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Daily devotional

May 28 - We can hasten the coming of the day of God!

“Waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God,” - 2 Peter 3:12a  Scripture reading: Acts 17:31 Hastening means ‘to hurry’ or ‘to speed up.’ Picture a time when Mum or Dad announced a family trip to the park when the lounge and bedrooms were tidy. And the tidying went very slowly at first, until Dad said, “The sooner all this is tidied up, the sooner we will go!” Then everyone got really busy! This was Dad trying to hasten the time of departure, to bring it about sooner than might otherwise have been the case. What we see in verse 12 is that pursuing holinesses and godlinesses hastens the coming of the Lord. Isn’t that striking?! If you love the Lord Jesus and desire to show your thankfulness to Him for your salvation, then every act of devotion to Him, and every effort to resist temptation, and every choice made to do what pleases your Father in heaven, hastens or speeds up the day of Christ’s return! Now, I know what Calvinists are thinking – but isn’t God sovereign? Doesn't everything happen according to His plan? And doesn’t Acts 17:31 say that God “has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness”? Yes. All this is true. But we cannot let that cancel out the call to pursue holinesses and godlinesses, which hasten the coming of the day of the Lord. This is one of those wonderful mysteries that we simply must affirm and celebrate. Let us heed the call to intentional Christian living. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord for an ever-deepening thankfulness for Christ’s person and work. Ask Him to cause this to lead you to a deeper obedience. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 27 - The new heavens and new earth 

“But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” - 2 Peter 3:13  Scripture reading: Isaiah 65:17-25 When believers die, their souls go immediately to be with Christ in heaven (Luke 23:43). But after the Day of Judgment, our resurrected and glorified bodies, having been reunited with our souls, will be welcomed into the eternal kingdom. 2 Peter helps us to see that the eternal kingdom will be a new heaven and new earth. Revelation 5:9-10 says of believers: “They shall reign on the earth.” So, heaven will not be an ‘up there on the clouds’ existence, but a wonderful ‘on the earth’ existence. It will be a purified and refined version of the earth we stand on today, having been purified by the burning that Peter describes. In other words, sin and all its consequences will be destroyed. The new creation will no longer be in “bondage to decay” (Romans 8:21). There will no longer be tears or death or mourning or pain (Revelation 21:3). As one author said, “Christ will renew the world to make it a fitting dwelling place for His renewed people.” When we visit friends who have had their house renovated and upgraded, we typically say something like, “Wow! I love what you've done with this place!” And with the greatest of reverence, that will surely be our reaction in the new heavens and new earth, Lord, I love what you have done with the place! But this wonderful world is only for those who have received Christ as their Lord and Saviour in this life. Have you done so? Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the promise of His return. Ask Him to come quickly! Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 26 - “What sort of people ought you to be?”

“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness … Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace.” - 2 Peter 3:11-14  Scripture reading: Psalm 15:1-5 In Matthew 25, Jesus describes the separation of all humanity into the sheep and the goats. When the sheep ask Him why they are welcomed into the eternal kingdom, He said, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'” In other words, all that we do out of love and thankfulness for Him and for our salvation, we did to Him. Thus, every ounce of effort we put into growing in obedience and sexual purity and being content, and not giving in to anger and lust and greed, etc, survives the burning and is rewarded. Now, the way that the words holiness and godliness are written in Greek is in the plural. So, literally, Peter is saying, “It is necessary for you to live in holinesses and godlinesses.” Think back to chapter 1 where the believer is told to “make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue … knowledge … self-control … steadfastness … godliness … brotherly affection … love.” Therefore, waiting for the coming day of the Lord is not about sitting on our hands and staring at the clock. There are all sorts of holinesses and godlinesses that we must busy ourselves with. In the work and example of Christ, we have every reason to “make every effort.” Suggestions for prayer Praise God for His holiness. Thank Him for ministers who properly apply His Word to our lives, that we may become more like Christ. Ask Him to cause you to grow, by His Word and Spirit, in holinesses and godlinesses. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 25 - The patience of God 

