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Murmuring or Singing? (A Meditation on Numbers 14:1,2)

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Meditation on Numbers 14: 1,2

Murmuring or Singing?

And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured...”

God’s people were standing at the border of Canaan, the promised land! This was a time for celebration and praise to the God who had delivered them from the bondage of Egypt and led them through the wilderness. They were right on the border of blessing. But they were faced with another crisis of faith. The twelve spies had returned from the land with vivid proof that the land was all God had promised it would be.

There was a majority report and a minority report. The majority report of the ten made no mention of God. Rather they reported: “The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitant thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

The minority report declared: “the land that we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it unto us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.”

Both reports acknowledged that the land will only be taken by fighting and conquest. Certainly, it would not be easy to conquer the land. It was not lying there vacant, ready to be taken. There were many and strong people there, and Israel could not simply walk in and possess it. They would have to fight. (In reality, there was no need for the spies to scout the land, but we read in Deuteronomy 1:21,22, when Moses set before the people the land that the LORD had promised them, they demanded of Moses to send men before them to search out the land. This was in itself an act of unbelief.) The first report was evil, because it was given with an evil purpose and great exaggeration. The report of the majority of the spies intended to impress one thing on the minds of the people. “We be not able to go up against the people” (Numb.13:3). It did not take into account the power of the unseen God. It did not remember the mighty deliverance out of Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, the manna that fell from heaven, or the many deliverances the Lord had given them. The manna was still there, as was the cloud that still overshadows them by day or that blazes above them by night. We read that all the congregation cried, all of the people wept, all the children of Israel murmured. Theirs was the sin of self-pity, unbelief, and disobedience. They wish to die in the wilderness, or go back to the bondage of Egypt.

In contrast was the faith of men like Joshua and Caleb over against the unbelief of the rest of the children of Israel. We read “all the congregation cried” and “all the children of Israel murmured”. Of course, this does not refer to every individual. We know that there were those who did not murmur. There is always a small remnant such as those like Joshua and Caleb whose voices are drowned out by the noise of the whole. They speak of the glory and sureness of God’s promise and His help in the battles to come. For victory comes only by way of struggle and fighting. “They took of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought it down unto us, and brought us word again, and said, It is a good land which the LORD our God doth give us…The LORD your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes” (Deut. 1:25,30). There was no need for fear or dismay, no reason to weep and wail. They were near the promised land. God was with them; he had fulfilled all his promises! Over against the lies of the ten spies, Caleb and Joshua bore witness to the truth. They warned the people not to rebel against the LORD. “The LORD is with us.”

Dear reader, do you today murmur in unbelief or sing praises in faith? What is your response when forced to stay home, or not able to work, or perhaps seeing your stock portfolio crumble? We are near the land of promise, heaven. Jesus is coming, coming soon. In the world, we can expect tribulation and trouble. The victory is gained not without a fight, the battle of faith. How are you dealing with the trial set before you? God is with His people. As He has so wonderfully delivered us in the past, led us all the way through our wilderness, do you cling and believe His promise? We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. We have a greater leader than Moses or Joshua. Our Lord Jesus has conquered sin, Satan, and death by His own death on the cross. He will give us the good land flowing with milk and honey! Sing and shout His praises. Stand firm in unwavering faith and hope. The LORD is with us: fear not! Not murmuring but singing!

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Who Will Show Us Any Good? (A Meditation on Psalm 4:6-8)

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Meditation on Psalm 4:6-8

Who Will Show Any Good?

There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.”

Once again, a sharp contrast is presented in these verses! It is a contrast between many who seek happiness in the things of this world and the spiritual joy given to the godly. Which are you? The blind person, outside of Jesus Christ, ignorant of what is truly good, is filled with a longing and desire for earthly things: “their corn and their wine increased.” Corn and wine represent both what is necessary and that is luxurious in life. Therein they will be happy. Of these, the Psalmist says, “There be many who say, Who will show us any good?” Over against these, the godly join with one another seeking God’s favor and love. “LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.”

