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Daily devotional

April 29 - The ploy of false-god pharaoh

“The LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” - Exodus 5:21 Scripture reading: Exodus 5:1-21 The other ploy of Pharaoh was to play God’s people off on one another. It had temporary success. Turmoil can turn people against one another. This is a problem that plagues the history of the church. It is not that God is not clear with His promises; instead, people lose sight of them, turning against those whom God has entrusted to their care—or turning against one another. How difficult it can be for people to live contentedly within the church of Jesus Christ. Harmony can be an elusive pursuit far too many times. Christ knew such betrayal and discontent. When we pray for patience and submission, though, we will devour each other less and be united more in the Lord as we wait on the Lord. Spiritual arrogance and ignorance are disappointing. But God is not on the side of arrogance and ignorance; He is on the side of those whom He has saved and will deliver in Christ. They are the ones with peace. They are the ones who have the privilege of worshiping Him—and why wouldn’t they? They are not praising Him for what they have done, they are praising Him for what He has done in giving peace from evil, peace with God, the peace of God and true peace among Christians. In the end, it will all work out for those who are followers of the God of grace. We just need the patience to believe that good news for our lives. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord if you live in a harmonious relationship with your fellow-church members and leadership. Pray to the Lord for the submissive spirit that is needed to promote the harmony of the church even when turmoil strikes. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa. 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 28 - The ploys of false-god Pharaoh

“The LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” - Exodus 5:21  Scripture reading: Exodus 5:1-21 Moses said that if Pharaoh would not let God’s people go, the people would be plagued by the sword (5:3). Yet Pharaoh in false imitation has his own sword (5:21) to plague God’s people so that they would lose heart and lose sight of the promises that Pharaoh calls lies (v. 9). In a pleasure-seeking world, the temptation for everyone in Christ when life is unpleasant is to lose sight of the joys set before us and the promises that await. It is hard to live by faith and not merely by sight or our feelings. Yet looks and feelings can be deceiving. Wickedly, Pharaoh, as an agent of evil, thought he could take God’s place; yet the Word of the Lord declares differently. The Word comforts when sight or feelings cannot. We are to live by what we hear: Christ says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. I am with you until the close of the age.” Faith recalls Who is LORD and Who is to be followed. Pharaoh’s plagues were nothing compared to the plagues of the Lord. Pharaoh’s injustice could not compare to the justice of the Lord. The trials of this life are nothing in comparison to the joys set before us. Pharaoh wanted to think he was the ultimate boss. We are tempted to find another boss. But there is only One and He sits at God’s right hand. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord that in His inscrutable ways He can turn all things to the good of those who love Him. Pray that the Lord will grant you the spiritual vision to see the eternal joys that are set before you in Jesus Christ, so that you won’t live a disheartened life. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 27 - The initial resistance of false-god pharaoh

“But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice and let Israel go?”” - Exodus 5:2 Scripture reading: Exodus 5:1-21 Pharaoh’s initial response to God’s Word is no different from many who respond to the gospel—arrogance and ignorance; “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice?” Arrogance stems from ignorance of God—a problem that the Lord will solve (Exodus 7:17; 8:10, 22). The spirit of spiritual arrogance and ignorance brings disappointment, discouragement and even dissension within the camp of God’s people, including Moses and Aaron. However, this arrogance and ignorance were predicted. It wasn’t going to be easy for Moses and God’s people, but God way would prevail. God was still with Moses and the people despite the arrogance. It didn’t look like it, but looks can be deceiving. That is the comfort that we can draw when we encounter unbelief. Anti-Christian attitudes are to be expected. However, God will still work it all out. Such arrogance and ignorance persist: “Who is the LORD that I should listen to Him?” When we sin as Christians, such arrogance arises. It calls for pleas for pardon to God. Godlessness offends, but should not surprise, given man’s heart, nor should it cause despair. By God’s grace, we come to know Who the true God-incarnate is and Whose kingdom lasts forever. It is Christ—not Pharaoh. Don’t despair. Be still and faithful! Continue to be God’s ambassador to the ends of the earth. Reflect your Saviour—God-incarnate, Jesus Christ, Who knew no arrogance, nor ignorance, so that you can shine to the world as His godly reflection. Suggestions for prayer Seek pardon from arrogance and spiritual ignorance. Pray to be a godly ambassador of Christ in word and deed. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 26 - God further prepares the deliverer