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” - 2 Peter 3:9  Scripture reading: Psalm 130:1-8 When God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham ‘argued’ God down to not doing so if just ten righteous persons could be found in the cities. These were extremely wicked cities! This is an illustration of God’s patience with sinners. He is able to be patient and merciful because He has dealt with our sins by putting them on His Son, and punishing Him, on the cross. This is the glorious gospel! It is why God is free to not treat us as our sins deserve and to remember our sins no more. We might wonder, though, how this verse relates to the doctrine of election. For, if God has only chosen some to salvation, then how does that stack up with the statement here that He does not wish that “any should perish, but that all should reach repentance”? Well, notice who it is that Peter is speaking to. It says that God is “patient toward you.” And who are you? 2 Peter is addressed to those “who have obtained a faith of equal standing with .” In other words, Peter addressed his letter to believers, to all God’s elect, including those who had not yet been born. So, this verse is not saying that God really wants every single person to repent, but that the return of Christ will only come when all those whom God has chosen to salvation have come to repentance and faith, and not a day before! Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for His electing mercies. Pray that He would soon bring the full number of His elect ones to faith in Christ. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 24 - This verse is not about the days of creation!

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” - 2 Peter 3:8  Scripture reading: Psalm 90:1-17 If you have participated in a debate about the days of creation, you will surely have heard this verse raised as ‘proof’ that the days of creation need not be taken as ordinary or literal 24-hour days. Well, Genesis 1 makes it abundantly clear that the days are ordinary days, with the reference to evening and morning, and first, second and third days, etc. The connection made in the Fourth Commandment between our seven-day week and the seven days of creation week would be nonsense if the days of creation were not ordinary days. Peter’s point here is to remind us that God’s relationship to time is different than ours. He is quoting Psalm 90, which contrasts the eternal God with time-bound mankind. What we need, therefore, is a more mature relationship to time. Unlike the little child who thinks Grandpa and Grandma are never coming if they are three minutes late, we need to be like mature adults who know that three minutes is nothing. And as this relates to the promise of Jesus to return ‘quickly’ or ‘soon,’ we must have this mature attitude. Some may think that 2000 years is forever! But for God, it is like a nanosecond! He is not sitting in heaven counting the days and years, as they roll by, waiting. He is not under time. He exists in eternity. But Christ will come! Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for all those who taught you to believe the Bible’s account of creation. Praise God for His eternal majesty and glory and goodness and grace. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 23 - Judgment day 

“But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly … But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” - 2 Peter 3:7-10  Scripture reading: Matthew 25:1-13; 31-46 People today have the idea that Jesus was all about love and acceptance. However, a plain reading of the Gospels reveals that the topic He spoke about most, was the coming Day of Judgment and the need to repent and believe. Acts 17:31 says, God “has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 says “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” On the day of His return, we will all stand before the judgment throne of Christ. Matthew 25 describes Judgment Day as a great separation – the sheep are placed on His right and the goats on His left. The sheep are then welcomed into the eternal kingdom, while the goats are banished to eternal punishment. The parable of the foolish virgins represents all who profess faith in Christ. The oil represents the Holy Spirit, and half of the virgins did not possess Him. There will be some/many on Judgment Day who were self-deluded, but to whom Jesus will say, “I never knew you.” This is a sobering warning. Have you truly repented of your sins and believed in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins? And does this reveal itself in that you are living for Jesus? Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for showing you His grace in Christ. Pray that He would convert any in your congregation who do not yet truly know Him as Saviour and Lord. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 22 - For scoffers will come 

“… knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation." For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.” - 2 Peter 3:3-6  Scripture reading: Genesis 1:1-8; 7:17-24 Usually, our confidence that a promise will be kept has a lot to do with the one who made the promise. For example, if it was our parents, confidence is probably strong. But would we be confident if it were a politician or a used-car salesman? And no offence intended to any politicians or used-car salesmen who may be reading this. The promise that 2 Peter is interested in, is the Bible’s promise that the Lord Jesus will return to earth, bodily (Acts 1:11). What is a problem for many is that in Revelation 22, the Lord Jesus said that He would return “soon” or “quickly.” This part of the promise had led false teachers to scoff at this promise. As they reasoned it, 30 long years had passed since that promise. So, Jesus was clearly not coming back. His return was just a myth. Here we are, over 2000 years later! And none of us would describe 2000 years as soon. So, what Peter does is to argue from the lesser to the greater. He reminds his readers of the global flood of Noah’s day. It was a judgment that came 120 years (Genesis 6:3) after it was promised. Noah preached the coming judgment during that time, but the people scoffed at his warning. But it came. And because it is the same God who made both promises, we may be certain that Jesus Christ will come again, as He promised. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for all those who have taught you that Christ will return. Pray that the Lord would use your witness to help others to be ready for His return. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 21 - Peter’s much-needed reminder 

“This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Saviour through your apostles,” - 2 Peter 3:1-2  Scripture reading: Isaiah 24; Revelation 22:7 I am sure we have all forgotten a long-planned event. Often, it is just the busyness of life that can lead us to forget even things we look forward to. And so, to prevent forgetting, we might put a calendar reminder on our phone. When the reminder pops up, a few days before the planned event, we remember. Well, the Lord Jesus commanded us to “be ready” for His return (Matthew 24:44). And although we may eagerly look forward to that day, because the days roll by, we can easily forget to “be ready.” A simple way to test this is with the following question: If you knew that Jesus was coming back next week, would you suddenly have an urgent list of things to stop doing, start doing, and/or relationships to repair? I am sure we all would. Knowing this, Peter provides his readers with a reminder. His reminder is the predictions and commandments of Scripture. For example, Isaiah 24 is known as ‘the little Book of Revelation.’ The Lord Jesus also gave us parables that were about His return – the foolish virgins and the talents (Matthew 25), and the wedding feast (Matthew 22). The Apostles too, were clear about Judgment Day (Acts 17:31 and 2 Corinthians 5:10). Paul even explained how the return of the Lord Jesus would unfold (1 Thessalonians 4). Even our worship is preparation or ‘practice’ for our life with Him in eternity! May He use it to help us ‘be ready.’ Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for being able to participate in public worship. Ask Him to use it to help us to be ready for His return. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 20 - The dangerous activity of false teachers (part 2)

“What the true proverb says has happened to them: "The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire."” - 2 Peter 2:17-22 Scripture reading: 2 Timothy 4:10-14 Peter completes his identikit sketch of false teachers with two animal illustrations of their dangerous activity. A sick dog, if it is hungry enough, will eat its own vomit. How disgusting! And having taken a bath in clean water, a pig will head straight back to mud and manure for a good wallow. One preacher described the gospel as like a spiritual emetic and laxative. An emetic is a medicine that makes you vomit up the poison or drugs that you have swallowed, and I am sure you know what a laxative does. And in a similar way, the gospel makes us ‘vomit up’ our addictions and habitual bad behaviours. But false teachers basically put addictions and habitual bad behaviours, which is what “sensuality” is, in front of us again and they tell us it’s all OK, and in so doing, they invite us to eat our own vomit. But to listen to them, would be as disgusting as the dogs and pigs described here. Peter was called by the Lord Jesus to feed His sheep. One way that a shepherd feeds and cares for sheep is to steer them away from predators and poison. There will be those who try and lead us away from Christ and the Christian life. But now we know what they look like; we know their warped personality and dangerous activity. May Christ and His way be what we seek. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of our salvation. Ask the Lord to raise up a new generation of men who would preach the full counsel of His Word. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 19 - The dangerous activity of false teachers (part 1)

