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.

Search thousands of RP articles

Articles, news, and reviews that celebrate God's truth.

Get Articles Delivered!

Articles, news, and reviews that celebrate God's truth. delivered direct to your Inbox!





Daily devotional

June 9 - His name is holy

“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy.” - Isaiah 57:15  Scripture reading: Isaiah 57:14-21 Friday is here and Sunday is near. The Sunday liturgy includes a time of confession. Why do we have this communal time of confession? A maturing relationship with God highlights the need for confession. In fact, it becomes an essential activity in the life of the believer. In Isaiah, God declares His Name is “Holy”. Everything about Him Is Holy. His every action is Holy. His character is Holy. His attributes, like love and justice, righteousness and mercy, and how all these work together is in a very real sense, His holiness in motion. How does that relate to confession? Consider these words: “Let me never forget that the heinousness of sin lies not so much in the nature of sin committed, as in the greatness of the Person sinned against” (From the Puritan Prayer: “Humiliation”). That captures the significance of the holiness of God as it relates to sinful man. He is so perfect in His holiness, that any sin is a blasphemy against His Nature. The fact that He has given sinful people an avenue for access to Himself, through the reconciling work of Jesus Christ, is a great gift beyond description. Confession is a wonderful gift. Fellow believer, take time to confess your sins to God. As you do so, cultivate the awareness of His holiness. In so doing, Jesus will truly be for you the Beloved One. The Spirit’s work of sanctifying you will proceed. More sins will be exposed and thrown down and your life will bring God glory. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Spirit of God to increase your awareness of God’s holiness; pray that times of confession will not be mere routine, but true times of making yourself vulnerable to God to allow for deep confession, true repentance and a deeper walk with Him. Rev. Richard Vander Vaart served as a minister in the Christian Reformed Church of North America for over twenty years, before joining the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He is now serving as the Atlantic Region prison-visiting pastor working with Redemption Prison Ministry. 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

June 8 - The Lord God is an everlasting rock

“Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” - Isaiah 26:4  Scripture reading: Psalm 125:1-5; Philippians 4:7 Our lives are filled with upheavals and difficult circumstances, but even joyous events, like a wedding can cause ripples in life, waves that require careful handling to restore peace. What a blessing it is to know God is an everlasting rock. To the Psalmist, the Everlasting Rock is like the mountains which surround Jerusalem. Those mountains, which cannot be moved, are a visible, tangible sign of God’s blessing. They remind the believer the Covenant-Keeping God is steadfast, unmovable, their security. In Isaiah 26:3, the man who trusts in God, the Everlasting Rock, is a man who has perfect peace. This peace does not depend on things going well in the life of the believer. No matter the circumstances or trials, being set on the Rock means one has the peace of God. Philippians 4:7 weaves the metaphor of God, the Everlasting Rock, together with the promise of perfect peace. In Philippians 4, it is God Who guards His people. That recalls the picture of the Rock-Solid reliability of God—in the Old Testament and in the New—He is the security of His people. Jesus is the guarantee of both the security and the peace of God. Jesus has overcome the world, the devil and even the wickedness of our own sinful flesh. Believers are made alive in Jesus Christ through the power of the Spirit and can pour out before Jesus all their anxieties and fears, their wrong-doing and their burdens, knowing He hears and answers. He is their security and peace. Suggestions for prayer Quiet your heart before God and let the Spirit show you where you have been worrying, struggling, or hiding guilt from God. Pray to God, the Everlasting Rock, that He will restore your security and peace in Jesus Christ. Rev. Richard Vander Vaart served as a minister in the Christian Reformed Church of North America for over twenty years, before joining the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He is now serving as the Atlantic Region prison-visiting pastor working with Redemption Prison Ministry. 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

