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Daily devotional

April 25 - The fruit of the Spirit - Faithfulness

“It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”- Romans 3:26 Scripture reading: Romans 3:21-31 Yesterday, we considered John’s statement that God is faithful to forgive our sins. But what does he mean when he says that God is also “just” to forgive our sins? To say that God is just is to recognize His infinite righteousness. The justice of God is not an optional thing, but an unchangeable attribute of who God is. He gave righteous laws to humanity and requires them to conform to His moral law. God’s essential and eternal righteousness means He must visit every transgression of that law with punishment. As Paul said, “The wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). The Canons of Dort puts it this way: “His justice requires that…the sins we have committed against His infinite majesty be punished with both temporal and eternal punishments, of soul as well as body. We cannot escape these punishments unless satisfaction is given to God’s justice” (2.1). But in His amazing love and mercy, God provided His Son to take our place. Christ bore the punishment we deserve by dying a cursed death on the cross. This sacrifice fulfilled God’s just penalty against our sins, and so John can rightly say that God is just to forgive us our sins. While our forgiveness and salvation highlight the faithfulness of God, He is faithful in so many other ways. He is our heavenly Father who faithfully provides our food, clothing, shelter, and every breath. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Suggestions for prayer Give thanks that God gave Jesus as a propitiation for all your sins. Thank God for His daily provisions for you. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. This devotional is made available by the Nearer To God Devotional team, who also make available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 24 - The fruit of the Spirit - Faithfulness

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” - 1 John 1:9 Scripture reading: 1 John 1:1-10 The seventh fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness. This fruit pertains to loyalty, trustworthiness and dependability. Today we will focus on the faithfulness of God, and then later discuss this fruit in the believer. I’m sure you’ve read and heard 1 John 1:9 many times. As a pastor I refer to this passage often to comfort and assure the congregation that in Christ, their sins are forgiven. Have you thought about why John says that God is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins”? We can be assured of forgiveness because of the faithfulness and justice of God. But what does this mean? God had promised to forgive sins. To sinful Israel and Judah, whom God called a “sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity” (Is. 1:4), God said, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Is. 1:18). Later, Isaiah will prophecy of the coming Suffering Servant: “He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities…the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Is. 53:4-6). So when John says that God is “faithful” to forgive us our sins, he is pointing out that what God had promised, from Adam and Eve and on throughout history, God has fulfilled. He is trustworthy and dependable. As Paul had said, “All the promises of God find their yes in Him.” (II Corinthians 1:20). God is faithful. Oh, praise Him. Suggestions for prayer Give thanks today for the faithfulness of God. Be assured that because God is faithful, your sins are forgiven. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. This devotional is made available by the Nearer To God Devotional team, who also make available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 23 - The fruit of the Spirit - Goodness

“The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.” - Titus 3:8  Scripture reading: Titus 3:1-11 Every now and then I get to watch a movie or read a story with my grandchildren. Near the beginning of the story, as we’re learning about the characters, my six-year-old grandson will inevitably ask, “Is he a good guy or a bad guy?” In the passage above, Paul instructs Titus to remind his congregation to be ready for every good work. And he grounds that instruction in what God had done for them. “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us…” (vv. 4-5). Because of God’s goodness in our salvation, we are called to goodness. Christians are to be the good guys and gals. And goodness is the sixth fruit of the Spirit. We don’t do good in order that the Spirit would dwell in us, we do good because the Spirit dwells in us. Goodness has to do with morality and spiritual excellence. It is closely related to kindness because the evidence of goodness is so often seen in how we relate with kindness to one another. If we have been the recipients of God’s goodness and kindness, then we ought to show the same to others. As we’ve already noted, we are living in dark days with so much hatred, division, anger and violence. Jesus said that we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Don’t hide that light. Rather, those in whom the Spirit dwells have the opportunity to be shining lights of goodness in this evil, dark world. Suggestions for prayer Pray for the second coming of Christ. Pray that in the meantime you will shine brightly with goodness in this dark world. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. This devotional is made available by the Nearer To God Devotional team, who also make available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 22 - The fruit of the Spirit - Kindness

“Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…” - Colossians 3:12 Scripture reading: Colossians 3:1-17 Paul is writing to the church in Colossae, and begins chapter 3 saying, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is…” These words, then, are not only for Colossae, but for all who have been raised with Christ, for all believers. After telling us the things we are to put off, he turns to those things we are to put on. For Paul, to seek the things that are above includes putting on compassionate hearts, kindness, and the like. The fifth fruit of the Spirit is kindness, and like the others this is a communicable attribute of God. God is kind, and when God the Holy Spirit dwells in you, it follows that you too will be kind. In Romans 2:4 Paul points out that God is patient and kind, and we should not presume or take His kindness for granted. It is meant to lead us to repentance. Kindness is having good will toward others. It's inner quality, a warm and tender-heartedness that expresses itself when we are friendly, considerate, compassionate, and generous. Ephesians 4:32 expresses it well: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Love is patient, love is kind. Does that describe you? Are you kind? Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Holy Spirit would so work in you, that others will know you as a kind person. Ask forgiveness for those times when you were not kind to others. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 21 - The fruit of the Spirit - Patience

“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord…” - James 5:7 Scripture reading: James 5:7-11 Patience is one of the attributes of God. The Bible often speaks of God’s patience toward Israel, or toward sinners, or all humanity. He is “long-suffering” and “slow to anger.” Peter instructs us to think about God’s patience and to “count the patience of our Lord as salvation” (II Peter 3:15). Jesus was patient with his disciples and others. He also patiently endured the sufferings of His humiliation, incarnation and the cross. The word Paul used in his fruit-of-the-Spirit list for patience in Galatians 5 is makrothumia, literally “long-suffering.” As you worship today, consider the patience and long-suffering of God toward you. Like love, the patience of God is what we call a “communicable” attribute, meaning an attribute that God shares with human beings to some degree. It is therefore not surprising that when the Spirit of God dwells in a person, that person will grow in the fruit of patience. But just like fruit on trees, the fruit of the Spirit takes time to grow, ripen and mature. For some of us, it seems that this fruit of patience takes the longest. Are you patient? We’ll continue to see that these Spiritual fruits are very closely tied together. Paul tells us that “love is patient, love is kind…” And if you think about it, one can hardly be loving, or joyful, or at peace with others without being patient (or kind, gentle, etc.). Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Holy Spirit will conform you to the image of Christ. Pray for patience. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 20 - The fruit of the Spirit - Patience

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” - Romans 8:28  Scripture reading: Romans 8:18-30 In this world we all need patience. We wait longer than we want in grocery lines, in traffic, for dinner or for a spouse. Most things, in fact, don’t happen according to our schedule. The fourth fruit of the Spirit is patience. Patience is the capacity to wait and to endure without complaining or losing heart. But how does the Spirit cause this fruit to grow in the Christian’s life? I believe it is because He convinces us of important truths about God, transforming us by the renewal of our minds. Understanding and believing these truths help us be patient in adversity: First, the Holy Spirit teaches us to believe that God is sovereign. This means that instead of being a bystander, God is in control, governing all things in His creation. The circumstances of your life, each and every day, are not accidental, but purposeful. Knowing and believing this will affect how you react to various trials of life. Second, God is perfectly wise. This means that God not only has the best purpose, but the best means to accomplish that purpose. He knows the end from the beginning, and the best path to reach that end. Understanding this we patiently endure the hardships. Third, we know that God is a loving God. His plan and purposes for His people are not arbitrary or vindictive but proceed from His love. We can be patient and trust God because, as our passage today reminds us, God is orchestrating everything for our good. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the fruit of patience will increase in you. Pray that the Spirit will convince you of God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and love. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 19 - The fruit of the Spirit - Peace

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” - Isaiah 26:3  Scripture reading: Isaiah 26:1-9 Isaiah 26 prophesies that a song will be sung “in that day,” which is the day of God’s salvation, and the song is a song of praise and joy. The coming of Jesus and His salvation is the fulfillment of this prophecy, and that salvation comes to all who believe in Him. As we noted yesterday, in Christ we have been reconciled to God and are now at peace with Him. But this reconciliation, this objective peace leads to an internal peace. It is a peace, a calm, an inward tranquility believers have because they know they are in the family of God, and their heavenly Father is for them, not against them. It is this blessed fruit of the Holy Spirit that compelled Horatio Spafford to write the hymn “It is Well with My Soul” after learning that his four daughters had been killed in a tragic accident. And this sense of peace, this “shalom,” also affects our relationships. The peaceful believer is inclined to be a peacemaker. Paul tells us in Romans 12:18, “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Our natural, sinful inclination can incline us to seek conflict and dwell on disagreements, but the Holy Spirit works in our minds and hearts to live peaceably with all. And this blessed fruit of the Spirit, this peace, “which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Suggestions for prayer Pray for that inward, calming peace that only the Spirit can give. Ask forgiveness for the weak faith that causes anxiety and fear. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 18 - The fruit of the Spirit - Peace