“These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” - 2 Peter 2:17-22   Scripture reading: Ezekiel 34:1-10 Peter continues his identikit sketch of false teachers by exposing their dangerous activity. Storms cause havoc, but at least they bring water that refreshes. False teachers create spiritual havoc, but they do not bring any grace or assurance or hope. In contrast, the preaching of sound doctrine is described in Scripture as like living and clean water (John 7/Ezekiel 36). From it we receive Christ and learn how to live a life that is pleasing to God. It truly cleans and satisfies and revives! But false teachers are not only empty, they are also enslaving. They preach freedom from the law. They say you can live as you please. But this is not freeing; it is enslaving. People just become slaves to their wicked passions. A Scottish minister of many years ago said, “The best preaching is: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and keep the Ten Commandments.” Today, many would accuse him of legalism – preaching salvation by works. But he was not explaining how to be saved, but what the best preaching is. Think of the Great Commission that Christ gave to the church: Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." We are saved by grace alone, through Christ alone, which we receive by faith alone. But we are to present our whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Suggestions for Prayer As we go to the house of the Lord, give thanks for faithful preachers. Ask Him to keep them from error and to exalt Christ. Ask Him also to help us to be doers of His word, and not just hearers. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 18 - The warped personality of false teachers (part 2)

“They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness.” - 2 Peter 2:10-16  Scripture reading: Numbers 22:15-35 Peter continues his identikit sketch of false teachers with a biblical illustration. The illustration he uses is Balaam. Balaam was offered great riches by the king of Moab if he would come and curse the people of Israel. Initially, Balaam flat-out refused to go and did not curse Israel. However, the king sent more men and a bigger offer. And Balaam, probably with hands rubbing together and his bank account details ready to hand out, asked the Lord, again, if he might go – please, please, please??? Oh how dangerous is the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10). A New Testament equivalent of Balaam is Demas. Described in Colossians and Philemon as a “fellow worker” of Paul’s, in 2 Timothy 4:10 we read that “Demas, in love with this present world, deserted and gone to Thessalonica.” Demas loved money more than he loved Christ and was either backslidden or apostate. 1 Timothy 3 tells us that an elder should not be a “lover of money.” 1 Peter 5 offers a similar warning to elders against desiring “shameful gain.” So, watch out for office-bearers, both those in your church, but also those on TV or online, who constantly talk about money. For this is a sure sign that their motives are mixed at best. But give thanks also for office-bearers who serve willingly, eagerly, and as examples to the flock. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for elders who serve willingly, eagerly, and as examples to us all. Ask the Lord to keep them from a desire for shameful gain and/or a domineering spirit. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 17 - The warped personality of false teachers (part 1)

“Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones … They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray.” - 2 Peter 2:10-15  Scripture reading: 1 Timothy 4:1-8 When a crime has been committed, police sometimes issue an identikit sketch. It is a drawing of the main features of the person who committed the crime. In this part of Peter’s letter, he is providing his readers with an identikit sketch of false teachers. The chief characteristics that he identifies are insolence and insatiability. To be insolent is to be rude and disrespectful. It is described here as ‘blasphem the glorious ones.’ Jude uses the same description of false teachers. This is a much-debated phrase. It could be a reference to angels. The other possibility is the apostles and office-bearers of the church. On balance, the latter option seems to fit the context better. So, these false teachers had no hesitation criticizing and rejecting the authority of those whom the Lord had called to bless His church. Another character flaw was their insatiability. To be insatiable is to be constantly greedy for more. One area where this came out was sensuality, as we see in verses 13-14. And this was no secret or hidden passion; it was all done “in the daytime.” Another passion of theirs was money. They wanted to be rewarded, handsomely, for what they taught. Money was a constant topic of their conversation. And church history is littered with many examples of false teachers with these personality traits. But we have now been warned – watch out for teachers who display insolence and insatiability! Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord to preserve our leaders from these attitudes and behaviours. Thank Him for the godly men He has placed over us. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 16 - Glimpses of grace! 