June 7 - Jesus the cornerstone 

“Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”” - Matthew 21:42 Scripture reading: Isaiah 28:14-16 By the work of the Spirit, the Word of God shines with the Self-Revelation of God—Who He Is and How He Acts. The LORD declared that He has laid a foundation in Zion, a Cornerstone. This is a clear reference to Jesus Christ, Who referred to Himself as the “Cornerstone”. Jesus is the gift promised long beforehand. History is oriented to the coming of Jesus Christ when the judgment and mercy of God would be revealed. Jesus is the Cornerstone. The orientation of a building is set by the position of the cornerstone. Jesus’ life teaches the believer to set his life’s course by the direction Jesus has set. As Jesus’ life on earth was lived in obedience to the Father, so too the believer conforms his life in obedience to the direction set by the Cornerstone. The cornerstone bears the weight of the building, but believers, built on Christ, are not called to carry burdens by themselves. Instead, sharing burdens and joys (I Corinthians 12:26) means bringing all these to Jesus in prayer. God the Father guarded His people through history, until the time when the foundation He built was prepared for the Cornerstone, Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God directs believers to conform to Jesus in obedience to the Word until the building, that is, the whole community of Jesus is built up in true faith. Jesus carries the weight of the whole building of believers. He has the strength to do so and He has the compassion large enough to do so. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for keeping His covenant promises as seen in the gift of Jesus; ask of the Spirit guidance and perseverance to live according to the direction set out for you in Jesus Christ. Ask the LORD to give the children in your church, family and community new life and direction in accordance with the promise that Jesus is their Cornerstone also. Rev. Richard Vander Vaart served as a minister in the Christian Reformed Church of North America for over twenty years, before joining the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He is now serving as the Atlantic Region prison-visiting pastor working with Redemption Prison Ministry. 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

June 6 - The Spirit of the fear of the Lord

“And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.” - Isaiah 11:2-3a Scripture reading: Job 38:1-30 In my years of preaching and writing devotions, one Bible-phrase I’ve used that will almost always generate pushback is “the fear of the LORD.” Those who hear this phrase will naturally protest and claim there is no reason to be afraid of God—He is, after all, loving, merciful and kind. This is true. But it misses the fact He is All-Powerful. He is appropriately angry with the wicked. Sinners cannot stand in His Presence. The work of the Spirit, in His seven-fold brilliance, is the work of instilling in believers an appropriate reverent, awe-filled respect for the LORD of Splendour. Consider the words the Omnipotent God spoke to righteous Job. Though Job was blameless and upright in his generation, he was still small. He could not be compared to the greatness of God. The majesty of the Living God prompts His people to be keenly aware of their need for Him and their puniness before Him and therefore awed at His greatness and humbled by His mercy. When one considers the creation works of God, aided by the Spirit, one is made aware of his true place in the plan of God; though man is small, God is mindful of him. The Seven-fold Spirit, the Spirit of the fear of the LORD, shows the believer his great sinfulness, brings him to the place of appropriate confession and humility, and moves him to praise the Living God, Who loves His people and works in them a desire for and an ability to grow in holiness. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the gift of the Spirit of the fear of the LORD and seek the appropriate knowledge of the fear of the LORD in your Bible reading and prayer so that God’s word and will may be taught to you. Intercede for those who live irreverently that their hearts may be changed. Rev. Richard Vander Vaart served as a minister in the Christian Reformed Church of North America for over twenty years, before joining the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He is now serving as the Atlantic Region prison-visiting pastor working with Redemption Prison Ministry. 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

June 5 - The Spirit of knowledge

“ have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.” - Colossians 3:10 … Scripture reading: Colossians 3:5-11; Proverbs 26:4-5 Reformed Christians believe the image of God in man consists of true righteousness, true knowledge and true holiness (Colossians 3:10 and Ephesians 4:24). The Spirit gave Jesus the ability to understand the ways of the Father. The Spirit supported Jesus’ human ability to know the Father and in knowing the Father, gave Jesus the wisdom to use this knowledge in the times that were best and appropriate. Think about the seemingly paradoxical parallel statements from Proverbs. Why did Jesus sometimes choose to engage in debates with the Pharisees, Scribes and teachers of the Law? Why did He at other times refrain from doing so? It is true knowledge, assessing each situation appropriately. One time it is receiving counsel from the Spirit of Counsel, knowing it was time to speak, but in another circumstance, it was time to be silent. The Spirit of knowledge will teach you information that cannot be gleaned from human senses. What you might call “insight” or “intuition” about someone else is the gift of the Spirit. It is critical for you at that point to ask, “Why have I been given this knowledge?” It might have been so that you can pray for that person. It might be given so that you can supply a need and do so in the Name of Jesus, kindly and gently. It might be you are given knowledge of someone’s life so that you are warned not to take the same path. Ask the Spirit for insight as to why you have received this. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Spirit will give you knowledge so that you will know how to serve Jesus Christ, when to witness and to whom so that others will join in the joy of knowing Jesus Christ. Rev. Richard Vander Vaart served as a minister in the Christian Reformed Church of North America for over twenty years, before joining the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He is now serving as the Atlantic Region prison-visiting pastor working with Redemption Prison Ministry. 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