As we learn in our last meditation on Jer. 17:5-8, the green tree produces faith, joy, and peace. We see these three things in this Psalm. What is good? The person outside of Christ asks this in the midst of the necessities, trials, and difficulties of our lives. Have you asked this same question, perhaps in the political and economic upheavals these last months? Perhaps you were unable to work. You were unable to go to school or be involved in sports. You or a loved one were sick and laid up in the hospital, unable to have family with you. You are an aged person in a rest home, and the children and friends could not visit with you. “Who will show us any good?”

What do you mean by good? The Bible tells us that none but God are good. We read in Micah 6:8,” He hath shown thee, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” There you have a definition of good. If you have that, you are happy now in our pilgrimage and in eternity.

Faith looks up. In contrast with the wicked looking all round them in the world, the child of God prays. “LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.” We desire and pray for the smile of God’s face in favor and love. But how can we experience that favor? We are not just, loving mercy, nor walking humbly with God. Instead, we are just the opposite. How can we be reconciled with this God? The answer is in one person whom God has given for us, his Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of what God requires of a person. Jesus did justly all his life, never wavering. All of his life up to his hanging on the cross, he took the punishment for our sins and fulfilled all righteousness. Oh, how he loved and showed mercy, having compassion on the crowds who were like sheep without a shepherd. He has brought his sheep out of the pit of despair and set their feet upon the rock of ages. We hear Jesus say to the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn thee. Go, sin no more.” Did you hear Jesus’ answer to the thief on the cross who cried, “Lord, remember me when thou comest to thy kingdom.” Jesus walked humbly with his God and cried out, “Not my will but thy will be done.” Our faith stands in our God in Christ Jesus.

What joy this gives us, even in the midst of difficulties and trials! “Thou hast put gladness in my heart.” The best that the world can give us is corn and wine, staples of a luxurious living. You can smile when you belly is full of food and your cup is full of wine, making glad the heart of man. But do not build anything on that gladness. It only lasts until the crops fail and the economy drops. When the LORD lifts our hearts with the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then there is gladness that is overwhelming and eternal! It will fill all your real needs, even if the corn and wine fail.

We have peace. There is terrible anxiety in the hearts and lives of many today over their jobs, stocks, and future. They worry and worry and maybe cannot sleep at night. Those who have the light of God’s countenance upon them have peace. The Psalmist says, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. When you know that all your needs are fulfilled, you are at peace. If you know that God is for you, who then could ever be against you? God did not spare his only begotten Son but gave him up for me; what can then be against me? No, all things work together for good unto those that love God. We can sing:

In God’s love abiding, I have joy and peace, More than all the wicked, though their wealth increase. In his care confiding, I will safely sleep, for the Lord my Savior, will in safety keep.” (Psalter #7, Stanza 3

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Limerick Reformed Fellowship Newsletter - May 2020

Limerick Reformed Fellowship
Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary
38 Abbeyvale, Corbally Co. Limerick, Ireland
http://www.limerickreformed.com/ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Thursday, May 7, 2020

Dear saints in the Protestant Reformed Churches,

In this newsletter I want to go back to happier times, before the current upheaval in church and state, although the happier times seem but distant memories now. In the last newsletter, 17 December 2019, I mentioned our plans to go to Australia.

The journey to Australia was long (bus trip from Limerick to Dublin, flight from Dublin to Amsterdam, second flight from Amsterdam to Singapore, and, finally, a third flight from Singapore to Brisbane). I am sorry that we could not visit the saints in Singapore; our layover was not long enough. Singapore airlines offer a wonderful service, by the way. Perhaps they need to do that in order to make such long flights bearable. Although I survived the flight to Singapore, my heart sank when realization hit that we had another flight of over eight hours to Brisbane. Nevertheless, we arrived safely, for which we thank the Lord.

Dear friends, (Pastor) David and Ruth Torlach (Brisbane Evangelical Presbyterian Church), whom I have known from my seminary days, were our gracious hosts in Australia. To see them again was a happy reunion: the only regret is that we did not see their children, who live in Tassie (Tasmania). Seth, with his wife Megan, was the exception: they came to Brisbane to attend the Youth Camp, and it was wonderful to see Seth again and meet his wife. David and Ruth welcomed us warmly and made us feel right at home the entire time that we were there.