“if He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others … and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked … then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials,” - 2 Peter 2:5-10 Scripture reading: Ephesians 2:1-10 Throughout the three portraits of the wicked condemned, there are glimpses of grace. For while millions or a billion drowned, eight were preserved alive on the ark. And although tens of thousands likely died in Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot and his two daughters were rescued and preserved. It’s not many; it’s just eleven. But in Matthew 7:13-14, we read these words of the Lord Jesus: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Notice also that Noah is described as a “herald of righteousness” and Lot as having a “righteous soul.” Do you know what Noah did after he had come out of the ark? He got drunk and naked, which led one of his sons to sin. And do you remember Lot’s offer to the men who wanted to engage in sodomy with his angelic guests? He offered them his virgin daughters, telling the men they could do with them as they pleased!!! Do you see the grace on view here? Neither Noah nor Lot were righteous in and of themselves. They were undeserving sinners, like you and me. By faith, they believed in God’s promise to send the Messiah, and were credited with the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). They also called on people to repent and believe. Suggestions for prayer Praise God that we are saved by grace alone. Thank Him for His abundant mercy and patience with sinners, for He has dealt with our sins on Calvary’s cross. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 15 - The wicked condemned - Portrait three 

“if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes He condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;” - 2 Peter 2:6 Scripture reading: Genesis 19:1-26 The third portrait of the condemned wicked that Peter reveals is of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. The account in Genesis 19 makes for an uncomfortable read. Two whole cities, plus the surrounding villages, with the men, women and children inside, utterly destroyed by “sulphur and fire from the Lord.” The particular sin that is identified in Genesis 19 is the sin of homosexuality. And in Ezekiel 16:49-50, we read of Sodom and Gomorrah that they “had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me.” And that brings Peter’s warning of judgment really close to home, doesn’t it? For this is an exact description of the Western world today: Pride, excess of food, prosperous ease, does not aid the poor and needy, haughty, and full of the abomination that is homosexuality. Peter’s point, again, is that God is not blind to wickedness. He has judged it in history in the past, and He will continue to judge it until Christ returns. Sin brings consequences. It is the plain message of Romans 1. But beyond this life is eternal hell. And wickedness will certainly be judged there. If we wonder what hell will be like, we are told in verse 6 that it will be like the fire and sulphur that burned Sodom and Gomorrah, but it will never end; it is eternal fire. God does judge wickedness. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ. Confess sin in any areas identified in this devotion. Ask Him to cause the truth of judgment and hell to be faithfully proclaimed. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 14 - The wicked condemned - Portrait two

“if He did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;” - 2 Peter 2:5  Scripture reading: Genesis 6:5-22; 7:10-24 The second portrait of the condemned wicked that Peter reveals is of the wicked world in Noah’s day. The widespread wickedness of that time led to the global flood. Conservative population models suggest that there were likely to have been between 200 million and 1 billion people on the earth in those days. But God did not spare those millions or billion people, instead judging them for their unbelief and wickedness. Those who thought they could ignore God and carry on eating and drinking and committing violence and immorality, without fear of punishment, all perished in a watery grave. Early last year, our manse was flooded when 240mm of rain fell in a day, which was a new record. But as the waters rose, we knew that eventually the rain would stop, because of God’s promise (Genesis 9:15), which it did. But I could not help but think about the flood of Noah’s day, and the terror that came upon the people when the rain did not stop. Peter’s point is that if God did not hold back judgment on millions or a billion, then neither will He hold back judgment on false teachers and those who follow them. So, let us praise God for His promise to never destroy the world as He did then. But every ‘natural disaster’ is another foretaste of Hell, and a warning from God for sinners to repent before the Great Day of Judgment comes. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for opening our eyes to the reality of judgment and bringing us to faith in Christ. Pray that he would use our sharing of the Gospel to awaken others to this reality also. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 13 - The wicked condemned - Portrait one 