"For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." - Romans 5:10 Scripture reading: Romans 5:1-11 The third fruit of the Spirit is peace. This peace is both the objective peace we have with God and the subjective sense of wellness the believer has while sojourning in this world. And the former is necessary before the latter can be truly experienced. Paul begins Romans 5 by saying, “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This means that all those who are not in Christ are at enmity with God and in rebellion against His Lordship. Paul had made this point in the first three chapters of Romans. And in Psalm 7, David writes: “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; He has bent and readied His bow” (vv. 11, 12). Jonathan Edward’s great sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” very graphically brought out the reality of this enmity and God’s inevitable judgment. But the good news is that God sent His only begotten Son to bear the penalty of our sins on Himself, to be our righteousness, and so turn away the just wrath of God that we deserved. In Christ, we have been reconciled to God. Instead of enemies, we are now children of God, in a relationship of harmony. We have peace with God. Suggestions for prayer Give thanks that God, in Christ, has saved you. Give thanks for the Holy Spirit, who applies what Christ has done to and for you. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 17 - The fruit of the Spirit - Joy

“I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” - Habakkuk 3:18b Scripture reading: Habakkuk 3:1-19 When the Bible speaks of our joy, we discover that it is the Christian’s response to all the blessings we have from God. But the wellspring, the fount of joy is our salvation in Jesus Christ. For example, James instructs us to “count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…” (James 1:2). But we cannot be joyful in our trials apart from our salvation in Christ. In Psalm 119, the Psalmist says that he delights in God’s Word, in God’s commands, and in God’s testimonies. But we cannot find joy in God’s revelation without being in Christ. And at the end of Luke’s gospel, just after Jesus’ ascension, we read that His disciples “worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:52). But we cannot worship joyfully apart from being in Christ. Habakkuk was a prophet during very difficult days. In the short, Old Testament book of Habakkuk, the prophet raises complaints to God about the sorry state of affairs in Judah. He is burdened because God seems to be indifferent to the appalling spiritual condition of His people (Habakkuk 1:2-4). But after God answers his complaints, Habakkuk responds with those beautiful words, “I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” Is that your joy? God sent His only begotten Son to save you. He is the God of your salvation. Do you take joy in Him? Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Holy Spirit would impress on you His great love for you. So great is the Father’s love that He gave Jesus to be your salvation. Pray that your joy would be evident and recognized by others. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 16 - The fruit of the Spirit - Joy

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” - Romans 3:21-23  Scripture reading: Romans 3:9-26 I don’t know anybody who doesn’t want to be joyful. Yesterday we saw that Jesus is the source of true joy, and that we will bear much fruit, including the fruit of joy, if we abide in Him. But what does this mean? The Heidelberg Catechism is a summary of biblical teaching and begins by asking the question, “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” The answer can be summarized: “That I belong to Jesus.” But notice what the second question asks: “What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?” Then it lists three things. That is, if you desire (as I do) to live in joy and to die in joy, you need to know and understand these things: First, that I am a sinner. And not only am I a sinner, but I have no hope of earning or meriting God’s favour on my own. Because I am a sinner, I deserve only God’s punishment. Second, that God in love sent His only begotten Son to save sinners like me. There is no other Saviour but Jesus Christ and I am trusting in His salvation. Third, that my gratitude is the inevitable response to God’s grace in Christ. This gratitude is not only a feeling but shows itself in a life of obedience to God’s will. When you know, understand and believe those three things, you will have joy. Suggestions for prayer Pray for a deeper appreciation for the gospel. Pray that the gospel will be the pillar and foundation of your church’s ministry. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 15 - The fruit of the Spirit - Joy

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” - John 15:11  Scripture reading: John 15:1-11 Joy is the possession of every child of God. The triune God is a God of joy and the source of joy to all who trust in Him. In Deuteronomy 16:15, Moses told the children of Israel: “The Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.” And the second fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 is “joy.” This means that those in whom the Holy Spirit dwells will possess, to some extent, joy. Jesus instructed His disciples (and you) in the upper room so that His joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. He said this after saying that He is the Vine and we are the branches, and apart from Him we can do nothing. Apart from Jesus, we cannot bear fruit. Apart from Jesus, we are nothing but withering branches, only good for being “gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” So Jesus lovingly instructs and encourages us to abide in Him. Only then will we thrive, bear fruit and live. Only then will we know the joy that Jesus promises. This means romance will not bring lasting joy. Recreation and sports cannot offer lasting joy. Politics and governments cannot bring you joy. Only by abiding in Christ will you have joy. Why? Because He is the ultimate and only source of joy! Suggestions for prayer Pray that you would abide in Christ, from whom all blessings flow. Pray for the joy of the Lord. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 14 - The fruit of the Spirit - Love