June 4 - Receiving the Spirit of might

“And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might…” - Isaiah 11:2a Scripture reading: Ephesians 1:15-23 Today is Sunday, the day on which believers celebrate our new life in Jesus Christ. It is a great blessing to go to church, hear the word preached and meet with other believers. Jesus is the Saviour of the World, our Redeemer and our model. Let me explain. Jesus was fully God, the second Person of the Trinity, from all eternity to all eternity. At a particular moment in time, He took on flesh. He became fully human. In His humanity Jesus was empowered by the Spirit for holy living (in fact, Jesus was given the Spirit without measure, John 3:34). He was a true flesh and blood man, Who walked in the power of the Holy Spirit. Scripture refers to the Spirit as “the Spirit of Might” (Isaiah 11:2). Our passage today, helps us to understand might, also referred to as the strength of the Spirit at work in us. The power that raised Jesus from the dead is the power that is in you and in all who believe. The expression “might”, or “strength” is used in the Old Testament as the strength for victory in battle. When believers engage in spiritual warfare—against our own flesh, the Devil, and the forces of darkness, it is the Spirit of Might residing in us, Who completes the victory of Jesus in us. His power is at work in us, defeating sin, breaking down strongholds and giving us spiritual gifts so that we can walk in true communion with Jesus and with one another. Suggestions for prayer Thank God that He has reconciled us to Himself in Jesus Christ and that by His Spirit of Might, He guards us in this glorious salvation; pray that the strength of the Spirit would continue to grow in you so that sins are defeated and the victory of Jesus will be more clear in your life. Rev. Richard Vander Vaart served as a minister in the Christian Reformed Church of North America for over twenty years, before joining the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He is now serving as the Atlantic Region prison-visiting pastor working with Redemption Prison Ministry. 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

June 3 - The spirit of counsel

“I bless the LORD who gives me counsel…” - Psalm 16:7 Scripture reading: Isaiah 11:1-5 Counsel is a word indicating that someone receiving it, is getting helpful advice that is critical for a situation. Such advice is not something that can be gained by oneself. The Bible is clear that true counsel can only come from the source of all wisdom and knowledge, that is, from God Himself. Believers are given the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Counsel. The Psalm reading today shows the result of receiving counsel is to bless the LORD and grow in one’s delight of Him. This builds from the first psalm in the Psalter, which teaches us not to walk in the counsel of the wicked (Psalm 1:1). There are many people prepared to give all kinds of advice and it is easy to get confused when listening to conflicting opinions. How can one sort out what is important and what is the right decision? It is the Word of God, the treasure given to believers, which was written by men as they were carried along by the Spirit, wherein we find the Spirit’s clearest counsel. The Spirit of God also gifts some with the utterance of wisdom (I Corinthians 12:8). That is the ability to offer sound and clear instruction to someone who is struggling and in need of direction. The Spirit of Counsel becomes ever more familiar and present to the believer who spends time in prayer. The Spirit will direct the conscience of a believer as he wrestles in persistent prayer, seeking to know God more deeply and truly. Suggestions for prayer Thank God the Father for the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit; ask the Spirit to teach you, giving you counsel through the Word; pray for your preacher and the Word to be brought to the people tomorrow. Rev. Richard Vander Vaart served as a minister in the Christian Reformed Church of North America for over twenty years, before joining the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He is now serving as the Atlantic Region prison-visiting pastor working with Redemption Prison Ministry. 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