“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;” - 2 Peter 2:4  Scripture reading: Genesis 6:1-4 Peter’s concluding word about false teachers in verse 3 was that their condemnation and destruction was certain. To demonstrate and illustrate this certainty, as well as to expose the foolishness of their rejection of judgment as unbiblical, Peter pulls back the curtain on three portraits of judgment that are found in the Bible. The first one is the judgment of wicked angels. This could refer to all the fallen angels (Revelation 12:9 & 20:10). Another possibility is a particular group of evil angels who left their heavenly abode and somehow engaged in sexual relations with human women (Genesis 6:1-5 and Jude 6). For this grossly immoral wickedness, they were “committed to chains of gloomy darkness.” I believe that it is this group of evil angels that is in view here. But many good Christians prefer the first interpretation. The key point is that God did not spare even evil angels who rebelled against Him or wickedly intruded into human life. They are already under judgment and an even worse judgment is to come. And just as God’s judgment came to them, so it will come on false teachers and those who follow them. This is a most sobering warning. These angels once stood in the presence of God. So, let none of us fall into pride or arrogance, as though sin and false teaching could never get the better of us. Suggestions for prayer Ask the Lord for humility and discernment. Pray that the Lord bring reformation where it is needed in the church. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 12 - The tactics of false teachers 

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them ... And many will follow their sensuality … And in their greed they will exploit you with false words …” - 2 Peter 2:1-3 Scripture reading: 2 Timothy 3:1-9 You may have heard before that the way that bank-tellers learn to recognize counterfeit money is by regularly handling genuine money. For if you know the real thing well it is easy to spot the fake. Yesterday we saw the importance of being under faithful Bible teaching and having faithful elders. But we are wise, also, to understand the tactics of false teachers. Peter tells us that false teachers “secretly bring in destructive heresies.” Jude talks about them “creeping in unnoticed.” Paul says, in Galatians 2:4, “Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in – who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus.” And in 2 Corinthians 11:13, he said of them, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.” So, they are cunning weasels. Ultimately though, what they teach is contrary to Scripture and Confession. They undermine rather than build up. They promote sensuality rather than sanctification. Peter speaks of them “even denying the Master who bought them.” Some see this as proof that the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is wrong. It is not! These false teachers taught a Saviour Jesus, but not a Master. Thus, their refusal to obey His commandments and the false doctrines that they taught revealed that they were not true believers. In this way, they denied the Master who bought them. May the Lord guard our pulpits from error today and bless us with faithful teachers/teaching. Suggestions for prayer Pray for the preaching and teaching of God’s Word today. Ask the Lord to keep our ministers from error, and to speak His truth through them. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 11 - “There will be false teachers” 

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you…” - 2 Peter 2:1  Scripture reading: Matthew 24:1-13 Can you remember a time at school when you were thinking, “Why do I need to know this?” Well, that is the question of believers that Peter anticipates with the beginning of chapter 2. He has reminded believers of the certainty of the Second Coming and Judgment by appealing to the authority of the Apostles and Scripture. And now, so that there is no doubt about why this doctrine is important, Peter explains why a godly life and maintaining the truth of Jesus’ Second Coming is so important. And the why is false teachers and their devastating impact. In Matthew 24, Jesus spoke about the time between His first and second Coming. He said, “Many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.” That warning is what Peter echoes when he says that “there will be false teachers among you,” and that many will follow their destructive heresies and sensuality. Paul said the same thing in 2 Timothy 4:3-4. These truly are sobering words that we do well to heed. To think that this could not happen to us is foolishness. This is why active membership in a local congregation, where elders who take their shepherding responsibilities seriously is so important. We need regular exposure to the truth and warnings about error. We should also do as the Bereans did and examine the Scriptures to see if what we are being taught is so (Acts 17:10-11). Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for elders who take their responsibilities seriously. Thank Him for the privilege of being able to participate in the life of a congregation in freedom. Pray that the Lord would be with our brothers and sisters who do not enjoy these freedoms. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 10 - The authority of scripture