“Love is patient and kind…” - 1 Corinthians 13:4 Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 As you study the fruit of the Spirit, you’ll notice that they are very inter-connected. Love is the first, patience is the fourth, and kindness is the fifth. Yet, in Paul’s great “love chapter” he says that love is patient and kind. When the Heidelberg Catechism discusses the sixth commandment, it asks, “Is it enough that we do not murder our neighbour in any such way?” And the answer is: “No. By condemning envy, hatred, and anger God wants us to love our neighbours as ourselves, to be patient, peace-loving, gentle, merciful, and friendly toward them, to protect them from harm as much as we can, and to do good even to our enemies” (Q&A 107). Biblical love is not simply a sentimental, warm feeling of affection. It is concrete actions for the good of our neighbour. Love understands, for example, that when you enter the workplace, you work not simply to earn a living, but are providing a service to and for others. A shoemaker asked Martin Luther if he should quit his business and enter the monastery. Luther’s response is helpful: “Make good shoes and sell them for a fair price.” Love compels you to help an elderly neighbour with their yard work. Today, as you join with your church family in worship, be patient and kind to all. Give generously so that the deacons have sufficient funds to help the needy. Dear Christian, love your neighbour! Suggestions for prayer Pray for God’s blessing on the Word preached today. Pray that you will love the men, women, boys and girls with whom you worship today. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 13 - The fruit of the Spirit - Love

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” - John 13:34-35  Scripture reading: John 13:31-35 We are living in a violent world. Every day there are more stories of road rage, fights, brawls, rapes, terrorism and killings. And added to the actual, physical violence, there is such a deep ideological and political divide that people can’t seem to have civil discourse anymore. I understand better the biblical description that we are “sojourners and exiles” in this world (1 Peter 2:11) and am praying more fervently for Christ’s return. But He hasn’t returned yet, so how ought we to live as pilgrims? Jesus commissioned the church to go and make disciples, and in today’s Scripture reading, He says that “all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This love extends beyond our family, friends, church, and neighbours; Jesus calls us to even love our enemies and pray for them (Matt. 5:44). Peter seems to have understood this importance when he calls us to “love one another earnestly from a pure heart…” (1 Pet. 1:22) and then later repeats it more emphatically, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly…” (1 Pet. 4:8). Paul, immediately following his discussion about the civil government, says “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law…” (Rom. 13:8). Paul prayed for the gentile church in Thessalonica that “the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all…” (1 Thessalonians 3:12). Suggestions for prayer Pray that you would increase and abound in love. Pray that we in the church of Christ would be known for our love. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 12 - The fruit of the Spirit - Love

“We love because He first loved us.” - I John 4:19  Scripture reading: 1 John 4:7-21 When you understand that the summary of God’s law is to love God and our neighbour, and then consider the many other passages of Scripture that call us to love, it isn’t surprising that the first fruit of the Spirit is love. In fact, as the apostle John says, “anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (I John 4:8). That means if the Spirit of God dwells in you, and God is love, then it follows that you and every true believer will, to some degree, bear the fruit of love. To love is the Christian’s most important obligation as we sojourn in this world, and it’s good to be reminded of this. As a pastor for more than 32 years in reformed churches, I’m so thankful for our commitment to being faithful to God, to upholding the truth of His Word, to teaching and training our children to be confessional. But, in all honesty, I’ve been discouraged at times when I haven’t seen that same commitment to love. Can we truly say we’re being faithful to God if we lack love? I’ve been in congregational meetings where angry speakers gave no evidence of love. I’ve had to counsel church members against their gossip, bitterness, and anger. So, as I am writing this I am praying that you will agree on how important this is, and evaluate your own heart and actions. Do others say of you, “he / she is a loving person who demonstrates the love of Christ”? Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Spirit would convict you of unloving words, thoughts and attitudes toward others. Pray that the fruit of love will increase in you. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 11 - The fruit of the Holy Spirit