“And the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the people of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.” - Exodus 4:31  Scripture reading: Exodus 4:27-31 Moses’ meeting with Aaron brings a different encouragement than at his departure from Midian. At Midian he was encouraged in the midst of the unbelief of Pharaoh. Through his meeting with Aaron and working with Aaron, he would be encouraged in the midst of faith. Aaron comes as God promised. Both Aaron and Moses go to the elders and people. A pattern develops: word-deed-faith-word-deed. The people hear (word), see the signs (deed), believe (faith), hear (word) and worship (deed). God told Moses that the elders would believe (3:18). This faith, just like true faith today, leads to the worship of God because the word of redemption that is believed moves people to worship. These people, who had been in bondage so long, now come to know the good news of deliverance by the Lord. How could they not but worship God? What was true back then is still true today! Notice how faith encourages! What a joy to be in the midst of faith! What a joy for a family! What a joy for parents, widows and widowers! What a joy for the persecuted in the Lord! What a joy for the weary and heavy-laden! What a tool of encouragement faith can be! The communion of the saints encourages the faithful as the faithful encourage. Be encouraged by God’s covenant faithfulness, rather than discouraged by man’s faithfulness. Be encouraged by the faithfulness of other Christians too. By God and the Christian faithful, we will be moved to be encouragers ourselves. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for His encouraging gospel that moves you to worship, and also for the blessing that He gives you in the communion of the saints, the church of Jesus Christ. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 25 - God further prepares the deliverer

“Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin and touched Moses' feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!”” - Exodus 4:25 Scripture reading: Exodus 4:24-26 This story has its puzzles. It is safe to say, however, that Moses underestimated the need to provide the sign of the covenant to his child. Importance is to be tied to the covenant of grace, to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God was remembering His firstborn, His covenant promises to Abraham through whose seed all the nations of the earth were to be blessed, ultimately in Christ. For Christ’s sake, Moses was to view his children covenantally, even as God Himself did. The Lord burned at Moses’ whining before; he was patient then, but not now. Moses considered the covenant lightly. It almost cost him his life. For the sake of our children, the Lord, and our own sake, we ought not to minimize God’s covenant, not in sacramental usage, nor when we remember Whose shed blood fulfilled the covenant of grace. Zipporah cries out, “You are a bridegroom of blood to me.” Spilled blood restores Moses so that he can proceed in his calling. In our relationship to God, blood had to be spilled to spare us. Only then can we be in covenant with God. Realizing that blood no longer needs to be spilled should make us realize how precious Christ’s shed blood is for us. Ultimately it was the blood of Christ that would spare Moses so he could serve the Lord. We must confess that it is only the blood of Christ, the bridegroom, that will spare us for that purpose as well. Suggestions for prayer Give thanks to the Lord for the marvels of His covenant mercies to us in Christ. Pray that the covenant relationship that God has established with believers in Christ and their children will be better understood and better appreciated. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 24 - God further prepares the deliverer

“When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.” - Exodus 4:22  Scripture reading: Exodus 4:21-23 God’s upcoming encounter with Pharaoh would show to Pharaoh that God alone was sovereign and worthy of divine worship. On this Lord’s Day of worship, such is a fitting subject. Some might ask, “How could someone like Pharaoh be blamed for hardness, for who resists the will of the sovereign God?” (Romans 9:19). The concern is that God is just using us as puppets. Yet we remember the responsibility of Pharaoh. Because God is sovereign, Pharaoh has responsibility. With us all, Pharaoh has no excuse before God, who clearly reveals Himself. Our problem is not first of all the hardening that comes, but the cold hearts that are there from the start. The Bible reminds us that God, in His justice, hands people over to their own desires (Romans 1:24, 26). People reap what they sow. Unbelief and sin drive people farther from the Lord. Such foolishness is a slippery slope to hell, which only God’s grace can change. God mentions this hardening for Moses’ encouragement, preparing him to serve with joy and confidence. Despite wrongful opposition ahead, everything will work out. People may not see the right way, the gospel or the importance of Christian living; they are hard of heart. But that ought not keep us from being faithful even as our Saviour was, for God will have His way in Egypt, at the cross and in our final deliverance. Don’t let sin and unbelief discourage you. Praise God for His superior faithfulness in Christ. Suggestions for prayer On this Lord’s Day, thank the Lord for His sovereignty over those who oppose Him and thank Him for giving you hope to serve Him well despite such opposition from sin and unbelief. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 23 - God further prepares the deliverer