“And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” - 2 Peter 1:19-21  Scripture reading: Jeremiah 1:1-10 These words, together with 2 Timothy 3:16, are cornerstone texts for the doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture. They make it clear that the Holy Spirit guided what the prophets and apostles wrote, so that the Bible is the very Word of God. Peter’s point here is that the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus are all in the Old Testament, but they are hidden or shadowy or hinted at or there by way of types and anti-types, and promises and prophecies. They have become plain with the New Testament. In this way, then, the coming of Jesus and the Gospel accounts more fully confirm the prophetic word. Peter’s particular focus is the Second Coming of Christ and the Day of Judgment. They are spoken of in Daniel 7, Isaiah 13, Psalm 2, and Psalm 110. But they are made plain by passages like Matthew 24:30, 26:64, Acts 1:11, Acts 17:31, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, and 1 Corinthians 15. So, believer, do not be persuaded by anyone who teaches otherwise. Christ will come down to earth from heaven, and He will receive His bride to Himself, for all eternity! So, do pray: “Come Lord Jesus!” And friends, if you have not yet received Christ and believed in Him as your Saviour and Lord, know that He is coming, maybe today! And then comes judgment. So, take hold of Him, now! Suggestions for prayer Confess that we often do not live as though we expect Jesus to return. Give thanks that we have the very Word of God on the pages of Scripture! Ask Him to help us warn others to be ready for Christ’s return. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 9 - The mount of transfiguration 

“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to Him by the Majestic Glory, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased," we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with Him on the holy mountain.” - 2 Peter 1:16-18  Scripture reading: Matthew 17:1-8 Myths – made up stories – can be entertaining and even instructive. This is true of Ancient Greek myths, Aesop’s Fables and the myths of pagan cultures. But all they are is made up stories. They lack a factual, historical basis. One accusation levelled at Christianity is that the Bible is just a collection of myths and fables. The false teachers of Peter’s day were teaching that the Second Coming was a myth; that Jesus was not going to return and that there would not be a Day of Judgment. Therefore, how you lived did not matter. Peter’s response to this false teaching is his reminder to his readers that he and the other apostles were eyewitnesses of the majesty of Jesus Christ. They had seen Him transfigured right in front of their eyes. They had seen Moses and Elijah with Him. They had heard the voice of God speak from heaven. This event really happened. Why this event is important will become plain in verses 19-21, but the key point here is that the reminder to remain established in the truth and to make every effort to live a godly life is based on fact – an actual, historical, literal, physical, real event. Peter and James and John witnessed it! What we must do is believe it. And remember the words of Christ: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29). Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for the gift of faith. Thank Him for giving us His Word that we might know Christ through the testimony of prophets and apostles. Ask Him for wisdom and courage to tell others the good news about salvation in Jesus Christ. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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

May 8 - A much-needed reminder

“Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.” - 2 Peter 1:12-15 Scripture reading: Psalm 19:7-14 When parents go out and leave the children at home, there is usually a pre-departure reminder: Don’t do these things and be sure to do these things. Parents do this because children so easily forget what they are supposed to do. There are many pre-departure reminders in Scripture. Moses and Joshua, before they died, reminded the people of Israel about what the Lord expected of them. Even the Lord Jesus gave His disciples a pre-departure reminder (John 13-17; Matthew 28:19-20). The Apostle Paul did the same with the Ephesian elders (Acts 20). Our passage is Peter’s pre-departure reminder. We see in verses 13-14 that the Lord had revealed to Peter that he was soon to die. So, he was determined to write his reminder down so that the Lord’s people could read it and re-read it. He wanted believers to be “established in the truth.” Each one of us probably knows someone who once professed faith who has turned away from the Lord. So, we need a regular diet of preached and read truth that we may not fall away (verse 10). The written Word of God is also what the Spirit uses to “stir you up” to the Christian growth we have talked about in recent days. Let us be thankful then for easy access to the written word of God and let us make good use of that access. Suggestions for prayer Thank the Lord for easy access to the Word of truth. Pray for Bible translators and publishers and distributors. Ask the Lord to impress His will upon your heart as you read His Word. Rev. Andre Holtslag is a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana (2007). At the present time he serves the Reformed Church of Avondale, which is in the city of Auckland, New Zealand, and is one of the Reformed Churches in New Zealand (RCNZ). 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....

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