MLMcgeown wallaby 2019Since David and I are both in the ministry and since we had not seen one another (except once) since our seminary days, we had a lot to talk about. I was greatly encouraged to be able to discuss the joys and sorrows of the ministry with a likeminded colleague. Ruth and Larisa also enjoyed chatting about the realities of being the wives of pastors. I discovered quite quickly that ministers the world over face the same basic issues; churches the world over have the same encouragements and discouragements; and the devil attacks churches across the world in very similar ways. How good it was to see the Lord’s work in different parts of His vineyard!

The main reason for our visit was the EPC Youth Camp, which is held every two years, and is hosted and organized by the youth of the different EPC congregations. This year the Brisbane youth hosted the camp in Minden, Queensland. The EPC youth camp is a much smaller and more intimate version of the Protestant Reformed YPC with about forty young people in attendance, with ages ranging from thirteen to the mid-twenties. They were truly a beautiful group of godly, spiritually mature, enthusiastic, servant-hearted, and fun-loving young people! Ruth Torlach and her sisterin-law, Sue Higgs, were the caterers, while the young people led devotions, served the food, and cleaned up afterwards. There was a lot of time for team games, swimming (when the temperatures hit the mid 30’s Celsius or mid 90’s Fahrenheit a pool is a must!), chatting, fellowship, and even wildlife exploration. Larisa and I even got an air-conditioned room. Speaking of wildlife, contrary to reports, not all the fabulous Australian fauna is deadly. One boy brought me an Australian tree frog, while another teenage boy caught a possum, which he cornered in a cupboard, and David showed me a rhinoceros beetle.

My role was camp speaker. Over the seven days of the camp I gave seven speeches/sermons on the Armour of God from Ephesians 6, instruction that the young people enthusiastically received. On Thursday, word got out that I planned a test to see how much the young people had learned and understood, so the young people started cramming for the quiz that I prepared. They took the test very seriously, huddling in corners, poring over their notes, and begging me for clues. The test was “Military Graduation Exercises,” in which the teams had to answer questions on the Armour of God to demonstrate that they were ready to deploy the various pieces of armour described in the speeches. The exam ended with a sword drill to test their ability to find passages in the Scriptures. None of the young people had any cause for embarrassment, for they all performed extremely well and duly graduated as “Christian soldiers.”

Another highlight of the visit to Australia was the privilege afforded to me to preach in Brisbane EPC for two consecutive Sundays. It was wonderful to meet the congregation, lead them in worship, and fellowship in their homes. The EPC uses the same Psalter as the Limerick Reformed Fellowship, the Scottish Metrical Version. Their order of worship is also almost identical to ours in Limerick, so I felt quite at home. Since December/January is the Australian summer, the other church activities (Bible studies, catechism, young people’s meetings, etc.) were not taking place, which gave the Torlachs lots of time to show us the sights of Brisbane and beyond.

Mcgeown lizard 2019When we arrived at the EPC worship place (Mount Ommaney Special School) I was surprised and fascinated to see a large lizard, an Australian water dragon, about the size of a small dog, sitting on the pathway. I was informed that such lizards are common: they run around freely and they are quite familiar with humans. I saw many such lizards in Australia (including geckos that gathered around a light outside the Torlachs’ house), and on one occasion David caught a lizard and gave it to me to hold it. In addition, we saw koalas, kangaroos, parrots, bats, kookaburras, and cane toads. The latter are a pest species, but I still found them interesting. We swam in the ocean, visited a mountain forest retreat (O’Reilly’s), explored the city of Brisbane, and visited the
famous Australia Zoo to see crocodiles and many other creatures.

All in all it was a wonderful trip, which gave us greater appreciation for the saints in Australia. It was difficult to bid the Torlachs farewell, but we had people in Limerick eagerly awaiting our return. In the next newsletter, I will get back to reporting about Limerick, which, as I write, is under a “lockdown” order, so that we have not met for public worship since March 22. Therefore, as a lot of you are doing, we have had to be creative to get the Word out.

In Christian love, Rev. Martyn and Larisa McGeown

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Reformed News Asia - April 2020

 
Issue 59
Pamphlets

We print pamphlets written by our members and those from other Reformed churches of like-minded faith. They include a wide range of topics from doctrines to church history and practical Christian living. These pamphlets serve to promote knowledge of the true God as expressed in the Reformed faith.
NEWPamphlet!
Questions in the Bible - Genesis
By Rev Andrew Lanning & Prof Hermon Hanko

This project was inspired by 'Pastoral Voice' written by Rev. Andy Lanning for CERC in Oct 13-Jan 14 which covered 6 questions in Genesis.