June 2 - The Spirit of wisdom and of understanding

“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” - I Corinthians 2:12  Scripture reading: Isaiah 11:1-5 and I Corinthians 2:6-16 Wisdom and understanding are closely related concepts. When reading Scripture, one begins to grasp that the seven-fold Spirit of God is the Spirit of wisdom and understanding. The theologian Louis Berkhof defined wisdom this way, “that perfection of God whereby He applies His knowledge to the attainment of His ends in a way which glorifies Him the most.” While God’s wisdom is beyond us, it is the blessing of God to grant the believer wisdom to perceive His goodness and trust His grace in all circumstances. Wisdom, as given by the Spirit, discerns the subtle temptations to sin. The believer heeds the Spirit’s prompts and the lessons of the Word, thereby growing in God’s grace. Understanding is gained through study of the Word. Yet, as Paul wrote, even comprehension cannot come to us by the spirit of this age. Secular scientists can discover facts, but not interpret them with understanding. True understanding of the things of this world and the things of God requires the Spirit of God. True understanding is given to the mind and heart of the believer. More than this, by the guidance of the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the believer sees the work and glory of Christ in both the Old and New Testaments. By this same Spirit, each lesson learned results in praise offered to God the Giver of every good and perfect gift. By the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding the believer sees the work and glory of God in creation and by the Word is able to interpret creation correctly. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Spirit to lead you in wisdom and understanding. As you learn and understand more, bring your praises and thanksgiving to God for His goodness shown in your life. Rev. Vander Vaart served as a minister in the Christian Reformed Church of North America for over twenty years, before joining the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He is now serving as the Atlantic Region prison-visiting pastor working with Redemption Prison Ministry. 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

June 1 - Introduction to the Spirit 

Is it difficult for you to pray? Many people find it challenging. C. Samuel Storms wrote: “I am convinced that every problem in prayer is traceable to a misconception about God. If we pray less than we should, or not at all, it is probably because we are…deficient in our knowledge of the true and living God” (C. Samuel Storms Reaching God’s Ear, pp.18-19). Therefore, it seemed appropriate for this series of thirty devotional readings to be sharply focused on Who God Is as He reveals Himself in the Bible. The Spirit helps us to know Jesus. As believers come to know Jesus and put their faith in Him, loving Him and obeying Him, they come to understand this teaching Jesus gave to His followers; in speaking with skeptics, Jesus told them “If you knew me, you would know my Father also” (John 8:19). It follows then, that believers who know Jesus and trust Him, know the Father also. The better we begin to know God, the more likely we are to pray. The seven I AM sayings in the Gospel of John are already likely to be very familiar to you. Each of these sayings reveals Jesus, linking Him to the Father in the divinity, power and unity of purpose. However, the Spirit has given many more revelations of God, many other Names, titles and descriptions of God which direct the reader into a deeper and fuller understanding of Who God is. Knowing God increases the faith of believers. Knowing God deepens a believer’s worship and expands his prayer-life.  The seven-fold spirit “Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings on earth.” - Revelation 1:4b-5a  Scripture reading: Isaiah 11:1-5 Today’s reading introduces the work of the seven-fold Spirit, (or Seven Spirits) referred to in Revelation. The prophet Isaiah, prophesying about the coming of the Messiah, noted that Jesus would be filled with the Spirit. By His great mercy, God the Spirit revealed the focus of His work in Christ. Why do I call that mercy? Because it follows then that those who are in Christ are those who also receive this same seven-fold Spirit. The Spirit is the Spirit of the LORD. He is fully divine and majestic. The Spirit is not a force or something impersonal. The Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity, the Great I AM. As the LORD made His covenant with Israel, it is the Spirit Who works in and through the leadership of Israel to empower each one for holy service. According to the New Testament, the Spirit of the LORD is given to all believers. This is the beautiful truth just celebrated a few days ago at Pentecost. The very power and presence of the Living God, the Spirit, is in you, enabling you to remain in Christ. Christians are yet wilful and stubborn. Despite the cornucopia of blessings given to you, do you often turn to your own ways? The Spirit convicts you and leads you to repentance. The personal Spirit speaks to your spirit so that you are reassured you belong to God and the Spirit reminds you no power, and no thing, can ever tear you away from the rich salvation that is yours in Christ. Suggestions for prayer Thank God the Father for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Ask to be given more of the Spirit in your life to the increase of your faith in and obedience to Jesus. Rev. Vander Vaart served as a minister in the Christian Reformed Church of North America for over twenty years, before joining the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He is now serving as the Atlantic Region prison-visiting pastor working with Redemption Prison Ministry. 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