“And the LORD said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.”” - Exodus 4:19  Scripture reading: Exodus 4:18-20 We often read here the word “return.” Through Moses’ “returning,” he is encouraged in his calling. One confirming encouragement is that family (Jethro) doesn’t become an impediment to his return. More encouraging to Moses is the further revelation that he receives from the Lord. God’s Word is meant to be such an encouragement. Kings come and go, but the Word of the Lord carries on. The desires of men will go with them to the grave, but the desire of the everlasting Lord will be fulfilled. What God says to Moses reminds us of Matthew 2:19, where God tells Joseph to return to Nazareth because he who was trying to take the Christ-child’s life was also dead. Moses pictures the Christ—the truest Deliverer of God’s people. The first Pharaoh of Exodus had not known Joseph, a deliverer of his people, and now the second Pharaoh of Exodus doesn’t know Moses, who will also be a deliverer of his people, just as Jesus would deliver His people under a domain which did not know Him. Evil wanted to deliver Moses to death, but he was not delivered to evil, so that he could be a deliverer from evil. Evil also wanted the Christ-child to be delivered unto death prematurely, but God had superior plans to deliver His people through Christ. God’s superior plans to deliver from evil were meant to encourage Moses; in Christ, they are meant to encourage us in our battle with sin as well. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the deliverance Christ has given you from the penalty and power of sin. Pray that He may continue His deliverance from sin in your life, as you heed the call to live more and more sanctified before Him, with the promise of full deliverance from sin’s power awaiting you in glory filling your heart with Christian hope. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 22 - No reason for reluctance

“But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.”” - Exodus 4:13  Scripture reading: Exodus 4:13-16 Moses has run out of excuses with God, but at least we get to the bottom of his unwillingness: Excuse #5: “Send someone else.” No grounds here! Moses just doesn’t want to go. We can empathize with Moses. It is quite a job to be a mediator for God’s people, to be the one used by God to go and save His people from slavery, to be God’s representative here on earth. In Moses we see that we needed a better Mediator, a Mediator who would not go reluctantly, kicking and screaming, but willingly, of His own accord, saying, “Not My will, but Yours be done.” That Mediator was Jesus Christ. The only One, “For there is only one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). It is for Christ’s sake that when we run out of excuses, the answer is not to say to God, “Use someone else to do what I have been called to do.” We cannot have that attitude as Christians, to expect everyone else to do what we are called to do, or are called to be. Our motto in the Christian life cannot be, “Send someone else; let someone else do it,” whether it is because we feel inadequate, or simply because we don’t want to do it. Instead, our attitude has to be like our Saviour’s: “Here I am, send me.” Go and serve the Lord and just watch how God will be with you. Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Lord for providing the willing Mediator to restore peace between you and God. Pray that the Lord will equip you so that more and more you will seek to be a willing and obedient servant of the Lord. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 21 - No reason for reluctance

“But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent….”” - Exodus 4:10  Scripture reading: Exodus 4:10-12 As we have noticed, the sinful attitude comes up with excuses to turn from the Lord’s callings. Here is another from Moses: Excuse #4 “I won’t know what to say.” It seems odd that someone trained in the courts of Egypt would use such an excuse, especially when we read that Moses was “strong in speech and power,” according to Stephen in Acts 7. Yet, that is what Moses says. Moses is getting low on excuses, but even so, the Lord counsels him graciously: “Who made the mouth? If this is what I have called you to do and if I am the Lord over everything, doesn’t that include your vocal cords? I am going to be with you in every way—including what you have to say. Now go!” Jesus said that when it comes to defending the faith, we would not need professional orators; He would give the courage to speak for Him (Luke 12:8-12; Luke 21:12-19). It wasn’t so much that people would listen right away or be convinced at all. Look at the hardness of Pharaoh, after all. However, the Spirit would give us the courage to honour the Lord with our speech. We may not all be called to be missionaries in the formal sense, but we are all called to be ready to give an account of the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15). Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the ability to live a life worthy of the gospel, but then ask the Lord for the courage to be ready to speak about that life when people ask you about the hope that is within you. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 20 - No reason for reluctance

“Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you.’”” - Exodus 4:1 Scripture reading: Exodus 4:1-9 We can come up with plenty of excuses not to serve the Lord. Moses could, too: Excuse #3 But what if they don’t believe me? God said that the elders would believe him, but as with us in Christ, God is long-suffering. God gives us His Word and also signs to believe Him. He did it with Adam, Noah and Abraham. He does it also through Christ and the apostles, and here with Moses. “I will give you signs to perform, Moses. Drop the staff and pick up the snake by the tail that the staff has become.” Typically, you don’t pick up a serpent by the tail. It will bite you! Not this serpent! All it represents in a world of evil is under the control of the God of creation and redemption. Warn Pharaoh with the sign of the cloak as to Who is in charge of pain and pleasure; it is not Pharaoh; it is Almighty God. Turn the Nile into blood to show Who is God and that He is aware of the injustices against the covenant youth who are thrown to the gods of the river. God gives us an abundance of reasons to trust and serve Him, His creation, His miracles, His promises, the crucifixion, the resurrection and the testimony of the Word of God—plus His sacraments! He gives His Word; He gives His signs. So, go! Be strong and courageous and serve the Lord! Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord that He makes it so clear in His world and His Word that He is to be trusted and served in Christ. Pray that you might have the strength and courage to serve Him in a manner worthy of the gospel. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 19 - No reason for reluctance

“God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And He said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”” - Exodus 3:14  Scripture reading: Exodus 3:13-22 Moses has five reasons to stiff-arm God’s calling to serve Him. Here is another: Excuse #2 What if the people ask about Your power to help them? What if they ask about Your name? This is not a question of who, but what. This is not a question of whether they have ever run across this God before. The excuse is the fact that the people may not think that the name of this God is going to be good enough to save them, so Moses is asking, “What should I say then? I don’t like the idea that they will say to me that this God couldn’t possibly do them any good.” To bolster Moses’ confidence, God replies, “Just tell them that I AM Who I AM is sending you to them—the Name above every name. Then they will listen to you.” That’s the kind of God that we have when we are in Christ, the exact same God in Jesus Christ, Who says I will be with you always. Never will I leave you nor forsake you. I transcend your times and I know your times. No time is too difficult for Me to be in the midst, no time is able to constrict My authority over those times with My Word and My promises. I AM has sent you. Before Abraham was, I AM. I AM the light of the world. I AM the resurrection and the life. I AM the Good Shepherd. I AM is sending you. Now go into all the world and serve Me well. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for His steadfast love and dependability. Pray that you might dwell on that steadfast love and dependability in Christ as you are called to serve Him well in the days that lie ahead for you. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 18 - No reason for reluctance

“But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He said, “But I will be with you….”” - Exodus 3:11-12a  Scripture reading: Exodus 3:11-12 This is the classic tale of the reluctance of Moses. If you struggle with unwillingness, you are not alone; so did Moses. Yet God drains us of any excuses that would keep us from serving Him. Moses had no reason to say no to God. Neither do we. Consider these excuses, though: Excuse #1 Who am I? Such a statement may seem strangely absent from our modern syntax. Confidence bordering on arrogance abounds today. Maybe Moses is just being humble: “Who am I to face Pharaoh?” This is not humility; it is timidity. Moses fails to rely on the power of God. God replies to him, “You are not going alone; you have Me!” God even gives Moses a sign that points to the future—a day will come when you will all worship Me here. “I will be with you; and great days of worship are ahead. Now go!” Who am I? Who am I to teach my children in the ways of God? To volunteer? To help someone? Who is the church to go into all the world and proclaim the gospel, baptize and teach others? Who are we to do what the Lord has placed in front of us? It’s not about us. It’s about Who is with us and what the future holds—when we will be worshiping with God’s people in resurrected glory one day. If God is calling us, His calling comes with promises of hope. So, go! Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the many promises that He has kept and that He will fulfill in your life. Pray that you will take those promises to heart as you consider where He would have you serve Him with strength and courage. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 17 - The God of the living