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” - Galatians 5:25 Scripture reading: Galatians 5:16-26 We’ve seen that the Holy Spirit is necessary not only for our justification, but also our sanctification. He is renewing us after God’s image and leading us to live in accord with God’s will. And as the Heidelberg Catechism says, “in this life even the holiest have only a small beginning of this obedience. Nevertheless, with all seriousness of purpose, they do begin to live according to all, not only some, of God’s commandments.” (Lord’s Day 44, Q&A 114) The Holy Spirit does this by changing how we think, realigning our minds, thoughts and affections to align with God’s. And this change in the believer’s life starts to make him look very different from unbelievers. In Galatians 5, Paul describes this contrast by distinguishing what he calls “the works of the flesh” from “the fruit of the Spirit.” Paul uses the term “flesh” here to describe the sinful human nature in which the Holy Spirit does not dwell. It is the unregenerate mind and soul that results in a life of “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.” That is quite a nasty and disagreeable list. In contrast, the fruit growing in one in whom the Holy Spirit dwells is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,self-control.” This is, as John the Baptist had said to the Pharisees, “fruit in keeping with repentance (metanoia).” We’ll spend the rest of this month looking at these fruits more closely. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you would “walk by the Spirit” and “bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” Pray that you would not gratify the desires of the flesh, which are against the Spirit. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 10 - The Holy Spirit brings repentance

“Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” - Matthew 3:8  Scripture reading: Matthew 3:1-10 Metanoia is the Greek word that we translate “repentance.” It literally means, “changing one’s mind” and when used in Scripture means a change in one’s thoughts and way of life resulting from penitence. John the Baptist was telling the Pharisees and Sadducees that metanoia is what they needed. He was saying that their “righteousness” was mere outward conformity to the law, but lacking an inner, heartfelt repentance. Jesus would later repeat this criticism, saying, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” Metanoia as a change of mind and heart that results in a life of righteousness and obedience. It is something internal that the Holy Spirit does in a believer. Metanoia isn’t simply being sorry for sin, nor does it result in a cold, teeth-clenching obedience. The Holy Spirit changes our hearts of stone to hearts of flesh, so that we recognize our sin, agree that our sin is grievous and an affront to God, are truly sorry for our sin, and so endeavour to turn away from sin and toward God and His ways. If you covet your neighbour’s house, the Holy Spirit doesn’t sanctify you by removing the house. He changes how you think, and what you love. He will give you contentment and gratitude for what God has given you so that your desire for your neighbour’s house diminishes and goes away. The Holy Spirit works metanoia from the inside out. Suggestions for prayer Pray that the Spirit of God would grant you and your loved ones true repentance / metanoia. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 9 - The Holy Spirit sanctifies

“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” - II Thessalonians 2:13  Scripture reading: II Thessalonians 2:13-17 As Christians, we love God and desire to live for Him, but if we’re honest with ourselves we see that our love is lacking. We want to obey Him, but often we disobey. As Luther would say, we are simul justus et peccator, which is Latin and means, “at the same time justified and a sinner.” We’re justified, saved, born again, belonging to Christ, temples of the Holy Spirit and have everlasting life. And even though that is true, we also covet, lie, lust, hate, and treat God lightly. This is every Christian’s struggle and reality in this world. Only death or Jesus’ second coming will put an end to our sinning. But you ought not to despair. The Holy Spirit does indeed dwell in you and shines the light on Christ’s atoning work for you, reminding you that you need the gospel every day. But He is also at work in you sanctifying you and conforming you to the image of Jesus. Lord’s Day 44 of the Heidelberg Catechism asks why God wants the Ten Commandments preached so pointedly. It answers in part, “so that we may never stop striving and never stop praying to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, so that we may be renewed more and more after God’s image, until after this life we reach our goal: perfection.” Suggestions for prayer Pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit to renew you more and more after God’s image. And pray, “Come Lord Jesus, come quickly.” Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 8 - The Holy Spirit regenerates

“But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” - Romans 8:10  Scripture reading: Romans 8:1-11 I recall one of my professors in Seminary repeatedly saying, “Regeneration precedes faith.” He was driving home the truth that apart from the initial work of the Holy Spirit, no one would or could have faith in Christ. Jesus Himself said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44). And the way the Father draws is by the Word and Spirit. The consistent teaching of Scripture is that apart from Christ, sinful humanity is spiritually dead. Paul makes this point in the early chapters of Romans, and also in Ephesians where he says, “You were dead in your trespasses and sins…” (Ephesians 2:1). His point is, what can dead people do? The spiritually dead cannot do anything. They cannot mourn over their sins and repent. They cannot breathe life into themselves. They are in an impossible situation. But with God all things are possible, and by grace alone His Spirit enters a dead corpse and breathes life into it. Only after that can that newly revived, regenerated person sense how great is their sin and misery and flee to Christ in faith. The Spirit is life! And “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:3). Suggestions for prayer Confess your sins to the Lord and praise Him for His amazing grace in your life. Give thanks that the Holy Spirit is life, both now and forevermore. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 7 - The Holy Spirit reveals Christ