May 31 - Jesus, the alpha and omega

““I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”” - Revelation 1:8 Scripture reading: Revelation 1:1-20 In Revelation 1, the exiled apostle John meets with the glorified Christ who visits him on the Isle of Patmos. The description that John uses to describe the glory of Christ is already full of glory and majesty. Beyond the splendour that describes the glorified Savior, we also hear Him speak. In verse 8, Jesus reveals Himself as the Alpha and Omega. These are the first and last letters of the Greek Alphabet. This shows us that before anything ever was created, Jesus was there! Not only that, Jesus will also be there when this world comes to an end. And in between the beginning and the end of this world, Jesus has everything firmly under His control! He describes Himself as the One Who is, was and is to come, the Almighty. It shows us the glory of Christ as He is Divine and One with the Father, possessing infinite power. In verses 17-18, He tells us that because He is the First and the Last, He has the keys of death and Hell! He has the keys! He can open and shut death and hell! How precious when He, through God-given faith, is your glorious Savior. Not only will you enjoy His presence when you breathe your last, but He will also guarantee your entrance into eternal bliss! He promises in Revelation 21:5-6: Behold, I make all things new. (…) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for Jesus as the Alpha and the Omega. Pray that He will be the Alpha and Omega of your life! Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 29 - Jesus, our chief cornerstone (I)

“Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes in Him will by no means be put to shame.”” - 1 Peter 2:6 Scripture reading: 1 Peter 2:1-10 Jesus is our chief Cornerstone. What does that mean? A cornerstone is a stone upon which a building rests. Theologians differ in opinion as to what a cornerstone really was. Some think it was a special stone at the corner of a building. Others think it was more like a foundation, or a capstone. Whichever it was, the point of this stone is clear. A cornerstone brings both durability and stability to a building. So also Jesus! His people are built upon Him as living stones of a holy temple (vs. 5). They all rest upon Him. Through His foundational work on the cross and at the open grave, the temple in which God will be worshipped is stable and durable! God will be worshipped through Christ throughout all the ages! Our text quotes Isaiah 28:16, which shows us that this was already foretold in the Old Testament. Jesus is the Stone that was elected, chosen from eternity to be the Chief Cornerstone for His people. It was God’s eternal, gracious and amazing plan to send His Son into this world to save sinners. It was God’s good pleasure to send Him, God’s boundless mercy! Jesus is not only the chosen Cornerstone, but He is also the precious Cornerstone; precious to His Father; precious to all who know Him and need Him for the stability of their lives. The more we grow in our knowledge of our sin and our Savior, the more He becomes precious to our souls. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for His plan to make Jesus the Cornerstone to our worship of Him. Thank God for sending Him to our rescue. And pray that as you grow in your knowledge of self and the Savior, He might become more precious to you! Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 28 - Jesus, our mercy seat (II)

“And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” - 1 John 2:2  Scripture reading: 1 John 1:5-2:2 While yesterday’s text shows that Christ is the Mercy seat, today’s verse uses a different Greek word, which tells us that He is more than what happens at the mercy seat. Not only was the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat to turn away God’s just wrath over our sins, but something more precious happened. Positively, atonement brought a restoration of fellowship and came with an invitation to commune with God. Exodus 25:22 tells us that God promises: There I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel. How precious that God can meet with us, through Christ! He can welcome us in His holy presence. And not only that! He will speak to us! He graciously instructs us from between the two cherubim. Think about it! God meets with us! God speaks to us! No longer does God speak to us from the earthly ark of the covenant and mercy seat. Now He meets with us in His Son and speaks to us through Him. (cf. Hebrews 1:1-2) What is His message? Peace! What else? I will write the law upon your heart! I will be your God, and you shall be my people! (Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:10, 10:16). Through Jesus Christ, we will have a relationship with God and the closer the relationship, the more it will transform our obedience. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the way in which we can now meet and speak with God through Christ’s blood. Pray that the law would be more and more written upon your heart, so that you delight in obedience. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 27 - Jesus, our mercy seat (I)