“But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to Him.” - Luke 20:37-38 Scripture reading: Exodus 3:1-10; Luke 20:27-40 The burning bush speaks also to the fiery trials God’s people must face—Moses being a case in point. Both Moses and God’s people in general know what it was like to be strangers in a land not their own. Trials from the Lord may be fiery, but they do not consume God’s people. We know that is so because God reminds Moses of who God is, the God of resurrection promise (verse 6; Luke 20:37-38), the God of the living, of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God’s inseparable covenant love endures, even in the midst of death. God does not say that He was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He says that He is. In time God comes down to deliver Israel, foreshadowing Christ’s coming down from heaven to undergo the greatest of fiery trials for His people. Yet even in this trial, His Father would not let His Holy One see decay (Psalm 16:10; Acts. 2:27). Christians are not exempt from fiery trials. Yet the fire doesn’t consume when we know the God of resurrection promise. God sees, hears and knows, about our fiery trials. Even as Christ came down to deliver us from the bondage of sin, so also will He come down again and keep His promise to take us to be where He is in resurrection glory. God has not brought the trials to consume us, but to prepare us for His purposes, His deliverance, His service, and for eternity. Suggestions for prayer On this day when we especially celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, pray that the Lord might renew you by His Spirit to the comforts and joys that Christ’s resurrection bring. Pray that you might be given the spiritual strength to live gratefully and obediently in the power of Christ’s resurrection today and always. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 16 - Enlightened by the burning bush to the calling of God

“Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” - Exodus 3:10 Scripture reading: Exodus 3:1-10 The burning bush not only speaks to the holiness and mercy of God, but also to God’s calling of Moses. The revelation of holiness and mercy, in fact, leads to the revelation of one’s calling. Revere My holiness and mercy as I call you into My service. Revelation readies us for obedience. That happens all the time in everyday life. Think about how many things we do better when we have someone’s backing or when we do so out of respect. God does not tell us to be ready and willing to serve Him without first telling us why. God does not make us guess as to who He is or how He cares for us. He tells it plainly. I am great, holy and powerful; in mercy you can count on Me. So, serve Me; serve Me well. To his shame, Moses was not yet ready to serve the Lord readily and willingly. Thankfully, Jesus never had that problem. “I have come to do Your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7). Jesus knew that when he would do God’s will perfectly, God would not let Him see decay (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27). For Jesus’ sake, we too can serve in God’s kingdom in a spirit that imitates our Saviour. A self-serving world is no motivator to Christian service. What overcomes such a self-serving example are eyes open to the marvels of God’s holiness and mercy to us in Jesus Christ, which spurs a selfless attitude of gratitude to the Lord. Suggestions for prayer Be in prayer thankfully for the marvels God has shown you in Jesus Christ. Pray that the Lord might use those marvels to spur you on to love and good deeds. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 15 - Enlightened by the burning bush to the mercy of God

“He looked and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.” - Exodus 3:2 Scripture reading: Exodus 3:1-10 The fiery bush speaks to the holiness of God, but also to the mercy of God. For Moses’ sake and for our sake in Christ, we can be exceedingly glad for this. God is holy and we are not, yet we are not consumed. We can see ourselves in the burning-bush event as unconsumed, celebrating God’s mercy to us through faith in Christ. What made the bush unusual was not that it was burning, but that it was burning and not being consumed. Scripture does indeed speak of God as a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29), but here the fire does not consume. When you think about what Israel and Moses had been enduring, such a bush is a fitting sight. Israel was God’s chosen people, treated differently than other nations so as not to be consumed like other nations, but not because of anything deserving about her. Such a non-consumption is how it is for God’s covenant people, both in the Old Testament days and now in the New Testament days. Hebrews 12 says that kingdoms of the world will not last, but the kingdom of Christ, to which we belong through faith and grace, will not be consumed because of the grace of God and the righteousness of Christ. This is the joy of the gospel, for before the holy face of God, we all deserve to be consumed, but by the wondrous mercy of God through the crucified Christ we can confess that we are not. Suggestions for prayer Give thanks to the Lord for the marvellous mercies of God, who consumed your sins in Christ so that you need not be consumed. Pray for an ever-increasing devotion to serve your Saviour well, given the marvels of His grace. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 14 - Enlightened by the burning bush to the holiness of God

“Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”” - Exodus 3:5 Scripture reading: Exodus 3:1-10  These commands refer to “holy ground.” This area had become the house of God, His sanctuary, because He was dwelling there. In this sanctuary, God had made ground that was unclean, clean. God had cursed the ground in Genesis 3:17. In this event, however, God overcomes the curse by His very holiness. He can sanctify what would otherwise be perverse. Moses was called to respect that restored sanctity. Such a sense of sanctity and godly respect are to extend to farther ends for the followers of Christ today, where “holy ground” is found wherever God’s Spirit-inhabited people worship and work; both are realms of holy endeavour. As temples of God’s Spirit, our bodies are to be respected in a stewardly and chaste way as well. In all places and things, God’s people are called to godly respect for Christ’s sake—a respect that goes lacking in much of our world today. We are called to respect what God has given us to use for His glory. We are called to respect authority for the sake of Christ Who endows it. We are to respect the time that we have been given and to approach all our callings as holy and pleasing to God, which is our spiritual worship. As we live reverentially, we do so, anticipating the return of Christ, Who will make all things new and holy unprecedentedly. “Respect My holiness,” says the Lord, “wherever you go, and certainly whenever you gather to worship to hear My Word.” Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the various ways in which you can carry out holy endeavours in His name and thank the Lord for His Spirit’s presence in your life that allows such holy endeavours to take place. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 13 - Enlightened by the burning bush to the holiness of God

“Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”” - Exodus 3:5  Scripture reading: Exodus 3:1-10 Moses sees an unusual sight, a burning bush that is not consumed. He comes closer, only to hear the Word of God coming forth from the bush urgently telling him to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground. In those days, as is often the case today, people did not wear their shoes indoors. It was a matter of respect, of cleanliness, because your shoes were carrying in dirt from the outside. However, Moses is not inside, but outside. Yet, Moses is asked to take off his shoes for where Moses stands has now become a sanctuary; God is present. Shoes are removed out of respect for the person whose house you entered—even more so for the sake of God, Whose sanctuary Moses was entering. Without a respect for the person and Word of the Lord, we will not be ready and willing to serve Him. Such respect is missing from much of our world today. People’s actions today of impurity, discontent and destruction betray their irreverence for God. God demands and deserves our reverence. Whenever He meets with His people to supply His gospel Word, that is a holy place. Wherever people are, that is a place where they ought to live as if they are in the holy presence of God, for they are. When we know Christ as Saviour and Lord, such reverence makes us respect every moment as a holy endeavour before God, which is what makes life worth living. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to help you appreciate the holy act of worship all the more and to be more sensitive to the Christian ideal that we live Coram Deo—in the presence of God. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 12 - God prepares a deliverer: A lesson from Midian

“She gave birth to a son, and he called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.”” - Exodus 2:22  Scripture reading: Exodus 2:11-25 In Midian, we again see Moses’ tie with the past. Isaac received a wife after an episode at a well (Genesis 24). So did Jacob (Genesis 29). Moses increasingly is identified with God’s people and his forefathers—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. By grace, God was blessing Moses in Midian, equipping him with power, hospitality, and providing a wife and a son. Israel, in Exodus 1, knew similar blessings. God’s deliverer identifies with his brothers. Exodus 22:21 says that Israel was to treat the sojourner with respect because they too were aliens in Egypt. Moses has no land to call his own so God can use him to save His people. Moses pictures Jesus Christ, Who had no place to lay His head, humbled to the point of crucifixion. No one can relate to us like Christ, tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin, so that we can seek Him out in time of need. If we follow Christ, we too are aliens and strangers in a world that is alienated from Christ. We know God blesses us now, but the lasting and greater blessings are yet to come, lest we get cozy with the passing things of this world. We do not see perfection yet, but we know it is coming, so we are content to be strangers now, called to a holy life of faith in Christ as lights to the world, salt to the earth, as reflections of the Light of the world Himself. Suggestions for prayer Be thankful if you find that your different life in Christ is shining forth as a light to the world. Pray that the Lord will use you to be a difference in the world and that you will be ready to give an account of the hope within you to anyone who asks. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 11 - God prepares a deliverer: Lessons from Egypt