There are many questions within the Bible, 2,540 to be exact.

The Christian Literature Ministry has shortlisted and compiled a list of them based on certain criteria:

i) Can be linked to Christ
ii) Significant in history of church
iii) Spiritual lesson for us
iv) A question we may also ask

After 6 years of effort, 12 books of the bible have been completed. In addition to the 6 meditations from Rev. Lanning, the writers are: Prof. Herman Hanko, Rev. Richard Smit and Rev. Cory Griess. We are grateful for their labour of love.

May you benefit spiritually from the meditations, and pray with us that gradually we may compile more meditations from questions in other books of the Bible.

The first pamphlet from Genesis can be found by clicking the picture above. 


Click hereto view our catalogue of pamphlets.

Click here to make an order.

All pamphlets are free. CERC reserves some discretion regarding large orders and/or orders from those outside Singapore.
 
Featured Book
For local orders (S'pore), please contact Ms Daisy Lim at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For international orders, click here.
For God's Glory and the Church's Consolation
by Ronald L. Cammenga
 

From the RFPA website:

Among Reformed Christians, the celebration of the anniversary of the Synod of Dordt (1618–19) is second only to the commemoration of the Reformation of the sixteenth century. Indeed, marking the anniversary of the “great synod,” as it soon was called, is commemoration of the Reformation. For mainly Dordt’s accomplishment was the preservation of the gospel of God’s sovereign grace, which was restored to the church through the Reformation.

The Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary held a conference to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of the Synod of Dordt. For God’s Glory and the Church’s Consolation includes all the presentations made at this conference, plus a bit more. The book explores the heritage that faithful Reformed churches ought to esteem, as that heritage was defended and handed down by the Synod of Dordt.

The chapters included in this book are written by: Rev. Angus Stewart, Prof. Brian Huizinga, Rev. Mark Shand, Prof. Douglas Kuiper, Rev. William Langerak, Prof. Ronald Cammenga, and Prof. Barrett Gritters. 

 
Audio Recordings
Click to listen to the sermons by Prof Russell Dykstra on Lord's Supper Day:

No Greater Love
Delighting in the Fairest
 
Upcoming Events!
 
Save the date!

21 24 Dec 2020 - Church Camp 2020
 
 
Past Events...
 
Prof & Mrs Dykstra 

We were very glad to welcome Prof & Mrs Dykstra to Singapore for 2 weeks. We thank God for bringing them here into our midst and appreciate their work and time here. We hope they had an enjoyable time here!
 
 
 
 
Prof & Mrs Dykstra at a dinner fellowship organised by Follow-Up Committee
 
CERC Activities (March - April)

Due to the current situation, most activities for these months have been cancelled or postponed. Singapore's "Circuit Breaker" restriction has also been extended to 1 June 2020. Worship services and meet-ups have been brought online. We thank God for this means and we continue to pray for God's guidance and His will for the days ahead. 
 
Notes
 
Salt Shakers
 

Salt Shakers is a bi-monthly magazine published by the youth in Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC). Included in each issue are writings pertaining to bothReformed doctrine and practical theology. Contributors to Salt Shakers include our pastor, youth and members of CERC, and pastors and professors from the Protestant Reformed Churches in America. Salt Shakers also features articles from the Standard Bearer and other Reformed publications. Click here to access.

 
Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church
We are a Reformed Church that holds to the doctrines of the Reformation as they are expressed in the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dordt.

Lord’s Day services on Sunday at 930 am & 2 pm • 11 Jalan Mesin, #04-00, Standard Industrial Building, Singapore 368813 • www.cerc.org.sg 
 
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In Whom Do You Trust? (A Meditation on Jeremiah 17:5-8)

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

 

Meditation on Jer. 17:5-8         

In Whom Do You Trust?

“Thus saith the LORD; cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh the flesh his arm, and whose heart departed from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”

What a sharp contrast is presented in these verses! It is a contrast between a person who trusts in man and his abilities and the person who trusts in Jehovah. It is the contrast between a brown lifeless shrub in the desert and a green fruitful tree planted by waters. It is a contrast between a person who is cursed by God and the person who is blessed by God.

