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Daily devotional

June 12 - The Lord, the lifter of my head

“He will drink from the brook by the way; therefore He will lift up His head.” - Psalm 110:7  Scripture Reading: Psalm 3:1-8 Helpful information to explain this Name for God is found in Psalm 110. Jesus regularly quoted from it and applied it to Himself. The imagery presented there is of the Warrior, Who shatters kings. The enigmatic saying, which is quoted above, ends Psalm 110. Think about what a battlefield might be like in ancient times. No public drinking fountains. No taps. No garden hoses. When a warrior drinks, he must stoop down, and the moment he does so, he is utterly vulnerable. But Jesus is not vulnerable. His enemies will be so thoroughly conquered, He can stoop and drink, and He will lift up his head, the Victor. He Lifts His Head over every opponent. In Isaiah 46:1-13 a contrast is made between the worthless idols of all the nations and the power of God. He declares: “There is none like Me” (Isaiah 46:9). It is God alone Who can sustain His people, from the first stirrings of each man’s life, until his hair greys, and every nanosecond in between. He is One Who lifts His people. He protects. He shows them tender mercy and care. Now Psalm 3, with all its imagery of battles, and that strange possibility of sleep even in the middle of what seems like loud-clashing warfare, makes more sense. The Psalmist declared of the LORD: “My Glory and the Lifter of My Head”. Through every battle, in every crisis, God Lifts your head. He gives victory. He alone can guard you until today’s faith becomes sight in eternity. Suggestions for prayer Praise the LORD Who is mighty over every enemy, Who is the Warrior King defeating every enemy; pray, thanking Jesus, that He has disarmed the enemy at the cross, so that in the power of His Spirit you can lift your head in the victory He gives you over sin and death. 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 11 - God the creator, part II

“The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” - Isaiah 40:28 Scripture reading: Acts 17:16-34 This passage is pertinent for us today. Many all over the world face a culture, much like the Athenian culture of Paul’s day. It was okay then, as it is for many today, to speak of many gods and all kinds of spirituality. But Paul’s proclamation of the One True God, Who made, from one man, all the nations of the earth, that is entirely a different matter. It was offensive then and is offensive now. There is a tremendous resistance to calling God the Creator. That is why it is encouraging to read, “some joined Paul and believed”. Surely that is the promise of Jesus Christ to His followers, that we are to preach His Name and go with His authority and as His ambassadors. He will supply the needs of His missionary people. Believers know we are God’s offspring. He has fixed the Day of Judgment. Gathering for worship as we do each Sunday, reaffirms our common belief in God the Creator. Praising Him lifts the view from the pew and earth-bound perspectives to the place where God is seated—the Creator, Ruler and Just Judge. Being renewed in our faith through the means of grace, we are prepared once again to share the Good News of God the Creator with the people He has placed in our life. We are prepared to face opposition and ridicule because we know, in our heart and with firm conviction of mind, that He, Who made all things, will bring all things to their rightful conclusion in Christ. Suggestions for prayer Thank God for faithful preachers, missionaries, evangelists and professors who proclaim Good News; pray to be renewed and refreshed in this precious faith so that you will be a bold ambassador for God the Creator and Christ the King, through the power of the Spirit. 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 10 - The creator

“The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” - Isaiah 40:28 Scripture reading: John 1:1-18 Perhaps the most radical title for God in this profoundly atheistic age, is Creator. He alone is the everlasting God. Before Him there is no thing. He is Self-existent. All things in the entire universe owe their existence to His Being. Many influential men claim the universe created itself out of nothing. There is a teaching of cosmic evolution. This is coordinated with the teaching of geologic evolution and the false teaching of the evolutionary theory for life. All such theories are constructed to deny the foundational title and work of God—Creator. Calling Him Creator means that the people of the earth are commanded to obey Him. He Who made all things is the One Who has the right and authority to give commandments. If there is no creator, there is no god to obey. When the LORD reveals Himself as the Creator of all things, He declares He alone is worthy of worship. That’s why people in our world today will fight the Title of God as Creator. They want to serve themselves. People want to exalt their own intelligence and celebrate their own skills. This an act of defiance against the Majestic One, the Creator, Who alone is worthy of praise. The Gospel of John also reveals the significance of God as the Creator and Christ as co-creator. Those who receive Jesus are given the right to be children of God. Those who reject Jesus, reject the Father. To do so is to incur the wrath of God and punishment in hell. Suggestions for prayer Pray that scientists and teachers in our school system will know God as the Creator; pray to know God as Creator so that you will worship Him and obey Him in joy and thanksgiving that He has made Himself known to you in this way. 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 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.  ...

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