“…whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness.” - Romans 3:25a  Scripture reading: Romans 3:1-31 In this verse, Paul tells us that Jesus is set forth as a propitiation. More literally, Paul is saying that Jesus is our Mercy seat. What was the mercy seat? It was the lid of the Arc of the Covenant. In it there was the law. On it were the two golden cherubim. This was the footstool of the Lord. It was placed in the most Holy Place, which was a picture of God’s throne room, yes, heaven itself. God has set forth His Son Jesus, as a propitiation, as a Mercy seat. Once a year, on the day of Atonement, the High Priest would enter into the Most Holy Place to sprinkle blood on the lid of atonement. He went there to make propitiation, to turn away the wrath of God over His people’s sins. The blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat. But no longer! For now, Christ Himself is what the mercy seat pictured – namely, the place where God’s wrath is turned away. Why? Because of the sacrifice of His blood, God looks upon Christ and can now pass over the sins of His people. He demonstrates His righteousness to all who trust in Him by faith. The blood-splattered lid now covers over a law that condemns sinners. Unworthy sinners, like you and me, may now come boldly to His throne of grace to be given help in our times of need because Christ’s blood is sufficient to once and for all, turn away the wrath of God over sin. Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God that the blood of Jesus turns away the wrath of God over our sins. Thank God for the access we have to His mercy seat through Christ. Come boldly to be helped in your time of need today. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 26 - Jesus, the door

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” - John 10:9 Scripture reading: John 10:1-15 Jesus is the Door. What Jesus means in this context, is that He is the Shepherd that lays Himself down in the opening of the community sheepfold, to protect His sheep. Nobody could enter or leave, except by being allowed in through the Shepherd. So, this name brings us to the question: Are you part of Jesus’ fold and have you entered in through Jesus alone! Jesus is the entrance way to our enjoyment of salvation. It isn’t good works, experiences, tears, spiritual feelings, spiritual conversations, or biblical and theological knowledge. The question is: Have you entered in through Christ?! When we enter, He makes us realize that we have gone astray like lost sheep, and that God has laid on Him our iniquity. When we come to Him, drawn by His love and carried by His grace, we learn to lean on His shoulder, resting on what He does for us to save us, leaning on His finished work and trusting His blood for the forgiveness of all our sins. Jesus' promise is: those who have entered in by Christ will be saved! That is not all. When this verse talks about going in and out, it doesn’t mean that we can somehow lose our salvation. No, it means that now we learn to follow Him wherever He leads us! We listen to His voice and follow Him. He leads us to green pastures. His rod and staff keep us from sin. He teaches us to die to sin. Suggestions for prayer Praise God that Jesus is the entrance door into salvation. Pray for grace to more fully trust His finished work alone. Confess your sins when you realize you have gone astray like a lost sheep. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 25 - Jesus, our city of refuge (II)

“that (…) we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.” - Hebrews 6:18  Scripture reading: Hebrews 6:13-20 Jesus is our City of Refuge. When we flee to Him, trusting in His forgiveness, we have good reason to be comforted by His protection. In ancient Israel there were six cities of refuge. They were spread throughout the land, to be easily accessible to all. There is something beautiful about each of the names of these cities because each one of them points us to Jesus in one way or another. There was Kedesh, which means, righteousness… that is what Jesus is for unclean sinners! There was Shechem, which means, shoulder… that is what Jesus is for the weary and heavy laden; Jesus gives us His shoulder to rest on! There was Hebron, which means fellowship… that is what Jesus is for those who feel lonely and forsaken! There was Bezer, which means, a stronghold… that is what Jesus is for those who are filled with fear and anxiety… a safe place! There was Ramoth, which means, exalted… that is what Jesus is for those who are humbled because of their sin, or, in the pit… He will lift them up and place them on the rock Higher than themselves. There was Golan, which means, separated… that is what Jesus does for those who are unable to separate themselves from sin… What a reason we have to be comforted, to have a strong consolation, when we flee for Refuge to Christ! Let us therefore run to Him and lay hold of Him; He is the Hope set before us! Suggestions for prayer Thank God for everything He is in Christ to poor sinners. Take one of the names that best fit your situation and pray that God will exactly be that to you today. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 24 - Jesus, our city of refuge (I)