“When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian.” - Exodus 2:15  Scripture reading: Exodus 2:11-25 Another lesson of Egypt is that what man means for evil, God will use for good. In our passage, we see other ties back to Genesis. Moses’ situation resembles that of Joseph. Joseph goes out to his actual brothers (Genesis 37) and is rejected by them. Moses goes out to his “brothers,” and he is rejected by them. Joseph is exiled to Egypt by Midian traders (Genesis 37:25-36), while Moses is “exiled” to Midian by the hand of the Egyptians. Yet both Joseph and Moses experience final victory in Egypt. Here again, we see the tie to the past of Genesis as a foretaste of the victory that God will bring about in due time. What is meant for evil God will turn to good. Such is true for Joseph, for Moses, for Christ and for all those who are in Christ. We have to cling to such hope in evil times. God will work it all out. He always does. He always has and we see it no better than at the cross of Jesus Christ. That’s why there is always gospel hope. That is why there is always good news for those who follow Christ. Part of what makes the gospel such good news is not only that we are reconciled and redeemed by Christ, but that the transformation that He has accomplished for us as Christians is of such a nature that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Suggestions for prayer Recall times when God has worked evil in your life for good and give thanks to the Lord for such times. Pray to the Lord for the consoling vision to see how God will work out all things in your life for His glory and your good, so that hope may reign even more in your life. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 10 - God prepares a deliverer: Lessons from Egypt

“Who made you a prince and a judge over us?” - Exodus 2:14 Scripture reading: Exodus 2:11-25 Another lesson for Moses was to suffer as a deliverer. Moses will get used to rebukes and opposition when he becomes the leader and deliverer of God’s people. Even if Moses went ahead of himself in killing the Egyptian as he did, he was right to intervene to bring peace and order among those who were part of God’s covenant people. But as with this rebuke of Moses, the people of Israel in the future will be quick to speak, slow to listen and quick to become angry with Moses, like a rebellious mob. Such a rebellious, mob-like attitude is what brought Christ to the cross and it is an attitude that prevails today among those who have not come to know the peace of God in their lives. Such a life knows nothing but chaos. Moses came to his own people and they did not receive him—that was not to their advantage. Christ also came to His own and they did not receive Him. Christ comes to people who have grown up in the church and they do not receive Him. No matter who we are, if we don’t receive Christ, our life will be as chaotic as a mob scene. But to those who do receive Christ, who believed on His name, He gave the right to become children of God, born of God (John 1:12). Those who receive Him will know the peace of God and peace with God. Many are missing such peace. Suggestions for prayer On this day of worship—which may be a day where you hear the shouts of hosanna: “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” thank God for the coming of His Son and the peace He has brought to your life. Pray that many more may come to a lasting peace with God. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

Daily devotional

April 9 - God prepares the deliverer: Lessons in Egypt

“He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.” -  Exodus 2:12  Scripture reading: Exodus 2:11-25 In our passage, God is preparing Moses to be the deliverer of His people by what Moses does, whether good or bad. As we are called to be like Christ in our lives, we can be grateful that we can learn from our failings and rely on God all the more. Moses learns many lessons in Egypt. One of them is that the ends do not justify the means. Moses has a compassion for the people to whom he actually belongs. Such compassion is commendable—we can learn from that. Moses wants to fill a need, but he tried to fill it outside of God’s will and timing. Moses is deceptive like Jacob. Such deception does not honour the Lord. Moses is taking the deliverance of God’s people into His own hands, rather than waiting for God’s timing that arrives in verse 23. Taking matters into our own hands is not to be the character of God’s people who were called to use godly means for godly ends. Such was not Christ’s way for His people and such is not to be the way for us. If good things happen to those who wait, certainly this is the case for all of God’s people called to a godly patience today. Don’t go ahead of God and take matters sinfully into your own hands for God will work all to your good when you are in Christ through faith. Suggestions for prayer Pray for pardon if you are not valuing God’s timing in your life. Pray that the Lord might help you to wait patiently and obediently for God to supply your needs in due time. Rev. John Vermeer is the pastor of Doon United Reformed Church in Doon, Iowa....

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