessings and comfort of this psalm do not come to sheep that do not follow the Shepherd. As Jesus reminds us, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). Do you know what it is to hear His voice? Will you be known as one following the Good Shepherd this year? Do you take comfort in the Shepherd’s leading? Suggestions for prayer Pray for our Saviour Shepherd’s continued leading, for much we need His tender care. Be specific for various areas of your life and loved ones including the Church. Rev. Peter Vellenga is presently serving as itinerant preacher waiting upon Lord for continued assignment....

Daily devotional

Introduction to January

In some ways, the New Year simply marks the passage of one day into the next. There is nonetheless, real significance in the turning of the calendar from one year to another.  The beginning of a New Year especially draws our attention to the unfolding journey that brings us from this world to the next, a journey through time until time no more. The believer, confident in God’s sovereign design, trusts that his or her times are secure: our times are in His Hand! This month we want to take some time reflecting on our unfolding journey. We will meditate both on how we are to live before the LORD and on His provisions for us on the way. Together, we will be both challenged and encouraged to seek the Lord and His purposes. Our meditation D.V. will help us focus on the Lord’s promise and call in our lives. Be encouraged day by day to know that the LORD is our Helper. Keep your eye on that day when time shall be no more. “Hours and days and years and ages swift as moving shadows flee; "As we scan life’s fleeting pages, naught enduring do we see; "On the paths our feet are wending, footprints all will be effaced; "Present time to past is tending, though its page is not erased.” – Psalter Hymnal 474 Stanza 1 May you experience a blessed New Year! May God’s peace be your joy! May God’s purposes be your desire! January 1 - Teach us... “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” - Psalm 90:12                                                                          Scripture reading: Psalm 90:1-17 A blessed New Year to you! Psalm 90 teaches us the frailty of man in the context of God’s eternality. It is a prayer offered by Moses in which he asks our heavenly Father to have mercy on His children who live in this sin-cursed world. Life is short and apart from God’s blessing, that curse consumes. We see it in the world all around us.  Psalm 90 reminds us of the brevity of life. Seventy years soon fly by. But we may live each day given us, knowing that God’s promises are sure. His ear is open to the believer’s cry. The favor of our heavenly Father, His beauty, is upon His children. They can and must trust that He will satisfy us with His steadfast love (vs.14) and establish the work of our hands (vs.17).  May this new year find us often in prayer asking for the Lord’s nearness in all that we are called to be and do. Pray for a heart of wisdom so that we may redeem the time. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).  Seek His holy will.  Suggestions for prayer Pray in earnest for a heart of wisdom. Pray for the grace to live according to God’s will. Rev. Peter Vellenga is presently serving as itinerant preacher waiting upon Lord for continued assignment....

Daily devotional

December 31 - Alpha and Omega

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” - Revelation 22:12-13  Scripture reading: Matthew 2:8-23 The history of the Lord Jesus Christ has not ended. Even today, we are still a part of the story and we will be part of the end, one way or another. The Bible ends with reminders that He will return and that it will be sooner than is expected. For many, it has been too easy to think that tomorrow will be like today and the next year smoother than the last. The Lord, however, often reminds us to be ready for His return. When He comes again, it will not be as a Child laid in a manger. He will come as the Judge and the conquering King. He will come as the all-powerful Son of God. Many people were not ready for His first coming. By and large, as time passed, they rejected Him. Only a few faithful women and one disciple were at His cross. Very few, at first, came to the tomb. When it is your time, or His time to return, will you be ready? Will you meet Him with joy? As you enter another year, know that you are reconciled to God through His blood! Be sure that you have kissed the Son, lest He be angry and you perish in the way! (Psalm 2:12). It will not be long, when rather than seeing Him dimly, it shall be face to face. May you be one of those that looks forward to His coming with joy, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" Suggestion for prayer Pray that the church of Jesus Christ would be ready to meet her bridegroom! Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel....