“that (…) we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.” Hebrews 6:18  Scripture reading: Joshua 20:1-9 There is a beautiful picture in the Old Testament which shows us who Jesus is. It is seen in the cities of Refuge to which murderers could flee when they had sinned. How is Jesus our city of Refuge? The city of refuge had to be easily accessible. Jesus is easily accessible – Jesus is said to be close to those who are of a broken heart because of their sin. He welcomes such sinners. The city of refuge was never to be locked at night. Jesus is always available – Jesus is our #1 place to go when all other help fails us. His throne of grace is open 24/7. Heaven can be reached by taking refuge in Jesus by prayer. The city of refuge welcomed murderers. Jesus welcomes the worst – If you had murdered someone accidentally, you were instructed to flee for your life to a city of refuge. Jesus does more than that. He even welcomes Manassehs! The Gospel calls us over and over: Take refuge in Christ, run to Him with all your sin! Only in Christ, are you safe from eternal death and destruction in hell. The city of refuge was a place of protection and care, even more so Jesus! – When someone entered the city, a Levite would be waiting to help with food and clothing. The person would be protected from the law. Much more Christ! When we take refuge in Him, He shelters us from the law, feeds our souls and clothes us with His robe of righteousness! Suggestions for prayer Thank God that we may take refuge in Christ with all our sins. Pray that you will approach Him in the way of true repentance and faith, and that you may enjoy His protection and care today. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 23 - Jesus, our banner (III)

“So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.” - Isaiah 59:19  Scripture reading: Isaiah 59:9-21 & Psalm 20:1-9 How is Jesus a banner to His people? Here are two more reasons: Just as a banner guides soldiers through the fiercest battles, so Jesus by His Spirit can guide us through the fiercest battles of the Christian life – In Isaiah 59 we are told that there will be a time when truth will fall in the street and the enemy will come in with a flood. It will be a time when Satan seems to have more and more power. Paul picks up this theme in 2 Thessalonians 2 and applies it to the anti-Christ. It will be a time in which each soldier of the cross will feel overwhelmed by the flood of wickedness in this world, all on top of the battle we already have with our personal sins. What will keep a believer bravely fighting in such a time? The Spirit of God Who comes and strengthens us! Jesus’ Spirit reminds us of His victory. For, Jesus as our Banner gloriously promises victory to us – Jesus promises peace and rest for weak, wounded and battle-weary soldiers! Believers already rejoice by faith in the victory that will be ours. Isaiah 11:10 promises: and his rest shall be glorious. Jesus’ victory over sin, death, and hell cannot but make us rest and rejoice. Psalm 20:5 puts it like this: We will rejoice in Your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners! One day, victorious soldiers will perfectly rejoice in Jesus’ salvation! Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for His promises of both spiritual empowerment and final victory through the cross of Jesus Christ. Ask for God’s Spirit to help you fight in times when you feel overwhelmed and when the battle is fierce. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 22 - Jesus, our banner (II)

“You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of the truth.” - Psalm 60:4 Scripture reading: Psalm 60:1-12 Yesterday we began answering the question: How is Jesus a banner to His people? Let’s look at another reason today: Just as a banner reminds weary soldiers to whom they belong, so Jesus our Banner reminds us of the truth of His love – Psalm 60:4 shows us that God has given a banner to those who fear Him, so that it may be displayed because of the truth. This means that weary soldiers who fear Him, and who fight under the banner of Jesus’ cross are reminded of His truth and love when they look at the cross. That is what keeps them going in the battle against sin, self and Satan. When we look to the banner of Jesus’ cross, we see the truth of God’s justice on display. God is just and must punish our sins, but for every believer He has done so, pouring out His just wrath upon Christ. Not only do we see the truth of God’s justice on the cross, but also the truth of His love! God so loved us that He did not spare His only begotten Son! God’s just wrath is satisfied, and His love is put on display. Yes, Song of Solomon 2:4 tells us that His banner over me was love! The more we look to the Author and Finisher of our faith, the more we will be able to strengthen the hands that hang down and straighten the feeble knees, killing our sins (cf. Hebrews 12:1-2,12). Suggestions for prayer Thank God for the truth of the cross, where the justice of God is satisfied, and His love is put on display. Pray for strength to resist and kill your sins, and for renewed courage to fight in this battle when you feel weak. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 21 - Jesus, our banner (I)