Although the question is not stated, it is implied: “In whom do you trust?” This question demands a response. Jeremiah writes to the Old Testament church, Judah. In the threat posed by the kingdoms of Assyria and Babylon, there were those who trusted in themselves or in the help of  the nation of Egypt. These were terrible times. Do you look to the arm of flesh, or do you look and trust in God’s mighty arm? We may ask in these current troublesome days the same questions. Do you trust in the economy, politicians, scientists, hospitals, health care, or government policies and handouts? Or do you rest and have confidence in Jehovah who is sovereign and does all things well? The question arises out of the text.

How foolish and weak is the arm of flesh. The economy changes. Governors and presidents can threaten or make promises. Scientists can maybe find a vaccine that works but also can create viruses that kill. Money can be given out by the government, but it is not free. It will have to come from somewhere, namely new taxes. The arm of flesh is sinful and mortal. The person who trusts in man is the one “whose heart departed from the LORD.” Do you see, there is no possibility of trusting in both man and God? It is either/or. It is a matter of taking our eyes off from the LORD and putting them instead on our own abilities. One is able to have a correct knowledge of God in one’s head, but not in his heart.  

In whom do you trust? God’s word says, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man.” How dreadful! The person that lives and dies in unbelief is cursed, under God’s wrath and hatred. God’s curse is a powerful and effective word that brings death. The figure is given of a brown scrub in the desert. This shrub never gives any fruit, and even if rain comes, it has no roots to drink it up. What a picture of the person who does not know and love God!

The contrast is the child of God who trusts, has saving faith, depends upon the LORD. That person has hope, which means confidence. Why do we have this confidence even in difficult times? The reason is that the LORD is the God of our salvation. He loves us. He will work all things for good to them that love him, who are the called according to his purpose. He has provided for our salvation in his Son, Jesus Christ! Our eyes, our mind, and our heart are stayed upon him. Jeremiah’s confession is found in vs. 17, “thou art my hope in the day of evil.” May we say with the Psalmist, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me” (Ps. 56:3,4).

The person that trusts in Jehovah is compared to a green and fruitful tree. He is planted by the waters. He is planted there by God himself. He is given deep roots, roots that keep on spreading by the river. Christ Jesus is that water of life. Christ’s life flows to us by the Holy Spirit. When times of trouble come, the person who trusts in God does not shrivel up or become unfruitful. Rather, his roots sink further and deeper into Jesus Christ and his Word. He becomes stronger. He is not anxious in these troublesome times but has the fruit of joy and peace. God’s Word says that God blesses those who trust in him!

So once more the question comes, “In whom do you trust?” The Psalmist Asaph once doubted and was anxious and despairing. But God led and taught him, and he was able to say, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee… it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works” (Ps. 73:25,28).

May the trials and difficulties we currently face cause us to draw closer to our God in Christ Jesus in faith and confidence. 

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Parenting Conference Live-Streamed This Wednesday and Thursday, April 29 & 30

Proverbs 22 6Hudsonville PRC invites you to a live-streamed parenting conference on April 29 and 30 (Wednesday and Thursday nights) beginning at 7:30 p.m. 

Rev. and Mrs. J. Mahtani, Rev. and Mrs. G. Eriks, and Prof. and Mrs. B. Gritters will be speaking on the three stages of parenting - the childhood years, the teenage years, and the adult years. 

Attending the conference is as simple as going to the Hudsonville PRC website (http://www.hudsonvilleprc.org)  Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30pm.  There will be a time for questions and answers Thursday evening. 

More information is available on Hudsonville PRC’s website (For example, outlines of the presentations). 

Conference Schedule:

Wednesday:
7:30 - Introduction
7:40 - The Childhood Years by Pastor and Keri Mahtani
8:20 - Break (put kids to bed, get a snack, etc
8:35 - The Teenage Years by Pastor and Jen Eriks

Thursday:
7:30 - Introduction
7:40 - The Adult Years (Let Them Leave But Don’t Let Them Go) Prof. and Lori Gritters
8:20 - Break
8:35 - Question and Answer with all the speakers

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