Daily devotional

December 30 - No reputation

“Christ Jesus… made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” - Philippians 2:7-8  Scripture reading: Philippians 2:1-11 We cannot forget the purpose of the incarnation of Christ. Taking on flesh was a means to an end; it was a step to a much greater commitment. He was born so that He might die in place of sinners. Now is a good time to be reminded of this and to remind others as well. If this time becomes a time of focusing merely on His birth, there will be little profit in it. The life of the Lord Jesus Christ was one of humble obedience, even from his youth (Luke 2:40, 52). He refused to sin; He refused to take shortcuts when tempted (Luke 4:8). He kept the law of God perfectly. On the cross, He Who knew no sin became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). This was a lifetime, and death, of intense humiliation and yet perfect obedience and glory. In a world that has twisted the history of the Saviour and even forgotten the real reason for His coming, let us never forget the rest of the story. This is a time when good news is needed and when the fields are white for the harvest. Jesus Christ came to save sinners and His incarnation is the start of a sobering and joyful story. When people speak about the birth of Christ, let us not be afraid to “spoil the party” by also telling of His death and resurrection and the need for that death. This will be the greatest gift you can give, the gift of the good news! Suggestion for prayer Pray for a growing understanding of the humble obedience of the Son of God and how it was necessary for the forgiveness of our sins.  Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel....

Daily devotional

December 29 - Wise men

“…when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him.” -  Matthew 2:11  Scripture reading: Matthew 2:8-23 This group of wise men, or Magi, would not have been ordinary men. They had the resources to make a significant journey and to bring treasures as gifts. Their presence had caused quite a stir in Jerusalem. They would have been some of the most educated men of their time. By earthly standards, these were prominent men. Yet we see them “rejoicing with exceeding joy” when they are led again by the star, then falling down and worshipping a poor child! J. C. Ryle says about this scene, “We read of no greater faith than this in the whole volume of the Bible.” While we may not be able to judge whether that statement is strictly true, there is something to Ryle’s sentiment. This was a poor family, in a small, obscure village, in what was undoubtedly an ordinary house. Yet these mighty men fall down and worship! The Lord had indeed given them true wisdom and great faith! It is not natural or normal for accomplished wise men to bow easily to anyone, much less in such a place. It is not natural for anyone, apart from the Holy Spirit's work, to seek or bow before the Lord Jesus. These men, however, had been given eyes to see Who was before them. Our own pilgrimages have the same goal: to know Him, enjoy Him and worship Him forever. Will you join these wise men in the eternal worship of the King of kings? Come, let us adore Him! Suggestion for prayer Pray for the true wisdom that seeks the King of kings and leads to His worship! Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel. ...

Daily devotional

December 28 - A troubled city 

“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” - Matthew 2:3  Scripture reading: Matthew 2:1-7 We should not be too surprised that Herod was troubled to hear about the birth of the King. After all, which king would want to hear this news? Even more, Herod was an Idumean, which is the Greek for “Edomite.” These were the sons of Esau, who had an ancient feud with Israel. More surprising, however, is to hear that Jerusalem was troubled along with Herod! Why would this be? Should they not be excited that the Messiah was born? Perhaps they were tired of the various zealot rebellions that had happened in those times. Maybe they simply did not want to “rock the boat.” Or it is possible that many of them were happy with the benefits of the Roman empire. After all, Rome allowed a lot of trade and prosperity. It had brought a form of slavery under taxation, but also a long period of peace under firm rule. Whatever the reasons were, Jerusalem would rather keep things the way they were. Is this not true of many today when they are confronted with the truth about Christ? The call to bend the knee to the King of kings is profoundly life-changing. It involves getting off of the throne of our own lives and submitting to the will of God. Are you perhaps also troubled by the idea of surrendering some areas of your life, mind or possessions to the Lord? Do not forget that the call to trust in Christ comes at a cost, even at times the cost of earthly security! (Luke 12:53). Suggestion for Prayer: Pray that you would not be troubled when the Lord calls you to be ruled by His Word and Spirit.  Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel....