"And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious." - Isaiah 11:10 Scripture reading: Isaiah 11:1-16 Jesus Christ, the coming Messiah, from the line of David, is compared in this verse with a Banner. A banner is something that encourages soldiers. It might have been a cloth, a figure, or at night a torch, that was there to help soldiers during the battle. In order to be encouraged by a banner, it needed to be lifted up for all to see. Jesus is that Banner. How is Jesus this banner for His people today? Just like a banner identifies a group of soldiers, so Jesus identifies with His people – When we are enrolled by faith in Jesus’ army, Jesus identifies with us. We have become Christians. Christ now lives in the believer (Galatians 2:20). And He rallies and unites Christians around Himself (Galatians 3:28). Just as a banner brings soldiers together, so Jesus, through His cross brings Christians together – Jesus told us personally, when He would be lifted up, He would draw all men unto Himself by the banner of His cross (John 12:32). He said this in light of some Gentiles who came and asked Phillip if they could see Jesus. And Jesus, knowing this verse from Isaiah, tells Phillip that Gentiles and all kinds of people will be brought together after His death. A world-wide army of believers, who have seen the power of the cross, will enroll under Jesus’ banner. When the cross is held high in the preaching and in missions, we can be assured that the church will grow. Suggestions for prayer Praise God for the cross and for its attractive power. Pray for pastors, Bible teachers, professors and missionaries and other places where the cross is being held high. Pray that many would be brought to saving faith. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 20 - Jesus, our victorious lion (II)

“…Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll, and to loose its seven seals.” - Revelation 5:5b  Scripture reading: Revelation 5 When John weeps because no one is found who is worthy to open the scroll of the unfolding of history, we are once more introduced to Jesus Christ as a Lion, this time a victorious Lion. He has prevailed, which means He has conquered so that He is now found worthy to open the scroll. Why is Jesus able to open the scroll? Because He is not only spotless and pure, but He has conquered sin, death and hell, and continues to conquer them in the lives of each one of His children. After John is introduced to the Lion, he turns to the place from which the voice came. And when John looks, he doesn’t see a Lion, but a Lamb! Jesus is the victorious Lion, Who conquered by being the Lamb as though it had been slain. Jesus is the Lamb that offered Himself up for His people. He was slain on the cross and we are called to worship Him as the slain Lion-Lamb. This Lion-Lamb from the tribe of Judah still invites sinners like you and me close. When you are close, changed by His victory over sin, death and hell, be comforted that He is also the Mighty Lion, Who can defend you! Yes, Who saves sinners who come to Him to the utmost and shares His victory with them. How glorious and precious is Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Trust Him as the Lamb, before you meet Him as the victorious Lion. Suggestions for prayer Thank God that Jesus is the worthy Lion-Lamb. Approach Him based on His victory on the cross. Ask Him to protect you and pray for the grace to find fresh comfort in His wounds. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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

May 19 - Jesus, the kingly lion (I)

“Judah is a lion's whelp: (…) The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” - Genesis 49:9a & 10  Scripture reading: Genesis 49:1-12 Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. When we think of the picture that a Lion evokes in our minds, the first thing that comes to mind is that like a Lion, Jesus is Kingly. That is exactly the point Jacob makes on his deathbed when he reveals that Judah is like a lion’s whelp. He prophecies that a king in the line of Judah will rule. That’s why there is no surprise when verse 10 speaks about a scepter, lawgiver and the obedience of subjects. Just as a lion rules in the animal world, so Jesus rules over the entire world as King of kings and Lord of lords. When we see a lion, we respect the animal. We’d rather not get into trouble with such a powerful creature. How much more so with Christ. We are to respect Him for His power and glory. He is far more powerful than any lion. When a lion roars the whole animal kingdom trembles and is quiet. Every animal in the forest knows who is king. When Jesus is compared to a lion, we are reminded that when we walk in sin, we must expect Him to be like a fierce lion (Hosea 13:7-8). How we ought to tremble with respect for King Jesus, especially since on judgement day, when we all have to meet Him! When He is for us, who will be against us! But, when He is against us, who will be for us?! Suggestions for prayer Pray for awe, respect and obedience to Jesus your King. Rejoice in His world-wide rule. Reflect on your readiness to meet Jesus on judgment day. Rev. Pieter van der Hoek served the Heritage Reformed Church of Burgessville ON Canada since May 2017. This year he took a call to the Heritage Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa USA. 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.  ...

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 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89