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the father, he will bear witness about me.” - John 15:26  Scripture reading: John 15:18-27 As you go to worship today, how do you judge whether a worship service is “Spirit-filled?” I’m afraid many make that determination based on very shallow criteria. Some seem to think that if the music (or the preacher) is lively and upbeat, the Spirit is there. It’s as if the Spirit arrives when the music reaches a certain tempo, or decibel level; or when the pastor gets revved up and is walking all across the stage. Actually, the Spirit may in fact be present, but not because of the tempo. Jesus says that when the Spirit comes, “he will bear witness about me” and “He will glorify me” (John 16:14). This is the better criteria: Is Christ being proclaimed in this worship service? Is the truth about Jesus being taught? Does Jesus have the preeminence in this place? Then you can be assured that that worship service is “Spirit-filled.” If you visit the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC after dark, you will notice that the statue of Abraham Lincoln sitting on his chair is lit up with a large spotlight. The purpose of the spotlight is not to draw attention to itself, but to draw your eyes to Lincoln. The Holy Spirit is like that spotlight, shining the light on Jesus – so that you will know and worship Him. Suggestions for prayer Pray for your pastor that he will faithfully preach Christ. Pray that the Spirit will shine the light on Jesus and that you will worship your Lord and Saviour well. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 6 - The Holy Spirit will convict

“And when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” - John 16:8  Scripture reading: John 16:1-15 The Holy Spirit is a teacher for those in whom He dwells. But in these verses of John 16, Jesus has the world in view; that is, all that stands in opposition to Christ. The Holy Spirit will convict the world. This is a judgment, a sentencing, as when a defendant in a courtroom is convicted and found guilty. First, the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin; specifically, the sin of rejecting Jesus. This is the sin that leads to death and ultimately the unpardonable sin. Second, The Spirit will convict the world of righteousness. This is speaking of Christ’s righteousness, as opposed to their sin. The righteousness of Jesus is proven because the Father receives Christ into His presence. Third, the Holy Spirit will convict the world of judgment, “because the ruler of this world is judged.” There will come a time when all will know that Christ defeated Satan. Hebrews 2:14 says that Christ became a man “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil…” And in Colossians 2:15 we’re told that Christ triumphed over Satan and his hosts. But praise be to God that the Spirit of Christ dwells in you. In Him your sins are forgiven, you are clothed in Jesus’ perfect righteousness, and you will stand at the final judgment because Christ took your place. Suggestions for prayer Pray for God’s blessing on your pastor as he preaches to you tomorrow. Pray that the convicting Spirit will soften hard hearts and add many to the church. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

Daily devotional

April 5 - The Holy Spirit is a teacher

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” - John 14:26 Scripture reading: John 14:25-31 As Jesus comforts His disciples with the promise of the Holy Spirit, He not only says that the Spirit will dwell in them, but also tells them what the Spirit will do. Some of Jesus’ description of the Spirit’s work is particular to the disciples. Knowing that His disciples would become the apostles of the early church, Jesus tells them that the Holy Spirit will “bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Some would later write letters that would become canonized in Scripture. Some would travel to distant lands to preach the Gospel. All would be leaders and teachers. What a gift, what a blessing that the Holy Spirit would remind them of Jesus’ words and teaching. Jesus also said that the Holy Spirit “will teach you all things.” That is, He will teach the disciples all they would need to know to fulfill their apostolic mission. He will later say, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…” (John 16:13). And this is also true for you and me. In Romans 8, Paul says that it is impossible for those who are of the flesh (not of the Spirit) to submit to God or please Him. It is only by the Holy Spirit that we can know and discern spiritual things. Suggestions for prayer Pray that you would have a receptive heart and mind for the Holy Spirit to teach. Pray that the Holy Spirit will bless your pastor and his preaching. Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen was born and raised in California and has been an ordained minister of the Gospel for nearly 33 years. He is now serving as pastor of Coram Deo Reformation Church (URC) near Denver, Colorado. He is also the General Editor of the Trinity Psalter Hymnal. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com....

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