Daily devotional

December 27 - Anna’s evangelism

“…she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” -  Luke 2:38  Scripture reading: Luke 2:36-38 The witnesses to the birth of Christ are a complete set of representatives. They represent old and young, male and female, Jew and Gentile, rich and poor. Here the focus is on Anna, a prophetess. Prophetesses were relatively rare in the time of the scriptures. They seem to have been most prominent in spiritually dark times. When men failed to lead and speak God’s Word, the Lord used dedicated and godly women in more visible ways. For about 400 years before the coming of Christ, we do not hear of a single true prophet. Here, at the end of that age, we see a dedicated prophetess. Anna was a widow who had lost her husband at a young age. Since then, for many decades, she had lived at the temple, fasting and praying, night and day. Some interpret the language to indicate that she would have been well over 100 years old, though the 84 years could also refer to her age.  She was another symbol of the very long time that believers waited for the Saviour. It is a reminder that some will have to wait a lifetime for prayers to be answered. Now, however, she is a picture of thanksgiving and joyful evangelism! When we truly grasp the joy of Christ's coming, we will begin to speak of Him to others. The Lord Jesus promises that "...whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32). Suggestion for prayer Pray that more believers would speak about the glory of Christ to their brothers and sisters in the church. Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel....

Daily devotional

December 26 - Simeon’s joy

“…my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.” - Luke 2:30-32  Scripture reading: Luke 2:22-35 The birth of Christ is witnessed by an interesting set of characters. First, there were the shepherds. But now, as the firstborn Son was brought to the temple, we are introduced to another. This time it is a man named Simeon. We do not know much about him. He seems to have been a witness set apart for this specific moment. The language of verses 26 and 29 indicates that he was likely a very old man. Try to imagine this elderly believer, who lived in Jerusalem, coming “by the Spirit into the temple” (Luke 2:27). He knew, from the Holy Spirit, that he would one day meet the Messiah. His age reminds us that believing Israelites had waited a long, long time for the Messiah to come. At just the right time, he is there to greet this poor little family in the Father’s house. He takes the Child into his arms and blesses God. Simeon’s main testimony is great joy in seeing the Saviour! But why is this happening? Simeon’s testimony would affect Joseph and Mary, amazing them (Luke 2:23). It must have been an encouragement for this family to be greeted with such warmth and joy! This was also an appropriate reception to His Father’s house. For the first time, a genuinely righteous Child of God was entering the temple. Most importantly, despite His poverty and the strange circumstances of His birth, the beloved Son entered with the glory being given to God. Suggestion for prayer Pray for an eager expectation of the second coming of Christ, as Simeon had at the first coming!  Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel....

Daily devotional

December 25 - The shepherd’s testimony

“Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” - Luke 2:20  Scripture reading: Luke 2:8-20 If we understood the place of a shepherd in New Testament Israel, we might wonder why God would choose to send angels to them. Shepherds were the lowest class. Their occupation, including the need to range sheep over long distances in the dry season, meant they could not keep the Sabbath as the Pharisees expected. Some ancient sources say that their testimony was not allowed to be used in a court of law, as they were considered unreliable and incapable of giving an accurate account. Once again, we see that the gospel account would not appeal to certain people. “…not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” (1 Corinthians 1:26). Imagine then the effect of their testimony on the surrounding communities. Would they be mocked? Perhaps they would be treated as those who claim to have seen supernatural sights in our day? It would take faith to believe them! These shepherds are the start of a longer storyline. Throughout the ministry of Jesus, his followers would include converted sinners, tax-collectors, and zealots. The first witness to his resurrection would be Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons (Mark 16:9). When we bring the glorious message of the gospel, we should not be surprised if we are counted as fools. We are in lowly company when we believe in the virgin birth, the cross and the resurrection! And yet, this is the most glorious message to witness.  Suggestion for prayer Pray for someone who is too proud or “wise” to hear the gospel message. Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel....

Daily devotional

December 24 - The firstborn son

“She brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” -  Luke 2:7  Scripture reading: Luke 2:1-7 The word firstborn has a special meaning here. We would already know this reality from the context; it would be obvious. The term “firstborn” highlights the special status of this Son. The birth of a firstborn child is always a special moment; it is the moment we start parenting. There was even more to this status in Bible times. God had taught his people from the moment they left Egypt that their firstborn children belonged to Him (Luke 2:23). They had to pay a special redemption price for their firstborn sons, similar to what they had to offer the first fruits of their harvest. There was an expectation that the Messiah would be a firstborn King, made evident by prophecy (Psalm 89:26-27). The word “firstborn” here is as much a title as it is a description. It indicates that despite the poverty and shame in this scene, this Child is indeed the Chosen One. Mary gives her Son the very best care, respect and love that she can. She is deeply impressed by these events (Luke 2:19). She was caring for the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29). He is the firstborn over all creation, the owner of everything (Colossians 1:15). He is the only firstborn that is worthy of worship (Hebrews 1:6). He is the firstborn from the dead and the ruler over the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5). His birth would change everything. The coming of the Lord’s angels in the following verses was a sign of these truths! Suggestion for prayer Pray that God’s gift of His firstborn Son would once again be seen as the hope of all the earth.  Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel....

Daily devotional

December 23 - A sad journey

“Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea… to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.” - Luke 2:4-5  Scripture reading: Luke 2:1-5 The birth story of Jesus Christ begins under tyranny. Caesar Augustus, who was even thought of as a god, was busy ensuring that his empire would be taxed efficiently. This meant that lives were upended, all so that the Romans could have the information necessary to dominate their subjects. People like Joseph, who worked as a tradesman, were not wealthy. A command to travel like this meant hardship and loss. To make matters worse, his fiancé was expecting. This did not look good to the community and it was not an ideal time for a journey. Pregnancy was very hazardous in those times. Everything about the scene is sad and difficult. When they came to their destination, things did not get better. There was no comfortable place to stay; there was no room for them in a dwelling or inn. They ended up in a stable, a barn, or perhaps the courtyard of a home where animals were kept. Sadly, much of what is thought of as “Christmas” romanticizes this scene. This is not good! There was little or nothing cozy or ideal about this situation. These would have been miserable and degrading circumstances. The Lord had chosen to “make Himself of no reputation” and “take the form of a bondservant” (Philippians 2:7). This scene is about the Lord Jesus beginning to take the place of sinners. The reason for this situation is that “…He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Suggestion for prayer Pray for a realistic view of the incarnation and that many would see the true reason for the humility of Christ. Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel....

Daily devotional

December 22 - His name is Jesus

“She will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” - Matthew 1:21  Scripture reading: Matthew 1:18-24 Joseph had a unique role in the history of salvation. It was his calling to be stepfather to the Son of God! He would have a difficult life, being forced to move multiple times. The angel's visit must have been precious to him, as he may have done things far differently had he not received it. One of his most important assignments was the naming of Jesus. In ancient times, names were not chosen for their appealing sound. Most new parents did not discuss whether first names "fit" well with middle names or last names. They chose names that were significant to families and that a child was expected to live up to. In this case, the name was ultimately chosen by God for His Son. Jesus is a short form for “Jehovah-saves.” Jehovah, or Yahweh, is the covenant name of the Lord. It means that He is the truly existing God Who also visits His people. Jesus is also the Greek version of the Old Testament name Joshua. Joshua was called to lead the army of Israel into battle, with impossible odds against them. Time and time again, they learned that the battle belonged to the Lord. Jesus would become a far greater saviour than Joshua, however. He would not merely save from enemies, but from sin itself. He was not simply a symbol of Jehovah’s help. He was and is Jehovah Who saves. Joseph was given one of the most important tasks in all of history: declaring the name of Jesus! Suggestion for prayer Pray for a greater understanding of the true significance of the name Jesus in a world that uses His name so lightly! Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel....

Daily devotional

December 21 - A miracle child

“Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John… he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.” -  Luke 1:13,16  Scripture reading: Luke 1:1-25 The Lord chose, on several occasions, to mark His work in history with unusual birth stories. Some examples include the births of Isaac, Samuel, Samson and John the Baptist. These births were like signposts, or markers, reminding that the Lord alone could provide deliverance for His people. These occasions were also surrounded by signs such as announcements by angels. Strange, miraculous things happened! Elizabeth was “well advanced in years” and yet was expecting a baby. Zacharias was visited by an angel and was unable to speak for months. The baby boy was given an unusual name and was filled with the Holy Spirit. He would live an extraordinary life in the wilderness, even as a youth. All of these things were proof that the Lord was working out his plan in history. John the Baptist was sent to get the attention of God’s people. They needed a wake-up call, a call to repentance. They needed to be prepared to meet the Lord Jesus. Though we live in different times, is it not true that many need the same call today? A call to be turned, away from themselves, away from worldliness and away from superficial religion? Are you prepared to meet the Lord when He returns? Are your friends and your family ready? One day, all of us will have to meet Him face-to-face. Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and His impending arrival ought to fill us with reverence! Suggestion for prayer Pray for those that do not see their need to be turned to the Lord God, that the preaching of the gospel would lead them to true repentance.  Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel....

Daily devotional

December 20 - Called out of Egypt

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.” - Hosea 11:1  Scripture reading: Hosea 11:1-9 It is interesting to think about this text and how Old Testament believers would read it. They would naturally look backward in time. They would see this as a hopeful picture of how God had rescued their fledgling nation out of slavery in Egypt. The terms are endearing and beautiful. Sadly, however, the context is appalling. In the context, Hosea makes comparisons that show how shamefully Israel’s rebellion contrasts with the Lord’s love. He speaks of great wickedness in the verse before and of sacrifices to the Baals in the verse after. This was a reminder to sinful and rebellious people of God’s covenant love to them. Reading this in context helps us understand the significance of what Matthew 2:15 means as the Holy Spirit highlights this verse. Matthew understood that this text mainly pointed forward to the Son of God. As His family fled the threats of Herod, the Lord Jesus Christ was forced into exile in Egypt. He was suffering the consequences of sin as his family was driven into a foreign land. But He was driven there for the purpose of being called back out. “…that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son’” (Matthew 2:15). Even as a little child, the Lord Jesus was already taking the place of sinners. He would take the route of His people so that He could redeem His people. And He did so, always, as the beloved Son of the Father. Suggestion for prayer Pray for covenant children who are in danger of going into slavery to sin, that they would see their need for the Son.  Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel....

Daily devotional

December 19 - A ruler from Bethlehem

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” - Micah 5:2  Scripture reading: Micah 5  Bethlehem was just a tiny, obscure village. Here it was even referred to as “little among the thousands of Judah.” Almost any other town would be bigger and seem better, apart from one fact: it was the birthplace of David, the great king of Israel.  David started as a mere shepherd boy. He was a little brother, from a little village and yet, it was David who put Bethlehem on the map. He drove back his nation's enemies and he united the tribes under one ruler. There was a time of peace and plenty. A powerful family line of kings would rule after David for many generations. People would remember Bethlehem, mainly because David was a man after God’s own heart who was raised up to be a great leader (1 Samuel 13:14). All of David’s accomplishments, however, were just preparation for the real purpose of Bethlehem. History set the stage for the One Ruler, the King of Kings, to be born there. He is the eternal Son of God, Who has always existed, from everlasting. And yet, He would choose this tiny place as a testimony to the world. He could have chosen to be born in Jerusalem, or even Rome, but instead, He arranged history so that His earthly life would begin in an otherwise obscure place. “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise… and the weak things to put to shame the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27).  Suggestion for prayer Pray that the humility of Christ would be impressed on many in these times, and that they would truly come to Christ. Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel....

Daily devotional

December 18 - The root and the branch

Isaiah 11:1–2 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him. Scripture reading: Isaiah 11:1-16  When we talk about a “family tree,” we use the same symbol that Isaiah spoke of in chapter 11. Isaiah pictures David’s father, Jesse, as the trunk or the stem of this family tree. From his son, David, onward, this would have been the family tree of the kings. Generation after generation, his sons had ruled over Judah. What is profound, however, is the context of this verse. At the end of chapter 10, the LORD is pictured as cutting down many forests. Isaiah 10:33 says, “Those of high stature will be hewn down, And the haughty will be humbled.” The hope of Isaiah 11:1 comes on the heels of a threat. The threat is that the nations, and even their kings, will be cut down to size. In time, sadly, this would happen to the house of Jesse. They would lose their high position and they would become prisoners and slaves in exile. What had once been a mighty family tree would be a mere stump. The glory of the kings of Judah would be cut down! Imagine if your family was forcibly taken to a foreign land and imprisoned? Would you have hope for the future? Isaiah saw hope, that from that stump a new shoot would begin to grow. God allowed the descendants of Jesse to survive, despite their sin and its consequences. Far in the future, even though He was born into a poor family under the oppression of Rome, Jesus Christ would grow out of that "stump" to become our Rod and Branch!  Suggestion for prayer Pray that those you know who seem to have lost all hope, that they would see the hope that is in the Rod and the Branch.  Pastor Robert VanDoodewaard currently serves the Free Reformed Church in Powassan, Ontario, Canada as a minister of the gospel....

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67